Hola to my family and friends reading this.
First of all, we were all bummed to hear about the Packers loss. We were not able to watch or hear any of the game so all we know is the very close final score. With all they have dealt with this year, I can only hope in their final game of this season, our men in Green and Gold gave it their all.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of walking through a number of market days in Sumpango so I am always on the lookout for something or someone new. This is the main market day for the people of this city of 30,000 and without refrigeration and storage, nearly everything is for sale. The aroma of fish and raw meets of every kind fill the air with an aroma that is difficult to get used to. It is like a supermarket together with Wal-Mart that appears on the streets of down town Sumpango every Sunday. All of the homemade clothing items along with many cleaning aid and hygiene products are there. The colors of the yarn and fabric along with the array of fresh vegetables and fruits provide all of the colors on an artist's pallet. This year I found a few new items. There was a basket of foot long lizards that had been skinned and roasted for sale. They left the head, tail, and legs on for fun I think. Like everything else it seems, the native Guatemalans say it tastes like chicken. I will spare you the picture but I do have one if you're interested. My favorite find was an older hombre donning a straw cowboy hat (my kind of man!) yelling "machete". Of course I would like the guy with the cool hat but he had the mustache of my dreams as well. He looked like he walked right out of an old John Wayne Western movie with the hat, the awesome mustache, and really big knives. I will try to include his picture if we are able.
As for our team of 28, we are all doing well. Health is good and spirits are high heading into our first clinic day tomorrow. Unlike the past couple years of flying in Sunday morning, we arrived Saturday noon so we have had a little more time to bond. We have a great group it seems. We have ten college students so they make up over a third of the team. The older I become the more I seem to enjoy their energy and excitement. Our only two nurses, Kimberly Weddle and Rachel Snow are both new and it's fun to see them experience something so different from their routine. Dr. Magyera is our dentist on his first trip with us. He said he is easing into retirement but he is not slowing down on our team. It is fun to see his eagerness to do something for the wonderful people of Sumpango that he has done for many years in the states. Unless you have worked under these conditions, it is hard to understand what it's like to not have the set-up we have at home. It truly is a sacrifice for these folks and a joy to watch them jump right in with no complaints. With Jon Cronce as our fearless trip leader there is never a dull moment but never a worry either. Whatever your need seems to be, he finds a way to get it done. Dr. Louise Smyth is on her first trip with us and is accompanied by two of her college sons, James and Daniel. It will be fun to watch them experience this week together. She is not the only one to have family along as Dr. Lloyd Arnold has daughter Kristin and dental hygienist Tami Falk has daughter Megan. Having had the opportunity to have my wife, two daughters, and one son-in-law on trips with me, I know just how special that experience is.
So that's it for now. Tomorrow we have 10 Guatemalan medical students join our team as extenders and interpreters. They bring such a special addition to our team. Pray that we stay healthy so we can serve these beautiful people. God bless, Dr. Dan