Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's hard to believe that five months ago 12 students were calling their families and friends to announce the exciting news that we had been selected to be a part of Xavier's Interfaith Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala. It's even harder to believe that today was our last day in the clinic.
As usual we were divided into stations: dental, vision, vitals, pharmacy, or shadowing. Each student quickly taught one of his/her peers how to work the assigned station as patients lined up for a consult. By the end of our week in the clinic we found a system to get people through every station in the most efficient way possible. I think that this is, in part, due to the strong relationships that our Xavier group has formed with one another but I also think it is because of how kind and patient the people of Guatemala are, allowing us to develop that system.
I am so grateful to this community for not only providing us with the medical experience of a lifetime but also for welcoming us into their community and into their lives. As people left the clinic they said "Gracias" to us as we said "Gracias" to them. I'm sure they assumed that our response was due to our limited knowledge of the Spanish language but in reality, they gave us far more than we could ever give them and we will be forever thankful. Although communication was difficult at times, smiles and hugs are universal.
Stephanie Jantzen

Monday, January 7, 2013

The 2012 Interfaith Medical Mission Trip has ended. The team is en route from Guatemala City to the U.S. this morning. The lives of many people have been changed.  The students and medical personnel cared for their villagers in Patanatic and were asked to also travel to San Marcos, which suffered an earthquake a few weeks ago.
Ask the participants to share their experiences with you. Again, they are:
Kiersten Mossburg of Fayetteville, GA - junior chemical science, minors in biochemistry, English.
Tess Petrozzi of Powell, OH - sophomore nursing major.
Ashley Luffred of Avon, OH - junior liberal arts, minor in psychology.
Grace Lambert of North Royalton, OH - sophomore natural sciences, minor in theology.
Adrian Center of Mason, OH - first-year biology.
Malia Smolenski of Loveland, OH - junior applied physics, minors Spanish, international studies.
Stephanie Jantzen of Cincinnati - senior biology major.
Ian Bentley of Cincinnati - senior biology, minors in chemistry and theology.
Sara Fieger of Cincinnati - sophomore natural sciences major.
Tom Gerbus of Cincinnati - junior biology, minors in chemistry and theology.
C.J. Oleksy of Martinsville, IN - sophomore business, minor in natural sciences.
Julia Miles of Indianapolis - junior biology major.
Katie Scheidler of Muncie, IN - program assistant and trip coordinator. A senior biology major, minors in chemistry and peace studies.
Rabbi Abie Inger, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier.
Dr. Richard Walter of Los Angeles, physician
Cathy Walter of Los Angeles, LPN
Dr. Lauri Pramuk of Cincinnati, pediatrician
Thank you to all who contributed and supported the team.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A gift of love

Clinic in San Marcos

Post Quake San Marcos

Kiersten's glasses show someone a new world

Kiersten in her old glasses

A new view of the world

I just wrote a blog yesterday. However, I witnessed a miracle today at the clinic and must share it with you. My apologies for making you read two incredibly long blog posts!

In the morning, I was in vision. This means I fit patients into eyeglasses. Before any patients arrived, Tom, Rabbi, and I were sorting thought the 2,000 glasses in the suitcases and organizing them by strength. As I was sorting, I came across my glasses from the third grade! What are the chances? It was our last day in the clinic, so I was one of the last rotations, and there were two others sorting through the glasses with me. I turned to Rabbi with wide eyes and said, "These are my glasses!!" He took me into the vision room and took my picture with them on. We decided to put them up and see if they would fit one of today’s patients. He said, "God, if by some chance you are bored today and have just a millisecond, it would be great if you could send a patient in that needs Kiersten's glasses. It's not a huge priority and not that important, but if you have a second and you're bored, this would be nice." We got back to work and finally, a patient came in. We fit her with glasses within a few minutes. Then, a second patient came in. I did a quick vision test and realized she needed a pair of the weaker eyeglasses. We worked with her to find two pairs that could work that she loved. Then Rabbi turned to me and said, "Let’s just try your glasses. I don't know if they will work, but it's worth a try." My hands were shaking. What if they actually did work? I placed them on her face and, when she looked up at the vision chart, her face lit up and she started looking at everything in the room. Her eyes were huge and she looked at Rabbi and me, exclaiming, "Perfecto!" I turned to Rabbi and said, "I'm about to cry!!" Rabbi ran out of the room to get a translator to explain to the patient why I was crying and what was going on. As we told her, I continued to cry, and she seemed so happy to know that her new glasses used to be mine. This experience truly was a miracle that not everybody can experience.
-Kiersten Mossburg