On January 20 - 27th MDP sent it's first medical team to the Chiapas region of Mexico. Our team consisted of ;
Dr. Rich Peller, MD
Dr. Vincente Pangalos, MD
Susan Peller, RN
Lia Price, Interpreter and Group Leader
Bridget Hermer, Interpreter
Nick Hermer, Pharmacy
Billie Pangalos, Pharmacy.
We were sponsored by 2 Mexican based groups; Misioneras del Corazón Eucarístico de Jesucristo Rey and Caritas, and international Catholic organization.
For the first few days we were based out of Coapilla, Mexico which is a few hours North of Tuxtla Guitterez. Here we were able to serve the people of Coapilla and the community of San Isidore. San Isidore is a very remote village which had recently been victim of a Sink Hole where 7 homes had been swallowed up. The Mexican government has rebuilt the town within the last 2 years and we were able to many people who had little access to doctors. I will always remember how they took care of one another. A set of sisters who came in , one of them blind for the past 15 years. A mother with a son with mental illness. They were looking for hope, for answers. We had little to offer but they were so kind and such and example of love and committment to each other.
In Coapilla there were long lines of people waiting to be seen each day. Our small team worked hard and long hours. We took our meals with the Sisters and held the clinic right in thier home. They were wonderful hosts, so kind and gracious and good cooks too!
The remainder of the week we spent based out of San Cristobal de Las Casas. This part of the trip was sponsored by Caritas. San Cristobal is a high mountain Spanish colonial town with a beautiful plaza and many modern amenities. Each day while we were in San Cristobal we travelled out to various remote villages. Travel time to the villages was from 1 and half to 2 and a half hours each way. These villages were extremely needy and this was the first time that they had had any medical groups in their villages. Most people over the age of 40 did not speak spanish and so the villages provided interpreters for the entire clinics. This meant interpreting from the Indian dialect into Spanish into English back to Spanish and back to the Indian dialect for over half of the patients. It was an amazing experience. The people were extemely poor. Most of them slept on the ground, cooked over wood fires and hauled their water to their homes. In one village we were able to make a splint for 2 people with broken arms. One was an 80+ year old man who had fallen off his roof trying to fix it!
Many thanks to all who helped make this trip possible. Lia Price and hercousin Fr. Pablo Hector Gonzales, all of those who contirbute to MDP financially and in prayer and service. Thank You!