Our joint Heart to Heart & Welch Allyn Assessment Team continues to travel in Guatemala, exploring ways to broaden access to healthcare.
More now from Ginny Stehle, Heart to Heart’s Corporate Relations Director, with more thoughts and photos from the ongoing assessment trip. Part I is here. Remember to click the photos for full size.
Ginny: The team returned to Camino Seguro in Guatemala City to work as volunteers for the day. We began at the main school building where we assisted with a high school English class. We sat and carried on a conversation with one or more teenagers, ages 16-18, to help them improve their English skills. A young teacher from the UK named Grant, gave us some assistance to get the conversations going. It was challenging to find questions that would get them to talk. They are just like young people everywhere! They have hopes and dreams, they struggle with understanding what they want to do with their lives, they experience peer pressure and want to appear as though they fit in. They were polite and cooperative.
Our next stop was the Planting Seeds preschool and we arrived just in time for recess. The children were released to the playground for this period to have free play. There were about 90 children between the ages of three and six. What a hoot! The Welch Allyn team members were assigned to assist the teachers with supervising and playing with the children. The team members jumped right in and it was very difficult to tell who enjoyed the one on one interaction more–the children or the volunteers. It was interesting to see that these children were already speaking some English to the volunteers more easily than the older children who did not have access to this program prior to high school.
Two lovely Guatemalan women, Isa and Martha, were already very busy in the kitchen when I arrived. I was assigned to drying platos (plates), and watched as Martha expertly began to mix Masa Harina with water to make tortillas. Isa added ingredients to a huge pot on the stove to make a sort of pudding with an iron and vitamin fortified mix for the afternoon snack. I was thrilled when they agreed to teach me how to make tortillas, and must confess that mine were not pretty. Isa has three children in this program and was so grateful to be a part of it all. In the program, children are fed breakfast, lunch and a snack to take home every day.
We also brought some brand new medical equipment for the clinic and Dave from Welch Allyn took a few minutes to teach the clinic nurse how to use the Macroview Otoscope, and the PanOptic Ophthalmoscope. She learned very quickly and was surprised at how much more she could see with these new instruments. She quietly replied, “Muchas gracias, we do not have technology like this in Guatemala. This will help us very much.” Her sincerity was touching.
I concur. ¡Muchas Gracias Welch Allyn! Thank you also to Camino Seguro for all that you do transform lives for these families, and all that you have done to transform us through such meaningful service. Heart to Heart International is excited about the possibilities of working together in the future.
We next travel to a small village to join a medical team of US medical students and physicians. They already have a Heart to Heart Ready Relief Box™! We’ll deliver more equipment, conduct some instrument training to the students and assist with the medical clinic.