Friday, March 7, 2014

Sole to Soul

Today was by far one of the most impactful days that I have had since arriving in Guatemala. The way the day started I did not think that I was going to be impacted the way that I was. I started my day in an area that we call triage. This area is responsible for screening all the patients and taking vitals before they can be seen by the doctors. As one can imagine, when more and more patients start to show up, it becomes more and more difficult for triage to get their job done quickly and accurately. It just so happened to be that when I was in triage it was one of the slowest times that we had experienced on the trip thus far. This was nice because of the information that I had to learn, and my inability to get the information quickly. I regrettably made some mistakes like measuring someone in pounds instead of kilograms but not too much else.

In the afternoon I was in a position called prayer, which gives the Xavier Team the opportunity to offer up a prayer for those who have just been seen by the doctors. It is a way for us to connect the awesome medical experiences with the spirituality that the people know. After all, it is a Interfaith Medical Mission Trip.

As this will most likely be my only blog post, I have to mention that I have had an awesome experience being able to shadow some extremely awesome medical professionals. I want to thank them for putting up with my absentmindedness at times or their ability to explain medical terminology and experiences in really fantastic ways. So, thank you Dr. Richard, Dr. Lauri, Nurse Cathy and Nurse Bonnie, you have been some extremely awesome teachers and I appreciate the time you have spent with me. Now here we go...

Today was one of those days that just seemed to be extra long for some reason. We were not at clinic for any longer than any other day, but none the less, I was worn out. We have been a very effective and impactful team this past week but we have also worn ourselves out. Today was our last day in clinic, but that did not take away from the fact that I really wanted to get out of the clinic as soon as humanly possible. I thought I would have my opportunity when there was a decision that allowed half the team to leave clinic early, however, I was not in a position that could leave with the first group and was quite agitated to find out that I was going to have to stay at clinic for what ended up being an extra 45 minutes. As Dr. Richard finished with the last patient and we walked outside I began to talk with the four other students that had the unfortunate luck of being stuck at clinic. When we started to walk down the hill, we talked about the awesome time that we have had this week and the vast amount of medical knowledge that we have gained. While waiting for our transportation back to the hotel, we had opportunities to take some pictures, and it was during that moment that I truly saw the meaning and purpose of what we are doing in Guatemala. After all of our individual pictures and our pairs we asked a young girl if she would be willing to take a picture of the entire group. It was not until after she took the photo that we realized that her shoes were completely tattered, and tattered is an understatement. Someone had taken this young girls shoes and cut the front of them off so that her feet could grow out of the shoes and she could still use them. All ten members of the Xavier Team started looking at their shoes and deciding whether or not they would be able to give their shoes to this young girl in hopes that she could use them for a much better cause. It turns out that one of the team members feet were small enough and she did choose to give up her shoes to this young girl. In that moment our lives and her lives clashed and it was by far the most powerful moment that I have had on this trip. There was something about being outside the clinic waiting to return to our hotel and a team member giving up their shoes for the betterment of this girls life that made all of the team that stayed behind feeling extremely fortunate.

In a matter of 5 minutes I went from being annoyed that I had to stay behind to elated that we could do something (besides medical attention) to help a person in Guatemala. This experience is one that only the team members that stayed behind experienced and one that is truly difficult to put into words. It so happens to be my favorite moment of the trip so far and one that I will never forget. We have done some awesome work this week and I am sad that we have to leave but the medical supplies that we brought and the videos that we created will stay behind as Xavier Interfaith's place in Guatemala. The pictures that we have taken will become the basis of the memories that we will have for the rest of our lives.

Sam Merritt
March 7, 2014

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