HEALTH TALENTS INTERNATIONAL
Mobile Medical & Dental Clinics
Montellano, Suchitepequez, Guatemala
July 21-26, 2004

By Rick Harper

Trip Participants: Ashley Baird, Ginger Burns, RN, Kaci Burns, Steve Fox, Susan Fox, Dennis Griffin, Elaine Griffin, RN, Susan Harper, Teresa Harris, RPh, Johnny Hobbie, David Lux, Josefina Lux, Andrew McCormick, Larry Owens, RPh, Cesar Romero, Xiomara Romero, MD, Jennifer Searcy, RN, Rhonald Searcy, Brenda Simpson, RN, Phil Stewart, DDS and Jacqui Willits, RN,

As on the last trip, everyone arrived on time with no travel complications as did our luggage. We spent Saturday night, if you call a few hours a night, at the Semilla seminary and arose early for the two hour trip to Clinica Ezell. We arrived in Montellano shortly after 7:00 AM, unpacked, ate breakfast, organized a bit, received our emergency tools and supply pack from Dennis Griffin, broke into two groups and hit the road.

The team had been told on Saturday night that we were working in several new communities and that they represented the first visiting US team to work in San Bartolo Mixpilla, La Libertad and San Bartolo Nonzales. Surprises await!

The first surprise came in the form of a baby girl in La Libertad. We were using the La Libertad Church of Christ building for medical care and the porch of a nearby sister for dental procedures and pharmacy. It turns out that she is a midwife and one of her clients went into labor with a breech baby while we were there. Dr. Walter Sierra, nurses Ginger Burns and Brenda Simpson came to the rescue and delivered a healthy, nine pound baby girl. The clinics on that first day in Chocola and La Libertad provided care for more than 100 patients.

On day two, both dentists worked at Clinica Ezell and we saw our normal Friday clinic patients. This team alone, saw more than 150 medical and dental patients. The second surprise came in the form of an illness by Dr. Silvia Albizures, our staff dentist. She came down with a urinary infection that left her unable to work that day, so it fell to Dr. Phil Stewart and his assistant, daughter, Jennifer Searcy.

Surprise number three came that same day as one group traveled to Xejeyup where the mayor presented us with an official invitation and request to work in their community on a regular basis.

On our last day of clinics, we traveled to San Bartolo Mixpilla and San Bartolo Nonzales. The San Bartolo Nonzales group was treated to a festive parade, regrettably not in their honor, and a steady stream of visitors checking out the Americans. San Bartolo Mixpilla provided Johnny Hobbie the opportunity to share a message of encouragement with a hurting family. The mother is dying of terminal cancer and the family asked that we provide some encouraging words and assistance with the impending funeral expenses. Prayers were delivered in English, Spanish, Mam and Quiche. Dr. Castillo will provide assistance through our mercy fund to aid in burial expenses.

Like so many groups before them, this team dealt with uncertainty and God provided the unexpected. Three new communities! Would the patients come? They did and in varying numbers. Would the accommodations and organization be sufficient? Sufficient enough, though little more. More than sufficient for God to bless others through our hands. Would I be useful? Just ask Theresa Harris who came as a pharmacist and spent much of her time touching tiny, round, brown-eyed faces.

Blessed? You betcha!