Is it really only day #3??? Yesterday, we attended the conference on education and technology in developing countries. We obtained so much insight and made great connections. I had the opportunity to spend 3 hours with the Guatemala City Rotary Club. What an incredible group of women who truly care about the poor and are doing so many things to make a real difference. They are so enthusiastic about our cervical cancer prevention program and are giving us full support.
Due to the holiday here, it turned out that there were no TACA tickets so Sara and I had to take the 9 hour bus ride up to Peten late last night. The bus was fine but pretty impossible to sleep so we're pretty pooped!. It was a pretty incredible day. After a quick shower after getting off the bus, we got to the conference (that we were running!) and there were at least 75-100 comedrones and health promoters there. The government health promoter had to do his presentation which went on for over an hour. At that point, they all seemed pretty bored so I had to think of something to get their attention.
So I told them that I wanted to talk about maternal mortality and about cervical cancer. But I told them that I didn't want to bore them with statistics. I wanted to tell them that these were problems that involved real families and real women. I recounted Flori's story and then I showed them the little video I made of her. There were lots of tears, and oh my gosh, the participation was phenomenol!! We talked about so many things and I think I convinced them that we can do none of this without their help. They formed a little committee to address all these issues and we're going to all meet on Saturday morning. They were so excited about the cervical cancer campaign that we're having in February. I talked to them about the need to train them in many of these areas and several came to me afterwards telling me about their dreams of helping their own people. Tomorrow, we're having the clinic in Pueblo Nuevo and of course, all the ladies were coming at the end of the conference with their heartbreaking stories that they somehow think can be fixed in a mere clinic visit.
We drove through Purusila and spent a long time with the health promoter there. It was a very, very informative time - she had all kinds of insightful, wonderful ideas. Then we stopped at the school where they were having a telesecondaria class - that was also incredibly informative. Everytime we come, I feel closer and closer to these communities. The women are so welcoming and compared to how it was 4 years ago, they are now like family.
They ask for many of you who have been here. Each of you have made permanent indentations on their hearts. Sara and I just had a wonderful dinner - it's so great to have a young person along with so many insights and such a clear wish to mend this broken world. We both talked about how easy it is to just be ourselves here and to feel God close. Not sure why it's more difficult at home!