A point of view from Nicole Grunsky:
It was our first full day in Guatemala and we all were so excited to explore and get to know this country and it’s people. Dr. Luke had planned out a busy day for us so after our delicious breakfast we wasted no time in heading out. Our destination was a national park famous for it’s hot springs. We drove for about an hour and the drive was absolutely amazing! We got a really close up look at the “chicken buses” that are basically very ornate old school buses used for public transportation. They would be used to haul people and sometimes livestock like chickens & pigs – hence the nickname “chicken bus.” There were lots of them and they always seemed packed.
We went through many villages on the way up to the springs but the most beautiful sites came as we passed what seemed like farmland that went on forever. The mountainsides were carved into perfect plots and vegetables were growing in the straightest rows I have ever seen. The farmers were out tending to the fields all by hand. It was one of the most idyllic scenes I have ever witnessed.
We made it to the hot springs and it was like a tropical rainforest. About 6 in our group were brave enough to get into the hot springs for a quick soak. We all enjoyed the scenery, the birds singing, and the relaxation that our few hours there afforded us. It was a beautiful way to spend our first day in Guatemala.
From there, we returned to Bethesda Clinic (our home) for lunch and a little bit of down time. We were able to get all the medicines and medical supplies unpacked and the sorting process started. We were all new at that so it took some major brain power and organizing. Large bottle of vitamins and pills were opened and the beginning of multiple pill counting sessions began. Our team worked diligently and joyfully together. It was such a blessing to be with this particular group of people – the Lord knew what he was doing when He orchestrated this amazing team!
One more outing for the day was on the agenda. It was Sunday after all and we needed to go to church. So we visited a church that Luke was familiar with in one of the nearby villages. The entire service was in Spanish so it was a little difficult trying to worship and not being able to understand exactly what was being said. We could recognize some of the hymns that were being sung and pick up a little bit here and there. The congregation and minister welcomed us and Mitch even got up and said a few words to the congregation. Luckily we had our translator there so they could understand what Mitch was saying. After the service, we received many hugs and handshakes from the congregation. It was good for the soul to be with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Once we returned to the clinic, we ate dinner and finished up our pill packing. The anticipation that night was palpable. We were so excited to be going to our first clinic the next day. This was why we had come. To spread the love of Jesus Christ through tangible acts of service to a population in need. We could not wait to be with the Guatemalan people. We were ready.