Humanitarian Mission Trip to Guatemala, 2006


March 30 to April 9 2006

Objectives of the mission
  1. Dental clinic in La Union and villages of the Merendon Mountains
  2. Evaluation of CCAMRE projects
  3. Inauguration of the multi skill centre in Volcancito
  4. Donations of medications to the health centre of Gualan and La Union
  5. Education project Teacher's professional development, inauguration of 3 libraries and donations of school supplies
  6. Scholarships 2006: Peña Blanca, Volcancito and Timushan.
  7. To meet with government representatives, Ministry of Health and the University of San Carlos to discuss the initiative to open a permanent dental clinic in La Union
  8. To meet with government representatives of the Ministry of Education to follow up on potential Education Project
  9. To start the incorporation process of CCAMRE in Guatemala
  10. To visit the hurricane disaster area of San Marcos

Humanitarian Mission

Thirteen volunteers participated on this mission from March 30 to April 9. Hilda Rossi was in Guatemala from March 11 to April 16 and Ana Paredes from March 25 to April 16.

Dental clinic in La Union and the villages of the Merendon Mountain.
Six full days of dentistry work spread out in La Union, Timushan, Volcancito and Peña Blanca. Approximately 20 villages received dental care services, totaling 434 extractions, 155 hygiene/cleaning and 45 restorative visits, a total of 278 people filtered through this process.

Four portable chairs were attained to make our work possible and our thank you and sincere appreciation to the Rotary Club La Asuncion for facilitating two chairs, to Dr. Antonio Salguero for facilitating one chair and Dr. Rogelio Garcia for facilitating the fourth chair. This effort was extremely important as CCAMRE did not have to take the chairs from Canada and instead the space initially allocated was used for donations and supplies.

Canadian dental team: Team leader Mrs. Heidi Grover, Dr. Russell Grover, Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez, Barbara, Julie Myers, Linda Moretuzzo and Christine Grover.

Guatemalan team: Dr. Rogelio Garcia, Dr. Jorge Alberto Guerra, students of dentistry Glendy Salguero and Rita Ruano and four health promoters from Timushan.

Evaluation of CCAMRE projects

Project officer met with community leaders and people in charge of these projects.

Poultry project : is one of the most successful projects, however, it was difficult to gather all the data and at this time this information is not tabulated for this report. Project Officer will follow up with team leader and will provide a final report in the next few months.

Sewing projects

This project is of concern as in Volcancito and Peña Blanca the sewing machines are not being used with consistency, problems identify are: team leaders not being able to coordinate the sewing classes or access to the machines, due to lack of time, not having access to the keys were the sewing machines are kept, needles being broken and not having extras needles to use the machine, no materials and changes of community leaders. CCAMRE project met with the women's committee and address all of these issues. Solutions were discussed and committee members agreed on:

  1. Call a meeting to establish who is interested in continuing with the sewing program
  2. Elect a team leader or coordinator clearly outlining her responsibilities
  3. Community leader and husbands will support the women by looking after the children while they are working on the sewing program
  4. Set up a schedule to accommodate everyone's need
  5. Pass on the schedule to the community leader to have access to the key to open the community centre
  6. Anyone braking a needle, to communicate that to the team leader to avoid surprises resulting in not being able to use the machines, it is understood that needles brake as a result of been used or an accident
  7. Women's committee will provide a report to CCAMRE in three months
  8. CCAMRE Project Coordinator from Guatemala will donate 20 needles

Corn grinding machine

This project in Volcancito and Peña Blanca is also of concern as the corn grinding machines are being used by a few members of the community. Problems identify are; lack of communication, leadership, support to carried out different task (for example going to the village to buy kerosene), not having money to pay the fee to use the machine, CCAMRE project officer met with community leaders and address these issues. These are the recommendations:

