Another Wednesday which means another integrative seminar. Again, things are starting to get repetitive, and problem based learning is getting tedious… a consensus among many of us in the program. However, today was different since we started off with a speaker from Alas, an organization that provides family planning services and education to the people who want it in Guatemala, which is apparently a great area of need. 50% of children here under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished, which stunts growth, including inhibiting growth of the brain. We learned that although people here seem like they’re smaller than the rest of the world, it’s not necessarily genetic, but more of a result of chronic malnutrition…. Pretty surprising.
This afternoon, we took a tour of yet another hogar called Cabecitas de Algodon (or Little Heads of Cotton). It was started by a doctor who is also a preacher… the exactly religion, we’re not sure of, since when we asked, the nurse said “he believes in god.” So, whatever that religion is, he tells people about it all over the world. Then he saw a bunch of homeless dudes, and thought about how many homeless people were in his home country of Guatemala. When he came home, he took in seniors, and thus Cabecitas de Algodon was born. It’s half the size of Casa Maria with 3 times the staff and more money to support them. The place was small, but clean, and the people were so nice. After seeing how much different the conditions were here, it gave me hope that maybe we can change Casa Maria to be equally as comfortable.
There was another game of wheelchair basketball this afternoon, so a bunch of us from the Gero group headed over to support the guys. Guatemala against El Salvador- the Guatemalan guys are stronger and more organized, but the El Salvador team has better aim and thus they were able to get more points. There was another group there too with red shirts on and I didn’t recognize the team, but they played after the game was over just for fun. I haven’t ever seen so many functional, independent people in wheelchairs having so much fun in a single area… anywhere- not just Guatemala. With all of the dreariness of our speakers and the conditions here, it’s nice to see something to positive.