Masters of Disasters

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Imagine speeding across two countries in an ambulance with only a faint sense of direction, unable to speak the local language, fearless of what may be lurking around the corner, courageously riding on a promise that you made to help save the people of a remote Guatemalan village.

Everything seems to be going all right, until you’re assaulted and almost hijacked – only the people clinging to your bumper screaming, kicking and desperately trying to board your vehicle aren’t roadside bandits or thugs.

They’re Guatemalan officials, trying to tell you to turn back because you’ve entered their country illegally.

Such was one of many stories that New Mexican Rotarians Greg Chalmers and Jon Morrison got to tell upon their return from Guatemala earlier this year.

“They didn’t speak Spanish,” said Deborah Simon, president of the Española Rotary Club. “They mistakingly crossed illegally into Guatemala. Guys were jumping on their ambulance trying to stop them. The Rotarians swung the ambulance wildly trying to get them off.”

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