I’m gonna “taco” ’bout my day

This morning we returned to El Hospital General. Becky and Blair were in the Emergency Room, Katie and Kyrian were in Post Surgery, and I returned to the Trauma today.  It was awesome to return to the same area because the patients felt more comfortable with me today and were joking around with me. I also got to talk to a medical student doing his internship at the hospital where he is specializing in spinal surgery. He really wanted to practice his English so that was the language our conversation was mostly in. Through our conversation, we discovered that medical school education  in Mexico seemed quite similar to that in the United States.

One of the most heartwarming things we saw in this hospital  is that on the main level there is a mural called el arbol del vida (the tree of life) in which the names of the families of organ transplants are placed on the tree.

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Our host aunt also works at El Hospital General, so Becky and I met up with her for lunch and had a tour of the administration area where she works. This hospital, like many of the others we have visited, use paper records for their patients. There were many shelves of colorful folders with patient records.

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Tonight we all met up for a late dinner in El Centro at  El Portón de Santiago. The live music there was great! A young gentleman played guitar wish Spanish flair and sang sometimes getting the restaurant goers to sing with him. The food was delicious (those are chicken tacos below) and Becky and I walked home in the cool evening air just missing the beginning of a rain storm.

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That’s all for now! Tomorrow we’re going to Temazcal which should be pretty interesting.

Buenas noches!

-Brittany

It’s not a Pun, it’s a “Pan”

*Just to clarify, “pan” means “bread” in Spanish. To hear about our adventures with pan, please read a little further*

Today we went to “El Hospital General,” a public hospital filled with a lot of activity. Since it can provide care for the uninsured and poor, the relatively small hospital is always packed with people. Funding for the medical care is limited: patients must endure stuffy rooms with no air conditioning, supplies such as gauze and gloves dwindle, and even some patients have to bring their own medication because it is not supplied within the building. It was sad to see the poorest of the poor come to this place, but also comforting to know that they were receiving care. As the nurses told us when we arrived, each patient is treated as a human being, not just a number next to a bed or a hopeless case.

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After a tour, the group split up to work in different areas: Katie got to experience the busy emergency department, Becky went to the surgical unit, Brittany helped in the trauma wing, and I went to the internal medicine floor. I saw many medications prepared and administered, and heard stories from the other girls about catheters, IVs, and bed baths.

After our work today we relaxed at Mary’s beautiful house in El Centro. When Katie and I saw dark clouds coming in, we decided we should probably begin our trek back home. Even with lightening ahead and the urgent feeling of a storm, we couldn’t help but stop at the local “Panadería,” a local store selling fresh sweet bread! I’d say it was worth it. At only 6 pesos (about 35 cents), I’d say my “pan dulce” even beat Good Time Donuts.

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As for the rain…I have always liked rain. And with the incredible heat lately, I was ready for a rain shower. So when I finally heard the droplets hit the roof of our bus traveling home, you could say I was pretty excited. After getting off the bus, Katie and I had to span creeks of rushing water down the road, soaking our feet as we still felt the downpour. Eventually we made it back home and after that refreshment, I am quite content and dry.

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It’s a night to relax inside, so Katie and I might watch a movie with our host sister Isa. She tells us her favorite movie is “Diario de una Pasión,” which we know as “The Notebook.” This made me giggle; Nicholas Sparks still captures the hearts of girls all the way here in Mexico.

That’s all for now, thanks for listening and God Bless!

-Blair

i’m always a soccer for a punny title :]

Today was our free day so of course we started the day by catching up on some sleep. I woke up a little after 10am and then ate a wonderful breakfast consisting of mango and melon with nutella, toasted bread with some type of cheese-butter and blackberry marmalade, pan dulce (sweet bread), and a glass of orange juice (all pictured below).

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Brittany and I decided to laundry for the first time since we’ve been here. We put all of our clothes into the washer and when it was time to dry our clothes we hung them up on the line outside. We learned that most people don’t have dryers because of the heat here.

After finishing with laundry, we met up with everyone in el centro for lunch. We all ate paninis at an italian cafe; they were wonderul! After lunch, Blair, Brittany, and I walked through many streets looking for stores while Kyrian and Katie started working on their homework. We met up a little while later so we could meet up with Isa (Blair and Katie’s host sister) so she could take us to play futbol (soccer)!!!

IMG_5273     Soccer was so much fun – and so tiring!! Two of Isa’s friends joined us so we were able to play 3v3 plus a goalie. After an hour of some great teamwork, sweet goals, many water breaks, and a few minor injuries we decided our legs had had enough and we soaked up plenty of sun for one day. Please enjoy the picture below of the aftermath of us playing soccer in 90 degree weather – I repeat, it was 90 degrees outside when we played (and it was already 5pm)!!!

