This is Mike. He is the person who made the bowl that I sent and will be up for auction at next years fundraising celebration. He makes a lot of wooden items. He said it took about a week to make the bowl. It is sanded and treated to enable it to stay pretty and you can eat out of it.
I really enjoyed the mission this year. We did approximately 168 surgeries and we also did 62 eye surgeries. We were able to see over 1000 patients in our clinic. It was a long week but very rewarding in many ways. We did 72 hernia repairs alone. This is so helpful to the patients because they can then work without pain from their hernia. The eye surgeries were phenomenal also. There was one lady that had cataracts removed and could see again for the first time in 16 years.
I worked in the clinic all week and we worked long hours to see all of the patients that wanted to be seen. Some of them had serious medical conditions and some of them just had minor issues. We were able to see them all. We had to refer some of the surgeries to the next team that will be there in September. Our team worked long hours and we did more surgeries this year than ever.
While in clinic I brought my instamatic camera and took pictures of the people. I gave away all of the pictures. I took a picture of a couple that was in their seventies and they had never had a picture of themselves. It was so fun to watch them tear up at the photo. I am sure they will treasure the photo for years to come. This is the second year that I have done the pictures and they love it. People have the cell phones in Guatemala but they do not print pictures.
I am inspired every year to return to Guatemala because of the people. I thought when I went to Guatemala that I was going to be helping the people of Guatemala, instead they have given me so much in return. I love their culture and their strong family bonds. I also love how they care for each other and especially their elderly. They do not have much and they are willing to give to us for helping them. I find this ironic because I should be giving them things not the other way around.