Bubbles are the new bandaids

 In the days leading up to our arrival in Guatemala, I was most excited to meet the people there. More specifically, I was excited to spend time with the kids. However, as a stranger in the community, I knew gaining the kids trust and engagement would be difficult. I didn’t quite know how I would be able to interact with them in a way that was fun and engaging.

The first day we arrived in clinic, I (like many of the children) was mesmerized by the wall of toys. The squishmellows, dolls, and cars were all nicely arranged on a book shelf. I stalked my pockets with bubbles, stickers, cars, and dolls. Unfortunately, I had yet to run into a child who had the time to play with me. Luckily, a group of small children walked into la ciudad de Esperanza in the afternoon shortly before we closed. There were four of them sitting in a group fairly far away from four students. I knew this was my opportunity to make my first Guatemalan amigos. I didn’t want to merely approach them and incite a conversation, as that can be intimidating with an unfamiliar face. That’s when i remembered the secreat weapons in my pocket: bubbles. I whipped out my bubble wand and started blowing bubbles of all sizes at the kids. Although the kids were hesitant and first with a stranger approaching them, you could quickly see their fears fade away with the pop of each subsequent bubble. We may have had trouble communicating through the language barrier, bubbles (also known as borboujas) are the same in every language.

During my triage rotation, we saw a baby who was already upset before we could even get any vitals. Mom tried to feed her, bounce her, and distract her in an effort to help us measure the vital signs.  Once again, I reached into my pocket of tricks and pulled out another bubble wand. I immediately started blowing them over the distressed baby. you would’ve thought that i turned into santa claus and made it rain sprinkles with the way that this baby shifted gears. The baby instantly started smiling and laughing, allowing us to get the vitals necessary for the pediatric visit.

Now, i’m not trying to say bubbles are the solution to every problem. However, I will say that i have yet to be in a situation in which bubbles couldn’t help at least a little.

Katie De Leon


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