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Arrival Day: July 4th, 2017

Today is the fourth of July: One of the most memorable memorial days I have ever had! I am going to Guatemala for my first Women's Health medical mission! Even though I was sleep deprived, having taken a red eye flight from LA to Guatemala; I would do it again in a heartbeat. We arrived at the modern and clean Guatemala Airport in the heart of Guatemala City. We were picked up by a driver immediately; He was already there waiting for us. Then we sat in a private shuttle for a 45 minute drive. We passed the bustling city, narrowly dodging other cars, and drove through windy roads surrounded by luscious tall trees on either side. I got a glimpse of the average day of a Guatemalan; I saw children walking to school in their uniforms, people carrying water jugs up the mountain, and others rushing to work.

Finally we arrived in a picturesque town, Antigua. Antigua looks like something straight from a fairytale; cobblestone roads with bright and colorful buildings on either side. We arrived at our hotel and walked past a garden to get to our room, pretty neat! We freshened up and went to the lobby to meet with the rest of the team and we all headed out to Antigua, walking on cobblestone roads narrowly dodging other motorcycles and cars.

After resting, we had lunch at SabeRico, the restaurant tables were nestled inside a garden, complete with orange and pomegranate trees. The meal was perfect, from the great food to the chirping birds and sunny sky. When all of us had completed our meal, we walked to the nearby Humanity First office and saw the effort people put in come to life. The building was composed of various classrooms that teach children and adults English and computer skills. In one classroom, the Women’s Health Camp medical volunteers participated in an interactive lecture by Dr. Walewska, a nationally acclaimed local obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) who developed a course to certify people in cervical cancer screens. She very thoroughly explained how to detect certain cancers using a simplistic diagnostic procedure not utilized in the USA. Following this lecture, the team headed out for dinner to enjoy another delicious meal at a typical Guatemalan-Spanish style restaurant with adobe brick walls and archways. Finally, we returned to our hotel to have a good night's rest because tomorrow is the first day at the mobile clinic; If we thought today was exhausting let's just wait until tomorrow!

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Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.

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Since its inception and IRS registration in 2004, Humanity First has been focused on spending most of the raised funds on direct program related expenses. As a result, more than 90% of its funds are in that expense category. This is achieved through dedicated volunteers in its management, and program operation teams.

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