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After yesterday’s wild day, things have settled down a bit. The surgical and nursing teams have found their groove. Some of yesterday’s patients have been discharged, and there’s a rhythm and flow to the day.
So I thought it might be nice to pause for a moment and take you on a more personal tour of Hilario Galindo Hospital, and introduce you to some of the people who work behind the scenes here. I sat down with each of them to learn a little more about them, and why they do what they do.
Hospital Administrator Sergio Lopez, 38
Sergio began at Hilario Galindo 14 years ago doing Payroll. He was promoted to Accounting, then Purchasing. When he took over as Administrator in 2006, the hospital was at a point of near collapse due to poor management. After a year in the role, he grew concerned that the hospital didn’t have a clear vision. He credits God with bringing Hilario Galindo and Faith In Practice together. Since then, he has seen steady improvements to the facility and how they care for their patients. His ultimate dream is to expand Hilario Galindo Hospital so it can serve even more patients in need.
Hospital Cooks Romeo and Ninet de Alejos, 49 and 45
Romeo and Ninet have been married for 24 years, and have served together at Hilario Galindo for the past seven. Prior to working here, Romeo was a social worker in Guatemala City for 22 years. Somewhere along the way, he lived in New York City for five years where he studied culinary arts and worked at an Italian restaurant. When surgical teams like ours are here, Romeo and Ninet work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Romeo takes great pride in the quality of the food he prepares, and makes a special effort to purchase the best produce available to serve the Faith In Practice teams. He and Ninet want to take good care of the visiting teams. And after tasting Ninet’s amazing guacamole (mas, por favor!), I can assure you they do.
Hospital Laundresses Mercedes Lopes Osorio, 60, and Honoria Merced Aguilar, 26
Pride and dedication were abundantly apparent when I met this mother and daughter team. Mercedes is one of four employees who started working here 15 years ago with Sergio. She lives nearby and rides the bus to work six days a week; on Sunday, her day off, she goes to church and the market. When Mercedes was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, she continued coming to work despite undergoing treatment at the same time. Soon, her daughter Honoria stepped in to help her mom so she wouldn’t get so tired, and they’ve been working together ever since. Mercedes enjoys every aspect of doing the laundry, and takes great pride in ensuring the staff have the linens and clothing they need to take care of their patients.
Bio Med Tech Joe Leier, 55
At Providence, we talk about our work as being more than just a job, even more than a career—we consider it a calling. Eleven years ago, Joe felt a calling to move his family to Gautemala. After prophetic words were spoken over him several times, Joe knew God wanted him here. Doing what, he wasn’t quite sure. Joe and his wife started by helping to build a Children’s Home. Two years ago he changed course and became a Bio Med Tech. He’s been helping to keep Hilario Galindo Hospital humming ever since. From making minor plumbing repairs to rebuilding anesthesia machines, Joe’s the go-to guy for just about every physician and nurse here.
High School Nursing Student Mandi Flores, 19
She wants to serve humanity. That’s no small order, but Mandi is well on her way. She attends a private high school, where she has the opportunity to enroll in classes that will lead to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant when she graduates. Since her school is an hour and a half away, she and her fellow nursing classmates are staying in Retalhuleu for the week they’re job shadowing our nurses. While here, they’re not only learning, but providing patient care as well, such as learning to start IVs. Mandi is grateful for this real-world training experience, and looks forward to putting it into practice wherever an opportunity presents itself.
Faith In Practice Volunteer Floridalmo Quintanilla, 39
Flori loves “her” patients. That’s how she sees them—as hers and hers alone. Like a loving mom, she takes care of them every step of the way. Flori has been volunteering with Faith In Practice since 2008. Her primary role is to identify prospective patients in villages throughout the Department of Santa Rosa, and then once they’re referred to Hilario Galindo Hospital for surgery, to accompany them here. She doesn’t stop there. She helps them understand the process. She answers their questions. And she advocates for them at every turn. Her most treasured moments are when her patients wake up after surgery, and realize the surgery was a success. She sees herself as a bridge between the patients and their surgeons. Her patients see her as a big bundle of compassionate love.
Faith In Practice Regional Surgery Program Coordinator Rachel Kitch, 23
Rachel is used to moving around. Her dad was in the military, so she’s being doing it most of her life. It’s no surprise, then, that when Rachel graduated from college with a Minor in Spanish, she decided to venture off to Guatemala. She began by working in a medical clinic here. In December, she started to look for opportunities in Program Administration, and discovered Faith In Practice. After just a few short months with Faith In Practice, Rachel is now accompanying her sixth surgical team. Rachel appreciates Faith In Practice’s holistic approach to medical care. We appreciate Rachel’s holistic approach to making sure our week here is so well coordinated!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know these amazing people as much as I did. Regardless of their role here, they have one thing in common: They love what they do, and it shows.
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