All in the Family

Family is one of the most important things to the people in San Lucas. Families who come with their loved ones, receiving an operation, wait outside the hospital for hours and sometime almost all day, until they know they are okay. Coming from a big, close-knit family, it warms my heart to be immersed in a culture where family is valued. Our Medical Mission team has been blessed this year by the service of the Miller Family. The Miller family, including Mark, his wife Jeanette and their two daughters Sarah Grace and Lois, have been wonderful to get to know and work ...

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San Lucas 2019- We All Have Something To Give

“I have been experiencing pain for about 12 years,” Gaspar told me in regards to his hernia he was having surgery for today. As we talked while he waited for his surgery, he told me about how the hernia had impacted him and his family’s lives. Hernias are common in men Gaspar’s age and even younger, because of the heavy lifting and carrying required by those who work in the coffee fields. Due to the pain the hernia caused, Gaspar could no longer stay working in the coffee fields, causing him to switch jobs. He said the pay working in the coffee fields was ...

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Breaking Barriers

“I can do things you cannot do, you can do things I cannot do, together we can do great things.” -Mother Teresa I can’t think of a better way this quote is represented than by the collaboration of the translators and medical team. This week we get to work with translators Abram and Enma, as well as Sulamita. Sulamita is a part of our team, and her bilingual skills and talents ensure that everything at patient registration runs smoothly.   The translators work with the medical team to better communication for the patients. They relay patient questi...

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San Lucas 2019 – Day One

Welcome to day one of the 10th anniversary San Lucas Medical Missions adventure. Our volunteer team, as well as the hospital staff, started the day ready to serve all who came to the hospital. Our medical team prepared for the first stretch of surgeries. The schedule so far has 80 surgeries, ...

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San Lucas 10 Year Anniversary Trip!

And so it begins again… On Friday the advanced team arrived in Guatemala, two of the “original crew” are still part of the team! Dr. John Alley has been part of the original Medical Missions Foundation team and has performed over 800 surgeries in San Lucas. But, if you consider all the lives he has improved and the lessons learned from all the volunteers, his impact has been much greater.  We thank Dr. Alley for his hard work and his love for the people of San Lucas Toliman. He even calls San Lucas his second home and measures his time through the ...

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San Lucas 2018 – Blessings

Introduction by Carmen Gramajo-Moser   For the last nine years, one thing has been a guarantee for Dr. Tun, the hospital, Medical Missions Foundation, and San Lucas: Dr. John Alley will be your surgeon.   For those of us who know him, we know that Guatemala has become his second home.  I personally believe that his heart was stolen by this little girl Sucely; he operated on her cystic hygroma during our first trip and has followed up every year since then. Sucely is the same age as his daughter Caroline, both are 12 years old now.   I've ...

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San Lucas 2018 – Laughter Heals

As a volunteer sometimes our work is never done, even when we are not on location with the team, there is work to be done. Many of us have been lucky enough to encounter other volunteers that have shared their compassion and work practices, and have ultimately made us better human beings and better volunteers.   As I said in a post earlier this week, some of my best friends have come from the last ten years of traveling to Guatemala with Med Missions, and one person, in particular, has had a strong impact on me and has contributed to those “lessons of ...

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San Lucas 2018 – A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Today is an exciting day for the surgical team; a rarity lies before them.   Dr. Alley, surgeon and longtime San Lucas mission veteran, was quite surprised; “This is special, I have only seen this in a picture in a book!” One patient’s appendix was found in his hernia sack! In medical terms, we call this an Amyand´s hernia, after the French surgeon who discovered it. “He had to have been very uncomfortable, the right side of his colon was in his scrotum,” Dr. Alley adds.   The patient, Felipe, is an 82-year-old father of 12 with 4 ...

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San Lucas 2018 – #HealthforGuatemala

We are here as a team to bring #HealthforSanLucas, but after nine years of missions, our reach has grown to the communities surrounding Lake Atitlan. We meet patients who have traveled long distances to see us. Today we met quite a few of those patients including Juana, a 50-year-old who traveled from Quiche, a small town 114 miles, or 5 hours and two bus rides away so she could get help for a bladder prolapse procedure. Maria, 55, traveled from Chimaltenango for a hernia repair. Her journey of 42 miles took over two hours to complete. We also met Mendon, an 18-year-old ...

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San Lucas 2018 – Why I Return

Through 12 years of volunteering with Med Missions, I have met some of my favorite people, some of my best friends. I have met amazing people who have dedicated their lives to caring and serving others.  Their passion, commitment, humility, and selflessness have inspired me, given me direction and appreciation for the work that needs to be done in the world.   One of those amazing people is my good friend Dee Reed. I honestly look forward to the time I get to share with her every year in that PACU area, and every year I get to know, discover and learn things ...

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