IMG_5279     After soccer, we all returned to our homes (big thanks to Isa for driving us there and back) to enjoy the remainder of our night. Tonight has been fairly relaxed in our house. We waited for our host sister to get back from work and then all ate a lovely chicken, vegetable, and pasta dinner! We attempted to continue with our homework but ended up watching a Spanish movie instead – hey, we’re just trying to improve our spanish 🙂 I suppose that’s all I have to report on for now. Talk to you soon!

-Becky

Today was certainly not a crepey day.

Alright I know I know, here I go again with the puns. Today certainly was not crappy, although it was full of some delicious crepes. On our tour of El Centro with Norma our first weekend here, we passed a crepería that has 2 for 1 crepes on Tuesdays–score! So, naturally, after visiting the hospital today, we headed to El Centro in search of this crepería. First, let me tell you a bit about the hospital.

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The hospital we visited today was named HITO, which stands for Hospital Infantíl Teletón de Oncología. This hospital is the first hospital in the whole country of Mexico that is designated for pediatric oncology. The tour through the hospital proved to be marvelous, and the technology and architecture of the hospital were very modernized and up to date. I would liken the hospital to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids. In many ways it was very similar, and I have to admit in some ways it was even more advanced and well thought out than Helen DeVos. We toured all of the units of the hospital, and then headed over to the Casa de Teletón, which was a whole building specially designed for patients who stay longer than 24 hours. It was equipped with playgrounds, music rooms, a library and little market, and even had several classrooms where the patients could experience and receive the education they miss out on due to hospitalization because of various cancers.

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As I said before, after we got back from our tour of the hospital, we changed and headed to El Centro on a conquest to find some crepes. (traveling tip: when visiting another country, always try the crepes. they never fail) I think a picture of one of the crepes will suffice to show how absolutely satisfied our tastebuds and tummies were.

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We sat for a while after finishing our crepes doing homework, and then headed home to get ready for a dinner tonight at Mary’s house, prepared by the sweetest woman named Galinda. Galinda is a master chef, let me tell you.

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She made steamed vegetables and cut up mountains (bowls) of fresh fruit. She cut up and squeezed a cantaloupe into some cantaloupe water, which was so thirst quenching. Not only this, but she prepared a killer cauldron (pot) of guacamole with the freshest and most ripe avocados.

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She did not stop here, however, and continued on to make some traditional Mexican dishes, including Mexican white rice and vegetables, a pepper slaw, beans, and some quesadillas filled with pepper-seasoned chicken and tomato and some delicious cheese. I really hope I’m not forgetting anything, but even still, my description does not give the meal justice.

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Mary and Mark picked up an “impossible” cake, made of rich, moist chocolate cake topped with a layer of flan. We also had a little taste of home amidst the Mexican meal, with some traditional American flag napkins. The host families thought this was quite comical, and joked and said that they most likely came from WalMart.

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Today was great. We ate lots and are tired and happy with full bellies tonight.

John 3:16 really sticks out to me tonight, as it says “for God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I have been blessed with so many people here in Querétaro, and have enjoyed so many incredible moments. If life here is so great, the hope for that eternal life He promises is unmeasurable, just like how we could never fathom the extent to which our expectations of this eternal life will be exceeded.

Anyways, que Dios te bendiga! I’ll talk to you soon.

-kyrian

ISSSTE

Hi everyone!

Today we had the opportunity to visit another hospital here in Queretaro, called ISSSTE. This was another public, government hospital, but to me it seemed more similar to the private hospital TEC 100 we had previously visited, than the public women’s and children’s hospital we also visited last week. Although the hospital ISSSTE is public, it is reserved for more of the middle class people. The hospital had 99 beds and very up to date technology, but as we took a tour of each floor, it felt fairly empty. After the tour, we split up on two different units to shadow some nurses. I was on the internal medicine unit, and got to see the routines of some of the nurses that work there. The biggest difference I noted between the routines of nurses here and the routines of nurses in the U.S. is that here everything is written by hand instead of computerized. The nurses here have to be very on top of things so as to not miss anything they have to do for one of the ten patients they care for during a shift! Personally, I’m thankful for the computer charting we use in the U.S., because if any of you know me, you probably know that nothing I write is ever legible!IMG_4115[1]

