Growing Roots

Like my other friends have said, this experience in Guatemala  is deeper than I can accurately express in this message to you. Every patient we have seen at clinic has roots running as deep as yours.Our purpose our experience our service and our community is multifaceted. 

Preparation for this project at Ciudad de la Esperanza is not new to the medical medical team. In the months leading up to clinic we discuss the specific needs of the community , history of the country, impacts of political decisions, language preparation, talks about sustainable service.

However, even with all of this detailed preparation, as soon as my first day at clinic was over, what I previously thought I knew and thought I was so prepared for was thrown out the window. It was not one moment in specific but the entire experience.

Today at clinic I was stationed at triage. This is where we intake the patients we meet, take all of their vitals and gather a medical history. While this may seem like a rather simple task it can be quite hectic with all of the moving parts. By my side the entire day were two nursing students from Guatemala. They helped me take the the weight and height  of the patents. We would write the conversions on our hands when we had a difficult time understanding the numbers we would tell each other. I wanted so badly to be their friend. In the down time I asked them 
“Cómo te va?” about five times each  

Even though the nursing students and I had fun working together as a team I still asked myself, why am I here helping with my broken Spanish when another Guatemalan nursing student could be in my place learning skills speaking to patients in Spanish. Am I doing what I truly came here to do? Increase access to medicine in a sustainable way? 

The access that the community  members of  Ciudad de la Esperanza have to health care would not have been possible without the years of work the medical team has contributed. While we are in Guatemala, members from surrounding areas treveled to the clinic because they  hear that there are more doctors to  provide care. Previously the clinic was not able to see this many patients or have this many specialties (internal medicine, pediatrics, physical therapy, dental, pharmacy and vision). Change does not happen overnight. Systemic issues don’t change in one sitting. But with the help of the medical team Ciudad la Esperanza has more access to healthcare, medical education and assistance. Every day the clinic improves/grows becoming more independent.  

And in the meantime we (the medical team) will be here in Guatemala putting in the work for growth and showing people that we care about their quality of life, their access to health care and about them as individuals. Creating a family in Ciudad de la Esperanza dedicated to helping others. We are not perfect and  things don’t always go as planned, and no one way is better than another. But we are learning together through love.
Claire Bouffard


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