Upon visiting her second village, Jamie Beckerman was surprised to see that there was a stark contrast at El Pinal in that there were more patients with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension.
“There was also a lot of patients who had already sought medical care and were told that they needed a surgery that they couldn’t afford so they were coming to us for help. We also saw many patients with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and domestic violence that were able to speak to either our chaplain, Gustavo, or our social worker, Jenny,” explained Beckerman.
One patient stuck out to Beckerman and recalled an elderly woman, Dominga, who had a recent fall that left her unable to walk or move without assistance. Dominga lives alone and faced many difficulties after her fall. Her immobility required her to rely on her neighbors to bring her tortillas and food every few days. Although the team was able to provide her with a wheelchair, the ground in her house was not suited for a wheelchair.
“Since she didn’t have any way to get home, one of our leaders Patti was helping her find a tuk tuk (taxi) when our amazingly helpful security guard Gustavo excitedly reported that he had found an ambulance to take her home for free along with two local Guatemalan volunteers who lived near her and were going to help watch over her.”
The team wasn’t able to provide Dominga with the amount of assistance they were hoping to, Beckerman and the team were humbled by Dominga’s gratitude, stating that “she was happy to see us and how she knows God is watching over her.”
This team also sought out to provide dental work and within one day, pulled 504 teeth. Not uncommonly in Guatemala, these visits are the first time these children and adults are seeing a dentist. While the dentists have local anesthetic, the children still get scared from the environment and the experience of having instruments in their mouth. Beckerman was able to observe a local dental resident named Nadereh comfort a young boy during his first visit. Nadereh sang to him and he calmed down so much that only comfort he needed afterwards was to have his hand held.
Our caregivers serve with compassion and Beckerman saw the extent and impact of that alone, feeling confident that Dominga and the little boy left knowing that they were cared for, heard and was able to receive some emotional healing with love and kindness.
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