Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Paramedics Answer The Call In Guatemala

This year, we were thrilled to have three paramedics on the team. Glen Canavan and Grant Rumford were an integral part of last year’s Honduras team, and for this year’s Guatemala trip they brought along their colleague, Christine Barber.

Along with the doctors and nurses, these paramedics took blood pressures, checked blood sugars, cleaned ulcerated wounds, started IV’s, and gave of their strength to each team member in so many ways – showing each of us the determination and the courage that is required in order for them to do their critically essential jobs on a daily basis.

Paramedic Christine Barber…
“With each day, I am increasingly amazed by the resilience and stamina of these people. To search for the words to describe their lives; there are no words that can do it justice. The incredibly hard lives they live is so evident in their sun weathered, cold beaten faces. Their hands, rough and calloused, reveal the endless years of hardship and daily physical labour they must endure, just to survive; hauling firewood for heat and cooking, walking miles for fresh water only to carry it back. The care and hope that FTC is extending to these people is immeasurable, and my appreciation goes out to FTC for allowing me to be a part of this very rewarding opportunity to help others.”

Paramedic Glen Canavan…
"After this trip to Guatemala, I have come home with a sense that FTC has a good infrastructure in Central America with their local team. Local governments are also trying to improve the living conditions of the people in their municipalities. However, it is a difficult task and they cannot do it without the help of organizations and caring people. Even though many of the people in this country have small homes to live in, most of them still live in abject poverty barely making enough to feed their families which means there is no money for toothbrushes, proper cooking stoves, or nutritious foods. I am excited about the possibilities for our local team to continue with social services that would educate and encourage these people to take care of hypertension and diabetes - ongoing medical conditions that must be treated well beyond our trip. It was a privilege to serve these lovely people and I am definitely looking forward to the next trip!"

Paramedic Grant Rumford…
“After coming back to Canada, Guatemala seems like another world. Here, people worry about a dent in their car, another raise, or what to do over the weekend. In Guatemala, every hour is spent trying to plan for the next two. What will they feed their children? How they will find a small job that day, and will they have enough bus fare to get there? During this trip, we were able to diagnose several serious medical conditions that people were oblivious to. Hopefully, knowing what they are dealing with physically will help them make some crucial lifestyle changes. For example, when we diagnosed diabetes, it was critical for these patients to understand that they can no longer drink cola which was wreaking havoc with their bodies. We made a lasting difference for many and knowing that challenges me to do more to help.”

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