Mission Possible: Guatemala Edition

Junior Zahra Ahmad takes a trip to Escuintla, Guatemala to help citizens in need of hygiene products and medical attention.

A little girl lacking nutrition and proper attention races up from behind and embraces the volunteer who provided her with the supplies she never had. This volunteer is junior Zahra Ahmad, who recently went on a mission trip to Guatemala to provide hygiene products and assistance to the citizens of Escuintla.

Ahmad has known of the program, Humanity First, since she was young, and this past year, she felt there was an opportunity for her to grow in her knowledge of the medical field and experience situations in the world around her.

“I have always been interested in things dealing with the medical field,” Ahmad said. “I volunteered at a hospital before, so I knew what it was like, and then when I saw this opportunity, I thought it would be a great way to see the situation in another country.” The goal of the trip was to provide medical and emotional attention to Guatemalans in an under served area at a number of clinics.

“They need medical volunteers—my dad is actually a doctor so he treated and saw some patients there with the help of a translator,” Ahmad said. “As a minor volunteer, we could take blood pressure, work in the pharmacy and help the hygienist out.”

Although she had never participated in a mission trip before, Ahmad recognize how this experience influenced the people she helped and expanded her own perspective.

“I really love the personal one-on-one connection you can get from people because the patients there would come up to us and give us hugs,” Ahmad said. “They were really thankful and said, ‘I love that you are doing this’ because the support was more emotional; yes, someone can give them prescriptions, but when they run out, that’s all they have.”

While on her trip to Guatemala, Ahmad was able to see the privileges she had living in Troy and understand what she never could before.

“The doctors would always say always wash hands, wear gloves, don’t touch the patients because of a disease called scabies and so many people there couldn’t even afford food,” Ahmad said. “When I was shadowing a doctor, there was a sixteen year old girl who came in with her baby. I’m sixteen and I could never imagine making decisions on food or necessities to help a baby grow.”

Ahmad not only enjoyed gaining a deeper appreciation for her own life, but got to enjoy the trip and the fun experiences provided by her host family.

“There [was] a nice courtyard in the middle. It was beautiful,” Ahmad said. “They were so sweet and helpful and provided good, fresh Guatemalan food.”

This mission trip helped many citizens in need and overall was a positive and insightful experience for Ahmad. She enjoyed facing new challenges while being able to help others which is something she loves to do.

“I think it’s amazing [helping someone] because you can see the impact right in front of you,” Ahmad said. “Even that small person you helped does impact your life because you can see it.”