In 1996, a peace agreement was signed between the Guatemalan government and local rebels that ended a 36-year long civil war. This conflict devastated much of the population, and today, they are still recovering.

 

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Health Talents International (HTI) is a Christian based medical missionary group out of Birmingham, Alabama, that has become well established in Guatemala. They have gone a long way toward helping with the medical needs of the under-served, and BandS is happy to contribute by providing volunteers and medical supplies.

 

HTI operates a modern hospital, Clinica Ezell, in the coastal area of western Guatemala, and from this location they conduct a number of mobile community clinics. They also operate a second facility, Clinica Caris, that is deeper within the interior highlands and serves as a general medical and dental clinic. BandS regularly participates in week long mission trips to Guatemala, taking along volunteers with a wide variety of medical talents.

 

Located on the southern border of Mexico, Guatemala is a short flight from Houston, and accommodations at the Clinica Ezell are very comfortable. Volunteers usually spend a few days working in the hospital, and because it is in a tropical area that is under-served, they usually see a wide variety of medical conditions.

 

Volunteers also spend a day or two traveling with mobile community clinics that leave Clinica Ezell early in the morning and return in the evening. Some mobile clinics are conducted in the public buildings of small towns, while others are held in extremely remote, rural villages where dirt floors are the norm. Clinics often draw large crowds, and volunteers can expect to put in long days. But not every day is spent working. There are days off when volunteers can become tourists and explore the Mayan and Spanish heritage of the area.

 

Because of the close proximity to the US and good housing conditions, this is a nice trip for those who are just starting out as medical missionaries. And although the work is challenging, it is a great experience, and the people of the country are very appreciative.

At a Glance

Capital: Guatemala City

 

Official language: Spanish

 

Land Area: 42,042 sq mi

 

Population: 13,276,517

 

Per Capita GDP (Nominal): $2,887

 

Currency: Quetzal (GTQ)