Saturday, January 3, 2015


Playing games at the airport
After packing yesterday, we all met this morning at 10 AM to start packing up the cars to head to the airport.  After getting to the airport, checking in, and passing through security, we made our way to the gate to wait to board.  We ended up waiting for almost two hours to board and passed the time by playing Euchere, Heads Up (thanks to Greg!), and, for me, frantically trying to find the video that I meant to burn to a DVD instead of the English version of it.  Luckily, things worked themselves out and we made it onto the plane without an incident.  For feeling so prepared before we left, it was such a relief to finally get onto our plane and into the air!  Our group was given a warm welcome by everyone on the plane when the pilot announced our group and explained what we were doing with our break.

Before we even arrived in Gutemala, our skills were out to the test when the poor passenger next to Dakota felt sick while on the flight.  With Teddy in tow, she gave this girl anti-nausea meds and saved the day!  Teddy even earned his wings on the flight for his act of service toward another.

At the Atlanta airport, Stephanie and I ran right for Panda Express, or "Pandarama" according to Stephanie.  It was FANTASTIC!  But that was not even the best part of this leg of the trip.  The most influential moment was when a little boy popped his head over the back of his seat on the plane and said, "¡Hola!"  He was so excited to see Cathy and I wave back to him and he continued to talk to us as we flew.  During the course of the flight, both Cathy and I became friends with this little boy and both of his parents.  His mother is an architect for Guatemala city and works in a firm with her husband, an engineer.  She taught us several words in Spanish and warned us that "coche," one of the words for car, actually means pig in Guatemala and that would not take us as far as a car would!  We also learned about many different aspects of Guatemalan culture that we never would have known about without talking to this amazing family.  This was the first time that I experienced the true hospitality of the Guatemalan people and their amazing heritage.  It was a great way to start this trip by being welcomed by this wonderful family as well as everyone on the flight from Atlanta to Guatemala.  I am very excited to help these people and learn about their culture.  I cannot wait to wake up in less than 4 hours to start this week off right!

Adam Spegele
Xavier University Class of 2016
Biology Major, Chemistry Minor
College of Arts and Sciences

Earning Our Wings

Our journey finally began this morning at 10 am with the packing of the vehicles and the trip to the airport. There was only a minor complication with a dead car battery, but after some readjusting of the luggage, we all fit into the vehicles and safely made it to the airport. After playing Euchre and Heads Up in the airport we boarded the first plane to Atlanta. The flight went well until the passenger next to Dakota got sick, but Dakota and the passenger handled the situation very gracefully and it turned out pretty well. Dakota’s teddy bear even earned wings from the pilot for being so brave during the incident. While on the flight we were given a very nice acknowledgment of the team members and the purpose for our trip which caused the airplane to break out in a round of applause.

View of Guatemala City from the Plane
After a short layover in Atlanta we boarded the completely full plane to Guatemala City. I had the privilege of sitting behind a very nice family with whom Adam S., Farwa and I were able to have a nice conversation. We were able to practice our Spanish with their two year old son, Martin, with the help of his parents. Martin kept Adam, Farwa and I entertained for the majority of the flight by talking with us and playing peek-a-boo over the seats.

If Martin and his family didn’t make the flight special enough, I was also entertained by the 15 week old Australian Shepard that was in the row behind us. He was a pretty good traveler, only barking a few times with his high whistle bark, but he was adorable so it was hard to be annoyed by him. Three and a half hours later we landed in Guatemala City where we met up with Dr. Richard and headed to the hotel. We all learned very quickly that we are going to be in close quarters with everyone on the team so we better become comfortable with it.

Once all of our luggage was placed into our hotel rooms, we walked to a very lovely restaurant for dinner. The food was wonderful and the place was gorgeous. The nice weather made the outdoor dinner very comfortable. The team is now ready to get some sleep so we can be full of energy for tomorrow as we will be traveling to our new hotel and setting up the clinic!

Cathy Wirrig

And they're off!