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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Wednesday April 14th - First full day of the clinic
This is Wednesday our first full day of the clinic.
Our hotel is on the outskirts of Xela and it operates as a training centre for various trades and other educational groups.
We get up each morning and meet for breakfast at 6:45 a.m. so we can be outside waiting for the vans to pick us up at 7:30 Guatemala time - which usually translates into 8:00 a.m.
We chat while we're waiting and watch the field workers planting the potato crop. They do everything by hand and it's amazing what they get done between when we leave in the morning and return in the early evening.
It takes us about a 1.75 hours drive to get to the village. We start from the outskirts of the City then travel into the Xela through the winding streets most of which as just wide enough for two cars. The surface of the roads is very inconsistent – from smooth pavement to no pavement, no garvel and a sea of potholes and mud – they make
Wilson Street in Perth look like a new super highway. The terraced fields are magnificent and one can't help but wonder what it is like working on fields on such steep slopes.
Once we get out of the City it’s about 10 km to one of the outlying Towns and then we start the long climb up the mountains. Switchbacks are the order of the day, this is a new highway however the drivers are careful as there are many tight curves that take gearing down to get around them safely.
At mile sign 171 kM we leave the highway to start down the bumpy, windy road to the village.
Both days there were people waiting for us at the highway who had arranged rides with us. Once they are on board and we leave it’s a bit like entering another world with the narrow roads and the looks to infinity over the banks at the slide of the road.
One section of road is quite new and the surface is mostly soil and not gravel which make for rather smooth going, Add a little rain and you've got "no-going" which is what happened to us today, "How many Rotarians does it take to push two vans up a greasy hill" you ask? Luckily with a few pine boughs on the road and a good run at it both vans were able to make it to the top of this hill much to the relief of those Rotarians!
People were waiting for us to arrive in the village and not long after we got there people of all ages started to gather in front of the clinic.
This 77 year old man in his native dress seems to be very pleased with his new spectacles. Today we saw over 60 patients and Dr. Carl gave the Team a seal of approval as our plan was 48 or one patient every 10 minutes. Our goal isn't really how many we get though it's doing a good job with them and trying to be efficient at the same time.
This village is literally in the clouds and we watched the mist move in through the open door. This made things rather chilly at times, so chilly in fact that Sue and Barbara had to do a little jib to try and warm up.
On the way back in the van the clouds or fog was so thick it reminded us of the blinding snow storms back home.
Stay tuned for more adventures tomorrow......