Health Talents International

Guatemala Mobile Medical/Dental Clinic
July 26-31, 2000

Participants: Drs. Julie Kalb, Anne Propseri, Stephanie Prosperi, and Stan Sizemore; Dentists Dr. Bob Simmons and Dr. Don Lowrance; Family Nurse Practioner Julianna Olson; RN Mary Reynolds; Chaplain/RN/Translator David Hammond; Acting Dental Assts Nancy & Phil Eichman, Connie Pyles, and Gary Tabor; Translators Jennifer Goodfred and Rob Smith; Chief in Charge of Maintenance Alfred Anderson; and non-medical personnel Amy Anderson, Amy Eichman, John Eichman, John Goodfred, Erin Pyles, Michael Reynolds, Susannah Sizemore, and Marie Agee.

Assisted by: Dr. Sergio and Veronica Castillo, Dr. Jim Gill, and Marco Diaz. Also assisted by health promoters Maruca, Dina, Diego of Xejuyup and Diego of Maxanija

We arrived in Guatemala on time. Many in the group had been together on clinics before so there was a good bit of excitement about renewing friendships, especially among the teenagers. We spent the first night again at the seminary and left early enough to be in Chocola by 8 a.m. Breakfast was waiting for us.

Patzité: Patzité is a remote Mayan village about an hour and a half from Chocola. When we arrived, we saw a huge crowd of people waiting for us! It was an absolute full palette of color because of the women's clothing. Dr. Sergio Castillo preached for a bit before clinic began, and the people listened attentively. Work then began in earnest because many were waiting to be seen. By the end of the day the medical doctors had treated about 125 people. Even though we had only two dentists, they treated 150. Whew!

Late in the day I was walking through the crowd when I saw a little girl who had conjunctivitis really bad. I talked with her and determined that she had not seen a doctor, so I took her by the hand and walked her over to Sergio. He examined her then sent someone to find her mother. Turns out the mother knew her daughter needed help, but had not tried to get an appointment because she had no money. She was delighted when Dr. Castillo gave her medicine for her daughter anyway.

Montellano: This is the site where our new surgical facility will be located. Dr. Castillo holds clinic here one day a week. Today the statistics were reversed from yesterday's. Here the medical doctors saw 300 patients, and the dentists, Dr. Simmons and Dr. Lowrance had 100 patients-which is still a lot. I daresay dentists in the States don't see 50 people in one day!

I stayed behind in Chocola to sort through the shipment that had recently come in. Several of the teenagers stayed to help me. Alfred Anderson also stayed to try to repair one of the old Army autoclaves. We have two of them and had ordered new parts for one, thinking that if Alfred could repair one of them, we'd then order parts for the other. His biggest challenge was in removing the old heating element, which was held in by old rusty bolts! He never was able to get all of them out. He's coming back for the surgical clinic with different tools and will try again.

During the day a family came in with their 2-month-old baby who weighed only about 5 pounds. Sergio introduced them to me, saying that the mother's milk had dried up and they had no money for formula. He said, "This is why we need to improve the nutrition program here."

Chocola: We had another full day. Julianna Olson saw a young boy about 12 who badly needed glasses. Since we had no eye doctor on the team, she pondered what to do for him. Then she remembered that when she had been working with me in sorting the new shipment we had found a full-page magnifying sheet in one of the boxes. She went back, searched for it and found it and gave it to him so he could take it to school and be able to read his books. She also told him to return for a full exam when the eye doctors were in Chocola for the eye surgery clinic.

Dr. Anne Prosperi saw a little girl who was 7 or 8 years old who had an unusual growth in her eye. This seemed to be the week for eye problems. We also identified several patients who needed surgery.

Everyone worked really hard throughout the day, but we were able to leave for Guatemala City in the late afternoon. We stayed once again at the San Carlos Hotel and had dinner down the street at the La Estancia Restaurant.

Sunday: On Sunday morning we were privileged to worship with about 1,000 of our Guatemalan brothers and sisters! A few times a year the Churches of Christ in Guatemala City have a joint Sunday morning service, and we happened to be there for this one. We saw many old friends, including Steve and Magda Sherman and Roberto and Marta Alvarez.

We then spent the afternoon in Antigua, then returned to the hotel for an evening devotional. David Hammond has done an excellent job as our team chaplain in keeping us focused. He stressed that "sacrifice" is not a negative thing when you are sacrificing for the Lord.

There were several teenagers on the team, and they were a big help. They participated in several ways, from teaching Bible stories to the children, to taking blood pressures and temps in triage, to helping unpack the shipment of surgical supplies. They were a great bunch!

The final total number of patients treated during these three days was 750-800. We were privileged to share the compassion of Jesus with each of them. God was glorified without a doubt!