Inside the small cement room where the physician sat in a plastic chair with a local pastor, a young woman, 28 years old, explain her dizziness in K´iche to a local minister. She explained to the minister that she walked an hour up the mountain to the clinic.
Another woman wore her best, a woven floral blouse in black with green and pink and red flowers with a blue and black and gray skirt. The 25-year-old K´iche woman had a red, white and yellow sling that held her infant child. Her problems were the same as many others in Guatemala, back pain, dizziness and foot pain.
The physician checks the infant boy. He bounces the infant on his knee some before putting a stethoscope to his chest, checking his breathing. When he shines the light in his eyes, the baby begins to cry. Another of the woman’s children walks into the room unannounced and the physician sees him too.
Everyone has a story, but many are similar in Guatemala. Several of the woman who come in tearfully relate at how their sleeping problems or loss of appetite came after the death of their husbands or sons to diseases. The physician tells me that these diseases would have been easily treatable in the US.
There’s no dental clinic today, our dentist contracted a stomach flu. Instead, the more than 50 patients that were seen today all took the same, through triage where the nurses, Cindi Owens and Jennifer Beene, took their vital signs and performed tests. They waited in line to see Matt Crespo, our physician, who examined them. No one argued or complained about the care they received. Everyone was happy to have a clinic in Las Lomas for the first time in history.
Miguel Lux, a local Methodist minister, said nobody comes here. Nevertheless, a few of the people had made the trek to other cities to seek medical care there. One man came with x-rays and a few others came with previous prescriptions.
Outside, there was another type of therapy going on. When Scott Seitz brought out a bowl of toys, the children flocked around him. When one team member brought out a plastic ball and bat, children flocked to take their turns batting and pitching with us. Later, a bowl full of various kid’s meal toys were passed out.
The children of the area loved to play, and it didn’t seem to matter what they were given to play with. A group of children congregated to play with inflated latex gloves, playing keep away for a good half hour before they popped. No matter what type of injuries they had when they were seen in the clinic, the children were all smiles and laughs when there were toys.
One of the children I played ball with smiled at me when he walked into the clinic with his father. In some ways, I think he’ll take a lot more from the games than from any medicine he received.