Photo Essay 2017

Briana Nocktonick

self portrait

Essay

Cultural Experience in Guatemala

I just arrived back from a Medical mission trip from Guatemala. I took this opportunity not only for a Nursing experience, yet for doing good for mankind. Guatemala has struggled with poverty, and a health crisis, along with a civil war where more than 200,000 people were killed over the course of a 36-year period (1960-1996). Many of the people killed were Mayan. Since then, they have been deprived of human rights, and in need for healthcare, and education. As I arrive to a sight that you will not see anywhere in America; there were mountains and volcanos, along with people making and selling their products along side of the road. Furthermore, the medical team arrives in the Capitol of Guatemala, from there travel to the outskirts, I would then travel by boat across a lake every day, and work in the local clinic. We gave care to over 1200 children and women combined. With the terrain of the country it is harder for the elders and disabled to get to a clinic. I made trips to visit, and give healthcare to the elderly and disabled. A lot of the homes we visited did not have any doors or windows, and had dirt for the floor. The children would complain about a cough, and it was because, they did not have a bed. The charity organization I worked with built beds for those that we could get to. Along with water filters they could drink from. I would visit local homes, and check on the water filters to see if they were working properly and keeping them sanitized. While also educating them about how important it is for them to keep the filter sanitized for their health. This community did not have a filtration system, and most “sinks” were outside their homes. The communities lacked medical supplies and clothing. I also donated a large majority of my children’s clothes, toys, and school supplies to the children in Guatemala. Continuing the health examinations there was a lot of health complications such as Diabetes, head lice, STIs, and dental caries. Although, we provided some free medication to manage a long-term disability would be hard for the people because, they did not have the funds to keep buying monthly doses. Their daily wages would be about 1-2$ a day. The local Mayan people still practice the Native traditions. While visiting the ruins, the native people were practicing a ceremony like a Pow-Wow, I felt at peace and at home. Moreover, the Mayans are the ancestors of the Native peoples. They were very humble and generous, that showed love to everyone, I felt welcomed and with family. No one took pride in possession’s and their number one focus was family. I will go back, and travel to more countries to help others, while strongly encouraging others to learn, help, and grow with each other.

lake atitlanLake Atitlan

nicktocknik
Standing by Lake Atitlan

mountain
Busy Streets of Guatemala

art
Wall Mural Painting

ruins
Visiting the Mayan Ruins Washburn Style!