Humanitarian Mission Trip to Guatemala, 2011


This year we had an amazing group of people. They were skilled and their hearts were full of compasion and willingness to help natives from the Merendon Mountains. Here they shared their experiences .

Words from Julie Cordasco, RN from Burlington, Ontario

Our Medical Team consisted of Conchita Miranda, RN from Belleville, Dr. Osbel a Family Physician from Cuba, Andrea Tarasena our interpreter from Guatemala City and myself, Julie Cordasco.

The only time the Mayan Chorti peoples in the Merendon Mountains see a doctor is when CCAMRE’s mission arrives. During the mission, in eight working days, we treated more than 618 patients, an average of 77 people. The need for health care for the Mayan Chorti is overwhelming. Most of the patients seen were women and children. More than half suffer from malnutrition, respiratory problems and anemia.


Words from Dr. Richard Morris, Dentist from Sudbury, Ontario

Our Dental Team consisted of five students from the Faculty of Dentistry, University of San Carlos of Guatemala, and myself. We treated approximately 300 patients, extracting more than 500 teeth and many of these were difficult extractions. One has to appreciate how difficult this is especially for the students because the only illuminating light on the dentition is the natural outside light through a window. Also, when the patient bleeds, there is no suction so visibility and access to difficult areas is very poor. We have no power to use a drill to remove bone in order to take out roots. So I was very proud of my students from the University Of San Carlos Of Guatemala. The culmination of this mission was the inauguration of the new "Dr. Russell Grover" dental clinic in La Union. This special clinic offers free dental care to the people of the Merendon Mountains, provided by a resident dental student from the University Of San Carlos Of Guatemala.


Words from Andy Harjula from Cavan, Ontario

The Agriculture Team consisted of two Agronomy students from the University Of San Carlos Of Guatemala and Hilda Rossi. During the mission, 7,500 Moringa seeds were divided equally among the three villages, Timushan, Volcancito and Pena Blanca.

Each village received three to four hours of instruction during two days of visits to their village. This included how to plant the seeds and how to care for the plants after the trees begin to grow.

Instructions on how to cook with the Moringa powder were given by Candy Ortega and Julio Cesar Ortega (Guatemalan supporters) gave a spirited presentation about the benefits of the Moringa tree. With the help of the Agriculture Team`s expertise the villagers’ nutrition will improve drastically, as they are already cultivating and eating the Moringa.


Words from Brian Todd from Millbrook, Ontario

My trip to Guatemala with CCAMRE was quite a learning experience for me; it was almost surreal to see so much harsh poverty in such a beautiful country. The people of the Merendon Mountains had so little, yet they were so friendly and gracious for our help, they made it easy to want to help them. By making their lives better, it made my own better as well.

Our Construction Team members were Joe Milhovic, Robert Gimpoli, Riccardo Rossi and myself. Together we worked in constructing a retaining wall at the community store in Timushan in order to alleviate flooding. As well, we worked in the construction of a canal around the Volcancito community centre building in order to alleviate flooding.


Words from Bonnie Fuller, from Oakville, Ontario

This year was my first humanitarian mission to the Merendon Mountains; an experience which changed my life profoundly. The needs of those deprived Mayan Chorti peoples will remain in my memory forever. I was in charge of the Seniors Project where I had the privilege of interviewing them and getting to know their living conditions and needs. They live in poverty and misery, lacking proper hygiene, nutrition and housing. There are 10 Seniors and all receive food, vitamins and other necessary provisions three times per year. During the mission, with the help of the children of Volcancito, I distributed the Seniors quarterly care package.


Words from Cecilia Bardsley, from Etobicoke, Ontario

The Sewing Team consisted of Victoria Ehvert, Helena Wulff, Zoila Salguero and myself. Our goal was to teach the women of Volcancito, and Pena Blanca to apply their sewing skills in order to make practical, useful and innovative items for sale within their community and surrounding areas. The Sewing Group in Volcancito were taught group dynamics and merchandising skills. Hilda Rossi, Bonnie Fuller, three members of the sewing group and I travelled to the town of Jocotan for the Sunday market. We met various store owners with the intention of promoting the unique handmade items such as shawls, matching draw string bags, cell phone bags, colourful baby shoes and small stuffed toys, which had been made in Volcancito.

I am very proud of their perseverance and commitment which these women showed us during the mission and I look forward to their continued success in the Sewing Project.


New Economic Pathfinder Project

The members of the Economic Development team were Diamond Rattansi, Hercules Faga, Shiraz Karmali and Hilda Rossi

Our main objective was to explore and assess findings for economic development for the peoples of the Merendon Mountains. We met the Municipality of La Union, the Co operatives of La Union and Timushan and the Water Committee of Volcancito and the Greenhouse of Monte Verde.

CCAMRE`s hope is that this new project will be assist the small coffee growers of the Merendon Mountains to become self sufficient.


Scholarship Project

We are very proud with the outcome of the Scholarship Project. Through Scholarship donations, many young indigenous students have been given the opportunity to study in Secondary School, University, Skill Schools and Teaching Schools. CCAMRE is proud of a young Scholarship student named Johanna Perez who is in her third year of Medical School at University to become a Registered Nurse. CCAMRE believes that education will open new horizons for these young people to have a better life. Please help us to give an education to every child in the communities of the Merendon Mountains; you can help us by sponsoring a scholarship. With your support we can do it !