Well, I think we’ve hit that point. The point where we’re more than halfway done with our May term in Mexico, the point where some of the newness of Queretaro has worn off, the point where we feel confident taking public transportation, the point when we start missing some things about home. To be honest, I personally didn’t expect to ever get to this point during this trip, since were are only here for three short weeks. However, I think it’s a good thing! I often find myself so in love with different cultures in Latin America that I forget the good parts about life in the United States. I idealize other cultures and look down on my own. Reaching this point in the trip has made me remember that each culture and each country has its good and its bad. Different is not better and different is not worse, it’s just different. What a blessing it is to not only be able to immerse yourself in a new culture, but also to have your home culture to go back to! Although spending time in other countries sometimes makes me feel ashamed of the reputation the United States has in other parts of the world, I know that God made the U.S. my home for a reason, and until he tells me differently, I’ll always look forward to the good parts of returning home.

-Katie

Tonight Ended With a Bang

Hi friends!

If you’ve been keeping up with us, you’d know that we are adventuring in Guanajuato this weekend! After our walking tour of the city we relaxed in our hotel before venturing out in the night life for some dinner. We were all craving some American food, so when we saw Domino’s Pizza place we couldn’t resist stopping for a bite. The pizza place was right across the street from the Basílica Colegiata de Guanajuato, which is beautifully lit at night. While we were waiting for our pizza to cook (which was delicious by the way) a couple different marching band groups came out of the Basílica in a procession, trumpeting and tapping march rhythms on drums, followed by a flowery tribute to Mary.

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There were many other festivities happening in Guanajuato last night. There was a soccer game on just about every TV of the restaurants in the central part of the city that we and many other people in the city were checking the scores as we enjoyed the sites and sounds of the city. There were many different music groups to listen to as well. There was a group dressed in medieval type clothing for a festival. As we passed different restaurants we could hear many different groups from singing solo guitarists to groups playing  accordions, trumpets and various string instruments.


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Today we ate at an authentic Mexican breakfast at a cute cafe near our hotel and then met up with our tour guide to visit the mummy museum and a mine in Guanajuato.  El museo de las momias de Guanajuato had over one hundred preserved bodies of babies and adults. None of the people were famous but it was interesting that the museum could predict how some of the people had died from the position and conditions of which they were found. It was a little creepy.

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After the museum we visited a mine where we descended many steps under ground. Our tour guide said that  the workers would have had to make the journey in they dark or wait for another worker to pass carrying a candle. We sure got our exercise on our way out of the mine, I can’t imagine having to carry equipment back and forth to mine the silver, gold and quartz from the area.

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Tonight, in Querétaro, we visited our relatives right around the corner from our house in order to eat some gorditos, which are kind of like a pita tortilla with meat inside which we cut open in add cheese and salsa. It was delicious. We also watched the American Billboad Music Awards on TV, which had been dubbed over in Spanish. The amount of American culture here has really surprised me. Finally, to end the day Becky, Gaby (our host sister), and I  went for a lovely 4 km run down by the river  where we had a fantastic view of fireworks along the way. Today sure ended with a bang. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings when we visit ISSSTE Hosptital!

-Brittany

 

A Trip on a Trip

Hi everyone!

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Guanajuato. It is a beautiful city about three hours outside of Querétaro, surrounded by hills and covered by a rainbow of brightly-colored buildings. This morning we packed our bags to hop on a bus for three hours, but little did we know this place would be so incredible!

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The group arrived this afternoon to start a walking tour, and we caught a cool view of the entire city from an outlook. Since Guanajuato originally was a mining town (in fact, the mine still operates today), we could see the huge silver mine from miles away. There’s also a university here, and while I do not know much about the school itself, I know there are a lot of steps to the entrance. And we climbed every single one of them.

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Because of the hilly terrain, there are several long tunnels throughout the city running underneath the roads. The tunnels were originally created (using dynamite) to prevent flooding of the “Rio Guanajuato,” but now they are used as roads as well. They are old, dark, and kind of creepy. Even still, it’s amazing to think of their age and history.

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Our group also had a neat experience in the house of Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican painter and husband of Frida Khalo. Although much of his life was spent outside of that house, it now serves as a museum for some of his work. I am definitely not an art buff, but I have learned about Diego Rivera. Seeing his work was exciting for me!

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We spent the rest of our afternoon shopping at the city market, a huge building packed with vendors selling souvenirs and food. Tomorrow we plan to tour the mines, and apparently there are some mummies here to see? More to tell you about that tomorrow!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers for us on this trip. It has been amazing so far and I know I have been learning so much. God is at work in the hearts of people here, just like He is at home. I’m so thankful for this trip and the all of the people we have gotten to interact with (shout out to Becky Butler).

Halfway done, see you soon!

-Blair