2016 Report

Friends! We're just about a week away from our next trip, and we have fantastic news!!

It's finally here! Sorry it took so long to post, but we finally finished the full report for our Christmas Health Gift trip to Cahabón.  

The report is scientific in nature, so it's a bit long, but, all of the details of our findings are there. We worked really hard to tabulate all of the results from the hundreds of paper charts to record accurate epidemiology. 

Our findings helped us grow as an Association; we believe that now we will be better prepared to help our brethren in Cahabón. By becoming acquainted with the endemic diseases we were able to tailor our program and activities to better contribute to the health of the people in Cahabón.

We just want to reiterate our thanks to the many people who have contributed to our association, whether by volunteering, monetary donations, and even moral support. In publishing this report we also hope that the public who did contribute with monetary donations will be able to see the fruits of their kindness. 

Special thanks go out to: Brandon Colton, Karen Alvarez, Jana Daniels, Oscar Cordon, Emily Hemmert, Lindsay Wagner, Allison Stewart, Telma Teters, Julie Call, Amy Gomez, Kelly Stewart, New Orleans Gaelic Sports Club, Randy Foreman, Familia Ramírez, Anna De Board, Enoc Flores, Hely Meza, Jenn Wilgar, Danyel Brown, Yvonne Salazar, Tracy Carlson, Haley McCauley, and Lynnette McCauley.

We love and appreciate you all!

-The Miguel Vargas Team

For the full report in English, click here: 

For the full report in Spanish, click here: 

Health Expedition Plan: August 3-5, 2017

Our next trip is now scheduled for the first week of August of this year. We are proud to announce that in addition to medical and dental services, this trip will bring physical therapy services to the population of Santa María Cahabón.

The objectives for this campaign are as follows: 

1. To offer free medical, dental, and physical therapy consultations and treatment for three consecutive days

2. To promote education through motivational talks to elementary and high school students

We are now accepting donations for this campaign through a GoFundMe account.

www.gofundme.com/health-mission-guatemala-2017

Our goal is $2,500. The money from these donations will be used for the following:

1. Medical and Dental supplies

2. Physical therapy equipment

3. School supplies for one school (Including notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, erasers, sharpeners)

4. A cement floor for one school. There is currently just a dirt floor. 

5. Supplies to install a clean water supply for one school to improve hygiene. The children at this school do not have a clean water supply to wash their hands. Going home to wash their hands means climbing down a steep mountain and walking for 2-4 hours. 

6. Supplies to restore two bathroom units for one school 

7. Restoring supplies for 20 desks for one school 

Our trip in December provided incredible insight into the needs of this community. Malnutrition, urinary tract infections, and parasites are commonplace. We thus hope that by providing these services and emphasizing preventative education we can improve the health of the community, and contribute to the productivity and prosperity of the community. 

Special thanks go out to the students from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, the San Egidio and Asopuente Associations, ULTRADENT Guatemala, the physical therapy Doctors and volunteers, and the Mayor of Cahabón, without whom the planning and execution of this non-profit trip would not be possible.

We can hardly wait for August!!

A Christmas Health Gift: Health Expedition 2016

By: Ileana Coronado 

This year our association, in coordination with the University of San Carlos de Guatemala, has set the month of December to make available health services to as many in the population that can be screened and treated in three days.

We have launched an advertising campaign to target mainly, malnourished children, pregnant women and the elderly.

            In addition to the members of the Association, the following volunteer personnel will be participating:

-       5 Dentists

-       4 Doctors (MD)

-       3 Bio Chemists

-       6 Nutritionists

-       18 senior level Students of the School of Biochemistry, Pharmacy, and The Dental School of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala.

-       2 Students from Brigham Young University

We are coordinating efforts with the Mayor of Cahabón, who will be providing food and lodging for all the volunteers as well as logistics to make this project possible.  ASOPROCA, another local association of volunteers who is currently helping to organize, prepare and get permits so that we can have a successful project.

 

Objectives:

-       To provide free or charge medical and dental assistance to a part of the population most at risk: children, elderly and pregnant women

-       Make an assessment of growth (height and weight) in children 5 years and younger who are in danger of malnutrition.

-       To provide free basic dental care (extractions, cleanings, dental fillings and fluoride applications)

-       Take a measurement of the incidence of most common diseases through the sampling and analysis of clinical laboratory examinations. (Sampling: urine, stool, and blood glucose) Results will be used to identify and start treatment of  these diseases immediately

 

WE NEED YOUR HELP:

            We would greatly appreciate donations to buy the supplies needed for the laboratory examinations, as well as medication. Most chemicals and medication cannot be bought or transported from the USA. Therefore, we need to obtain them in Guatemala. We are indeed grateful to Henry Schein and Ultradent Products Inc. who have kindly donated for the dental area. Thank You!!! 

Promoting Education and A Compassionate Impact

By: Ileana Coronado

It was with great hope that we prepared for this project in August 2014. As with the previous trips, we contacted two elementary schools where we could provide school supples and service. 200 children were to benefit from this trip. In addition, we joined with a Catholic charity that works to provide a nutritious meal once a month for the elderly of the town. Most of the attendees are very poor, homeless, or have been abandoned because of illness. We also worked to find some families that could directly benefit from monetary donations. Seven U.S. volunteers planned to come along; we were so excited and grateful. 

I. The Plan

Our objectives included:

1. To encourage K-6 children to attend school regularly

2. To encourage older children (Grades 4-6) to remain in school and make plans to continue in their education.

3. To help some families that were on the brink of homelessness and other misfortunes to stay afloat for the next 6 month

4. To provide a free nutritious lunch for the elderly in need

Young men and women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Clovis, CA prepared a donation of school bags. The donation included backpacks with school supplies such as pencils, pens, markers, erasers, sharpeners, crayons, a pencil pouch, a toothpaste, and a toothbrush. 

The monetary donations received were used to buy food, clothing, and home appliances for the families in need, as well as to serve lunch for the group of elderly that attend this Catholic shelter once a month for a hot meal. Because of the donations, they were able to receive two meals that month. 

II. The Outcome

The children were ecstatic! Their little faces lit up with surprise and unbelief. Teachers had told us that most absences happen because they lack the school supplies they need to continue attending. Most children were amazed to have six pencils to call their own. Others contemplated the Crayola variety with tears in their eyes. Those who knew how to write wrote Thank You notes for their new friends in the U.S.

At mid-morning, the children had recess and we were able to observe breakfast. The parents association provides the funds to feed the children a small cup of porridge every day. Some took out small tortillas or other kinds of food brought from home. It was heartbreaking to see that most of them did not have shoes or proper school clothing. However they were all very grateful to be in school even if it meant to walk barefoot for miles to make it there. On that day, 200 children and some teachers returned home with a happy smile on their faces. 

On Saturday, we went to the local market to buy groceries for the families we were going to help and for the lunch for the elderly. These latter, whose brave souls showed the impact of hard work and long-suffering, came from different villages; some leaning on the arm of a grandson or a neighbor, others with the help of canes or crutches. A well-balanced meal was served. It included a main entrée, fruits, drinks, and dessert. Unbelievably, all of them ate only half or less and took the rest home; either to share or to have something to eat the following week. 

We were able to provide food, pay rent for four families in need. One family was in need of a stove to start and business, and the with the help of the donations provided were able to help them purchase it. The clothes and shoes that were donated were given among the children in these homes. We listened to their stories and cried with them. We tried to give hope and express love. 

For the sake of brevity, I do not express in detail every experience we had during this trip. However, I hope that more opportunities are given to the Miguel Vargas Association, so that members and volunteers can continue this labor of service and love to our fellow men.