Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kayla Swanson in Guatemala

As I reflect on my mission trip with HELPS International to HueHuetenango, Guatemala.  I go over in my head the lives we impacted in the short time we were there.  Not only the people in the community but the volunteers are changed forever.

We arrived with a medical team and a stove team.  The medical team which I was part of consisted of 2 general surgeons, 2 plastic surgeons, 1 ENT surgeon, and 1 OB/GYN surgeon.  We opened 4 operating rooms and were able to do 136 surgeries in the 5 days we were operational.  We also had a general clinic which consisted of 2 pediatricians, 1 nurse practioner,  and 2 family practice physicians.  This clinic saw a little over 650 patients in 5 days.  There was also a dental team with 2 dentists that saw a little over 200 patients.

This trip also had a stove team which went into homes and installed cooking stoves which are vented to the outside and use wood more efficiently then the open fires the people have been using for decades.  The hope here is to reduce the number of burns that are suffered from cooking over a open fire and also ease some respiratory conditions they have from the soot that accumulates in their small homes.

I realize that my contribution is minimal but the rewards the people of Guatemala have given me will last for a lifetime.  I feel that the trip has helped me to realize that you don't need material things to be happy or successful in your life.  I was struck by how happy and joyfull these people were in their lives without all the trappings of gadgets and other things that complicate our everyday lives.  My hope is that by setting an example and volunteering these people will see that they are important and they will in turn find some way to give back to others in their community.

Thank you, One Nurse at A Time for this valuable opportunity to give back.  

Kayla Swanson RN