Monday, October 13, 2014

MDP Mission Trip to Chiapas, Mexico--Post #1

Hola & Greetings from Trinitaria by Lagunas de Montebello!

For those of you that don't know, I was lucky enough to go on a medical mission trip with my grandma to Chiapas, Mexico. We left with a group out of Minnesota early in the morning on Friday, October 10th. I've written down some of our trip so far to share, so here goes: 

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 for 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 on the trip that 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 got 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 very intimidating for someone never having experienced that before, but thankfully Lia, Bridget and our driver, Freddy, talked to them and we were able to continue on without opening our suitcases.

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 a dinner, Don Layo. He is a widowed electrician from Coapilla, Chiapas who is raising both of his daughters by himself. Don was in an unfortunate electrical accident in the past and lost his left arm. We were able to bring with us his prosthetic arm, made and donated by Prosthetic Laboratories out of Mankato, for a secondary fitting. When the team returns in February, they will bring the prosthesis for him.  Don traveled quite a ways to join us, involving a bus ride and a three-hour walk.

Saturday morning, feeling well-rested and refreshed, we were served a wonderful breakfast, again prepared by Dona Tita, We were greeted by Vicento, our driver for the week, who pulled up in our 14-passenger van. 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 Tetris! 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-shining. It’s very hard to say no to some these people that are trying to make a living and work so hard for their money.

Vicento 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. We then headed to bed for a good night of rest before our first day of clinic.

Thanks for your support and prayers for our team! More to come :) 


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