  1. Committees from each community will call a meeting and expressed CCAMRE concerns with regards to the status of this project
  2. Task will be identify and to be written on a list for everyone to know what are the different task that are need it to operate the corn grinding machine
  3. Community members will teach other members specific skills that are required so that they can perform this task in their absence, ie: changing the belt, go in town to buy kerosene
  4. Community member will identify task of interest or some will be delegated
  5. Work out a schedule
  6. People that cannot pay the current fee, can pay at a later time
  7. Fees will be used for maintenance and operation
  8. Community leaders will provide a report to CCAMRE in three months

Inauguration of the Multi Skills Centre of Volcancito

On Sunday April 2 the centre was inaugurated in an ambiance of brotherhood as everyone was celebrating this important occasion as a sign of accomplishment among all participants. CCAMRE and members of the Volcancito community did the ribbon cutting that formally opened the centre. CCAMRE president thanked the Canadian people as with their financial support this centre was built, also thanked the community of Volcancito for their commitment and perseverance to carry such difficult task and called upon them to continue working together in unity and responsibly.

Donations of medications to the health centre of Gualan and La Union
CCAMRE purchased two medical packs from the Health Partners International of Canada . These packages were taken by Dr. Russell Grover complying with the HPIC protocol. One package was donated to the La Union Community Health Centre and was received by Dr. Eric Hernandez. The second package was donated to the Community Health Centre of Gualan and the package was received by Dr. Antonio Salguero. These medicines are donated for very low income families, people in need of the Municipality of La Union and under no circumstances are to be sold. Please note that both doctors committed to send a letter confirming receipt of the medication and acknowledgment, however, such letter has not been receive yet.

Education project Teacher's professional development, inauguration of three libraries and donations of school supplies
Teacher's professional development was facilitated by Maria Carmen Romero member of the education project. A list of topics was sent prior to the mission for the teacher to review and subsequently they chose three topics which were approved by the Ministry of Education. The topics were: Health and Education, Introduction to Psychology and Group Dynamics.

These workshops were presented for 3 consecutives days with full attendance.
Inauguration of the 3 libraries was partially accomplished, due to lack of time, only two libraries were inaugurated and the Volcancito library will be inaugurated at a later time. School supplies donations were given by Maria Carmen.

Scholarships 2006: Peña Blanca, Volcancito and Timushan

In Peña Blanca 12 scholarships were granted for this current year

In Volcancito 3 scholarships were granted for the first time.

In Timushan 1 scholarship was granted

The scholarships cover tuition fee, uniform, shoes, school supplies and one snack.

To meet with government representatives, Ministry of Health and the University of San Carlos to discuss the initiative to open a permanent dental clinic in La Union

CCAMRE met with representatives of the Ministry of Health, Community Health Centre of La Union, Director of the Dental Faculty of the University of San Carlos and dental team members. CCAMRE requested to meet with the Major of La Union, however, he did not reply nor did he confirm the dates given to meet with CCAMRE.

All parties involved met and discuss the opening of a permanent dental clinic in La Union. A thorough discussion took place addressing, CCAMRE dental clinic donation worth $3,000.00, logistic such as; legal issues, ownership of the equipment, maintenance and update of the equipment, location of the clinic, roles and responsibilities and a working agreement with the University of San Carlos (USC) to staff the clinic with student doing their internship for eight months at a time, during their last year of school. The USC presented a proposal to CCAMRE however, this proposal need further review, discussion and CCAMRE approval.

CCAMRE emphasized that it is of utmost importance to have everyone support and most importantly this support has to be formal and in writing. CCAMRE will follow up on this, and has already sent a letter communicating this verbal agreement to the Major of La Union, Director of the Dental Faculty of the University of San Carlos and Dr. Jaime Aroldo Guerra of the Ministry of Health.

  • CCAMRE will send a proposal to the USC to establish this working relationship and clearly outlining roles and responsibilities.
  • CCAMRE to write a formal letter to the Ministry of Health requesting their commitment and support.
  • CCAMRE to write a formal letter to the Major of La Union.
  • CCAMRE to write a formal letter to the Director of the Community Health Centre.
  • CCAMRE to follow up on the legal issues of this process.
  • CCAMRE to meet with Dr. Grover to finally donation and logistic
  • CCAMRE to start coordinating the contracting of the container and follow Guatemala 's protocol with customs.

