i left Todos Santos this morning at 4:15 am on a mini-bus. i thought i was lucky to avoid the chicken bus down the mountain…my legs certainly had a bit more room, but the Guatemalans are over achievers when it comes to winning the ‘how many people can you fit into a vehicle’ game, and we had 18 other people in the van with me…i am glad i don’t have personal space issues.

i have left Todos Santos with still one day of sterilizing and 2-3 days of spays to go. unfortunately i must get back to work in ontario and Dr. Enid Stiles arrived on Saturday to tag team me off. it is with mixed feelings that i leave Guatemala. i will be glad to get back to some comforts of home but will miss the friendly smiles of the community and the dogs and the spirit of the project. and of course the team.

the time i was there went pretty well. we saw many dogs we had seen in january and were able to continue our sterilization campaign on new dogs. we were also able to double the number of spays we had done in january…and the team still has a few more surgery days ahead of them. these days are difficult, stressful days as we are operating under exceptionally foreign conditions. the dogs ooze more, they are underweight and not always what we consider ideal surgical candidates. plus it is cold. with our successes always come complications from which we learn and continue to improve our protocols and procedures. some day it will be old hat.

as i left todos santos this morning i saw an incredible orange moon hanging in the valley. it was huge…what we call a harvest moon back home. i wondered when i would back to this village. and when i did return would the dogs i know still be alive. i know we have done some great work in todos santos…and funds willing, will continue to do so. this is not a short term project. but it is a project that is desired by the community. the peace corps volunteer told us last night at dinner that she appreciated the work that we are doing and is thankful that she can walk out in her town now without getting bit or attacked by dogs. can you imagine what it would be like to live with that fear day after day??

so now i sit in antigua. i have had a hot shower and am going to find something other than rice and beans and potatoes and tortillas to eat for dinner. a big plate of vegetables would be amazing. now that i have good lighting in my new room, i see that i have hundreds of bed bug bites along my entire mid-drift. thankfully they are not too itchy…yet. while tonight i will be very comfortable, i will be thinking of my team and sending good wishes their way for a successful remainder of the week. i will be wishing i was back with them in todos santos. i will also be wishing for the continued improvement in Terry’s health and for the speedy recoveries for our surgical patients. but i don’t think i’ll be wishing for tortillas….

Buenos noches. – Kate