First Stop: Medical Brigade to Guatemala!

First Stop: Medical Brigade to Guatemala!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 2: Antigua to Xela

I had awaken from the sunrise this morning. All of my roommates were up and ready to go by 7 when we really didn't need to meet our group until 8. To pass the time we all took pictures on the rooftop. To our surprise we were surrounded by mountains and volcanos. The sight was just beautiful! We headed to the other hotel to meet up with the group and while I was there, I sent out a little Happy Birthday email to my mom. 15 minutes of internet use was 2 Quetzales (25 cents).

Once the group got together I had devoured some wonderful pancakes and awesome pineapple juice--it tasted more like a smoothie because it was frothy. Soon after we were done eating, we were off to the bank to convert our money (7.9 Quetzales to 1 Dollar) and started shopping (bargaining rather)!! After walking nearly the entire city for the 5 hours I had bought so much stuff!!! 3 bracelets, 4 headbands, 2 purses, 1 computer bag, 3 wallets coffee beans, and some "worry people"--all for just $45. What a bargain!

We left Antigua and after nearly 4 hours of hell (due to twisting, winding, and bumpy roads) we arrived to Xela (aka Quetzaltenango) and it was nothing that I had expected! It was so nice! For some reason I thought we would be in the 'slums' of Guatemala, but I was way wrong- I actually got to enjoy a hot shower and the hotel even had air conditioning! Before heading to bed we organized the medications that were brought from Timmy Headquarters in our check-in bags to get ready for the full week of medical clinics!

Monday, May 24, 2010

DAY 1: Traveling to Guatemala

All 29 of us were headed out of Indianapolis to embark on a journey of our lives. There were 3 medical doctors (one brought his wife), 1 dentist, 2 pharmacists, 1 nurse, 1 faculty member, 1 Timmy Headquarters executive director/translator, and 19 Butler students. The first day is always hard because there is so much travel involved. We had a 2 hour flight from Indy to Dallas and had a 3.5 hour layover (where I spent my time with a friend who used to live in Elkhart) then off to Guatemala City on a 3 hour flight. Upon arrival, all of us crammed into 2 vans that could seat 14 people (including the driver) very uncomfortably! We were headed to a city (Antigua) nearly 1 hour away from the airport to stay for the first night. That night we all ate at a nearby restaurant and I enjoyed some great pescada with limonada (tilapia w/ a lemonade drink)--it was o sooo good! Because there wasn't enough rooms available for the whole group, we got split up into two different hotels. I unfortunately had to stay at the "reject hotel" with 7 other gals. Our hotel was cute-but nothing fancy by any means. We accessed our room by going onto the balcony-slightly interesting. Living in Guatemala was a little hard to get used to. 1-we couldn't flush our toilet paper, 2-we had to brush our teeth with bottled water, 3-took a trickling lukewarm shower, 4-slept with no air conditioning, 5-laid on a pillow that felt like a mound of rocks. Despite all of this, I was happy that I had finally made it to Guatemala to start embracing the culture while helping those in need.