Tuesday we had our last clinic of our first trip out to the jungle. While the hike up to the second clinic was a blast, it sure was good to drive to the last village – bug bites, sandy Keens and jungle sleep had us all feeling pretty tired and footsore!
It is such a joy to work with these villagers. Some of the problems are things that we’d see in an American setting – headaches, sore joints, children’s fevers, high blood pressure – and others are very serious and foreign to our way of life. There are chronic conditions we can treat only for a time. There are lifestyle suggestions we give that can make a bigger difference than any medicine we can provide. I’m so proud of how the team in every station from triage to evangelism to diagnosis to pharmacy has served these gracious people with compassion and dignity, no matter how big or small the case. It’s the small things I see that remind me that through the humble offering of ourselves as a living sacrifice to Christ, barriers are broken and love and relationship burst forth. Even though conversation takes two translators to communicate (English-Spanish then Spanish-Ch’ol), the touch of a hand or nod of understanding surpass all language barriers and I see every member of our team doing these things constantly. Praise our God for bringing a group of strangers together so quickly!
Now, on Wednesday we began our trip back to San Cristobal and comfy beds! However, I woke up with a curious burning sensation on my neck…
Matt = 0, Bombardier Beetle = 1
But we got off ok. Well, almost… The Yukon, driven by our fearless team leader Richard, hit an obstinate turkey on the way out of the village. (Now, fowl and dogs in the roads are incredibly common. You slow down, they move. Apparently this turkey wanted to challenge the status quo, so don’t blame Richard too much… some team members were horrified, but the Ch’ol translators were dying of laughter.) Sorry, no photographic evidence for you, but I hear there was an explosion of feathers.
Richard = 1, turkey = 0
We stopped at Agua Azul, and the waterfalls, true to their namesake, were a gorgeous blue. During the rainy season, they can become muddy, so we were grateful we got to enjoy their beauty. Swimming in the rapids was fun. Then Nathan Terrell took us up to the “River of Death”. Apparently he once found a dead body in the rapids… True story. Wednesday, we all survived AND had a blast!
Team = 1, River of Death = 0
The trip home from Agua Azul was tormenting to several of our digestive tracts. (Hey, let’s not paint a fake picture here – jungle missions isn’t all waterfalls and smiling little kids. Keeping it real.) Traffic was bad. Topes (speedbumps every block or more) were painful. But we all made it.
Umm… I’m not going to give a victor here. Or any photos. You’re welcome.
Unfortunately, even though our day at Agua Azul was amazing, several of us got absolutely cooked. It was an overcast day. We didn’t give it a second thought. Bad idea.
Sun = 4, Matt, Josh, Richard, and Mindy = 0
And that’s when we gratefully climbed into bed, trying to avoid our tender backs, and fell promptly asleep. It was good to be back and have a few days to recover and prepare for our next trip.
– Mateo Dos, aka Matt W.