What was once a dream

Thy Nguyen

Picture this:

Physical therapist utilizing dental molds to create orthotic casts for debilitated children.

Nurses, medical students, and people alike teaming up for a child’s dental extraction in heat of the sun, draped in the sweat of their blue PPE. 

Strong nurses escalating care for a preeclampic pregnant woman and urgently transporting her to the nearest hospital.

Doctors refusing to back down from caring for positive COVID family members 

Children and adults alike overfilled with joy when they put on a used pair of glasses

Families who have travelled as far as 6 hrs to see a doctor, or dentist, or PT, for the very first time in their life 

A coalition founded by Padre Sergio to build capacity and solidarity to serve the community members in a city called “esperanza”

Multiple strangers, medical providers, and students from all different parts of the US, joining forces to serve the underserved. 

Imagine a community that is able to access healthcare… a few years ago, it seemed like only a dream. 

Imagine that.

I really can’t sum up all the events that have happened in the past four days of clinic. I can spend this whole blog post listing everything that happened, but it all brings us back to ..why? 

I ask myself, Why do you keep going when you feel like triaging a patient is not going to fix their permanent disabilities or chronic diseases?  Why do you keep going when you can’t provide all the money in the world to help a family during quarantine? Why do you keep going when your actions seem small and don’t seem significant in this moment in time? 

When you are caring for a community, you don’t think of these things in the moment, you don’t think of how disadvantaged these people are when they approach you with so much joy and kindness. Nonetheless, the incentive of our actions are fueled by love.

Purely, love.

What seems minuscule to us as providers, may seem like the world to the Guatemalans. I bet the community members don’t think about how impactful they are to us either. I can confidently say that our healthcare practice is exponentially improved because of them. 

And because of that, this medical team has broken the boundaries of what it means to be a healthcare provider. Each day, I am in awe of the commitment that each member of the team has to provide holistic, culturally considerate, and compassionate care. They really are the prime examples of what healthcare should be: resilient, unconditional, and loving. These once strangers are only able to entrust each other and to collaborate with one another because of each members’ determination to serve this community.

The beauty of building capacity is that we have developed the infrastructure for healthcare that is accessible. The compassionate and holistic care can continue. 

What was once a dream, can now be a reality, not because of these strangers from the US, but the community of Coban, that fuels it forward. These patients seek the medical attention and education so that they can fulfill their own dreams, they can aspire to fulfill their full potential to whatever means that may be. We are merely a stepping stone. At the clinic we provide those second hand glasses, primary and secondary health screening, dental exams, physical exams, physical therapy consult, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. We merely provide the tools. Guatemalans don’t just believe in their dreams, (as the beautiful mural would suggest), they put it into action so it can be only once a dream and now into hope. The resiliency, the kindness, and the joy, that we, as a medical team have, is actually the reflection of the Guatemalans we meet. 

I am beyond grateful that I get to share a part in building capacity in the city of hope. 

As one of my patients would say, “gracias a dios!”

Nos vemos, Cob├ín. 


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