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 ...

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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 ...

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San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – We are one

There is a certain feeling when you see the sign “Bienvenidos a San Lucas Tolimán” after the four-hour ride through bumpy roads, potholes and speed bumps. After hours of massive walls of vegetation and rocks from the mountains that surround you on each side. After scenes like an accident between a “camioneta” (chicken bus) and a semi-truck which causes traffic to stand still. We see that sign and we know, “We are here!”   As we hit the main road of this small town we run into a traffic stoplight and then a second one, and we realize, “this is ...

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San Lucas Tolimán 2017 – How it all started

As I depart on my 9th trip to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala with Medical Missions Foundation, I decided to write this blog as reflection on how it all started. Overall, two words immediately come to my mind. “Humility Lesson.”       My first experience with Medical Missions was when I encountered a group that was participating in a medical mission to Antigua, Guatemala. As a Guatemalan local myself (born and raised), but a transplant to Kansas City over two decades ago, I had the pleasure to be introduced to this organization as I was ...

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India 2017 – And It Ends…Or Does It Have To?

As quickly as this mission began it is now over. We are all home and slowly processing the events of our week in India. In the last few days I have spent more hours on a train that I want to admit; countless hours traveling home and several jet lagged coma induced hours since I have been home thinking about how I can wrap up our mission to India in a few paragraphs. I want so badly to honor the work that our team did that I want to carefully choose the right words. Please, if I miss don’t let it diminish the accomplishments of the other 25 members of our mission team. ...

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India 2017 – He Cried

I don’t want to brag but I have to be the member of this mission team with the best of all responsibilities. Each day I take photos of anything about our trip including the surrounding area and I get to write about anything I want. I have full access to talk with each member of our team every day about cases, how they are feeling and what they have seen. I have the chance to hear each person’s part of a medical case but there is a good chance I am the ONLY person that has heard the whole story about a particular patient. As the pieces of one of the cases started to ...

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India 2017 – “What Is Your Day Like?”

You have just 1 week. That is it. You just can’t waste one second while you are on a mission. If you feel a little under the weather you take an IV and keep working. If you have a kidney stone you get up at 5am, have a medical procedure and get back in the game. (Yep that really happened today.) There is so little time and so much care to give the volunteers need to make each minute count and they do.   I am often asked when I return from a mission – what is your day like? I thought I would share with you what a typical day is like here in India. &n...

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India 2017 – The Look

It’s Monday! I will be honest with you if I was back in the states I might grumble a little about the start to another long work week. Email, voicemail, text messages, smoke signals it seems we are using any method of communication we can to do the work we do when we are not on a mission.  When you are on a mission a Monday means there is excitement that now is the time patients get the care they have waited so long to receive. Months of planning, miles of travel, hundreds of communications back and forth with our host country and Monday is the day when the real work ...

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India 2017 – And it begins!

We have made it to India and it has begun. Air travel to Newark, flight to Delhi, a couple of hours of rest, a quick flight to Bhopal and then a short bus ride to the Sewa Eye Hospital and after 28 hours of travel time it’s time to do what we came to do. That is the way it is on a mission. It sounds simple enough and for this group of volunteers it seems to be second nature to travel half way around the world and have the energy to get a mission up and going quickly.   Day 1 of any mission is filled with feelings of exhaustion, excitement, joy, anticipation ...

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India 2017 – Mission Possible

On February 17 - 27th, 2017 26 volunteers will be headed to Bhopal, India for our second medical mission to India.   How the mission got started: Each of our missions come through connections made with people across the world with the same mission, Health for the World. The India mission came to Medical Missions Foundation through Drs. Pratibha and Narendra Khare and their contacts in Bhopal. Pratibha, a retired anesthesiologist and two time Uganda mission participant, and her husband Narendra, a practicing urologist, are both from India and understand ...

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