Saturday, May 7, 2011

Signing off...

Sorry for the delay on this post and to those of you who have been awaiting its arrival. Yesterday was a busy day and we were up for an early departure this morning so time and internet for completing the blog has been limited. Right now we are sitting in the Miami airport and headed home but I will give you a brief run down of our last day in Guatemala.

Wednesday was our last day to spend at the Las Obras and in Guatemala. We spent the morning treating patients and finishing up presentations. Following the presentations we said goodbye and thank you to all of the therapists at the hospital for allowing us to spend so much time there. They had prepared a special Guatemalan “snack” to thank us for our time and energy and we were super honored and appreciative.

To wrap up our time at the hospital we arranged to take a few of the patients out for ice cream! After lunch we all met back at the hospital, grabbed our patients and headed out to the park. We had quite a diverse group of patients ranging from ages 6 to 82 all in wheelchairs. Each of us truly learned the difficulty of maneuvering a wheelchair over curbs and cobblestone and I am sure we all have a new found appreciation for accessible ramps, streets and sidewalks. The patients seemed to really enjoy the outing and it was great for us to just spend time with them as friends and not just as therapists.

Rain cut the ice cream outing short but before we headed back to the hospital a very nice Guatemalan restaurant owner unexpectedly approached the group. He said that he had seen what we were doing and was impressed that we would give that time to his country. He invited us to dinner at his restaurant in an effort to express his gratitude and “give us a gift.” We were truly honored by this invite and were able to spend one last wonderful meal in Guatemala together as a group.

Our last day in Antigua was one of mixed emotions. As much as we are excited to get back home to our friends and families, the time here has been one that has touched all of our hearts and it was difficult for us to say goodbye. Our adventures in Guatemala will surely stay with us forever. I know I speak for all of us in saying that this experience has helped us to grow as students, faculty and clinicians. We hope that this trip will continue to blossom and that our relationship with all of those we have encountered here will continue to grow for years to come.

In a final note, we truly appreciate all of the love and support that all of our friends and family have given throughout this journey. We most certainly would not have been able to accomplish and experience all that we were able to without your help. Thank you so much!

This is the entire UNC Guatemalan crew signing off for now…until next year!!

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