Melissa from Allandale Veterinary Hospital tells her experience about Guatemala

Day 5… a blog from Melissa
Landing in Guatemala City airport was what I expected. Small customs area and 2
old X-ray machines for your luggage. Customs was good,  they only opened one tote
(out of six) and did not have any problems with what we were bringing into their country.
So that was the start of our journey. We needed to head to Todos Santos, as this is the town where we would be working. We squished 8 people ( 9 if you count our driver),a huge wooden box, ( carrying the autoclave) our 7 totes and all of our hiking bags and off we went. Now Todos Santos is not far in Kilometers, however it is a 8 hour trip, as all the roads are winding and very steep. The Guatemalan’s are very aggressive drivers, there were a few times that I thought we may go over the mountain’s edge! We arrived at night and was met by veterinarian (who is a part of Vets Without Borders) and she showed us to our hotel. The conditions are poor, our hotel is more like a hostel. There were 3 double beds, with futon mattress on plywood and one old wickety desk, covered with cement walls. Very little bugs here, and have not seen any bed bugs, so it could be worse. Our shower is electric, and does not get warm, let alone hot, so we are definitely getting cold showers. We get up each morning at 6:30 am and head to a house where these ladies feed us breakfast. They also bring lunch to us and we return back to their house for dinner. The food has been pretty delicious, chicken, beef and banana pancakes, mmmm. We head over to the auditorium for a start to the day.
After a cold night, we waited patiently for good Guatemalan coffe before saying our first words


People walk for miles to get their pets vaccinated, or spayed and neutered. For the most part these owners love their pets, and the pets love their owners. Their conditions are poor, under-weight, infested in fleas and filthy. Vaccines go on all day and we do surgeries in the morning so they are awake to go home at 5 when we close the doors till the next day. We definitely have language barrier as they speak two languages, Spanish and MAM. . The surgeries are tricky as there is only limited drugs for anesthetic and no oxygen, but everything has been going well. I am excited to say we have spayed and neutered 52 dogs at this point and vaccinated 273 dogs and cats. We do have one more day of vaccines and surgeries tomorrow, but then ending Saturday with inventory for Vets Without Borders trip in 2014. The trip has been a amazing experience so far.
Kids love their pets