After 12 hours of travel, our San Lucas Toliman team has arrived!
Their journey began at 4 am this morning by gathering at the Kansas City airport for an early 6 am departure to Guatemala. It’s always good news when they can go through customs with no issues and depart for our destination at a good time.
Around 1 pm they departed on what should be a 4-hour car ride, but the traffic getting out of Guatemala City put them behind almost two hours. No worries, as the advanced team of coordinators in country made sure that their vans were stocked with a cooler of cold drinks including “Gallo,” Guatemala’s famous beer, and some local snacks.
While waiting for the team to arrive, the advance team met with Dr. Tun, our gracious host, and Director of the Hospital in San Lucas. He brought with him a 4-page list of patients that he has scouted out for this week of surgeries. The planned surgeries include working on gall bladders lipomas, a two-month-old boy with a bilateral inguinal hernia and a four-year-old with partial umbilical phimosis. Even with these procedures, patients still have many other needs. These patients have been waiting for their day to come, the day when they can finally feel better. Dr. Tun does an amazing job of providing this community with care through the year and waits for specialty teams like ours, to assist him with more permanent solutions to patients’ medical needs.
Once the team finally arrived in San Lucas, we gathered all of the suitcases that needed to go to the hospital and took them over. Our good friend Pablo, the hospital groundskeeper, was waiting for us. He welcomed the team with a smile, excited to see some familiar faces again and eager to know the new ones.
It will be a very busy week, Dr. John Alley, warns us. But that is what we came to do! So besides a long travel day, we have an early call to set up the hospital for a successful full week of surgeries! I am sure there will be some surprise cases added here and there, but the satisfaction is in making a difference!