Hola and Greetings from Trinitaria by Lanunas de Montebello!
We have had a busy first few days of our trip. Friday morning we started out very early to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport where we took off to Atlanta. From there, we flew to Mexico City and finally, on to Tuxtla Guiterrez. All of our flights went well and were smooth.
It was a very sudden transformation upon arriving in Mexico. Everything that I took for granted - being able to read signs for instruction and direction, or understand conversation around me - was no longer a convenience that was just "there." It's a very uncomfortable and frustrating feeling to not be able to communicate your simple wishes or questions. It's very strange to sit down at a restaurant and try to pick out a meal based on the few Spanish words that I know (pollo=chicken, aroz=rice, frijoles=beans). Luckily, we have some amazing interpreters with us on the trip who are more than willing to help us out.!
From the airport in Tuxtla, Lia's cousin Padre Pablo and the other wonderful people from the Oasis de la Cruz Retreat Center picked us up. We loaded into vehicles for a forty minute drive to the center. On the way, we were stopped a couple of times by the Mexican police, who were doing routine stops looking for migrants coming from Honduras and Guatemala, weapons and drugs. It was intimidating for someone never having experienced that before, but thankfully Lia and Bridget and our driver Freddy talked to them and we were able to continue without any problems.
Once we arrived at the retreat center I think we all felt a sense of peace and calming. It is a beautiful place and we felt very welcome. Dona Tita made a wonderful dinner of quesadillas and black beans, which was much appreciated by our group of hungry, tired travelers.
We were blessed with a special guest at dinner, Don Layo. He is a widowed electrician from Coapilla, Chiapas who is raising both his daughters by himself. Don Layo was in an unfortunate electrical accident in the past and lost his left arm. We were able to bring with us a prototype prosthetic arm that was previously molded this past February by our MDP team. Prosthetic Laboratories in Mankato has generously donated this prosthetic arm. When the team returns in February, they will bring the finished prosthesis for him. Don Layo traveled quite a ways to join us, which involved a bus ride and a three hour walk. Don Layo was very excited to be fitted with his new prosthesis.
Saturday morning feeling well-rested and refreshed, we were served a wonderful breakfast, again prepared by Dona Tita. We were greeted by Vincente, our driver for the duration of our trip. After he and Dr. Aaron Johnson carefully and strategically loaded up our 20-something suitcases, which involved turning them every which way and strapping them on top of the van, I felt like I was watching a game of Twister combined with Teris! Of course, a few of us snapped pictures for evidence.
After an hour and a half in the van, we arrived in San Cristobal for a few hours for lunch, sightseeing and shopping. This was such a unique experience seeing the streets flooded with men, women and children trying to make money by selling homemade goods, or performing a service like shoe-shinning. It's very hard to say "no" to some of these people that are trying to make a living and work so hard for their money.
Vincente brought us safely on our three hour journey to our "home" for the next seven nights, "Cabanas Ensueno." After unpacking, we joined together for a dinner with plenty of laughs. Then off to bed for a good night of rest before our first day of clinic on Sunday!
-By Katie Krinke
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Meet the Team: We have just finished our first day of clinic in Playa Azul. Patients arrived from seven surrounding communities to be seen in the clinic. Our team was warmly greeted by the local community coordinators. Thanks to a very well organized community, we were able to serve many patients. The drive to the clinic was somewhat rainy today, but by noon the sun broke out, and it turned out to be a glorious day in Chiapas.
Co-leaders: Lia Price, Interpreter and Nancy Linder, FNP
Doctors: Don Mersch and Aaron Johnson
Interpreters: Thalia Taylor and Bridget Hermer
Nurses: Sara Murry and (her granddaughter) Katie Krinke
Lab Tech: Colette Meidinger
Pharmacy helpers: Judy Johnson and Kyle Meidinger
Know that we are well, keeping our friends and family and supporters of MDP in our prayers daily. More later, as the hotel staff wants to go home for the night!
Love you all,