Humanitarian Mission Trip to Guatemala, 2014
On March 22th, eleven volunteers left the comfort of this beautiful land on a journey to help others. The humanitarian mission worked tirelessly for two weeks, enduring the heat, dust and much physical and mental difficulties. But the only time the communities in those mountains see a Physician or Dentist is when CCAMRE arrives. We attended more than 1000 patients in 8 days. We could see the happiness in the natives faces at our arrival. The icing of the cake was the inauguration of the two classrooms to the school in Timushan, built with funds generated from our CCAMRE and Rotary Club Mississauga Airport Run/Walkathon last September. We are appreciative to the Guatemalan people, Government institutions, Minister of Health and the Guatemalan Embassy in Ottawa for facilitating our work, the entrance of the medications to the county, and for protecting our well being.
Andy McCormick of and Carolyn Santillan of Toronto were busy going up and down the mountains in Volcacito, Pena Blanca and Timushan; interviewing Scholarship Recipients and their parents, CCAMRE is supporting 31 young adults with their high school education, many of the students have to walk 5 or more km or leave their villages to attain this education.
Dr. Russell and Heidi Grover Hamilton have been part of CCAMRE missions for the last 10 years, Dr. Grover donated a dental clinic in La Union, the students from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala utilize this clinic for 8 months to do their last year studies. What a great achievement to stop the endless suffering of toothache; this clinic is free to the members of the communities in those mountains.
By Dr. Keith Millar of Stoney Creek
My experience each year with CCAMRE is more rewarding every time. This year was a busy year, just like the rest. One day I seen 75 patients and pulled out over 200 teeth. Our surroundings are not your average dental clinic, but to see the smile on each person face after we have done treatment for them, makes me look forward to next year's mission. I enjoy the surroundings we are in during our visit, the mountains and views are beautiful. Thank you for another rewarding year CCAMRE.
By Lilia Cozzarini of Fredericton, New Brunswick
What an incredible experience! As a first-time member of a CCAMRE mission, I was overwhelmed by the impoverished living conditions of the people in the many villages in which we traveled and worked. Yet, their humble, kind-hearted and warm spirit enlightened our hard work and contribution in providing the most basic dental care and relief from pain which they have likely endured for some time. As the dental assistant working on the ‘front line’, I can attest to the physical strength, fastidious work flow and efficient work methods utilized by Dr. Morris! In the villages where dental care was offered for the first time, the response was incredible; we know that services in the future will be very much appreciated and essential. I will always remember their warm smiles of appreciation and gentleness in receiving the help and support offered.
By Robert Gimpoli of Sudbury
The, mission, as usual, was a humbling experience. I always am amazed how people who have virtually nothing are the happiest. It is bitterly ironic. The recorders that were donated are being practically used by students in La Union. I had a mini concert at the hotel. These kids have wonderful potential and creative ability. Their young music teacher is par excellence. I would love to bring him to Canada and demonstrate his musical expertise. As for the children in the mountains, I would enjoy working with them via books and learning tools in order to develop more personal and engaging experiences. I´m quite confident that there are a substantial number of diamonds in the rough who would soak up knowledge like a sponge.
By Dr. Richard Morris of Sudbury
I thoroughly enjoyed the 2014 Dental Mission. I felt the mission as a whole was a huge success, partly because of the new people involved, namely Lillian and Carolyn. I thought they were both easy to get along with for everyone and hardworking. Lillian in particular was a great asset. Bright, smiling, very hard working and a quick learner. I never would have gotten through without her and Robert’s help. I thought Hilda and Andy provided good leadership.
By Cecilia Bradsley of Etobicoke
This will be my 7th mission to Guatemala. This year I was in charge of the Child Sponsorship Assessment and the Senior Program. A comprehensive assessment of every child and their family who is presently being sponsored and children and their families waiting for possible sponsors was carried out over the two week of our mission. CCAMRE has 43 children from Volcancito in the Child Sponsorship Program. The family assessment was a fair bit more challenging as the homes are quite spread out along the upper and lower section of the mountains where Volcancito is situated. All the homes except one made of cement blocks visited were mud adobe with either tin or thatched roofs. The families expressed thanks and gratefulness for the support given to their child and to the entire family. Mothers worked in the Breakfast Program. All parents reported the improvement in their children's alertness, concentration and focus at school and relate this to the Breakfast Program which is a spin off program from the Sponsorship Program. All parents want their children to continue with their education. Completing this assessment was insightful, regarding and encouraging. CCAMRE is making a difference to many lives and opening the doors to choices, hope and new future of possibilities where there has been for so long only a few.