We write blogs every so often that often coincide with our group trips from the US to Guatemala. But the clinic is open daily Monday to Friday and we continue to grow. In fact in the past few months our staff has been seeing more and more patients. And our mountain teams are encountering more and more need. In our trips we are going further and further into the mountains behind Camotan. What we are finding is that as the distance from the village of Camotan grows, so does the poverty. Some of these new communities are a full hour drive from the paved road in Camotan. The drive is often steep and difficult on very rough dirt roads. All require a 4×4 vehicle to access. Our March group trip went so far that we were right at the Honduras border delivering medical care.
Our March team featured three regulars to Camotan Clinic: Dan Humer, PA, Dr. Joel Strohecker and Jessica Meyers, NP. We also had Dr. Michelle Thomas, a newcomer (but she is excited to come again in the future!). Dra. Debora Gonzalez a Guatemalan dentist also accompanied us from Guatemala City. And we had our resident dentist Dra. Evelyn Chajon who works in Camotan Clinic daily. Dr. Jovita Toledo of course continues to run our trips organizing every detail amidst seeing patients. She is the reason our clinic runs as well as it does! It was a great week of work.
After long days of work we always are up late working as well. We often see up to 200 patients a day in our mountain villages. This volume of patients requires much preparation and planning. As always, we use government built school houses (elementary, there is really not much education past 5th or 6th grade in the mountains) for our remote mountain clinics (see below).
In our remote clinics we take care of simple needs (colds, skin infections, diarrhea, etc). But almost more importantly we identify those who need serious care: surgeries, IV antibiotics, intense physical therapy, etc. We then help patients arrange transportation from the mountain to Camotan Clinic where they are evaluated. If needed we will refer patients for specialized surgery in Guatemala City. This is our outreach. And the need is immense.
Of course while our teams pushed further into the mountains each day we still had our resident dentist Dra. Chajon working daily as she always does. One or two providers usually stayed behind for general medical exams as well. So the clinic is incredibly busy each day. One day of our week, Fundacion Castillo Cordova also worked in the clinic (see pic above). We continue to be honored that they would choose Camotan Clinic as a home base. Fundacion Castillo Cordova is a premier charity organization in Guatemala. As we have written here before, their pediatric malnutrition program is superb with great outcomes. We are thrilled they have chosen to work with us. And they serve as a referral source for the many children we find who are malnourished in the high mountain villages.
We thus continue to see more and more patients. Our clinic continues to grow and our outreach continues to expand. As we identify more needs, it is the support of so many of you that helps us do this hard work. We are blessed to be doing this. And we are blessed to have many of you praying, donating time, donating money and giving supplies to this great cause. So thank you all again. And thank you for reading!