Dustin’s Dream returns from fourth Guatemala trip
Dustin’s Dream’s fourth trip to the Heart of Love Clinic in Guatemala City was the best yet, according to Deondra Chamberlain.
Chamberlain, who is Dustin’s mother, said a group of 10 people from Siloam Springs, including a local doctor, dentist and several nurses, spent June 2 through June 9 in Guatemala, where they helped with the clinic’s mission.
Dustin’s Dream was founded to honor the life of Dustin Chamberlain, who planned to become a missionary doctor. In 2011, he was tragically killed during a home invasion while home on Christmas break from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Dustin’s family and friends started Dustin’s Dream to fulfill his vision. The nonprofit has raised money to build and help operate the clinic.
This month’s trip was the second time that Dustin’s sister Danae Chamberlain has visited the clinic in Guatemala. Danae, who graduated from Baylor University in May, said she was amazed by the changes that have been made since she first visited almost five years ago. The first time Danae saw the clinic, only the first floor of the clinic was complete. Since then a second and third floor have been added to the facility, bringing the total size to 7,000 square feet.
Currently, the clinic serves more than 800 people a month on average and provides general medical care, physical therapy, pediatric therapy and dental services. It also offers an area for education and a water purification system that provides low cost water to people in the community. Dustin’s Dream splits the cost of operating expenses with Life of Hope Ministry of Joplin, Mo.
“It’s unbelievable to see how much has come from where we were almost seven years ago,” Danae said. “For me, it’s crazy to think about how faithful God has been in my family’s life and using Dustin’s legacy. … We just got to go on a trip and serve these people in Guatemala, something we would have never thought existed seven years ago. It’s overwhelming all the good
that has happened out of everything.”
Dr. Layla Chanquin and her husband Pastor Saul Perez run the Heart of Love Clinic. Together, they work six days a week and lead church on Sunday. In addition to her work at the Heart of Love Clinic, Chanquin also conducts clinics at outlying churches. Perez also runs a mission for homeless men and hopes to one day build a home where they can live temporarily to get back on their feet.
During the trip, the Dustin’s Dream medical team saw more than 150 to 180 patients each day — or a total of about 600, Deondra said. In addition, the team’s dentist, Dr. Trent McCord, saw about 18 to 20 patients a day, she said.
The clinic is located in a settlement that has grown around the largest garbage dump in the world. The approximately 10,000 people who live in the settlement make a living from scavenging what they find in the trash brought in from other parts of the city. Consequently, the medical team saw lots of patients with respiratory problems, infected wounds and chronic diseases such as diabetes that are out of control, she said.
Throughout the week, the team from Dustin’s Dream also visited other nonprofits in the city, such as a home for abused girls in Chimaltenango, Guatemala and a school for special needs children, Deondra said. On Friday evening, they helped the Heart of Love Clinic staff provide a weekly meal to people in the community and feed more than 350 people, she said.
On June 3, the second day the team was in Guatemala, the Volcan de Fuego exploded. The volcano was about 27 miles away — a safe distance — from the Heart of Love Clinic, but gritty dark-gray ash still rained down on the area, Deondra said. The eruption didn’t change any of their plans but they were able to purchase water and supplies to send to help people who were in the path of the volcano, she said.
Deondra said Dustin’s Dream plans to continue to focus their efforts on Guatemala City and the Heart of Love Clinic. In addition to support for operating costs, the clinic is in need of a new ultrasound machine and Dustin’s Dream is interested in supporting the mission for homeless men, she said.
For more information about Dustin’s Dream, visit dustinsdream.net.
Members of the medical team from Dustin’s Dream help pass out food during the weekly meal the Heart of Love Clinic provides the community in Guatemala City.
A team of 10 people from the Siloam Springs area traveled with Dustin’s Dream to help at the Heart of Love Clinic in Guatemala City. Pictured are (front left) dental assistant Eva Hicks, translator Ana Castillo, Danae Chamberlain, nurse Carrie Stock, (back row) nurse practitioner Sara McCord, Kambryn Duncan, Dr. Carl Duncan, dentist Dr. Trent McCord, Jodi Klassin and nurse Deondra Chamberlain.