March 20, 2009

Volunteering in The Most Beautiful Place in the World

Last year I was introduced to the beauty of Guatemala. My husband and I volunteered with the Cascade Medical Team of Eugene, Oregon. It was such a remarkable experience we decided to do this again but this time we included our two grown daughters, Kate and Johanna.

The four of us are not medical professionals so our job on the team are either support or outreach into the Guatemalan community. The members of the medical team we supported is made up of volunteers mainly from the Eugene/Portland Oregon area. They have been travelling to beautiful Solola, Guatemala for the past 6 years. You can find out more at and also at . Every year is remarkable working with these people as they aid the Mayan villagers who live in and around Solola. This is truly one of "The Most Beautiful Places in the World" as described in a poignant book by the American author, Anne Cameron. however the peoople do live on the brink of great poverty for a host of reasons.

Better health is one of the best ways to start rebuilding natural resources. This year the CMT 's medical team and Outreach saw 1686 patients, the Dental team had 286 patients and pulled over 5oo teeth, there were 72 cases in OR/Surgery which included hernias, gall bladders, thyroidectomy,plastic surgeries, cleft lip and palate repairs aslo 28 patients were given sight by the eye team. All this occurred during 7 days in March. Besides this awesome medical team there are members who translate, work triage, do Lab work and Ultrasound also Pharmacists and a complete other program which builds stoves in the interior and exterior of villagers homes. This year the construction team installed 71 ONIL stoves and 70 Plancha stoves, 80 water filters and an institutional stove plus 2 water filters for a school. Whew! we were busy. My husband and daughter Joey worked construction, my daughter Kate translated in triage and I worked in the kitchen, we served 2500 meals to the team.

Meanwhile working with the team members and soaking up another country is the emotional high of the trip.

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