Last week I went to Chichicastenango to check out the hospital there. It is a hospital that has been built in stages and very respected in this area. An American doctor has done well with the patients and gained their trust as he serves out of the love of his heart.
For me this was my first time visiting this town – 19 miles away. In the states the nearest Walmart is 19 miles away. When we got in the plane it made me realize how close and how far away these towns are to one another. I don’t go there daily, but when I think about going there, I know it isn’t a whole day’s journey. We flew over instead of taking the road trading a 3 ½ hour trip for the 10 minutes in the plane. How we take for granted travel at times. If we were to travel by road, we would have to weave up one side of the mountain and down the other a few times. How close, yet how far away we are from one another!
There is a slight problem as well to travel to this hospital. The road from the airstrip to the hospital was swallowed up by a large sinkhole. A few weeks ago some men were at that bottom of the valley collecting scrap and pulled out a large refrigerator from the garbage that had been thrown over the cliff. When they did this, it caused the whole mountainside to collapse on them and bury them. The good news is that we did not have to walk across a board. There is a path around the hole, but it did feel like an adventure going around it. On both ends of the road there were busses lined up, tortilla venders, boys offering to carry your bags, and masses of people – all trying to get from one side of the road to the other. And so they mode of travel was to get out of your truck on one side, walk across the path and then pick up a truck on the other. As we did this I noticed men carrying large bags of corn, sand , and chickens, all scurrying across this “great divide” Check out the scene for yourself.
Our purpose in visiting the hospital was to gain information and a visual into the floor plan as well as see how things were done here. The man that I traveled with has invested much time and energy into the hospital and gave us first-hand knowledge of how this hospital runs and cares for people. As we think about what’s to come and what we feel led to build, it’s always a challenge to be able to see how we can do this using what we currently have. Seeing Chichi only gave me more questions to answer, but it’s always best to have more questions now and less questions later. Here are a few pictures of what a Guatemalan hospital looks like. It is much more open allowing for natural light and air. There are few overnight guests here as well as a reduction in the equipment and options. Although these things might be lacking, it does not mean that the care is lacking.