We planned several different projects to be a part of the whole expedition. The two main activities consisted of providing medical and dental services to the people of Santa Maria Cahabon. We were able to see more than 600 medical patients and 300 dental patients. It was a huge blessing to count with the support from all the monetary donations that helped cover materials, medicine, school supplies and more. We write this to express our thanks to the many contributors of monetary means, time, volunteers and family who made this service to our brothers in Guatemala possible. Following is an account of the events that took place during the three days the association spent in the town.
With help from the Mayor, we were able to use the second floor of the main hospital building. Here we placed 6 dental chairs and 6 medical clinics. We had an area for physical therapy and one for pharmacy. We rejoice in the fact that many who came left with treatment and medicine. At the same time there was a group of American Volunteers who attended and assisted in the educational part of the project. The volunteers visited three elementary schools in the outskirts of the town where they provided the students with school supplies that consisted of pencil pouches with tooth paste, tooth brush, dental floss, crayons and colored pencils, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, glue sticks and food like brownies, cereal and a drinks. Hygiene kits were also given to the children. There were also three high schools that were visited by the same volunteers where motivational and career orientation conferences were given. The students that were in the lasts years of high school received dry erase markers and hygiene kits. Thank you to the Clevelands, The Cox, The Nemelkas, and Mr. Emet Perez, who were present, bringing contributions. Thank you to the local teachers and principals of the schools. Thank you to those who gave money, time, efforts, supplies and mainly love and compassion for each of the children in these schools. Thank you to our guest speakers, Cesar Antonio and Tony De Leon, for their preparation and enthusiasm with which they delivered their presentations.
At one particular elementary school called, Villanueva Sexan, volunteers worked on building a cement foundation for the school. We had seen the need that the children of this school were in, having only a dirt floor, no desks, and lacking proper structure of the school building. Which impacted the children's health and attendance. The association donated desks and the new floor, which prompted the town authorities to provide a roof; as the parents collected funds to build the walls. This last December, the school was completed. Take a look at the photos below where you can see the before and after results. In this same little town, as the project was taking place, one of the women, mother of several children, approached our group and raised her voice to request water for the village. She suggested one big container for all. The volunteers were so moved with her request, that this coming march, one of our main activities will be bringing donations for a water tank to be installed in the village.
One more highlight of this trip was the physical therapy unit that was coordinated Mrs. Nan Reid, PT and her assistant Mr. Bruce Cox from Bountiful, Utah. Two of our local coordinators, Kevin, and Flory went with them to Home-bound patients, hospital consultations and seniors to provide treatment, medicine and printed exercises guides to continue treatment. This was a huge blessing to many. All the patients treated were not even aware of the need they had for physical therapy. The association really started to understand the dire need that many of the citizens, living in this area, have for specialist-directed physical therapy. We cannot find words to describe the relief that Nan and Bruce brought to the community in those three days of hard labor. We witnessed the efficacy and relief that therapy can provide in these remote areas where the word physical therapy does not even exist.
As it has been part of our expeditions, we provided a lunch, with joint efforts of Group San Egidio, for 80 senior citizens. The seniors come together to receive one meal a week thanks to the work and service of group San Egidio. Every time we visit, we are able to provide an extra meal that week for them. This visit we were able to put together some physical therapy exercises for the attendees. The seniors all joyously participated.
This expedition was a success again. In great part to the many people who contributed. The Association Miguel Vargas would like to thank the following:
- Our wonderful friends from Las Vegas, under the fundraising direction of Brenelly Arredondo.
- Our always supportive friends from Fresno and Clovis, California.
- Friends in Santa Maria Cahabon who have organized the day to day flow and provide the contacts that give the association countless reasons to come back. Our Expedition director this year, Profesor Edgar Ixim, Assistant Directors Kevin Quiroa and Profesor Hans Gonzales, Vidal Chiquin.
- Our amazing family in Santa Maria Cahabon, who provide housing, meals and love to us and our friends who visit.
- The many students from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala from the colleges of Medicine and Dentistry under the direction of our Medical Director in Guatemala, Dr. Jefferson Silvestre, MD
- Our friends and dear family in Guatemala who give of their time and resources, from buses to water bottles, and continue to support the association's endeavors every year.
Special thanks to:
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
Operacion Bendicion, Guatemala
Municipalidad de Santa Maria Cahabon, Sr. Darwin Lucas
Henry Schein, USA
Grupo San Egidio
Hugo Coronado DDS, Inc.
Transportes R. Junior Hermanos S.A.
Hogar Materno Ana Sayre
Instituto por Cooperativa de Educacion Basica
Instituto Mixto Privado "Ricardo Arjona"
Our Eternal gratitude to:
David Brown, Lisa Cole, Stephanie J., Emily Hemmert, Alba Lopez, Kris Smith, Rachel Kim, Jodie Lombart, Angelica Ramirez, Kelly Arcia, Thalia Ulibarri, Raisa Rock, Enoc Flores, Darje Martin, Michael Dillon, Kyle and McKenzie Noel, Breann Montesanto, Alondra Castillo, Joseph Selmser, Devona Jordan, Ammy Encinas, Bud Willson, Amy Gomez, Tiffany and Rick Madsen, Haley McCauley, Tracy Carlson, Lisa and Mike Roubicek, Malan Cousins, Allison Kellogg, Angela Williams, Craig, Marianne, Maddie, Ana, and Camille Cleveland, Nan Reid, Jessica and JR Nemelka, Shirley, Bruce, Sadie and Sydney Cox, Cesar Antonio y Tony De Leon, Esperanza Ortiz de, Edgar and Luz Maria Ixim, Kevin Quiroa, Hans and Mayra Gonzalez, Flory Pop, Vidal Chiquin, Emeterio Perez, Esperanza Ortiz de Rodriguez, Cesar y Telma Gonzalez, Gloria Vargas Garcia, Edwin Canahui Robinson, Ligia Sierra, Sra. Mechela Garcia, Alfonso Argueta y Familia, Faibel Ixim, Brenelly and Victor Arredondo, Salvador and Ninnette Guerra, Sito and Magleny Coronado, Jorge and Mayra Flores, Julie Call, Preston Anderson, Dr. Francisco Ceballos, Dra.Cermeno,and Dra. Maria Fernanda Soto.
We leave you with some of the best memories we made as we served the people of Cahabon! Service really does bring joy to the soul!