For 20 years, Taiwan Root has deployed teams of health care professionals and volunteers to bring short-term medical relief to the neediest parts of the world. The Chao Foundation has had the pleasure of supporting Taiwan Root's committed work over the past few years; and in August 2012, Nancy and Steve got to participate in a medical mission to explore new avenues of partnership with the organization.
On August 19, we arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Guatemala is located in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north and by Belize and the Caribbean to the east. Despite its rich scenery and recent development following a 36-year-long civil war, the country remains one of the poorest in Latin America. With over half the population living in poverty and many more lacking medical care, it was understandable why Taiwan Root had selected Guatemala as the site of its next mission.
Over lunch, we convened with the rest of the 26-member team that consisted of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other volunteers. The united team then traveled the remainder of the day to a much less developed department (equivalent to "states" in the U.S.) of Guatemala called Zacapa and spent our first night at Esperanza de Vida, a Christian ministry that provides refuge to orphans and the elderly.
Our medical service initiated promptly the following morning. We traveled an hour to a primary school in a small rural town, where many dozens of patients had camped out since the early hours of the morning. Throughout the day, our team provided free medical examinations, dental services, and medications to over 200 patients. The work was exhausting, but it was clear that the need was great, and everyone labored diligently to provide medical attention to every patient who came.
We returned to Esperanza de Vida later that evening and immediately went to bed to rest up for the next day. Over the course of the week, the team traveled to a different town each day, bringing medical intervention to nearly 1,500 individuals who lacked readily available care. Although our work lasted only a week, we were encouraged by how much the patients seemed to value our presence. We, too, tried encouraging the people by letting them know that their struggles were seen and heard.
There are many injustices and tragedies in the world. Unfortunately, not enough people stand up to take action. Given this reality, it was a privilege meeting and working alongside the members of Taiwan Root, whose compassion and conviction to serve were truly inspiring. We wish the best for Taiwan Root and its future philanthropic endeavors; the memories made and the relationships built will last a lifetime.
TFISH FUND BLOG
We update news and reports directly from the field written by our NGO partners daily.
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
IN THE NEWS