Sunday 2-3-19: Let the surgeries begin!

Our Sunday starts with good news: The local Rotarian team was able to move a back-up anesthesia unit into the hospital and got it up and running, also we finally found suction containers in our supplies = Both of our OR’s are open for business! The surgery schedule for today lists 7 interventions – tonsillectomy, nasal revision, teeth extraction … As usual we do those lesser demanding procedures first while the team takes the equipment for this years’ maiden voyage so that there is more safety margin if hickups should still pop up…. The still ongoing equipment challenge is the not properly working steam sterilizer – as a temporary workaround we are carrying instruments through the streets and use one in a clinic a half mile up the road.

On this mornings’ walk from the hotel to the Salus hospital I run into Rita Morales. She is the first female incoming president of the Rotary Club of Huehuetenango and as a Dentist intimately involved with our mission for already many years. It is only 9 AM and our dental team at the hospital has already taken impressions of little Fernando and Rita is now finding the right orthodontist contacts for him in Guatemala city. His extender necessary to shape his protruding upper jaw will need to be constantly readjusted to apply the right amount of tension over months to come. Fernando is upbeat and sweet as always and enjoys his picture being taken on Rita’s lap.

There is a nice buzz now in the hospital as the mission team is now fully on site and working: Keith is throwing his engineering skills at the porous tubing of one of our malfunctioning anesthesia machines, Ginger is surrounded by kids with coloring books and bracelets, Ryan is still battling with the “Mission hotspot” router, Erin gets a visit and so many heartfelt hugs from little Marco (a patient from last years mission), while Jeff and Bill already run a full schedule in the dental clinic since the early morning. It is really rewarding to be back here with friends and work together on something which is undoubtedly good.


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