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Like Father, Like Son

I met Daniel Castro (age 53) and his son Juan Danilo (age 18) on Thursday. Danilo was prepping for surgery that would remove a lipoma from his belly.


The father was no stranger to the MedMissions’ team. Daniel had a double hernia repaired during last year’s mission. For Daniel, it had truly been a life-changing event. Before the surgery, he had been in constant pain and was forced to reduce the time he worked on his farm. Because of Daniel’s disability, Juan Danilo had to pick up a larger portion of the farm work, which, in turn, reduced his time in school.IMG_2271


After Daniel’s successful hernia repair in 2015, Danilo was able to return to his studies full-time. Motivated in part by his father’s experience in the hospital, Danilo has chosen a career in nursing and started his university studies in January.


Now, Danilo was the one who needed surgery. Fortunately, his relatively simple lipoma removal was less complex than his father’s surgery last year. Shy and soft-spoken, Danilo admitted that he was “scared” as he waited for his surgery.


Extroverted and enthusiastic, father Daniel reassured his son that he was “very scared” as he faced his surgery last year. “As I told my son, I have had surgery for two hernias. Now, look at me! I am saying the same things in my community, where there is another woman who has a hernia and is scared.”


The Castros live in Xejuyu, a town of 5,000 people, 30 minutes by bus from San Lucas Toliman. Hernias are common in these hard-working farm communities in Guatemala. Cost, as well as distance, is what limits families like the Castros from the surgical repairs they need.


The math is simple for Daniel. His farm income averages 2,000 Quetzales per month (about $270), which barely covers their daily expenses and Juan Danilo’s schooling, which he knows to the penny. Danilo’s surgery could have been performed in a private hospital, but the Q 12,000 is well beyond their means.

Daniel could not have been more enthusiastic in his appreciation for the services MedMissions is providing for him and his son. “I would like to thank the doctors for doing such a good job on me and coming once again to work on my son.”


With no formal education of his own, Daniel takes special pride in the education of his eight children. “I am very proud of him,” says Daniel, when asked about his son’s nursing aspirations.


Allowing a father to work his farm, which, in turn, advances his son’s schooling. Surgeries that transform lives — for the patient and for those that depend on them.


Postscript: I saw Juan Danilo and his father during morning rounds the next day. The surgery was a success. Juan Danilo was released to go home that morning.