Guatemala Medical Mission Trip – Day 1

Guatemala Medical Mission Trip – Day 1

Hola everyone,

Today was our first day on the medical mission trip and boy were we busy!  We started out with a small tour of the local public hospital before heading to one of the villages.  We divided the team into groups of 2 and each group saw about 60 patients (in only 7 hours).

Here are some thoughts from the team:

Jana Ware – Hola!! Today was such an eye opening experience. The people of Guatemala are the most friendly and gracious people I have ever met. I am so grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Today was hard work, but oh so worth it. Buenos noches!

Donna Balewick –Wow!  The patients showed up in their Sunday best, waited patiently and showed incredible gratitude and kindness. If I could just bottle that and sprinkle it on the ER back home…

Wendy Rand – Today was great! The people are Guatemala are so wonderful! In many ways it definitely gave me more perspective on Global Healthcare.   I feel fortunate for such an eye opening opportunity!

Angie Steffen – What impacted me most about today was the kindness of the Guatemalan people. Everyone patiently waited hours in line to be seen and treated by our team. When they finally made it to the front of the line, we were greeted with the largest and most sincere smiles. It puts things into perspective for what really matters in life. Our health, often taken for granted in developed countries, is truly invaluable.

Whitney Strong – Treating patients and translating at the same time sure was taxing, but I have never had such a thankful group of patients, full of gratitude and kindness.  Everyone was so grateful for not only the medical care they received as well a new toothbrush.  The impact on our team is as great, if not greater than our impact on people of Guatemala.

Kaylin Petrosky – What an amazing experience to have! The first day was an eye opener about how much the didactic students have learned in a year. The people of Guatemala were so thankful but they really have no idea how much they have already helped us as students learn and grow in just a few short hours.

Olivia Piacentini – With so much invaluable experience in such a short duration, it is difficult to pinpoint one moment from the entire day. Every patient brought with them not only a different complaint but character. Though with that said, one theme prevailed the entire day, gratitude. I was taken by the appreciation and kind spirits of the Guatemala people, despite some of them being in intense pain. While it was frustrating not ever patient could be helped within the abilities of our resources, frustrations were relieved by the thankfulness of the patients. Shout out to my Mom and Dad!

Theresa Borrelli – Today was such an amazing experience. I was amazed at how grateful the people of Guatemala were for something as simple as some ibuprofen or even us looking in their ear! After every patient left they always thanked us and said “God bless you.” I feel like today I realized how much I have learned since starting PA school and so much more I have yet to learn. I cannot wait to see what Day 2 brings us!!

Kristin Juhasz – It is such a pleasure working with people who are so appreciative of our efforts.  Even with limited supplies, we were capable of helping people with their ailments even if for just a limited amount of time.  Experiences like these reaffirm why we all want to practice medicine.  In addition, I have so enjoyed getting to know everyone on our team!!!

Michael Nowak – After treating thousands of patients in the clinic, hospital, and operating room (in the US), it is unbelievable to see the people of Guatemala wait in line for up to 8 hours and still have a glowing smile when they finally get to see you for medical care.  I would like to give a special shout out to all of the great educators who helped me get to where I am today, because all of those skills were needed at my fingertips today!


Starting off the morning with a good breakfast!

Our team with Delfin (which is spanish for dolphin) who is one of our drivers!

An outside picture of “Hospital nacional de Jalapa” or public hospital in downtown Jalapa.  “Salon Comunal” or public hospital in  or Puesto de Salud  National hospital of Jalapa

The pediatric ward.

Dr. Balewick under the sign of her specialty – The Emergency Department

This is where we had our first clinic in the aldea (village) La Pastoria.  It’s called  Puesto de Salud which stands for a health clinic and is usually just staffed with a nurse.

A line of ~300 people quickly formed around 8am.

Theresa performing some vital wound debridement.

This family of 6 patients took about an hour to evaluate.  See the long line in the background.

Two pretty girls and the token Y chromosome on the team.

At the end of his visit, this little boy was excited to receive a toothbrush/toothpaste but even MORE excited to receive that piece of chocolate!

Rapid Strep testing.

Every patient seen was extremely thankful.

Even sometimes after waiting for many hours.

After the long day at the clinic, we returned back to “Casa de Sutton”, for a little R&R and dinner.  We then spent a few hours preparing medications for the next day.

But not before getting a little Facebook time with our friends in Who-ville!

Thank you all for following our blog,


Certified Medical Educators Physician Assistant Medical Mission Team





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