Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Loss for Words

After arriving back in the United States less than 18 hours ago, there is a whirlwind of emotions flying around in my head. Currently, I cannot even find the words to explain this entire experience. Life is not about how many words you can say about a particular experience, but rather how much you cannot say about it. I have never been loss for words in my life, but uniquely enough, it is quite a great feeling. When my fellow students ask me to describe my spring break to them I will not know how because I am truly lost for words.

Several experiences standout from the past week and have a special place in my heart. Home visits with Dr. Richard served as an eye-opening experience to me. When patients were too ill to walk to the clinic, a group of students brought a mobile pharmacy and travelled into the different sectors of Patanatic to provide medical care. As we were walking to the first patient’s house, the houses people were living in were much different than I was accustomed to seeing in the United States. Various materials that people could find where used as the building materials for houses. When we arrived at the patient’s house a young man invited eight people in his house he had never seen before, and brought us all a seat to sit on. Dr. Richard performed his exam on the elderly man, and told him how he was very healthy for his age. As we started to pack up to visit the next patient, this same man who gave us chairs to sit in, did not let us put them away. He carried all of the chairs out of the house and thanked us a plethora of times. This type of generosity and thankfulness is something I have not seen in my life. Eight strangers, who spoke a completely different language, were allowed into this man’s house and were treated like family.

The school visit on Friday was another great experience, possibly even the highlight of my trip. The school we visited in San Andres was a truly unique and special experience. I played soccer, basketball, blew bubbles, and chased kids while they were riding bikes for an entire day. Sometimes I got so involved in the games we were playing that Rabbi had to tell me to turn my energy level down a notch, which was a very hard thing to do. Whether it was teaching my newly acquired friends how to shoot a basketball, how to dunk, or just being a child with them, this day was one of the most fun in my life. For all the fun games that occurred, I also shadowed Dr. Lauri the entire day. This experience was very shocking. Many of the children that Dr. Lauri was examining had their teeth rotting at six or seven years old. This was particularly sad to see ad shows the importance of brushing teeth on a consistent basis. Another case that stands out in particular was about a young, asthmatic boy. When he became sick, he complained about shortness of breath. Dr. Lauri prescribed an inhaler to him; however, to make make this treatment for effective an air chamber should be used with the inhaler. While the mobile pharmacy did not have this chamber, some of the people used a water bottle to create a makeshift air chamber. After the device was constructed, the boy used the inhaler and the face he made when he was finally able to breath was priceless.

The medical service trip to Guatemala was the experience of a lifetime. I would not trade this opportunity for anything in the world. The doctors, students, and citizens of Guatemala all were amazing people that helped to make the trip possible. Sometimes being lost words is best, especially for an experience like this.

Jacob Noll

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