Guatemala Mission Bound: The Training Begins
I will not even try to describe the traffic in Guatemala City. I don’t think I could truly do it justice. Three lanes of road and 5 lanes of traffic, and buses carrying more than you can imagine.
We soon arrived at our destination. We showed off the truck then went to meet the Vice President. He spent 34 years in Texas, spoke very good English, and was a cardiac surgeon. It was clear after he spoke to us that he wants to better his country, knowing they had many obstacles to overcome.
He went out and inspected the truck and was also very appreciative of our mission to train and equip the “Rescate” in basic rescue operations. This was the only rescue truck in the entire country.
The Rescate was a military group that provides rescue around the country and in surrounding countries. The problem, they had little equipment and little training. Something wrought by third world countries, but not realized by those in industrial nations like ours.
The next morning we were up at 5:45am and eating breakfast in the mess hall at 6:15am. The food was cooked on grills made of 55 gallon drums outside, using wood. There were no ovens or stoves. The Rescate went through line and was served, while we sat down and the Guatemalan women served us. We soon realized we were being treated very special.
We then headed over to the courtyard at the military school, also part of the base. We were seated and were welcomed by the commander of the school and then honored by the Guatemala National Anthem and then our National Anthem with an Honor Guard displaying the Guatemala flag and the US flag. We were extremely honored; it was a welcome that we would not soon forget.
Now, it was time to meet our students and put a training plan into action. We had about 50 Rescate to train, so I decided to put them into 5 groups of 10. Each group also had a translator as well. Then we had to explain to them that they would be rotating each day to a different station.
I felt the best way to pull this off, was to set up five stations, two rope stations and three vehicle rescue stations.
We had requested, and were told, we would have 22 vehicles to train on and destroy, but soon found that would probably not happen. We had hoped to have everything close by in order to make things run smoother and easier. That was not going to be the case. The rope stations were set up in a field on base, and we hoped that we could set up the other three stations on base as well, as they did have a bus sitting on a ravine for us to use.