Hope for Humanity

You’d think the world would run out. You’d think that the creation of human beings who are vibrant, authentic, and altruistic would eventually end. Yet somehow, every single time that I travel to this special piece of Central America, I am reminded that the world Yoko Ono imagined is not yet lost. Humans who embody love and beauty still very must exist, and they are located in Coban, Guatemala. 

This is my third trip to Guatemala. My first trip, I traveled as an undergraduate nursing student in the exact position as our current Regis students - in search of meaning and growth and not without an immense desire to serve. This year is my second year traveling here as a registered nurse and as part of the most wonderful medical team. Some would say I am now in the position of a teacher, and I do hope that the students see me as such. But what I hope that they see more, with perhaps an even deeper understanding, is that I will never stop being taught. A leadership position does not mean one’s journey as a student is over. This year’s lesson: life is not fixed or predetermined. 

My role as a triage nurse on this trip makes for a very chaotic, emotional, and quick few days. But it also puts me in a position to see every single patient that comes to visit our physicians, as well as the multiple curious and giggling children who filter in and out of clinic seeking bubbles and hugs. At the end of each clinic day, I would say to myself “that adorable Mama Coco doppelgänger abuelita is who I want to write my blog post about,” or “in my blog, I have to try to describe his gentle eyes with words and adjectives that still wouldn’t do them justice.” But since our time in clinic has come to an end as I write this, I can’t choose just one person to share with you. Instead, I want to share with you that this community truly lives what is written across their colorful walls: “nothing is impossible”...”believe in your dreams, they will take you high”...”we fight for a better world”...”if I change, the world will change.” Outsiders may look at this community and think how poor they are. It is true; they are extremely poor, with most of them attempting to survive with unclean water, homes with dirt floors, and little access to adequate medical care. I am hopeful that you, however, the reader of these blogs, can spend enough time reading our stories to find the richness — how rich in kindness, humility, and gratitude these Guatemalan angels are. What little materials they have, they give. What joy they find, they share. And they have refused to let the social contributors to their health determine the trajectory of their lives. Their thirst for knowledge has no limitations; they are intelligent and eager to be in control of their own wellbeing, even when that may be seemingly impossible. 

Part of the wall you see at La Ciudad de la Esperanza shows a child walking down a path and coming to a crossroad. The child can choose to go in any direction. It sounds simple enough, but I find we are often unable to “easily” continue our journey, let alone choose the direction that suites us best, without overcoming some serious obstacles and tribulations. These children and this community were literally born from the garbage dump. The dump is a part of their story, but it does not determine where their lives will go, for if you remember today’s lesson, our lives are not fixed. And this is enough to give anyone hope.

Kristen Kellogg, RN


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