I had been meaning to write about this experience for the longest time, but since it’s almost time for the 2014 mission, I figured this would be a good recap of 2013.
I researched about this medical missions project years ago and thought “Wow, wouldn’t it be great if I could do something like that!” And serendipitously, I met the founder aka “The Penicillin Girl” Nina Yousefzedah at work one day. A year after participating in their 5K fundraiser, I finally got the vacation week I needed to take in order to go on this trip. I was so grateful that Nina allowed me this opportunity as it came to be one heck of an experience.
Our first day started with breakfast.
Our pharmacy students from Long Island University briefed us on the pamphlets they had created to be handed out to the patients.
We were easily amused by the sights.
En route to the outreach site by van.
We reached the school that would become our clinic site. It was temporarily converted into a clinic and pharmacy.
Many people were waiting for us already. Each day, people from different villages were encouraged to visit our site.
Our luggages of medicine and supplies were secured on the roof of the van.
This area of Guatemala was severely underserved, and medical and dental care were very hard to come by.
When we arrived at the room that were to become the pharmacy, everyone helped clean and organize the medicine.
We were welcomed by the members of the community there.
Everyone expressed their gratitude for having us there.
Global PenicillinGirl Project works with Vivamos Mejor, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of the people living in various rural communities in Guatemala. For more information on Vivamos Mejor, visit vivamosmejor.org.gt
So of course we expressed our gratitude for their warm welcome.
Our dental team made a huge impact, especially since these communities had zero access to dental care.
Our medical team also made a drastic impact and provided care to adults as well as children.
Our pharmacy team filled 1353 prescriptions during the mission.
We also utilized translators for Spanish and also their dialect, Quiché.
The “prescriptions” that our doctors filled out for the pharmacy to dispense.
A lot of kids received their first doses of antibiotics right there to ensure that they know how to take it.
We also gave away toys and school supplies.
The local community provided meals for us… these were some of the best food I had in Guatemala, just because they were home-cooked.
A lot of kids had such bad cavities that many of their teeth had to be pulled out. They also benefited from fluoride treatments.
We made a pit stop at Pollo Campero… and that was the best fried chicken ever.
Every day we loaded up on breakfast before we headed to the site.
All the equipment were properly sterilized and each patient was given individual attention.
Nina made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for those who needed energy and a quick snack.
I really liked the local food.
Seriously, that local food.
A few of us took a little walk around the village after lunch one day.
Most people live in very modest homes, many without electricity or running water. Because they don’t have stoves, they cook on open fire pits that burn wood, which cause air quality to be very poor.
They really know how to cook chicken. And fresh juices were delicious.
Weaving is a Mayan tradition that every woman knows how to do in Guatemala. Here we saw girls weaving with a backstrap loom right in their backyard.
Saying goodbye on the last day was heartbreaking, especially to some of the children who were there everyday. It was definitely hard work and very hectic every single day, but it was all worth it.
For more information on how YOU can help, visit http://globalpenicillingirl.org/