From April 15th to 30th, the staff of Mayerthorpe Dental Clinic was in Guatemala providing free dental care for the dear people there. We were volunteering with Impact Ministries (www.impactministries.ca), an organization which has 10 schools and organizes child sponsorship for 1500 children in the mountainous area of Tactic. The schools give the students one meal each day which might be the only meal they eat that day.
The schools provide every day one egg for each student that would be the only protein that his family would eat that day. There are no social programs in this very poor country and no "foodbanks" to help people. It seems strange to us that this country that has a mostly warm climate and can grow many healthy vegetables and fruits would be so malnourished. The chronic malnutrition rate for children under five years old is 50 percent, the fourth highest in the world. It costs more money to buy healthy food than candy and pop (they have 3 liter containers of pop in Guatemala). The water is polluted, so they have to buy water. Pop is often cheaper than water, so that is what they drink.
As you know high sugar content and lack of hygiene skills, such as tooth brushing, flossing and regular dental care results in a lot of decay. We were able to provide exams, cleanings and emergency treatment to relieve pain to over 95 children.
As wood is expensive, most homes cook over a small fire that is not vented outside. There are many lung problems as a result of burning wood in a small hut. About 5% of the population owns 90% of the land. The Guatemalans cannot afford to rent anything bigger than their hut, so there is no room for a garden. This results in many families being unable to grow their own food.
During our stay in Guatemala we were able to visit the hospital in Coban. It was a very hot day. While driving the 30 minutes to get there, we noted that it was 37 degrees centigrade inside the house & outside. There was no air conditioning in our vehicle so we opened the windows it was like turning a hair dryer on hot. No relief from the heat. You can imagine how hot and humid the hospitals were. The maternity section was an open room with approximately 30 ladies and their babies in it. Leading up to our trip we had advertised on our Mayerthorpe Dental Facebook page for donations for new mothers and babies in the hospital and an orphanage that was about to be opened by Impact Ministries.
The generosity of Mayerthorpe and large surrounding areas (even as far as 2 hours away) was overwhelming. We even had some money donated to be used for helping fly the donations to Guatemala. With our dental equipment that we brought with our personal suitcases, we had lots of cargo to take. Thankfully it all arrived with us.
These donations enabled us to give each new mother (at the hospital) a beach ball sized package. It was wrapped in a big receiving blanket and filled with personal hygiene items (including toothbrushes and toothpaste) for mom and baby along with clothes for the little one, a furry toy, small booklet, etc. The new moms were thrilled!
We even had a special package for those moms who had lost their babies. It was wonderful to bring a little sunshine into their day. While at the hospital we went into the sick kids wards. There we tried to encourage the children and their families with a smile, prayer and stuffed toys. The remainders of the donations were delivered to the orphanage at the mission. According to UNICEF, there are more than 370,000 orphans in Guatemala. Many of the orphanages are unsafe and unloving. Impact Ministries is waiting for final government approval to open their orphanage and then they will be receiving babies.
It was an honor to represent Mayerthorpe and area and to give the many items that had been so graciously donated for the hospital and orphanage. You can check out our Facebook page to view some photos of our time in Guatemala. Thank you on behalf of the people of Guatemala for your generous gifts. May God bless each of your families.
We would like to share the words of Michael Jackson's song Heal the World: "Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race. There are people dying, if you care enough for the living, make a better place for you and for me."
Thanks for helping us help others!!
How You Can Help
If you would like to help by donating new or lightly used baby clothes, or small personal hygiene products for the new mothers, it would be greatly appreciated. Please drop off items at Mayerthorpe Dental, 4515-50th Street (Crockett) between 9 AM – 6 PM Monday and Wednesday and 8 AM – 4 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If you have any questions, please phone us at 780-786-2878.
Our and staff and the people of Guatemala appreciate will appreciate your generosity. Thank you!