So far, our trip to Central America has been a huge success, it’s hard to believe we’ve only been here for 4 days! In the past several days, we have fit 5 new patients with the OpenSocket. We’re excited to stay in touch with them and see how they do.

We weren’t able to schedule any patients over the weekend, so we decided to take the time to relax. We needed a chance to recover from the last week of fittings, and the past few weeks of intense preparation that went into making this trip a reality. Jonathan brought us to Santiago Atitlan, a small community on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Santiago is also a great place to give us a chance to dive into the rural culture of Guatemala.

Like most traveling in Guatemala, even though the distance was not that far, our trip still took a good amount of time. However, while the traveling may take time as measured by a stopwatch, it definitely does not seem to take a long time when the scenery is so beautiful, and the modes of transportation so diverse.  

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To get to Santiago, we originally expected to be riding in a microbus, which is basically a very small van, with a lot of people. Since no one else was coming to Santiago from the City, the company sent an SUV and an excellent driver named Luis.

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Luis drove us through and over the mountains for about 3 hours, until we got to a lakeside town. In that town, we would board a boat for a ride across Lake Atitlan to Santiago where we would be staying. Before boarding the boat, Ehsan was able to get in a quick game of soccer with some local children.

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After getting about half way across the lake, our boat began having problems. Almost every few minutes, the engine would stall, and the driver would work to get it going again. This turned what should have been a 30 minute ride, into one that lasted almost an hour.

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We were able to use the longer boat ride to talk to some of the Mayan women who were riding with us. Jonathan discussed our work with them, and Ehsan talked to them about his thesis on Design Towards 100%.

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When we arrived in Santiago, we took a quick tuk-tuk ride through town, and then found our way into our hotel. Once there, we dropped off all of our gear, and came down to the main building for dinner. We had an excellent dinner overlooking Lake Atitlan and one of the nearby volcanoes.

It is great to have time to relax and reflect on the work of the past few days, as well as the weeks to come. We’re excited to report that if all of our partnering organizations come through for us, we will be able to fit more than 20 arms in the coming week. We’ll keep you all posted on the many good things to come!

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