A lifetime in 2 weeks

Our interpreting team and surgeon 
On my last morning here in San Cristobal Las Casas, it’s hard to believe I have been in Chiapas for 2 weeks. It literally feels like a little lifetime, this 2 weeks serving as a volunteer interpreter for Mammoth Medical Missions’ 2015 Chiapas trip.

It’s so interesting how you can live your life, do your regular thing, and time goes by in some semblance of predictability. Stuff happens, yet there’s a flow and a rhythm that is familiar, comfortable, known.

And then there are those peak life experiences, where you make a choice to put yourself smack dab in the middle of a completely new, unfamiliar and unpredictable situation. 

Each day is filled with so many new experiences, emotions, people, events and situations that you are always slightly off kilter, drawing on a deeper well of resilience, resources and energy to meet the day’s and the moment’s unique challenges. You discover you can handle way more than you thought you could, adapt more easily to changes and varying circumstances than you thought possible. You find yourself growing in new ways, stretching your sense of self and what is possible, discovering fresh perspectives.

Having spent these past 2 weeks in constant and intimate proximity to our team, the hospital staff and the people we have been here to serve, I am looking forward to the long plane trip home alone and the chance to process and let it all settle. This has definitely been one of the richest and most rewarding and moving experiences of my life, and after 60+ years on the planet, that is saying a lot!

One of the images that is engraved in my heart, is the beautiful young indigenous woman who woke up from anesthesia in the operating room, crying from relief and gratitude that the inguinal hernia that she had suffered from for years, that had caused her so much pain that she had only been able to eat 2 tortillas a day for the past 2 months, was now gone through the miracle of surgery.

The world’s problems are so vast, and we often feel so hopeless and helpless in the face of the enormity of suffering that surrounds us, it is a huge blessing to be able to have played a small part in relieving the suffering of even one person.

Hasta la vista Chiapas and your beautiful people,  it has been an amazing 2 week lifetime for which I will always be deeply grateful.


  1. What an amazing journey, Julie! I'm looking forward to hearing all about it in person.

  2. Julie, I can never thank you enough for extending your stay to help the team and the people of Chiapas. I hope to see you again. -Fru

    1. Thank you Fru for asking me - I wouldn't have msised it for the world! Hope to see you next year too!