My experience with Vision Care in Guatemala was nothing short of extraordinary. Prior to this, I had been on quite a few missions including another out-of-country mission to Ghana, Africa .However, that trip was incomparable to that of Guatemala.
I went to the trip with my fellow volunteers from Hwarang Leo so I was not afraid of being alone, but rather about how I would get along with the translators. To my relief, everyone that I had met was amazing. They welcomed us with open arms and invited us as friends. We received the same warm welcome from our patients as well. I was awestruck by the effect of our actions; people traveled days just to come visit our clinic, often bringing their friends and families.
Although I must say, this year’s mission team had it good. We received the same treatment and care as the doctors did and thus, the stay itself was extremely comfortable. The only worry I truly had was about the Zika virus, but in the end that worry proved to be unwarranted as well.
Through this trip, not only was I able to make intimate connections with people across the globe, but I also achieved a sense of great fulfillment. Service has always been a passion of mine, but through this trip I was able to see the true face of service. Its face was reflected in the countless smiles, hugs, and conversations that I had with the patients as well as in their gratitude when the time came for us to leave. Not only was I able to see my first surgery performed be such an expert, I was also able to confirm my desire to dive into the medical field. Vision Care has rewarded with gifts that are unseen by the naked eye – gifts that I will treasure until the end of my time in the form of these memories and bonds. I hope that one day I can return and serve just as well as Dr. Kim and Dr. Lee so that the face of service can be reflected in my own actions.