Things that are better about being in a “poor” country such as Guatemala (enjoy the pictures below that show some of them!)
1. You get to see your patients riding ahead of you on the way to the clinic in the back of a pick-up truck as you yourself are on the way to “work”!
2. It is so wonderful taking care of patients who are so very, very grateful for all you do! Today and yesterday were awfully busy - and sometimes when we are so busy, I worry that I have enough time to make the patients feel valued. In the middle of my very busy day today, one of the patients actually started crying as she hugged me and told me that everyone was so grateful that we were there. She said they are so desperate for medical care and they can’t believe that we are taking the time to care for them. How often do you get that in the U.S.??
3. There is such little waste. People here find ways to use all the things that you and I would normally throw out. Hanssel, (our agriculture project director) cuts large plastic pop bottles in half and hangs them on strings so that they can be hung up one on top of the other. He fills them with dirt and plants seeds in them. Pretty soon there are plant seedlings that can be transplanted into the ground. He even uses the trays that my pap containers come in to do the same thing!
4. Families and neighbors TRULY care for each other.
Yesterday, we were asked to go to the home of a woman who was very sick. Turned out that she had uncontrolled diabetes as well as uterine fibroids that were causing her to massively hemorrhage. When we arrived, there were at least 40 people standing outside her house praying for her! We gave her some medications and IV fluids and then got an ambulance to bring her to the hospital. Everyone was so grateful and I was just happy that she had something we could treat – and not another terrible diagnosis of cervical cancer.
5. The dogs here are so much better controlled! This may seem silly but actually, it is so cool to be able to run here and not have dogs threatening you! Mostly, they just ignore me as I run past them! And if a dog is walking with it’s “master”, there is no need for a leash – they just follow along. I love watching the “Dog Whisperer” at home. But here, I think there are lots of Dog Whisperers. The difference is that they know how to treat dogs like dogs....
6. People here have FAR BETTER immune systems! Honestly, it is incredible. Yesterday, I ate lunch in the home of a very poor person who so graciously shared all that she had with us. While all the Guatemalans had no problem, I spent the night with diarrhea and vomiting. What has happened to us in the U.S. that our systems are so very fragile???
7. There is not the constant barrage of consumerism. This morning, I saw a great sign that someone wrote on a wall outside a relatively big store here (of course, nothing like our big stores!). It read “If you don’t buy it, we won’t desire it….” I’m going to remember that one!