Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday 3/6/12

Looking ahead to our first full day of work, the city of Antigua offered us a beautiful sunrise easily seen atop our hotel. With the sun sneaking up behind the mountains, the clouds and volcanic fumes stole the show with an orange glow scattered about the sky.
After a nice meal at our new favorite breakfast place literally next door, we packed our tools and drove on the cobblestone roads to Pedro de Bethancourt, our hospital for the next two days. There we were given a tour of the facilities and the locations of our assigned equipment we have been researching and studying without ever having meet (online-daters may sympathize best). We found an unused patient room to call our control center and then split up to begin our repairs.

Becca hit the floor running with her custom Bililight she had created before coming. She set up a longevity test of the light and supported a few other teams as a translator. Lowell and Corey installed new fuses in a defunct infant warmer and made progress towards recovering its use as an automated thermoregulator. Danny also worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on a VCR-DVD writer and successfully soldered a hand dryer in the scrub zone.

Cat encountered her new nemesis – an autoclave that has been jammed shut for years. The day concluded with great hope in the power of WD-40 to loosen the joints overnight.

Although Mallette and Liz would love to talk about their work identifying the root problem with their incubator, I have a hunch they would first want you to know how ridiculously cute was the little Guatemalan boy who blew them kisses. Liz also worked with Laynie, Erica, and Becca on ventilators and saw first-hand the restraints of power availability in the hospital. Laynie also worked with Britney on a ventilator and discovered a hole in the device and the parts needed to perform a repair. Likewise, Laura was able to identify problems with an antique microscope offered the prognosis of retirement.

Our work was energized midday by a delicious traditional Guatemalan lunch prepared by a generous mother of a Shalom Foundation employee.
With the hospital closing down around 4pm, we found ourselves with a couple hours of daylight before dinner to wander the cobblestone streets of Antigua. We reconvened for dinner at a great restaurant nearby. Among many options for entrees, Liz stumbled upon this vegetarian gem that is "perfect with steak."

To cap off the evening, one of the three volcanoes enveloping the city, Santiaguito, hiccupped and gave several of us atop the hotel a brief show. No pictures here to temper your imagination!

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