What does it take to prepare for a medical/dental trip at Casa Colibri? A lot! Extensive planning is underway to ensure that 19 members of the Casa Colibri team will be able to effectively meet the needs of the approximately 1,000 patients they anticipate seeing during the November 29th – December 5th trip. The team consists of 2 physicians, 3 dentists, 5 nurses or nurse practitioners, 2 social workers, 3 translators and 4 support people. Six are from Guatemala and 14 will be traveling from the United States. First-time team members include Liza Raymond, a family nurse practitioner, and José Lambrey, a registered nurse.

For weeks, work has focused on identifying, sourcing and ordering the medications and supplies needed to treat the wide range of patients and conditions the team expects to see. In addition, large quantities of prenatal vitamins, anti-parasite medication, and oral-care products are needed to help maintain health and wellness. Meticulous paper work is required to move these items through Customs.

The fact that the Casa Colibri Clinic is located in a very remote area of northwest Guatemala necessitates detailed logistical planning to support the project once the team lands in Guatemala City. Heavy duty trucks that can navigate the rutted dirt roads are needed to transport team members and supplies for the 11-hour drive to the clinic. Coordination with Village Health Promoters is critical to determine which villagers will arrive at the clinic on which days. Meals need to be planned and ingredients purchased in advance since food availability in the area is virtually non-existent. The planning team strives to anticipate and prepare for every detail. Fortunately, much has been learned from a long history of previous medical/dental trips.

The details may be mundane but, through all the planning, excitement builds over the opportunity to do what Casa Colibri was established to do—to help the Mayan people of northwest Guatemala improve their lives.