Since a couple of my faithful followers asked for more specifics about the trip, I'll share some in this post. I've got good news on the weight loss front as well. I'll share that at the end.
(The natives to the area where we stayed pronounced it more like WHAT-emala. I thought this was a clever title but no one other than me would get it.)
I was on a medical mission trip. It is a christian based trip but not restricted to one specific group. In fact, one does not have to claim christianity to go, although most on the trip I was on were believers. My sister, who is a labor and delivery nurse made a trip with this organization (Health Talents International) several years ago. It was one of the most positive experiences of her life. Her husband had passed away and she had been in a very dark place for a very long time with his extended illness. This trip rekindled something inside of her that she sorely needed. Ever since that time, I have been trying to make a trip myself.
HTI makes 10 trips per year. She went in February and continues to go each February. I have never been able to work out a February trip. For a couple years, a group of ladies from where I worship have been going. I was gladly welcomed as a part of that group. This year there were four of us that traveled together.
We met about 50 other individuals from all over the country in Guatemala City and rode a bus about 3 hours towards the Pacific Coast to the clinic. The clinic performs surgeries and gives other medical care on site and conducts remote clinics throughout the villages each day.
The group consists of all types of medical professionals from surgeons to nurses to EMTs and even medical students. Then there are the rest of us! Those without medical training care for the patients before & after surgery by perhaps calming the children with a teddy bear or a warm hug. It is not necessary to speak Spanish, We had several translators along too.
I worked in the sterilization room with 3 men. They had all been in there before and there was an easy camaraderie among them. They welcomed me into their fold and showed me all of the ins & outs of sterilization. It is way more than washing instruments in antibacterial soap! The instruments have to packed and wrapped in a special way and then finally sterilized in an autoclave, which is a giant steam oven. We joked about 'cooking' the instruments and compared our cooking with Walter White's on Breaking Bad.
There were three ORs and we were allowed to scrub and enter if there were no instruments to wash. I saw several surgeries and was quite fascinated by the whole thing. Our bodies are amazing. I went to one remote clinic and saw many more of the locals and got a better idea of what life is like there. It is a simpler way of life. Everyone seemed so happy. It was a refreshing break from the hustle & bustle that so often surrounds us in our society.
Even with Montezuma's Revenge exacting vengeance on me, it was a good trip. I learned a lot and am glad I went.
Since I have been back, I have been thrown headlong in to the hustle and bustle of life. Being gone two weeks in such rapid succession left me with a pile of work to sort through. That has been a good thing for me as far as weight loss goes. I am less than 1/2 lb over what I was when I left.
I have not tried to follow any plan, not even drinking the meal replacement shakes. I've been getting up in the morning and getting to work. When I feel the need to eat, I go get something, eat and get back to work. I just felt like I didn't have time to put the energy in to following a plan. I have good healthy food in my house so that helps. I am happy for the weight loss, no matter how it comes, but even more grateful that it hasn't been a battle to get it off. I'm hoping to keep this momentum going for some time to come.