This is the last slideshow of our trip. Another bus ride of beautiful scenery brought us into Guatemala City for a visit to Westmont-Bethel Hospital. Come to find out, a friend (Bart Tarman) of the founders (Soloman Hernandez), is a retired Chaplain from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where our daughter went. What a small world! Westmont-Bethel is one of the hospitals supported by our Rotary groups with the funding and purchasing of some major medical equipment. You’ll see some of the equipment in the photos. They will now be able to care for the locals and Mayans will a fully equipped hospital and newborn nursery. You’ll also notice a warehouse full of boxes that we had shipped down that included more hospital supplies, shoes, clothing and toys. One young Scotts Valley Rotarian even donated her Beanie Baby collection and we had the pleasure of handing those out to the children. They loved them!
After our visit to Westmont-Bethel, we headed to our hotel, Casa Santo Domingo. It was an old monastery and is quite impressive. The grounds included gorgeous gardens, a pool, chocoletier, candle shop, chapel, museum and ancient ruins.
At the end of the slideshow you’ll see photos of the ruins on the property and a few photos from inside the museum. On the last night, there was a wedding going on and the area around the chapel was lit with more candles then I’ve ever seen at one time. Quite impressive!
While in Antigua we visited Casa de Fe, which is a local support center for families in the area. It is similar to our Ronald McDonald home, providing transitional care for families. We got to interact with some of the current residents there and hand out some bubbles and beanie babies to the children. We also dropped off lots of supplies, including toiletries, clothing and medical supplies. We also visited Hermano Pedro and toured the facility there. Hermano Pedro houses several hundred mentally and physically disabled people from the surrounding area. Many are orphans or abandoned. They are well cared for, fed and housed and provided with the basic medical services. They also have a malnutrition center for children. Again we were able to interact and pass out a few more beanie babies that brought many smiles. It was heartbreaking to see so many young children with so many problems. Cleft palette and malnutrition are two common problems.
The last day in Antigua was a free day. Most of us walked through the town visiting the local market, the museums and just enjoyed the history, culture and architecture of Antigua.
I can personally say that I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this trip. We traveled with a wonderful group of Rotarians, two wanna-be Rotarians (our nurses), and two wonderful teenagers! I know that new friendships were made and I look forward to seeing everyone again!
A few highlights: We laughed together and we cried together. We stopped to potty behind a barn (or one of the group did). Someone acquired a large rock? We teased and we were serious. We enjoyed some great and some not so great meals. We saw beautiful landscape. One member was in search of the perfect local Rum. Some hiked, some shopped and I think a few sang. Ken2 visited the local vet. No one got car (bus) sick, but a few got the Guatemalan Revenge. One couple had their luggage lost. One member sprained his ankle. And if you ever see a Dieter Doll or Bumper sticker, you’ll know where it all began.
And, please notice the last photo, Ken & Joe were happy to see a McDonalds!!
I’d also like to recognize Bob Pagett, founder of Assist International. Without his dedication and support, projects like this would not be possible. Please take the time to visit Assist International
Many Blessings to all my new friends!
And, here’s the last slideshow.