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February 27th, 2017: Instilling Inspiration

Today was our very first day of clinic, and excitement was in the air as we awoke at 6:00 am. We were greeted with a delicious breakfast and by 7:30 am we loaded into the buses and were off to the clinic. The 25-minute drive went by quickly as we chattered about what the day would bring us.

The clinic is located in Jocotenango, a small town outside Antigua. We arrived and were greeted by patients waiting to be taken care of. The team was assigned jobs and after quickly going over expected roles, we began our work, working in vitals, the pharmacy, and shadowing the doctors and dentist. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch. I can attest that time does fly by when you honestly love what you.

As this is my second year on the trip, it was incredible to see things from a different lens, and I loved being able to talk to the members of the team who are experiencing it for the first time. It was fun answering questions about the clinic and what to expect.

But as the day panned out, we were reminded that there is no real 'norm' of an expectation here. The day went in spurts of fast and slow paced patient care, and it felt like it was a bit of a slow day compared to last year. However, the team treated 500 patients in one day, and it was a gentle reminder that we can be productive without being fast-paced like we are used to in the U.S. It is incredible that we treated so many people in one day, and I'm slowly starting to realize how much of an impact we truly can make for other people.

Coming from the U.S., it is hard to step back and understand someone else's culture and expectations of various things in life. Oftentimes, it is assumed that healthcare in the U.S. is a given for all people. Because of this assumption, it can be easy for Americans to come to another country and think that their healthcare is so different. However, in reality, many Americans also do not have steady or affordable access to healthcare. Additionally, it is so important to remember that just because things are done differently doesn't mean they are necessarily wrong. Coming to Guatemala for the second year, one of my biggest goals was to really be empathetic rather than just sympathetic and I think I was able to accomplish that this year.

I think one of the most exciting things for me today was seeing some of the other people on the trip start to see how important this clinic truly is to the people who come for care. Many of the patients have never seen a physician before, or have never had any form of health care. As people filed in, it was awesome to see so many members of the team start to recognize the various health care disparities, such as different educational problems and access to nutrition. The team members were inspired by the different issues, talking about how to start to address these different health care problems that are so prevalent and what preventative care could possibly make a difference.

As a whole, our team did outstanding for the first day, with people going outside of their comfort zones doing various things they had been nervous about. By the time we were packing up, everyone had exceeded their own expectations and goals for the first day. With such an amazing kick-off to the week, I can't wait to see what more is in store for the team for the rest of the week.

Stay tuned for more!

- Hannah Goosen

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