I would like to tell you about our experiences on our trip to Guatemala: my wife Fina and myself were staying most of the time at Dr. Linda Novak’s home in San Benito; San Benito is a small city near to Santa Elena and Flores, also small cities.
In these small cities there are several Guatemalan doctors and a small regional hospital run by the government, therefore to see the poor people you have to go to the aldeas (villages) to treat them. Many people do not have any means of transportation.
The aldeas are very, very poor communities without any facilities, with many families with 8 to 14 children. The family lives in 2 room homes with earthen floors, without water or electricity. The people suffer with many kinds of tropical diseases from malaria, parasitism, malnutrition and its complications. These aldeas are located in the mountains, between 1 hour to 2, 3, 4, hours from San Benito.
We went to each aldeas for 2 days. If it was too far to make the round trip in a day, we stayed overnight. We took all the medicines with us in order to give to the patients. This is very important otherwise they will have no way to get the medications. Fortunately Dr. Novak has always a good supply of medications.
We also went to Dolores, which is a very small town about one and a half hours from San Benito. In this town the Daughters of Charity Sisters have a very small Sanitarium for malnourished babies. This facility also serves as an out patient consultation, which is very busy every day, so we went to help them several days. The sisters are extremely nice; they provide us with shelter and good food. I hope to go back again to work in the aldeas and to help again with the Sisters in Dolores.
God bless you, Jaime Perea MD.