Best of the Blog, Central America, Destinations, Guatemala, Personal Ramblings

Coffee at Lake Atitlan

Yet again this post is about a week late. Life in Xela just doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, which is a good thing I guess. My life consists of morning workouts, classes, conferences, studying at cafés, and the occasional, or sometimes more than occasional, night out. Anyway the last big thing to happen here was our group trip to Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan is huge and beautiful, but unfortunately we were there during a fairly cloudy weekend so we didn’t really get to experience the entirety of its beauty.

We had aimed to leave at 6am, but as per usual the bus drivers were on Guatemala time, not American time so 6am turned into 8am. Luckily, Gregory Alan Isakov was there for me and I didn’t actually lose my shit over the insanely late drivers. Side note, if anyone wants to listen to beautiful, calming music download Gregory Alan, works every time. We made it to San Pedro eventually, took a boat across the lake to Santiago to tour a NGO hospital, called Hospitalito Santiago, and were all pleasantly surprised. I had no idea what to expect when we pulled up to the hospital, all crammed into tiny tuk tuks, but it was wonderful.

The hospital was designed by an architect from Texas so it’s filled with natural light to cut down on energy use and the entire hospital is designed around the nurses station, allowing the nurses easy access to all parts of the hospital. There are solar panels on the roof which allow the hospital to keep running through the ever common black outs (Santiago is at the end of it’s energy grid so electricity is spotty at best). There is a beautiful garden that grows local medicinal herbs and vegetables. The staff is made up of about half permanent local doctors and half a rotating selection of foreign doctors on volunteer shifts of no less than 6 months. They bring specialists in when they need them and can get them, but for the most part run a self sustaining practice. The icing on the cake is that they hire people from the community then pay for their training in whatever the hospital needs, be it electrical or nursing, with the idea that after they would work a few years at the hospital. I’m generally very critical of international medical aid, and this hospital was started by an American, but this is one of the few examples of well done medical aid. There is continuity of care for the patients due to the hospital being permanent and the community benefits from the education programs/increase in skilled jobs available. Needless to say I was impressed.

Before i get started i just want to mention how much im loving my vinyl records lately, so when i seen the RSD Vinyl Giveaway naturally i had to enter the Vinyl Giveaway. Im aware
ny brother also collect records so i have also shown his the Official record giveaway and i hope we win something good hehe!
I started collecting years ago after winning my first album at a local stores vinyl giveaway, i won 2 albums and was hooked ever since. So naturally any record giveaway i see i must enter, this RSD giveaway is no exception.
Within the coming months ill be working on showing you guys more of my collection and sharing some of the cool albums i have acquired over the decade. But you must enter this RSD Vinyl Giveaway
as i said my first vinyl giveaway got me hooked forever. Goodluck to you all in this Vinyl competition!

We then talked to one of Hospitalito’s residents, a MPH/MD from Boston, MA. She was so informative and honestly I wanted to be her. She talked about how she’s using her MPH and her Spanish everyday in her practice in Boston and how her time abroad helped to improve both of these things; she had stayed in Guatemala prior to her current medical residency in Santiago. She was honest about the fact that medical school, especially the first two years, is hard and can suck, but she said she loves every second of her job now. It really made me think about my future post graduate school, who knows, maybe I’ll go back and get my MD after all.

The rest of the trip was a vacation to the warmth of the lake. We zip lined, walked around in shorts, and drank beer on the coast. We had the best coffee of my entire life at this little coffee house called Cafe Loco, located in Panajachel where we stayed. Ironically the coffee house was run by 5 Koreans who moved to Guatemala simply for access to great coffee. You could see their passion for coffee in every cup they made, from the slow precision of their pour over technique to their adorable foam art. I would go back to Pana simply for the coffee.

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