A Chain of Opportunities

It is the first day since our arrival that our destination is not the beautiful Cuidad de Esperanza. This reality has caused a new set of emotions to settle within the Team. Emotions so great that Coban itself seems to be embracing them on this cold, raining day. 

Overwhelmed by sudden bursts of sadness, and radiating gratitude filled with hope, I think back to three simple words. Mish (Micheal Tzul), one of our amazing translators, shared with us that opportunities create opportunities. This trip has demonstrated time after time that one person’s opportunity allows for the creation of more opportunities not just for that same person but for those around them as well. 

As a sophomore in college, let alone a pre-nursing sophomore, a medical service trip to Guatemala is the experience of a lifetime. It is an amazing learning opportunity. An opportunity that would have not been possible if the people of Coban would not have given Padre Sergio the opportunity to build a community with a soccer ball and a pot of Atole. An opportunity that would have also not been possible, if it weren’t for the welcoming hands of la Cuidad de Esperanza. 

At Cuidad de Esperanza there were many opportunities of education for both the people of Coban and the Team. My first day in clinic, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Lauri, where I meet an eleven-year-old boy by the name of Darwin. Darwin, like some of the other children we saw, came alone and was exceptionally at communicating his current complaint and medical history. Darwin’s visit gave me the opportunity to hear a wheezing lung and learn about its impact on a person’s health. It also provided the opportunity for Darwin to be diagnosed with asthma which would result in a better recovery time when he gets sick with a cold. The following day, Darwin’s mother came in to become better educated on asthma and how to help her son. Throughout the week a simple doctor’s visit opened up multiple opportunities. For example, the opportunity to speak to patients about clean water, eco filter, which would result in an increase of health. One can not talk about on opportunity without seeing the other opportunities that come from it. In reality, our lives are full of these chains of opportunities. 

Tonight I was given the opportunity to make a second family. Although I knew that I had gained 12 new friends, as Dr. Eric would say, I had yet to realize that these people were more than friends. The Shabbat Dinner gave us the opportunity to break bread together and experience another practice outside our comfort zone. Rabbi Abie blessing us as one of his own solidified the fact that we have become a family to one another. 

The three simple words - opportunities create opportunities - have been with me since the day Mish spoke and, being completely honest, will stay with me forever. 

It’s only fair that if I will keep these words close to me, I thank those close to me who gave me multiple opportunities. Quiero tomar el tiempo para agradecerles a mis padres por todo lo que han hecho por mi. Papá y Mamá con todo mi corazón les digo muchísimas gracias por todos los sacrificios que han tenido que hace y los que están haciendo. Sus sacrificios son la razón que tuve la oportunidad de ir a la universidad y ser parte de este viaje. Verdaderamente les agradezco mucho. Finalmente les agradezco a mis hermanos por todo su apoyo. Estas oportunidades no fueran igual sin ustedes. 

Monserrat Pineda-Lagunas 


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