Muy Amables

As I leave La Ciudad de la Esperanza, I reflect on everything. From the first day of unpacking 30 suitcases to learning so much about the individual patients I attended. I have gained so much knowledge from each station (triage, therapy, pediatrics, dental, pharmacy, and primary care). I cannot express enough how amazing this trip was in many ways. There were two patients that stuck out to me the most Ashanti and Hugo.

Firstly, Ashanti was super sweet; she hugged me right when she walked in. I asked her how she was, and she replied good. I soon learned Ashanti has Bardet-Beidl syndrome (BBS); it is a syndrome that means she will never be full appetite-wise. She lives her life always wanting more and more food, which was extremely heartbreaking to know. She also was losing her eyesight, and the medical team was able to provide her with a white cane. She was so excited when she finally learned how to use it properly. She was also given braille books, and as soon as she was given a book, she began reading it. It was amazing seeing how she was not letting anything stop her. She definitely is a strong young girl who has so much life and love within her.

Secondly, Hugo was a patient that struggles with suicidal thoughts. It was explained to me that without the medicine he was prescribed, he stated he would commit suicide because the medication was allowing him not to have those thoughts anymore. So this year, the medical team was able to fund the medication with the fundraising money the group of estudiantes (students), and I funded. He came in for an entirely different issue of a cough, so he was wearing a mask; he was very considerate, as he was afraid to pass his cough to others. But that was soon fixed; however, when we told him the medication he needed would be funded; although I could not see his whole face, his eyebrows, and eyes said it all. He was very grateful as he said thank you numerous times and repeatedly said “muy amables”.

Therefore, all of it was worth it. The fundraising was worth it. The hour-and-a-half meetings every week were worth it. This is an experience I will never forget; I truly believe that I made a difference in Guatemala, and the feeling from that is amazing. Equally, I believe Guatemala made a difference in my life. This is an experience I will forever cherish and hold close to my heart. It is my goal to continue lending a helping hand to many more impoverished communities. 

Romy Chavarria-Hernandez



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