Highlights: The highlight of my volunteer experience was seeing how much the towns-people appreciated us being there. They thanked us over and over again when we gave them the medication they needed. The patients confided in us about things I never thought they would, such as problems with their home life. It was a very emotional and rewarding experience I would do over a million times. The highlight of my overall experience was zip lining.
On the last full day we were in Panajachel, we went zip lining in the mountains. It was the scariest, most exhilarating experience I have ever had. We had to walk up the mountain on a path to the top zip line, which was beautiful. When zip lining, we got to see the most beautiful views of Lake Atitlan and the volcanoes around it.
Morning: On days we went to clinic, we had to be to breakfast by around 6:30AM. We ate breakfast at the hotel we were staying at every morning. They consisted of fruits, scrambled eggs, pancakes, bread, and, of course, Guatemalan coffee. One morning, in Panajachel, we woke up at 5:00AM and walked down to Lake Atitlan to watch the sunrise behind the volcanoes! At around 7:15AM, we would get on the bus to travel to clinic.
The drive was about 45 minutes long, but the scenery was gorgeous. Even if I was tired, I stayed awake on the bus to take in the scenery of Guatemala. Once we got to clinic, we split into pre-medical, pre-dental, and pre-veterinary groups. Each would set up whatever they needed for the day. For pre-medical, we would set up the pharmacy area and the stations for patients and volunteers to sit at during clinic hours.
Afternoon: Early in the afternoon we were still in clinic, asking patients questions and taking all of their vitals. Clinic usually ended around 4:30PM. Once it ended, we would pack everything up on the busses and head back to the hotel. Clinic always burnt me out, so I usually slept on the bus during the drive home. When we got back to the hotel, everyone split up and usually took a shower or just relaxed for a little while and talked about our day.
Evening: After we relaxed in the hotel, we would go out and explore the city. In Antigua, there was so much to see. The old-town feel to the city, with the ruins and the streets, was amazing. It was very hard to walk on the streets because they were all cobblestone, so you had to wear tennis shoes.
In Panajachel, we had to stay on the main street, but it was full of life. The street was lined with little shops and restaurants all the way down, so there was always stuff to do. Everyone was busy bargaining and buying stuff every night in Panajachel. Everyone went to bed pretty early, because every day was extremely busy.