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You don’t know Gregorio, but I’m sure you’d like him if you did. In fact, he just may have been the man who picked the coffee beans you enjoyed in your grande non-fat almond latte this morning. Gregorio, 33, works in the Guatemalan fields growing and harvesting coffee. He earns the equivalent of $6 a day to support his wife and two children.
Work started getting pretty tough for Gregorio three years ago. It was then that he discovered he had a hernia. Imagine earning your livelihood doing back-breaking labor, made worse by the never-ending pain of a hernia. Gregorio had no option—he had to feed his family, so he continued to work.
He went to the workers’ hospital to seek care; a long, drawn-out process that basically led nowhere. After some time, the physician Gregorio was seeing told him his treatment was over—there would be no surgery.
Thankfully, a social worker told Gregorio’s mom about Faith In Practice, and the fact that they’d be conducting a village medical clinic in March in Santa Rosa. The morning of the clinic, Gregorio rose at 1:00 a.m. to board a bus for the four-hour ride to Santa Rosa, to be sure to get in line early enough for a chance to be seen by a doctor.
The Faith In Practice doctor confirmed the hernia diagnosis, and referred Gregorio to Hilario Galindo Hospital. Six weeks later, Gregorio once again boarded a bus, this time for the six hour ride from Santa Rosa to Retalhuleu. He arrived on Friday and had surgery on Monday. He’s happy to have the surgery behind him, and was smiling just hours after it was finished.
In America, most of us take healthcare for granted. We can call to make an appointment with a doctor whenever we want. We have a car in which to get to the appointment. And we can take a few days off whenever we’re not feeling well. The next time you’re enjoying something from Starbucks, stop and think about Gregorio, and what he went through to get surgery so he could get back to harvesting coffee beans. It might make you appreciate your latte just a little bit more.
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