Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala
Mayan + Esperanza = History + Hope
The lack of vital resources can be a different story for everyone. For some people it may be air conditioning or a small fridge. For others it could mean no hot water, no washing machine, ranging all the way to no clean water, no access to affordable healthcare, and no roof over your head. One of the core goals at MDF is to contribute to providing healthcare efforts to every person who has limited resources.
MDF is honored to partner with Mayanza INC. on their recent mission to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala in February 2022. Mayanza INC is focused on improving the health of school children in Santiago Atitlan, through health screenings and education. Their mission was centered around local schools for children, and the main health centers receiving donations. Jami continues her story that the facility is staffed with "health care providers who provide safe, culturally competent, and affordable care to the indigenous Maya community".
Founder Jami Smith also describes that her group traveled to a neighboring community, San Juan de Laguna to visit a birthing center called Casa Materna Atitlan. This was a perfect fit for Jami considering they were from the local community, speak the native tongue, and were "working to decrease the very high maternal mortality rate". With some of the MDF donations Jami had received, she then gifted to this facility.
Jami was kind enough to share with us her perspective on the beginning of this mission.
“As I walked up the ramp to the birthing center, I wasn't sure what to expect as most health care facilities in Guatemala are drastically underfunded and under-resourced. I entered the doorway and I was greeted with colorful walls painted in warm colors and a reception area with strings of handmade, cut-out heart decorations in preparation for the upcoming dia de la amistad celebrations. There were spaces for children to wait with a basket of picture books and signs that greeted the patient and families. As we toured the birthing suite, we found an area with birthing balls and other supports that women could use during the laboring process. On the walls were signs educating the patients about healthy labor and delivery as well as general health education. The labor and delivery areas were clean, comfortable and private with all medical supplies needed to accompany a woman on her journey of childbirth. In my experience, this center is a very important resource to improve healthcare in this area, with high childbirth rates and equally high maternal and child mortality rates. Thank you MDF for donating these supplies that will surely make a difference in the lives of the families of San Juan la Laguna.
There were more gifts to give out and patients to see on this trip, the next stop was Puesto de Salud in Tzanchaj. This rural town was located in the mountain region of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
“The community is made up of day laborers who are fishermen, farm workers and coffee growers who earn only a few USD each day. The next closest health center is 30 minutes away. In this small little community, there is a branch of the government health clinic, called the Puesto de Salud where the families who are in our Healthy Mothers programs receive medical care, including vaccines for COVID. It is a severely underfunded and under-resourced health clinic with many needs. I was able to donate MDF stethoscopes with changeable heads and reflex hammers to the medical and nursing staff. They were so excited to receive the donation and asked that I pass along their sincere gratitude. The medical supplies will be directly used to care for the people of this medically underserved community.”
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