Fellow Rotarian David Sanchez brought together our Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside, with 2 non-profit organizations, Friends Of The Maya, and Power Of A Nickel. There was going to be a medical trip into the Maya communities of Quintana Roo, and they needed help with translation and whatever skills we had to bring to the table.
Power of a Nickel is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded 9 years ago in Tulsa Oklahoma by Rotarian Dr. Stan Grogg, a retired pediatrician, and his wife Barbara, a retired nurse practitioner. Together they organize medical trips to India, Uganda, Vietnam, Nicaragua and Mexico.
We were honored to have an exceptional team of 8 licensed physicians, and 30 medical students from West Virginia University School of Osteopathic Medicine, evaluating and treating, making referrals and educating on health related issues, and making a vital impact on these remote communities of Quintana Roo, that do not have regular access to healthcare.
The week began in an enchanting Maya village near Valladolid called Tres Reyes. The hot, buggy, dusty open space did not deter the team from setting up a makeshift clinic that was amazing. There was a triage area, a pediatric area, general medicine, cardiology with an EKG, radiology with an ultrasound and Doppler imaging. Last but not least, a pharmacy with endless medications and most everything from wart remover to bandages to prenatal vitamins. All of this was set up and ready to go in about 20 minutes!
In minutes the word was out. “The doctors are here!” The villagers converged on the makeshift clinic from every direction, and quickly shuffled into lines, patiently waiting to be seen. The team were faced with many many health issues including uncontrolled diabetes, dental caries, parasites, upper respiratory problems to name a few. There were also many more challenging issues that required referrals for follow up care. I soon realized that my limited Spanish was not my only obstacle this week, many of the villagers cannot speak Spanish. They only speak Maya!
Having been a nurse for 37 years both in England and the United States, it was particularly heartwarming to me, to see the selflessness of these 1 st world clinicians meeting the needs of the less fortunate in the world. After seeing every last person that required medical attention, the team packed up their rucksacks and moved on down the road to the next village, unpacked once again and performed the Art of Medicine until dusk.
And so the week continued the same fashion, zig-zagging through the state of Quintana Roo, west to Coba, south to Muyil and Chumpon, back north again to Crysto Rey and Playa Del Carmen. It was a relentlessly busy but wonderful week that clearly came to an end too soon for the Maya of Quintana Roo.
Thank you everyone who gave their time. We all have something no matter how small, that we can bring to the table. Thank you Power of a Nickel and Friends of the Maya. Thank you Rotary, for giving us the opportunity to be better humans.
Michelle Marino Kramer
Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside