Moose Jaw International Medical Mission receives Global Service Above Self Award for second straight year
It takes a special brand of person to uproot their lives and travel to an impoverished Latin America country for a week just to do the job they do back home. But when it’s the Moose Jaw Medical Mission to Guatemala, having a chance to do that job in a part of the world torn apart by civil war means almost as much to them as it does to their patients in the impoverished land. And for that, the Rotary Club of Wakamow presented the Mission – comprised of Connie Paul, Lisa Tipper, Lindsay Stewart, Melissa MacNeil, Melissa Taylor, Jessica Archibald, Kandy and Brad Hennenfent and Jackie Wilson – with the Global Service Above Self Award for the second straight year on Apr. 9 at the Heritage Inn. The 2017 Mission saw the group travel to Patzun, Guatemala after a year-long effort to raise funds to purchase supplies and support themselves while in the foreign country. “This year that we’ve been nominated for was an incredible team effort in that were able to give them the kind of care where they would know they were cared for and worthwhile,” said Wilson, who has been an organizer and driving force for each of the Missions, of which 2017 was the second. An even larger, third group took part in the 2018 excursion this spring. “We wanted to give them the best care that we could; we were able to raise quite a bit of money to go down there and cover our expenses while in Guatemala, but everyone on the team covered their own expenses to go and took vacation time from their job in order to go. So I’m extremely thankful to have a chance to work with such a great and dedicated group of people.” Rotary Wakamow member Jacques Lacasse set the scene for the level of work the group had ahead of them prior to leaving as part of his award introduction. “It’s an area that was heavily devastated by civil war and where the population was severely impoverished, and finding jobs is extremely difficult in that area, there are no jobs,” he explained. “Primarly, what workforce there is are subsistence farmers, and they have limited access to medical care. What care they can get is largely beyond their means.” email@example.com or 888-241-5291 The 2017 edition of the Mission worked out of Clinica Corpus Christi, a hospital and orphanage in Patzun. There, the team spent their five days conducting 35 surgeries, with most of the operations for things like gallbladders, hernias, hysterectomies, and various lumps and bumps. “While this kind of medical care might seem fairly ordinary to us in Canada who are privileged, to the people of Patzun, these were life-changing events,” Lacasse said. “They went from being in continuous pain to being pain free, and that’s an amazing thing to offer people.” The fundraising efforts to make the trip saw the group working everything from steak dinners and concerts to creating websites, working social networking, finding sponsors and launching gofundme campaigns. On top of all that, as Wilson touched on, they paid for their trips to Guatemala themselves – all the money raised went to supplies and their living expenses in Patzun. “A huge thank you to Rotary because you gave us a really generous donation for this year’s trip and hope we honoured you with the work we did down there,” she said. “It’s amazing to be partners with different business who helped us out and thank you very much.” Knowing it was all for the noblest of causes made such donations very easy, said Lacasse. “It as a lot of work and organization all done by volunteers,” Lacasse said. “When I look at the Rotary Foundation and the Rotary Organization and what this award is about this is service above self in it’s purest form.”
Members of the Moose Jaw International Medical Mission to Guatemala team include Melissa Taylor (left), Jessica Archibald, Lisa Tipper, Lindsay Stewart, Jackie Wilson, Kandy Hennenfent and Connie Paul. Missing are Melissa MacNeil and Brad Hennenfent.