Every effort will made to have the clinic up and running for February 2007 and it is most likely that CCAMRE would have to travel to Guatemala in late 2006 or January 2007 to finalize the legal documentation and process.

To meet with government representatives of the Ministry of Education to follow up on potential Education Project
CCAMRE met with the Ministry of Education and follow up on previous discussion to develop an alternative rural school. CCAMRE emphasized the role and responsibilities of the Guatemalan government to initiate this project and Guatemalan counterparts have to put forward a leadership role. CCAMRE cannot move forward without their formal commitment. It is the perception of CCAMRE that even though this is an important project this initiative will not move forward. As a project officer my recommendation to the board is that for now we just wait and see, this late in the process CCAMRE is not in a position to proceed.

To start the incorporation process of CCAMRE in Guatemala
CCAMRE met with Mr. Jorge Porras, this is the lawyer that has initiated this process. CCAMRE presented the documentation required, this documentation and Mr. Porras will follow up with he necessary protocol. However, one important document was missing and that is the power of attorney given to someone in Guatemala to oversee CCAMRE's business in Guatemala .

Hilda Rossi, recommended that Areli Camey (distant family member) would be the right person for this position. She is someone that she knows and trust and as well she is lawyer with is an asset for CCAMRE in Guatemala . Hilda Rossi, consulted this with Ana Paredes and her response was, that she met Ms. Camey briefly two years ago, and doesn't really know her, however, she trusted Mrs. Rossi assessment and supported her recommendation. CCAMRE will send to Ms. Camey a document outlining role and responsibilities, and working relationship with Ms. Zoila Salguero.

CCAMRE will follow up in getting the power of attorney as soon as possible and send it to Guatemala . CCAMRE will be register in Guatemala as an association complying with Guatemalan legislation. It is estimated that this process would take six months.

To visit the hurricane disaster area of San Marcos
The Stan Relief Committee decided to visit the area of Ocos in San Marcos . However, this was changed at the last minute by the Chamber of Commerce and the area of Suchitepeque was visited instead. Two members of CCAMRE and three members of the Chamber traveled in helicopter on March 27, 2006 to assess the area and speak with community members. The village visited is San Jose Churidin, with a population of 746 people; of this 422 are children, 150 women and 174 men. This village was hard hit as many other areas in the province leaving a devastating aftermath of destruction. Many of their houses destroyed other greatly damaged, sick people and their agriculture nil.

CCAMRE spent time with the community, walked throughout the area and was able to do a first hand assessment. Needless to say the emotional impact on the visitors, however, this community was very communicative, eager to talk to us, friendly and took us to their houses as they wanted us to see everything.

ADICO – Association of Integral Development for the Communities, a register NGO is working in the area of Mazatenango, Suchitepeque in housing projects for 10 communities. Project officer received ADICO web site, which she forwarded to CCAMRE board and the Hurricane Stan Relief Committee for their review.

CCAMRE, CGCC and ADICO met on April 10, 2006 in Guatemala City and discussed a proposal presented by ADICO. Their proposal consists of seeking funding to build 16 houses, for a cost of U$ 3,000.00 and little more per house, with a 20% project administration fee. A thorough discussion took place and ADICO answered questions, clarified information in terms of logistic, process, funding, roles and responsibilities. CCAMRE requested copies of their registration as an NGO, which has been received.

Donation of a swimming pool to La Union
CCAMRE purchased a medium size swimming pool (approved at last board meeting) for the town of La Union . Arrangement were made to make this an official ceremony, however, due to unforeseen development this was not possible (there was a demonstration with heavy police presence). Hilda Rossi, spoke with the wife Mayor and it was impossible to set a new date so close to mission ending date. The swimming will be stored until next year.