Yesterday was our Sabbath. We visited Mayan ruins in the morning, heard Katie and Aarons’s testimony over lunch, and went on a long adventurous hike through the mountain in the evening. We were well rested for the day ahead.
Today was Stove Project Day. We (11 people total) piled into a pickup truck and headed thousands of feet up into the mountains to deliver and install a stove for two very poor widows. We carried the cinder blocks, concrete stove pieces, and stove accesories down a steep incline to the widows’ home.
Upon arrival, one of the oldest widows was struggling immensely. She spent the majority of the day lying on the floor inside her home with short interruptions to use the latrine. Fortunately, we had Micaela, a nurse who works at the hospital, with us who attended to her throughout the day while the rest of the group installed the stove. During our time there, it became clear that this struggling woman would need further medical attention beyond what we could provide from the supplies we initially brought. Aaron, our leader for the day, called some of the hospital staff suggesting they make the trip up the mountain to treat this woman. For a few hours we lingered around the home waiting for support staff from the hospital to arrive. When they finally arrived, the woman was started on an IV to hopefully support her body in severe hydration.
It was an exhausting day for everyone, physically and emotionally. The hike down to the widows’ home, requiring several trips and carrying very heavy supplies, took a toll on us. Seeing an old Guatemalan widow struggling and confined to her home in the mountains was humbling. There was hope in the care provided by the hospital staff, but the prognosis for the woman isn’t good. We don’t think she will make it many more days.
We left Canilla at 9:00am and didn’t return until 7:00pm. It was the whole day. On the ride down the mountain and in chatter around the dinner table I heard, “That was one of the craziest things I’ve ever done” and “This will be a day to remember.”
I pray God will use these experiences to broaden the perspective of our group and encourage us all to grow in compassion.