August and September continued to be busy months at Camotan Clinic. We remained open even as the pandemic continued on and our teams from the US were not able to get into Guatemala.
However, as we have pointed out on prior posts, we stay dedicated to remaining open and seeing patients. And we continue to make our regular trips to our remote mountain villages up above the clinic.
We continue to see people really struggling to just get enough food right now. The pandemic has had a ripple effect into these communities. Their existence relies on small amounts of money they can earn or their families can earn from working in the fields. With the worldwide shutdown and economic slowdown, we are seeing so many of these families without enough money for food. We are stepping in as much as we can for these families.
Rainy season has helped for many of the people to grow their own food but it ends soon. We continue to worry about what the winter will bring (when the rainy season ends in Guatemala) and the fields stop producing.
Our dedication to helping these people is supported by all of you. Thank you to those who donate and to those who have come down in the past and helped these people. And thank you to those who are keeping these people in your prayers. We are optimistic that there will be trips again in the near future with medical and dental groups from the US. In late September, the Guatemalan government finally opened up the Guatemala City airport to international flights after almost 6 months of being closed. Although as we write this, the situation remains in flux, we are planning on trips early next year if the pandemic situation allows. Stay tuned.
Shipping continues to be our most reliable way of getting supplies into country. They start as the below picture shows with orders of supplies and donations from all of you here in the US. We package them and then ship them to Dr. Toledo in Guatemala City. She then can get them to the clinic. So to those of you who have been helping with these supplies: thank you! Whatever donations you have, we will find a way to get them to the clinic.
We continue to plan for the future. As many of you know, we lost our resident dentist in April as his school had him return to Guatemala City when the pandemic hit. He was an amazing resource for us as he would see patients daily and his dental school sponsored much of his cost (we covered food, housing for him). We are hopeful that once things settle down with the pandemic, the dental school will give us another resident (they do a 1 year fellowship before becoming a full fledged dentist) for the coming year. Additionally, Dr. Toledo is working on having a medical resident who can reside in the clinic seeing patients daily as well. We will keep you updated on this. It would be tremendous to have our doctors in the US working with a Guatemalan physician in training. And that doctor would provide similar daily coverage in the clinic if we are able to support him with food and housing.
We still are seeing all of our regular patients and refilling their prescriptions, we still are supporting the local health care center. And we are still planning on expanding our clinic, installing a water purification system there and expanding capacity to see more patients in the future. So thank you to all of you who have continued to support us during this hard time.
Lastly, we will be having a virtual fundraiser before Christmas. Stay tuned and we will update you with more information in October’s blog. Thanks for reading!