They Are All Scubas!

They are all scubas!

Today we had our first day of clinic in Coban at the Cuidad de la Esperanza.  This project has been two years in formation and it is simply amazing to see it come to fruition.  

I have traveled to Guatemala now 9 times with Dr. Richard Walter.  He is an internist who joins us in Guatemala.  Richard and I always lament at the end of the trip that we never get to see each other work.  We hear about each other’s work each evening when we debrief with the students about what cases we saw that day in clinic.  Richard is a brilliant physician and phenomenal person who is humble and compassionate.  Several years ago on the trip we were talking about the groups of students on the trip and Richard used the metaphor of how some people are snorkelers in life and others are scuba divers.  He was talking about how some people are content in life to skim the surface and never really sink into the depths of life trials, much like a snorkeler does along the surface of the ocean.  While others are like scuba divers and seek to really have a greater understanding of what is going on in the world around us.  Richard and I have now worked in Guatemala with 107 college students.  Really the vast majority were all scuba divers.  Yesterday in our long bus ride from the airport to Coban RIchard and I were talking about what some of the trip alumni were was doing now in their lives. This experience really does change the trajectory for many of the students.  One of our alum just made a second service trip to Guatemala, one is working with the indigent in Denver, another is and RN in a county hospital in Indianapolis.  The list goes on and on. You can see how the tapestry of their experience in Guatemala has woven into their life choices.

This past fall after we had finished interviewing and choosing our team of Regis students I called RIchard to tell him that I was pretty sure we just picked 12 scubas.  Today I know we did.  The students worked so well as a team and did an excellent job.  Tonight in our first medical debrief with this new group of students they opened up about what they experienced and there was a collective emotional catharsis.  These young people shared encounters with a young grade school girl who is blind in one eye, and a 46-year-old woman who has maxed out on oral diabetic medicines but can not afford her monthly insulin, so she is now having peripheral neuropathy.  They saw the little elderly woman who carries a machete and looks like Mama Coco hug every one in pharmacy thanking them for a simple bottle of acetaminophen.   They saw it all and drank in the sacred encounters and were consumed by the beauty of this community.  They are all scubas and I am buoyed by joy in seeing them all living their passion.

Dr. Lauri Pramuk-Pediatrician 


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