Author: Andrea Guidry, RN

I was fortunate to be a member of the Austin Smiles medical mission to San Salvador, El Salvador in June 2016.  Austin Smiles performs one-week medical missions in Latin America (Guatelmala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico).  The team generally consists of about 30-40 licensed professional medical volunteers and many non-medical volunteers providing translation, administrative, and technical support.

Having safely traveled with Austin Smiles to Central America on many medical missions over the past 23 years, I was a bit concerned when I recently read that San Salvador is the murder capital of the world. We had military guards with us during our bus rides to and from the hospital and during our city tour. It was concerning, but then again, knowing the many children with cleft lips and palates that we were able to help, quieted my qualms.

Exhausted at the end of the weeklong 12-14 hours days, I question my desire for future missions. When I return to Texas (where I can eat fresh salads and drink fresh water – Hallelujah!), and review the pre and post-surgical photos taken of these precious children and their families, I am once again inspired.

To find out more about this wonderful, life-changing organization, please visit www.austinsmiles.org.