One of the most impressive aspects of this Rotaplast experience is seeing the incredible endurance and acceptance of the Guatemalan people. They seem to expect little and accept what is. Most came by bus, some took two hours, some took one or two days. They waited outside the hospital and they waited inside the hospital…They waited and hoped for the best. A great percentage of the women and girls were in colorful traditional dress, most likely their Sunday best. Many were confused during the admission process, but knew that Rotaplast was here to help.
The admission process itself was hectic and confusing but well organized. Information and pictures were taken and the children were examined by the doctors. All of this time we could sense the anticipation, confusion and fear of the unknown in the parents' eyes. The most disconcerting was when, due to the child's condition, he/she could not be operated on. The parents' eyes reflected their disappointment and resignation. Most simply asked if they could leave. And that was that.
As quartermaster I have had the advantage of seeing almost every aspect of Rotaplast in action. After schlepping around boxes and making sure things were where they should be (according to Mission Director Brian) I was on call to run errands and find this and that. Being quartermaster is a rather reactive type of job, from making sure there was plenty of water available, finding a fan, a pen, making cardboard "no-nos" to helping with patients as needed.
I also get to go into Retalhuleu daily to pick up necessary supplies (sodas, snacks, cups, paper towels, stapler, pens, etc.). These trips have enabled me to get a sense of the city's vibrations. I am driven in by Spencer Buchanan, a member of the Guatemala City Rotary Club. He has lived here for 39 years, knows the place well and is an experience in himself. We spent a dark and very rainy evening driving on the wrong side of the road. His memorable quote was, "You can be a bonehead here and no one really cares". And so it goes. – Alan Bowman, Quartermaster, Boulder City Sunrise Rotary