After a few trips to Guatemala for various Caring Crew activities, a bunch of us finally decided THIS would be the time we finally make it out to Lake Atitlan.
While scouring Airbnb for anything appropriate, I stumbled upon this and literally had it booked within five minutes, because HELLO?! Did you SEE the photos?! We booked transportation through our Gabriel, our Airbnb host who was ridiculously responsive and helped us organize EVERYTHING.
We arrived at GUA, walked outside the airport and our driver was waiting for us. Listen people, the ride there too almost 5 hours (maybe more). The road is not very direct and we stopped for food. And beer.
By the time we arrived, it was late, and dark. We were treated to THIS view the next morning. At that point, we decided none of us were leaving. Ever. This is from the top floor of the Airbnb, right outside the living room/kitchen area.
Fresh breakfast was included, including FRESH MADE TORTILLAS. Ok stop. Heaven.
View from my SHOWER. My personal en suite SHOWER. Ok seriously STOP! Also, I’m sorry for taking a photo while the water was running. No Green Up points for me.
Literally sitting in bed.
As much as we wanted to just park it on the top deck, we decided we should at least head into Panajachel for a few hours to do some shopping (hello, new hat) and get a different view of the mountains. PS – what’s a trip to Guat without Pollo Campero?! Oh yeah.
We headed back to the house and hopped around relaxing and waiting for sunset, which we enjoyed with some beer, from our hot tub!
Our house. Five bedrooms (includes that little party house at the bottom), each with it’s own en suite bathroom. Epic, incredible, phenomenal, does not even begin to describe it.
One of the reasons why we extended to trip to include Lake Atitlan was to be able to deliver medical supplies to Hospitalito Atitlan. We did this as part of Caring Crew, in partnership with MedShare. Fun fact: one of the founders of MedShare actually lives on Lake Atitlan and does work with this hospital.
MedShare is an organization based in Atlanta that takes donations of medical supplies from hospitals, clinics and manufacturers. This can be for a variety of reasons: the delivery boxes are dented (yes, that can be the reason why the hospital will refuse the shipment), or just that the manufacturer overproduced. At their facilities in Atlanta, the Bay Area and Jersey City, volunteers sort through the medical supplies and box together like items while ensuring they are 1) new and 2) not expired.
The medical supplies are then shipped to clinics around the world who need them, typically through a large container shipment. When we did our volunteer day at MedShare, we learned that doctors in some location ration gloves, only using a glove on ONE hand. In some places, gauze is cleaned and then reused.
However, by utilizing Caring Crew volunteers, we were able to bring a smaller amount of supplies and quickly get it directly in the hands of those who need it. Oh yeah, and get a vacation out of it at one of the most beautiful places in the world. NBD #AdventureVolunteering #ThanksJesse
Our Airbnb was at San Antonio Palopo, and the hospital was in Santiago. Boat is the most efficient way to get around the lake, so we loaded up a boat with all our suitcases and headed out.
The hospital truck picked us up at the dock! They gave us a tour of the facility, which manages to achieve a lot with limited resources for the Mayan people in the Lake Atitlan area, many who have to travel 2+ hours in not so ideal road conditions to receive medical treatment. We took a tour of the hospital, which had SOLAR PANELS! We were also able to meet with some of the doctors in the pediatric ward.
There were two interns from the U.S. who were there between undergrad and med school. When we opened all the suitcases and unloaded the supplies, they saw the boxes of gloves and said “Oh that’s a really important item for us. We have to ration them.” Incredible to see how important something is to them that we take for granted here.
Amazing first trip to Lake Atitlan, and my first trip doing a medical supply delivery with Caring Crew + MedShare. I mean, we literally:
- drove to the MedShare facility in Atlanta
- paid for and picked up the supplies requested by the hospital
- packed them into suircases
- drove to the airport
- got on the plane
- went and relaxed at one of the most beautiful places on the planet
- took a book
- got picked up by Lyn at the dock
- hand delivered much needed medical supplies to the clinic
I can’t wait for the next of many, many more adventures to come. If you’re interested in doing a little of #AdventureVolunteering, hit us up! firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website.