Mi Nueva Familia

 Mi Nueva Familia
I like to write my contribution to the Guatemala blog once the team is back home. I like to sit and contemplate the week’s trip and all the memories that come flooding back. The team members have shared several times that it is quite difficult to put into words what and how we feel when we are trying to explain what we just experienced in Guatemala. When I sit and consider what to write about, the word ​family​ replays in my mind. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word FAMILY as: Fam’ily (noun) 1. The collective body of persons who live in one house and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children, grandparents, etc. Family is very important to me - I grew up one of four kids. Mom and dad provided a wonderful life for us. When it was time to decide on a career, pharmacy school was my journey. I tell people that in my family, pharmacy is genetic - my grandfather, my uncle, and my mom were all pharmacists. I hope I made them proud with the work I did in Coban this past trip. My wife and I have been married for 37 years, we have 2 wonderful kids, a great son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter, and a grandson on the way!! I think the Bertelsens have managed to live out the definition of family pretty well!
Ciudad de la Esperanza is a special place. Padre Sergio and Rosario welcomed the team with open arms. The staff provided space, tables, chairs, water filtration, and just about anything else we needed to set up our clinic for a week. The team was introduced to many beautiful people in Coban and at Ciudad. I observed that family is very important here. Several family members living in the same household, caring for elderly relatives, tending to the needs of younger children and siblings. Starting on day one of clinic I could see the love, compassion, and concern for one another in the family units. I was struck by the fact that older siblings (some only age 9 or 10) were taking care of and being responsible for younger siblings - helping our students process the children through triage, sitting in the exam rooms and discussing medical concerns with Dr. Lauri and Dr. Richard, and taking responsibility for the medication directions for the medicine I dispensed from the pharmacy. The students and I discussed how this would not happen in the USA. Almost every encounter with the patients ended with a big hug and prayer of gratitude for our medical service coming to their community.
Family is important to our team members too. Beginning all the way back to the interviews, the medical staff learned about each students’ family. The students opened up and shared stories of grandparents, parents, siblings, and even their pets - the medical staff shared our stories too.
I did a little more searching for definitions of ​family ​and I found a few more. One that I like while thinking about our team of students and the medical professionals states: FAMILY - people you love and love you back, not necessarily blood or biological, but you trust them and they trust you, and they take care of you and you take care of them. The week in Coban strengthened our family bond as a team - living apart from our biological family members, but living in community with our new family members. Over the months of preparation at Regis and continuing to the week at Ciudad, I have seen and felt the love for one another, the trust we offer to and receive from one another, and the tender care we share with each new member of this beautiful family

 of students built at Regis University and the family members of Ciudad de la Esperanza in Coban. I told the students about midway through our education meeting process that I was happy to have twelve new friends. But after this wonderful week in Ciudad de la Esperanza I have twelve new children!!
Mi Nueva Familia, I love you!


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