Medical & Dental exams and treatment – While on our annual trip, typically more than half of our travelers form a team to work with a local clinic, Salud y Paz. We set up shop in a different community each day to see the patients who come for treatment. On any given day the number can be as many as 150 patients. Some of these patients represent new illnesses while others are follow-up visits with patients who have previously been seen by other short-term US teams. Depending on the diagnosis and recommended treatment, the patient may be given up to 3 months of drugs and possibly scheduled for addition visits at the clinic or with another team. The patients are charged a small fee to offset part of the medicine cost.
Water Filter systems –Waterborne illness is one of the leading causes of death in Guatemala. The water for the families come directly from the polluted rivers and streams. We work with the community leaders to offer a subsidized water filtration system to any needy family that desires to participate. The system can filter 5 gallons of pure water in 3-4 hours. Given proper maintenance, the system will last 10 years or more before needing to have a filter replacement. Due to our extremely low overhead, we can provide these systems for only $39 each. Other NGOs operating in other parts of the country are charging $100-$150 for a less effective system.
Vented Stoves – Respiratory related illnesses are another major cause for poor health and short life expectancy in the county. A significant percentage of the Mayan families are cooking on open pit fires on the dirt floors inside their homes. We are working to assist them to build vented stoves to get the smoke out of the house. We can provide these stove materials for only $39 each. Other NGOs operating in other parts of the country are charging their donors $120-$250 for a stove that we think has inferior materials to ours and requires the owner to climb onto the roof to clean the vent pipes. Due to our unique design, they can clean our stove pipes from the ground. The participant provides all the labor to build the stove as well as making a small monetary contribution. In addition to removing the smoke, our vented stove design requires less than ½ the amount of wood as the open pit, will allow for multiple pots to be cooking at once, eliminates the constant bending required when using the pits, and lastly prevents toddlers from falling into the fire and being scared by burns.
Note: With both our Water Filter and Vented Stove programs, our coordinator makes an in-home visit to each participant and prepares a written assessment as well as pictures of the family to qualify the family. He also trains the families on the proper construction of the systems and makes a final visit to make sure the products are working as planned. When on annual trip, our US team make random audits 2-3 years after installation to assure that the products are still operating well.