A patient who was operated yesterday models the “movie star” sunglasses she was given this morning in the post operation ward.

The morning begins with the team boarding the bus at 6:20 AM for our ride to the hospital. During the week we needed a police escort to get us through the gridlocked morning traffic. As this is Saturday, the usual morning traffic is greatly reduced and the escort is not needed. Even though the traffic is diminished today, some sights stand out. We were astonished to note that a small station wagon riding alongside the bus was stuffed with, at least, 15 young men on their way to work.

After our arrival at the hospital, the doctors make the morning rounds to check on the children who were operated yesterday. They are all doing remarkably well. So, the doctors head back upstairs to begin another full day of surgery. To date, the mission has performed 25 surgeries and another 15 are scheduled for today.

In the post operation ward, Ward Coordinator Laurie Steckel checks out one of her patients.

Operations in the multiple operating rooms continue through the day at a rapid pace. To an outside observer, the activity seems almost choreographed.

It takes a team to accomplish the amazing number of medical miracles that are being performed here each day. Here are a few more pictures of team members that may have not been identified in previous posts.

Anesthesiologist David Li and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) David Rowen.

OR Nurse Letecia Misterio and Anesthesiologist Kevin Healy.

OR Nurses Susan Dean and Lisa Barry.

The mission as seen through the eyes of a first-time volunteer.

Rotaplast missions are transformational, not only for the children and their families, but also for the team. To illustrate this, Geraldine Barry, the team’s Recreational Therapist, has graciously provided the following heartfelt observations of her experience. (Photos by Rob Sigler).

Viva Guatemala!

Being in Guatemala and being part of this medical mission, has been transformational for me. I’m gently reminded of what is important, and I’m savoring the opportunity to glimpse another world, far from Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial, fast-paced, sometimes chaotic lifestyle.

We arrived in Guatemala to a cacophony of sounds, sirens blaring, motorcyclists screeching through the streets, live musicians, bright colors dotting the landscape, and the scent of freshly cooked street food teasing the senses.

A police escort to our clinic, on the first morning, revealed dozens of hopeful parents, and children, who had lined up throughout the night to be evaluated and, hopefully, approved for surgery. This was the first of many tearjerker moments on the trip – walking through the crowd into the clinic with all of these shining, grateful faces with hopeful, welcoming smiles.

Seeing life through a different lens for a minute, getting insights into another culture, another people, is interesting to observe and reflect on. All kinds of questions come to mind. Why am I here? What is important? How can I contribute? The big takeaway – as humans we are all fundamentally the same, we want to be loved and cared for, and we all love our children the same, and would move heaven and earth for them… I’m so grateful to have this experience and to have you accompany me vicariously on this trip.