As the morning of our second full day in Guatemala dawned on us, we knew it was going to be a long but very rewarding day. After a nutritious and equally delicious breakfast, we loaded into our van and once again let our trusty compadre Lico guide us to the Patanatic Clinic. With such a beautiful day in the Guatemalan highlands, we were ready to get our hands a little dirty and do our best to change the world with a series of love-filled acts. We were split into two groups, Christy, Rachel and I working in a lab (I’ll tell you a little more about this later) and everyone else upstairs working on constructing 10 beds for the residents of Patanatic. These beds will make a world of difference for children and adults at risk of acquiring parasites and other diseases from sleeping on the ground. With a little creativity and a lot of ingenuity the team was able to convert left over construction materials into 10 beds the community so desperately needed.
Meanwhile the lab crew was busy preparing to run fecal smear tests on samples collected from children at the local school. We were in search of the parasite Giardia lamblia. This parasite has been known to cause life-threatening diarrhea in members of the local communities, with children being more at risk than adults. With a couple hours of research preparation and years of microbiology and laboratory experience behind us, we awaited our samples. Rachel, meanwhile was at the local school with one of the clinic’s nurses being stormed by over a hundred eager children. With several samples complete, we broke for lunch.
We were served an authentic homemade lunch by a local a woman from the village. The chicken, vegetables and tortillas were all fantastic, but the guacamole quite literally changed my life. After lunch the lab crew cleaned up and the bed crew began their final preparations. By midafternoon, all the beds kits were complete and local residents began to line up to lead us to their homes to finish assembling them. After the last bed was assembled, we rendezvoused to talk about what we would be doing tomorrow. We then boarded our bus and drove down the mountain back to our hotel in Panajachel.
After a delicious stew for dinner, the group dispersed to shop the local shops for trinkets and souvenirs to take back to our loved ones. After fine-tuning our haggling skills, I think everyone left happy with their purchases. This was another exciting and life changing day in Guatemala and I can’t wait to see what the coming days will bring. Buenas Noches.