It has been a week now since departing Guatemala. It feels like 12 weeks. I found myself daily explaining the trip to patients and friends. Their typical reply would be that’s so great that you did that. I feel embarrassed at these compliments, for I left so enriched and have so many unanswered questions. Did I go for the “right” reasons? Did I provide good care for the patient’s needs? Did I give them answers they could understand and utilize? Will their needs worsen? Why do they have such poverty? Will this change in their generation or the next? What can I do to make a difference in such a society with political tethering throughout its past and recent history? As coach Wooden said, “Little things make big things happen”
God blessed me with a gift of Gladys who appeared in my office and connected my desire to do a medical mission with my daughter. This timely encounter resulted in leaving December 2nd with the following team members: Coral, Ed, Gary, Gladys, Ginny, Dennis, Dave, Pat and my daughter McKenzie. We were greeted with open arms by the SewHope home team Ismael, Orfelinda, Hanssel, Anita and Sr Pam. The details of the daily activities are well covered in Sr Pam’s blog. I had been on other missions in the past, these being mostly surgically oriented. My team members and I were not quite sure what my role would be as a podiatrist. Within minutes of our first day my niche began to evolve as I found plenty of overuse extremity pain, wounds from spina bifida and diabetes, congenital deformities requiring bracing, casting and splints, and a unusual amount of drop foot from CVA, seizure disorders, and a plethora of other limb disease. After full days of providing care we would finish up on the roof of our hotel and give testimony, some scripture, and prayer. This was the catalyst to an amazing bond of our team. Each member had a special talent that allowed us to serve the mission. I am eternally grateful for the week, and on a selfish note, my daughter McKenzie has been enriched in a very positive way.
Some of the most impactful memories I returned with were: 1. Coral explaining to the boy and his mother the reality of his muscular dystrophy and its course. 2. Gary’s informative insight on Guatemalan family dynamics and God’s “coincidences.’” 3. Sharing a treatment room with Dave and relying on Gladys for translation of two patients at a time!
The work we performed was brief, and a very small contribution. The many years of dedication by Anne, Coral, Gary, and many others throughout the years complimented by the faithful loving home team of Ismael, his family, and Sr Pam will for certain make a difference. I am thankful for being allowed the opportunity to serve, and look forward to future participation.
Dr. John Lane is a podiatrist serving patients in Toledo and Maumee. His daughter McKenzie is a senior at Bedford High School. If you have a medical specialty and have a desire to serve the mission of SewHope, please contact Dr. Anne Ruch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012