Greetings from Guatemala! Our team left Mankato at 3 am. We gathered for a short prayer before we boarded the plane and arrived in a very rainy Miami three hours later. Stephanie flew all night from Peru (8 hours) and joined the team in Miami. The flight to Guatemala City was a little bumpier than normal but all in all was a great flight. And then it got interesting.
Recently Guatemala has adoped some new laws regarding bringing medicines into the country. We actually had our paperwork done from the Ministry of Health (or the Ministry of Magic as Jill calls it). The folks at the airport took all of our medicines and told us that we needed some further documentation from the Ministry of Health. Susan and Lia ventured to get this done while the rest of our team basically waited on the sidewalk outside the airport building. Everyone was exceedingly patient and good as we passed the three hours. Nick and Maggie entertained us with soccer antics and baggage cart rides. Cathy and John struck up a lively conversation in Spanish with an airport worker. Shannon pulled out Bannanagrams and walla! There was even a game of that going on. We all wondered how Bob managed to keep his eyes open since he just had returned from another stint in Haiti some 24 hours prior to taking off for this mission.
Susan and Lia returned finally with new documents in hand. As they sprinted with glee into the airport to claim our medicines, they soon learned that there was some red stamp that was missing and that we wouldn´t be able to get it that day. Meanwhile our drivers said that it was too late to head out to our destination of San Lucas that day. John and Bob made arrangements with the driver of a van for a hotel and a very tired team climbed into two vans to head to the hotel.
We met for supper and lots of good conversation and laughs last night. After a good nights sleep we are ready for the day. Nick, Cathy, Steph, Dave, Maggie, Shannon and Teri headed out in the van to San Lucas after breakfast. They will take a tour of the parish and see the many wonderful projects there. Bob, Susan and Lia headed back to the Ministry of Health this morning. John, Jill and I are still here at the hotel. We will see what the day has in store for us. If we can´t get the medicines we will head out for San Lucas and buy medicines and start our clinics as soon as we can.
We remembered at prayer time this morning how Fr. Greg of San Lucas (who is back in the states celebrating his 50th year as a priest) told us that a village elder had advised him that we need to have patience with ourselves and patience with the people if we are to serve well. God Bless all of you who are following us.