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Guatemala Mission Bound: The Training Begins

Guatemala Mission Bound: The Training Begins

David Pease

Well, as with anything we do, there is always something that pops up. We had a ticket issue that had to be corrected before departing Raleigh Durham. I did learn that the name that appears on the ticket needs to match the one on your passport. The name you are accustomed to, might not work. That’s what happens when you order ten tickets at the same time and the name thing doesn’t occur to you.

We got the ticket squared away and we boarded the plane for Atlanta. The forty minute flight to Atlanta was uneventful, except for the concern of Luke’s luggage making the flight. Once we reached Atlanta it was a short lay over before we were boarding the plane for Guatemala. The flight was not too long, but our anticipation of the unknown made it seem longer.

Soon we were flying over the beautiful country of jungles and mountains. We were shortly on approach to the airport at Guatemala City and on the ground. The US Embassy website had warned travelers of the crime rate in Guatemala so we were prepared for some of what we may face.

We were off the plane and greeted in the terminal by Rodger and Silva, along with several military personnel. Our next step was to clear customs with our bags and additional equipment that we brought. We reluctantly handed our passports to a young Guatemalan who spoke fairly good English, even though you are told never to turn loose of your passport.

The next thing we knew our baggage was cleared and our passports were stamped and given back to us. We proceeded through the terminal as the rest of the passengers looked on as though we were on a fast pass at Disney World. The military loaded our bags in the back of a truck and we all boarded a van for the trip to the base, which was not far away.

We arrived at the base and the first order of business was to check out the truck and all the equipment, to make sure it was all there, and it was. The next thing was to check out our accommodations and get our stuff stowed away. The barracks was old, but clean. The base was built in 1945 by the US as a communications outpost and then later given to Guatemala. There has been little to no improvements since. The bunks were meager, but adequate. Each had a blanket and small pillow. The bathroom and showers allowed no privacy, but we could deal with that. However, having no hot water was a little tough. All in all, we would make it our home for the next week.

We changed into our jumpsuits for the trip to meet the Minister of Defense and the Vice President, and show them the rescue truck and equipment. We piled into a van and we were off, followed by a team of security personnel.