Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guatemala - Day One

(Sorry, but there will be no pictures posted while we are on the mission - no internet)

We made it to Guatemala! I was a little apprehensive about going through customs with our trunks and bags of dental equipment after talking to a woman on the plane who has been doing medical missions here for years, but after a cursory search of our things and a stamp on David's passport so that we did not have to pay taxes, we were cleared! 

At the airport in Houston, we met with several other dental students and a dentist from Houston, and at the Guatamalan airport we met up with the rest of the team, in from Dallas. There are 32 of us all together. We loaded the bags and boxes onto a truck, and we all piled on to a bus named Lucy and headed out of the city. But first - we stopped for lunch at a true Guatemalan restaurant named Burger King. Yes, we had it our way!

The ride to the mission compound in San Raymundo was...interesting. Many of the streets are very, very narrow and the terrain is mountainous. Poverty is rampant here. Guatemala is the 2nd poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, behind Haiti. The land is beautiful, although there has been much clearing of the trees in the countryside. The streets are very, very clean and although the people here may not have much, they do care about what they have. It is a country with two main religions - Mayan influence, and Catholic. They are mostly a lost people. 

We are staying at a compound that serves as a hospital when medical teams come in. There are dorms for sleeping accommodations, and a cafeteria staffed by some Guatemalan women that are very good cooks! 

Today will be a busy day setting up clinic.  Tomorrow, we will begin seeing the first of the 750 children, ages 4-12, that attend two local schools. We will be joined tomorrow by dental students from the dental school in Guatemala City. 

Everyone is healthy and feeling well, despite the altitude. We are about the same sea level as Denver, so that is a change for us Gulf Coast Texans! Please pray for continued health, for spiritual strength, for physical energy. 

We miss our families, but are excited to see what God does here in the mountains of Guatemala. 

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