Barb and Bob have returned from their trip in Guatemala.
An Overview of our Epiphany Medical Mission to Guatemala, in their own words:
The medical mission trip consisting of twelve (12) people representing the Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia was very successful. The group consisted of: a physician, a midwife, a psychologist, 2 rectors, 3 nurses, two interpreters, an engineer, and a photographer who was a clown (Guess who that was? Yep—Bob Welch). Each person paid for his/her entire trip from their own funds. Money donated to the cause ($6,000) was spent on medications e.g. vitamins, Vitamin B injections, anti-parasitic tablets, antibiotics, analgesics e.g. Tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin, upper respiratory meds e.g. cough syrups, bronco dilators, eye/ear drops, a few anti-hypertensive meds and bandages. We assessed and treated a little over 700 patients. We gave out many more vitamins/anti-parasitic meds to family members to take home for other family members that were not able to attend the clinics.
Our mission goal was: to make and maintain a medical relationship between the Mayan community and the members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania .
We visited four different villages in the mountains surrounding Xela, the 2 nd largest city in Guatemala. Two of the villages were very poor, another was more upscale, but their own clinic had been closed for a month and then a school for the hearing impaired and blind. Another village had the majority of its inhabitants absent to go south to work harvesting a coffee crop so we will see them on our next visit.
You'd fall in love with the Guatemalan babies........they are just beautiful, even the ones with runny noses, dirty faces, impetigo, scabies, parasites and specifically head lice. They have eyes that are PRECIOUS and LOVABLE!!
The families were very appreciative of everything we had to give: medications, love, prayers, balloons, balls and beanie babies for the kids, etc.............. Sanitary conditions are non-existent, water is impure, housing is pitiful and it was COLD, COLD, COLD. We were at 8,000' above sea level. The altitude didn't really bother us much, just a bit when we were climbing hills. We're ready to go again next January back to the same villages. They are eager to learn how to be well and we are all eager to help them.
Let us tell you first of all, why we choose to put our time, interest and $$ into a 3 rd World Country—Guatemala. In the USA, we have many poor people. However, the term “poor” is far different in the USA than in Guatemala. In our country, we do have a welfare system (it's not perfect, but it is something) as well as wonderful churches and other agencies that provide some support to our “poor”. In Guatemala, there isn't anything like a welfare agency. If you don't work, you don't eat, have housing or have medical care. Fortunately, many families do care for their own in Guatemala and the elderly are considered “precious,” respected and cared for by their families in the best possible way that the family can provide.
There are many stories to be told, but to keep your interest, we will send you a few pics and stories now and then to keep you interested. In the future, we'll tell you about, “THE PEOPLE,” “ THE HEALTH CARE,” and “THE HOMES” which hopefully, you'll find informative about a Third World Country.
In closing, we want to tell you how humble we are from having this experience. We Americans need to be so grateful for everything we have in our country. Yes, we agree that things in the USA are not always perfect or fair etc…. in many instances, but we do have it “good.” Our homes are mansions, our sanitary conditions are the best and our water and food products are essentially safe for us to consume, a great education is available, we are literate (if we went to WCS), we have access to free libraries, etc. etc. etc. We can wash our hands and bodies with warm water. We can drink water without having dysentery for months, we have food kitchens to get soup/sandwich if we have no money, we have heat by pushing a button instead of gathering wood each and every day to keep ourselves warm and cook.
Let us each be truly grateful and thank God for our many blessings and may we learn to truly share ourselves with others. We are “our brother's keeper.”
To begin with, here are pictures of:
(Please click thumbnails below, for larger views)
Preparing & Packing of Supplies
Dental Health Care Donations
Driving to the Mountain Villages
Entrance to the Village
Setting Up for Private Exam Areas
Dr. Paula Who Examined
Waiting in Line to be Registered for Exam
Awaiting Their Turn with their Intake Form
A Sick Baby Being Brought to the Clinic for Care
Adorable Guatemalan Child
Waiting to have Their Medication Orders Filled at Our Pharmacy
We Take Turns, Eating Lunch in the Van
The Big Kid (Bob) Making Faces to the Little Kids
We Pray Together
The End of the Day; We All Feel Tired and Silly.
Maps and Poster:
(Click thumbnails below for much larger views,
and then that enlarged photo for one size larger yet:
We are VERY PROUD of you Barb and Bob!!
What a magnificent job you have done - BLESS YOU!
Bob and Barb returned the next year (2009) as missionaries to Guatemala.
You can see their story and photos from that trip, by clicking the link below: