San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – I wish I was back

It has been three weeks since I returned from Guatemala and I still wake up wishing I was back. I do not know if it's the peacefulness of the lake in early morning, the walk to the hospital encountering all kinds of smiling faces, the good full days of work, the people you meet, the stories you hear, the friends you—all together for me, it's what I long for.   I was asked recently after returning from this trip, “Where was home for me anymore?”   “Home” is Kansas City, that is where I feel I belong now. But Guatemala is “my country”. I ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán – More than just a Medical Doctor

Dr. Tun, a gentle man, soft spoken, very gracious, hardworking, and the most humble person I have met in my life.   Dr. Tun’s story began at the hospital in San Lucas Tolimán 19 years ago, he had been sent to medical school after his older brother, who was the one studying to be a doctor, passed away in a car accident. He originally wanted to go to law school, but his brother’s goal to help others was an inspiration for him to change careers and figure out how to do the same. And he has been working hard since then.   As the only physician ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán – First Timer

It is sometimes hard for those of us that are non-medical mission participants, to feel that we are providing the same amount of service that our amazing doctors and nurses provide on these missions. But what we quickly realize is we all play a crucial role, and on top of that, you recognize how much you have been changed because of the experience.   I asked Marta Salinas, as a non-medical participant (a "first- timer" for that matter) to share how figuring out what you can do for others changes your life in the process.  - Carmen   As I packed for my ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – Women’s health for San Lucas

It was close to 3pm and I noticed two women sitting in waiting area almost ready for surgery. I had noticed them earlier in the that morning sitting next two each other. I found out that one of them was Juana, 73-years-old, and getting ready to have surgery with Dr. Annie.     Juana’s daughter-in-law, was the woman sitting next to her. She had accompanied Juana from Godinez, a community about an hour away by car. It is common for generations to live together, Juana’s daughter-in-law shared, "I have been in the family for 31 years and I will bring ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – A life-changing experience for all

One of the rewards of coming back to the same mission location year after year, is seeing how patients who received a life-changing surgery are doing.   We have seen Suzely, a now 13-year-old girl that came to the team on the first year of the mission. Then 4 years old with a mass on the side of her face. For couple of years our team would work to remove more and more of the mass, it now finally gone!   We have a young man that cut his finger with a machete while working in the fields. Dr. Alley, (an original member from the first San Lucas ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – Weaving an Imprint

As I said in my first blog, there were some characters and stories in the life of the San Lucas mission that I had left out on purpose. Josie and her husband Josh Uecker, CRNA were the founding mission coordinators for the San Lucas Tolimán medical mission in Guatemala.   I had the honor to have Josie Uecker, CRNA as my "Mission Coordinator Mentor". Everything I know about coordinating a trip and medical mission group came from her teachings and experience. Yes, we do need to have organizational skills, resourcefulness and creative attributes to make things ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – #HopefortheChildren

Yesterday a group of volunteers made the trip to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.   Quetzaltenango, is the second largest city in Guatemala, with a rapidly growing population of about 200,000 residents. The massive influx of people coming to the city from the mountains in search of a better life, have been welcomed by a lack of new jobs being created or job training opportunities. These families typically settle on the periphery of the city, now areas of great poverty. Rural poverty account for about 71% of the country’s population (7 out of every 10 people). &...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – Meet Daniel

"Education is a key to unlocking knowledge”   Christmas of 2013, the children of Mike and Cindy Rudolph (long-time dedicated volunteers and participants with Medical Missions Foundation) presented their parents with a very special gift: a scholarship fund to use in San Lucas Tolimán. This gift was then granted to Daniel, a now 23-year-old San Lucas local, who wanted to do his part for the community, specifically in the local hospital.   After conversations and guidance from Dr Tun, it was decided that one of the largest needs for the hospital an ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – Meet Mayra “Master of Languages”

Even though Spanish is recognized as the official language in Guatemala, 21 different Mayan languages are spoken, especially in rural areas.   Kiche and Kaqchikel are predominant in the San Lucas and surrounding areas. A town of 17,000 people and 90-95% predominantly Mayan. US Spanish translators sometimes have to have our own translators, as a majority of our patients are Mayan.   Meet Mayra, our Kaqchikel translator. A nurse of 11-years at the hospital In San Lucas and a native of the town. She was asked to return to the hospital in 2006, after a ...

Read More


San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – Meet Pablo Benedicto

Since 1994 Pablo has served his community with much care, humility, and a lot of energy, as the hospital care taker.   When Pablo was a 12-year-old child suffered from tetanus. After this discouraging diagnosis, it was an unheard of when he did recover. Pablo said he felt “it was a miracle.” Because of this, he promised to serve in the hospital, as an offering to do his part, caring for those that needed it like him. Sixty-eight years old now, he is still proudly serving.   He is the first one in, and that last one to go every day. He will open ...

Read More