Health Talents International
Pepperdine Spring Break Mission
Feb 28-March7

Trip Participants: Physician: Dr. Brian Cress; Dentist: Dr. Stephen Hoff; Students: Carolina Botero, Brandon Lee, Taylor Hoff, Cari McWilliams, Patrick McMahon, Tim Weng, Alex Curry, PJ Clawson, Drake Woodside, Shayla Wahab; PA Student: Lindsey Pierce and husband Camilo Gonzalez; Team Leader: Julie Wheetley

The Pepperdine team got off to a quick start. All vehicles were ready and waiting at the airport when we arrived. Kemmel, Lisa, and Marcos met the team and we headed out for Chichicastenango. After a short pit stop along the road we arrived at the Hotel Pop Wuj and found our rooms. Once everyone was situated and cleaned up we headed out for dinner at Los Cofrades. All week long we dined at different places around Chichi. We had breakfast at Las Brasas, lunch in the communities and dinner at Los Cofrades and Casa San Juan. Everyone was pleased with the variety and quantity of food, mmm!

After dinner the whole team climbed the four flights of stairs to the roof top terrace of the hotel. From there Kemmel provided a short orientation for Chichi and we talked about how the rest of the week would go. After the orientation Kemmel led the group devotional time. He started out the devotional with a talk about HTI’s purpose and mission in Guatemala. Next he challenged the students to focus on service and their reason for WHY they were serving. We appreciated Kemmel’s thought provoking talks throughout the week.

Sunday was a day of fun and relaxation for the team. After breakfast the team headed to the Chichi market and spent most of the morning enjoying the culture. After a nice buffet lunch at Casa San Juan we walked to church together. Meeting with the Chichicastenango Church of Christ was a treat for the students until the announcements started at the end of the service! After the two hour service (and several students in need of a bathroom break) the brothers at the church proceeded to talk for another 45 minutes about the budget! The team survived the long service and hit the baño in a hurry.


After church we walked back to our hotel and had our devotional before dinner time. We said good night to Lisa and Kemmel and prepared for the clinic the next day. Monday morning started early with breakfast at 7am. At breakfast we divided into two teams and headed out to Mactzul Primero and Clinica Caris. The team at Mactzul had a great day with a steady flow of patients throughout the morning. In the afternoon the students occupied themselves playing kickball with a tennis ball and painting faces and hands of the many children. Dr. Brian, Dr. Lisa, Sheri K, Cari and Patrick were able to make a house call to visit a mother and her 5 day old baby. Dr. Brian is a pediatrician so it was perfect for him to be there that day to check on the new little bundle of joy. The team members at Clinica Caris had a slower day than those at Mactzul I. They were able to spend good quality time with patients and with Drs. Josefina and Marcos.

Tuesday the clinics were in Pacaja Xesic and Chutzurob. The group at Pacaja Xesic was excited to get to try the “bugger fruit” as the students called it. The real name of the fruit is passion fruit but all you have to do is open one up to understand the nick name the students gave the fruit. Patients were also seen in the morning in Pacaja Xesic followed by lunch provided by some church members. Over in Chutzurob the team arrived to find that there was a Catholic service happening in the village and most people were there instead of at the clinic. Some of the church members and health promoters went out to re-announce the clinic and stir up some patients for the group. Thankfully the announcing worked and the patients did arrive throughout the day. The team members saw patients, pulled teeth, and played with children. They came up with a fun new game for some of the kids…jump rope! Students rotated through the various stations so that they would have the opportunity to learn from the doctors and health promoters. Everyone got a tutorial on how to take blood pressure, how our pharmacy works, and the technique involved in pulling teeth. Sheri made sure to get a nice picture of the team member Brandon to post on her blog and show his mother. Apparently Brandon’s mother had been praying that he would go on a medical mission trip for years! God has a great way of answering prayer huh?!?

Wednesday was a very special day for the returning team members who went to San Jorge. The family who hosts the clinic in San Jorge is a very special family who bonded easily with the team. The daughters were around most of the day playing with and working alongside the students, the great grandmother stopped by for a visit and the day was altogether an enjoyable experience. After the team finished up with patients it was time to play dress up with some of the girls! Alex, Carolina and Julie were all dressed in San Jorge style including the pom-pom head dress! Meanwhile, the team in Xepol stayed busy with a bunch of medical patients at the very first clinic day ever in Xepol! Sheri and Lisa were pleased that there was such a great turn out. Of course the turnout was due in part to Gaspar who climbed into a tree with the megaphone to announce the clinic once more! Our health promoters are a great group of brothers and sisters! Tim also made sure to entertain the children with his silly games and broken Spanish.


Thursday was the last day of clinic for the team. A few students went to Caris with Dr. Lisa and the rest went to Mactzul Tercero. The clinic in Mactzul 3 was right next door to the school so there was a great deal of activity when recess time happened! The line for hand paintings was 15 or 20 deep at one point! The clinic also went well and Mactzul 3 kept the dentists very busy all day long. At lunch time the church members provided a great soup and lots of tamalitos for the group. At Clinica Caris the team was occupied with several cavity fillings and patient referrals. The students had a chance to sit with Lisa and Kemmel and ask all their burning questions about medicine in the mission field. All in all the team saw 168 Medical patients and 103 Dental patients.

After clinic the group joined up at the hotel to change clothes and head out to the soccer field! Everyone played some soccer and tried to keep up with Juan and Marcos and the other Guatemalan players! We had lots of fun and were impressed by Juan’s super soccer skills.

After soccer we cleaned up and headed out for our last dinner in Chichi at Casa San Juan. Friday morning we got up early and headed out for Antigua. We stopped at Tecpan for a nice buffet breakfast and then arrived in Antigua around 10am. The team unloaded their luggage and hit the market. In the afternoon we had a group salsa lesson for all the dancers in the group. It made for a lot of laughter and some funny pictures!

That night we had dinner at the hotel, devotional time after dinner and said goodnight. The next morning we were able to enjoy the buffet breakfast at the hotel since the flight out of Guatemala City wasn’t until 12:30. We got together in the hotel lawn for a group picture and then headed to the airport. Everyone was sad to leave and said that they hope to return soon.

Report by: Julie