Editor’s note: Umma Amina, RN, is a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center. She volunteers with the Glens Falls Medical Mission Foundation, which since 1996 has served the needs of underrepresented populations in Guatemala. She is preparing to return to Guatemala this spring and provided this dispatch prior to her mission.
Looking forward to going back to Guatemala with the Glens Falls
Medical Mission. We will be starting IVs, eating warm tortillas, pulling rotten teeth, holding fresh babes, dispensing rehydration salts and reflecting.
We are a team of 40 doctors, nurses, interpreters and happy volunteers.
We see an average of 90 people per clinic per day in our five clinics:
general medicine, pediatrics, women’s, dentistry, and triage.
A scale is a major tool to diagnose general health.
In the past the towns of Cuilapa, Barbarena and Nueva Santa Rosa
population seemed healthier as they weigh the same or more.
In the poorer villages — Jumaytepeque, Cacoltapeque, Ojo de Agua, Monte
Verde — populations are usually not thriving as they have lost weight
and there are more cases of malnutrition in their babies and children.
As a rule of thumb we can tell who is poor, very poor and very, very
poor by looking at their feet; the condition of the their shoes if the
shoes fit, if a child is wearing his mother’s shoes or if they have bare
feet. Often they will borrow outfits or wear their nicest
clothes to see us.
The smiles, gratitude and love we see from a poor barefoot
pregnant woman who is gifted a bag of baby clothes, or a child who is
given a gummy vitamin & toy, is priceless.
I am honored to be going back this spring to spend a week in the
company of such gracious beings.