Monday November 12, 2012, Santa Cruz Quixaya. This was our fifth and last day of clinic and, although we were back in San Lucas at around 3:30 pm, the rest of the day was quite busy and interesting. The team had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Mission’s Projects starting with a visit to the Women’s Center, followed by a tour of the local hospital and ending with sighting of the Coffee Project. Susan and I met with Dr. Tun at the hospital to hear about their most pressing needs and to discuss MDP’s possibilities in implementing a more permanent support to the hospital and the health promoters of the surrounding communities. After dinner at the Parish, we met with Chona (the Parish’s main cook for many years, as well as a central figure in the leadership of the Women’s Center, and Father Greg’s assistant and trusted friend of the Mission’s community of volunteers) for a conversation about her favorite memories of Father Greg. Immediately after that, we went to our hotel to meet with a group of local craftsmen who shared the story of their work and showed us their beautiful pieces made with local woods. Our day ended with the traditional meeting during which each member shares their reflections and insights of what the past days of clinic meant to them. Our conversation with Chona and our visit to the Women’s Center were definitely the most powerful and my personal favorite experiences of this trip.
During MDP’s second trip --my first-- to Guatemala in 2008, the Women’s Center was merely a dream in the works. The Parish had a lot and not much more than a blue print of the building. During our subsequent trips to San Lucas, the tour of the Mission Projects would always include a visit to the Women’s Center site. I was taken aback and flooded by a wave of sheer joy and emotion when we arrived at the site to behold the beautiful building, now all completely finished and functioning. The Women’s Center is more than just a building, it is a warm gathering point for the women in the community to learn how to sew, weave, cook and socialize in a welcoming and safe environment; it is also the place where many celebrations take place including the now traditional Christmas Party for the children of single mothers in the community, but more than anything, it is Father Greg’s dream come true, his enduring gift of love to a community of people that continues to embrace his presence. The Women’s Center is what happens when many hearts are united in faith and good will, no matter how different their origin, no matter how great the challenges. Chona’s enduring strength and love for her people and for Father Greg are keeping this dream alive. What an extraordinary inspiration Chona is in my life. I can’t hardly wait to be back in San Lucas and behold her smiling face... Thank you MDP for the opportunity to serve!
Author: Sarah Peller
I'm a senior in high school on my second trip to Guatemala. I will be working in the pharmacy and also hold the title of Blog Poster Extraordinaire! So if our blog isn't updated, I am the one to whom you send the angry emails. Thanks for following our blog!