Health Care: What We Do

I would rather teach someone about health, than give them a prescription.

- Dr. Francisco Mendez Puac, San Pedro la Laguna

Dr. Francisco grew up as an indigenous Tzutujil boy in the lakeside village of San Pedro la Laguna, and thanks to a scholarship, he was able to attend school.  He worked his way through medical school, including a stint in the USA, and built a practice in Guatemala City. With that foundation, he opened a clinic back in his hometown, where he is the only doctor who speaks the Mayan language. He now spends 20% of his time treating for-pay patients in Guatemala City, in order to volunteer 80% of his time treating can't-pay patients in San Pedro.

Guatemala Conexions has backed Dr. Francisco's volunteer work for several years, investing in his efforts as a self-supporting doctor with a genuine vision for "health care", in a rural area where hospital visits are feared, doctors are not trusted, and discrimination is expected by the indigenous locals.

 

 Tim with Francisco and Carina, in the front door of Francisco's childhood home, which has now become his current medical clinic.

Tim with Francisco and Carina, in the front door of Francisco's childhood home, which has now become his current medical clinic.

 Francisco unpacking a delivery of medical supplies from Canada, excess inventory from our medical system. In Canada, it gets discarded, even though it's brand-new and packaged. In Guatemala, it's treasure.

Francisco unpacking a delivery of medical supplies from Canada, excess inventory from our medical system. In Canada, it gets discarded, even though it's brand-new and packaged. In Guatemala, it's treasure.

 As a local boy who grew up speaking his indigenous language, Dr. Francisco is the role model for our student Lidia, who dreams of becoming a doctor for her village of Buena Vista.

As a local boy who grew up speaking his indigenous language, Dr. Francisco is the role model for our student Lidia, who dreams of becoming a doctor for her village of Buena Vista.

 Dr. Francisco, on the foundations of his new clinic, where he dreams of being able to offer hospital-grade surgical care, helping the local people who don't have options. 

Dr. Francisco, on the foundations of his new clinic, where he dreams of being able to offer hospital-grade surgical care, helping the local people who don't have options. 

We look ahead to when Dr. Francisco will be opening a new clinic, inviting foreign doctors to help out in his surgical centre, and providing top-quality care in a top-quality facility, for indigenous folks who have often feared medical treatment.

Throughout the journey, it is his vision, his clinic, his direction, and our support, and we are honoured to be invited to share it.