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On Friday we arrived in Guatemala City and were welcomed with such stunning views. I mean, how often do you get to get greeted by mountainous terrain and volcanoes? It was fascinating to see everything from an airplane as we were gradually dropping in altitude and preparing to land. Everything seemed so small and distant, yet within a matter of minutes we were on land in a foreign country surrounded by a vast number of unfamiliar faces and unknown places. What an exciting adventure to embark on!

We went through customs then packed up our bags onto the top of our bus that is named “De Maria”. The bus ride through Guatemala City was extremely chaotic. I’m pretty sure everyone in Guatemala puts NASCAR drivers to shame. They are THAT intense. It’s the norm, and it’s dangerous and fun. Our dear bus driver Chepe did a wonderful job navigating through the very busy traffic.

After stopping at a local Burger King (and eating our last salad for a while), our team traveled for hours on winding roads through the country. We began to really see poverty all around. At the first gas station we stopped at we helped an elderly lady walk up the stairs, spoke with her about life and bought her something to drink. She was poor yet filled with gratitude and overflowing with kindness. Her name was Maria. I didn’t understand the last few sentences she said but she smiled, told me I was pretty and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Regardless of the language differences (my Spanish, or should I say Spanglish, is fragmented) the love and kindness of God is universal. In the late evening we arrived at the City of Refuge in Chiquimula. The work that is being done here and the peoples’ lives that are being changed is so beautiful. I love all that God is doing through Josh, Jessica and the ministry here.

Saturday morning we split up into groups…some of us organized medical supplies, while others packed up food (corn and beans) to be distributed to the families at the clinic. A few hours later we visited several government supported malnourishment centers, one of which was connected to an acute care center.  Due to the healthcare strike that is going on, the doctor is only seeing clients with urgent cases. The nurse discussed the care that they are able to provide there. A little boy came in with a hand injury from a machete. He was quickly cared for, and was being sent to the hospital to have surgery.

Then we traveled to the church called Iglesia Cristiana Odre Nuevo to set up and prepare for our first medical clinic which was held today. We returned to the City of Refuge. Some of us helped prepare dinner for the team. After feasting upon some delicious grilled chicken, rice, broccoli, and watermelon, we headed to local hot spring pools! We all had a blast swimming.

We went to bed with eager hearts to love, serve, and care for the people of Guatemala the remainder of this week.

Bonnie Brzytwa

In case you were wondering, someone threw up alphabet soup and created my last name, which is Polish. I like to seek out adventure, find the beauty in everything, and enjoy the little things in life. I'll graduate in December with a degree in Nursing; I cannot wait to live out my passion daily -- to serve, care for, and aid in the healing of others. I love people.

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