2018 January - March Newsletter

2018 is off to a great start! We are excited to share our developments with you.

Goodbye and Hello

We said goodbye to a wonderful group of externos (4th year Guatemalan medical students) in the last week of January. As a parting gift, they gave us a microwave and a gooseneck lamp! With the lamp, we are able to do more thorough gynecological examinations, and with the microwave we can heat up food and drink for the chilly days at the clinic.

Directly after the group left, another group came in! We gain so much from having the externos with us; they see patients, run the pharmacy, and most importantly, bring a positive energy to the clinic with their eagerness to learn and help. 

Outreach Developments

In the first few months of 2018 the admin team at Primeros Pasos worked with both individual volunteers and students from Vanderbilt University to conduct Needs Assessments in the four most vulnerable communities of the Valley; Las Majadas, Bella Vista, Candelaria, and Tierra Colorada Alta. The information gathered during these assessments is helping us develop our outreach program which will allow us to make healthcare services and related nutrition and education programming accessible to the Valley's most in-need.

We are currently interviewing very promising candidates for a new, much-needed position at the clinic, entitled Outreach Coordinator. The Outreach Coordinator will be the primary source of contact with the communities as we continue to strengthen our relationship with them, and as such will be involved in the development and implementation of our outreach program. We look forward to announcing our new hire in the coming weeks!

Doña Dora Stoves

A group of students on Alternative Spring Break from the University of Virginia purchased and helped implement three economical and environmentally-friendly cookstoves for three different schools in the Valley. The stoves were purchased from Estufa Doña Dora, a company that aims to provide safer and more cost-effective cookstoves to Guatemalan families. Check out the impact report below for more details!


Fiesta Cubana

In March, Primeros Pasos held a Cuban Fiesta fundraiser in Xela, raising Q2400 (a little over $320)! The fiesta was at a local discoteca and featured a salsa show by Bakanos Dance Studio and Escenic Salsa Studio. Thanks to the support of Panquewaffles, La Esquina Asiatica, DJ Ferno, SISAI, Casa Viñarte, and the help of all the Primeros Pasos volunteers, the event was a huge success!


The Fabled Map

Volunteer extraordinaire, Lindsay Sommer, created a map that can be used to easily access research and data that has been collected by other volunteers, staff, and partner organizations in the past few years. Included in the map are interactive layers that show community statistics, common illnesses, water sources, medical services, pharmacies, transportation, and recent needs assessment data for each of the 10 communities in the Valley. The map can be continually edited as the data changes, and we hope it will be used by Primeros Pasos and other organizations who work in the Valley to have access to an up to date, interactive resource, showing current projects, needs, and infrastructure in each of the 10 communities. 

You can explore the map by clicking here!


Jornada de Ultrasonido

For the first time at Primeros Pasos, we organized a Jornada de Ultrasonido(Ultrasound Medical Fair) which saw around 20 patients per day over the course of 4 days. We invited two radiologists from Boston, Dr. Tim Frey and Dr. Patrick Burke, to bring their expertise in ultrasound to Primeros Pasos. The Jornada doubled as a cheap ultrasound clinic (Q40 for an appointment, less than $6), and as a training ground for the clinic's primary physician, Dra. Maria Jose. We also had two midwives join us from the ACAM centre, and an excellent translator. The week after the Jornada we received several patients asking for an ultrasound, which Dra. Maria Jose can now provide, along with a written report of the ultrasound results. Everyone is equally excited to hold the Jornada again next year.

Primeros Pasos