Our May group trip from the US featured a big group of 5 providers from the US. As the clinic continues to grow, more and more people ask us how they can help. That includes health care providers from the US. We always love having people come and introducing them to the work we do. In May we had Dr. Mark Speake from Florida join our group of providers from Denver, Colorado: Hannah Griffin PA, Robyn Moore PA, Jennifer Parsons PA, Jessica Myers NP and Dr. Joel Strohecker. As is usual, each trip from the US starts with collecting the many donations given to us. Below is Dr. Strohecker’s son Truman helping him pick up some of the many donated supplies for the trip to Guatemala.
Because of the large need, most medications are purchased from a pharmacy supplier. But the many donations you all give help us immensely. Organizations like Dave’s Locker (see: https://www.daveslocker.org) here in metro Denver gives us supplies regularly. And to those of you who drop supplies off at hospitals and our homes for those in Guatemala: thank you so much! They do make it. Sometimes we send a large shipment to the clinic, sometimes we fly with the supplies. But they get there. Thank you!
Of course getting supplies to the clinic is only half of the job. Once there, we unpack, sort, store and organize everything you donate (see below!)
As is usual, we spent the week in remote mountain villages like Tierra Blanca below. This setting is in a government built school house where children can get schooling – typically Kindergarten through 3rd or 4th grade. Surrounding these school houses are aldeas or little neighborhoods of huts that form a community.
With our bigger group, we were able to see approximately 150-200 patients a day in the villages. Of course the clinic is our home base and usually one provider works there each day as well seeing 20-25 patients. Our dentist works in the clinic every day as well. It is well stocked and we keep sensitive medications like insulin and shots there where they are refrigerated or kept cool. We also have custom supplies for patients like Edgar below who has spina bifida and walks with a major limp. Here Jessica Meyers NP is shown with him in the clinic. We bought special shoes for Edgar and he walks much better now thanks to them.
As is usual, our busy days turn into busy nights after dinner. We bag and prepare medications for the next day and work on follow up plans for patients who need further care or referrals to specialists. And we do quite a bit of laughing and having fun too.
After all the patients in a big village are seen and taken care of, we get to spend time with the kids in each village. It is a huge deal to them when a group comes to say hello. In these remote mountains and we are always greeted with smiles and thank you’s. It is a wonderful time that we all look forward to.
As we have been letting you all know, the clinic is growing and we continue to reach more and more people in need. We will soon have a full time Guatemalan medical resident physician in the clinic Monday to Friday alongside our Guatemalan dental resident, our Guatemalan nurses and our midwife. Our trips from the US are every 6-8 weeks with teams who come to support, re-supply and help grow the mission. And in between Dr. Toledo is managing the clinic and day to day operations. We are blessed to have you all joining us on this journey. Thank you again for reading!