Monday morning our team woke up with anticipation for our first treatment day here in Guatemala. We were looking forward to discovering the ways that we can both bless and be blessed by our encounters with the workers at the coffee plantation, as well as at Keramion. We were split into two groups, the first consisted of nursing, pharmacy, and nurse practitioners. This group headed out to the coffee plantation. Their mission was to focus on assessing and treating workers from multiple coffee plantations. Our group was given a tour that demonstrated the intense process involved in harvesting, processing and packaging each bag of coffee that is made. It was extremely insightful at how much time, effort and physical work involved in getting one cup of coffee. Afterward, stations were set up to monitor each individual’s blood pressure, blood sugar levels, height, and weight. Based on those findings, the workers were then directed to either the pharmacy or nurse practitioner students for further health assessments and possible medication administration and education. The day was fast paced, and Belmont students and staff were able to see over 130 workers! This is likely the highest number of workers seen by Belmont on Mission in Guatemala in a single day.
Highlights of the day include a nurse practitioner removing a significant ear wax impaction, which led to him reporting significantly improved hearing afterward. Other workers needed compassion not only in terms of their health assessments, but also in terms of the significant traumas many have experienced in the area. One woman, in particular, lost her son due to cancer approximately two months ago. The emotional trauma of her son passing made it difficult for her to focus on her health. She was overcome with emotion just relaying this story to one of our students and really needed someone to listen to her story. The Belmont team was able to identify her high blood sugar level and recommend her to follow up with her doctor. The end of this first day left each student feeling proud of the work they accomplished, but also humbled at how hospitable and genuinely happy the Guatemalan people are.
Occupational therapy, music therapy, and physical therapy students traveled to a day program dedicated to children up to 21 years of age who have disabilities. This facility is truly a miracle, and a blessing to experience. Gricelda, and her husband Eric, along with their adult children run Keramion. Gricelda was able to tell the students her story about how she was led to serve this population. She experienced more than one serious health condition, and during that time she felt God gave her the vision of Keramion. The interpreter, Betty, was so helpful during the day today to relay information between Gricelda, her family, the children and our students. Everyone was involved in the success of this day, including Keramion’s teacher Elvis, and our driver, Jose. The students were able to observe and assess each child today to determine their recommendations that they will educate the staff on and implement on Wednesday. Highlights of this group’s day included one little boy who was mesmerized by Melia’s guitar playing. This was a great opportunity for our music therapy student to shine. Another was a little girl who loved to lead the therapists in exercise and gave each student a kiss on the cheek when it was time to leave. Overall, today was a wonderful first day and we are all looking forward to seeing the blessings the rest of this week has in store for us.
Marissa, Caleb, & Micah