This week has been a part of a greater journey. Everyday I found myself in a different way through what we are doing here in Guatemala. I knew at the outset that I would probably receive more than I could possibly give, but I had no idea how much. Here I have found a kind of peace. The rhythm of the day is slower, the people are more generous than I could ever be and there is something about Guatemala that has helped me to see things more clearly.
Life is not about the things you do, it’s about the people that you meet. Your impact will not be measured by diplomas or careers, but by the hearts that you’ve touched. Yesterday, we had the honor of spending the morning at a rural clinic around Lake Atitlan in Sunana. The staff of women who translated for us into the native Mayan language was amazing. These women have very little formal training, but have managed to organize this clinic with the help of an American doctor and the support of the public health ministry. They give of themselves and their time on a daily basis to make the lives of those around them just a little bit better. Our translator Antonia and her sister Paolina who was in charge were more than a blessing.
Paolina at one point expressed her concerns at dealing with so many patients each day and how hard it was for her to help them to understand that they could only do so much. If nothing else I was able to listen to her and hear how hard things can be for her and her people. But hopefully too I was successful at encouraging her and helping her to know that her work is beautiful and every ounce of effort she puts into it is worth it.
Both Paolina and Dr. Gabi have touched me. These women have come up against so many barriers and have persevered. Their efforts are never for themselves, but always for the betterment of their people. I hope that one day I can be even just one half of the generous, giving souls that they have become. If I put in only a small fraction of the effort that they have to become doctors and health workers and if I can help mend even just a few wounds, I will still never come close to what they are doing. They are the true heroines.
There are no words to recap the last few days, but we have truly been touched by the smiles, words and lives of the people of Guatemala. This country’s beauty cannot only be defined by its mountains or lakes, but by the heart of its people. A heart that we have shared for a short moment, but one we will never forget.