Editor’s note: Umma Amina, RN, is a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center. She volunteers with the Glens Falls Medical Mission Foundation, which since 1996 has served the needs of underrepresented populations in Guatemala. She returned to Guatemala this month and sent this dispatch on April 16.
Day two and we are working from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Although the hours are long, the time is so worth the effort for the people of this area. We have seen everything from simple headaches due to working in the coffee plantations for long hours to rare congenital anomalies. What impresses me most is the capacity of love for one another in a community setting. One patient will bring her five children and the children of her neighbor from a volcanic village such as Jumaytepeque to be seen. Neighborly love goes such a long way when you bring your neighbors’ sick child to be seen as they are busy working.
I also had the privilege of meeting 100 year-old midwife who delivered nine babies this month in her volunteer position, and is expecting to deliver 10 more--just this month. The spirit and dedication of these women impresses me so greatly as they have no financial gain from the births they attend, as they voluntarily fill this great need in their community out of love and compassion for their fellow humans.