Hello from Guatemala City! The team’s all here! Day 1 started bright and early as we gathered for breakfast at 6:15AM before making our way to the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center (MPSC) where the entire MPSC team greeted us outside. We had a quick tour of the facility and overview of the week ahead before the teams split up to tackle their jobs.

First up is the triage room located on the ground floor. This is where patients go when they first arrive. An RN will check the child’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse, oxygen saturation, height, weight, and look for any sign of fever.

Volunteers help organize the patients and their mothers into lines in the hallway. From there, they are ushered into their second stop – another triage room down the hall where our mission directors and plastic surgeons convene to set the surgery schedule for the week. For any other Austin Smiles trip-newbies, day 1 is where each child is brought in for assessment by the surgery team. They determine if the child is a good candidate, assess what medical treatment is needed, and lastly schedule the child for one of the following surgery days. It might sound simple but there are about 120 kids + their families here. It’s a very controlled chaos!

Other volunteers are in the front courtyard entertaining the siblings and other family members who are waiting. We have a coloring table, face painting station, bubble machine, and quite a few accomplished balloon animal creators.


If you make your way upstairs you will find the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) and OR (operating room) teams unpacking one of the 20+ crates we hauled through the airport. They are setting up their stations for the 4 full days of surgery ahead. We have a team of anesthesiologists, RNs, and surgical technicians running the show. This facility has 3 operating rooms and all need to be prepared. After we head out tonight, these rooms will be sterilized and ready to go for the first surgery tomorrow at 7:35AM.

I’ve heard some really wonderful stories today and am excited to share them with you over the next few days. Stay tuned!

-Your blogger for the week, Kelsey