Bringing digital X-ray technology to those in need

X-ray clinic

A mother and her child in one of the remote clinics in Guatemala.

By Carlos Frum, past governor of District 6440 and a member of the Rotary Club of Northbrook, Illinois, USA

The line went around the block and people were still coming! It was 2003 and my first trip to Guatemala as a translator for a medical team. Upon my return, I realized that we have no idea in the United States how difficult it is for people in poor countries to get basic health care. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that two thirds of the world’s population doesn’t even have access to simple X-rays.

After several more trips, I resolved, with two other past governors from Rotary District 6440, to do something about this. Bruce Baumberger, Pam Kerr, and I started a project to install 29 digital X-ray systems in remote clinics in Guatemala. We called it HealthRays™. Continue reading

How Rotary made Jose’s high school graduation possible

Jose with his high school diploma.

Jose with his high school diploma.

By Martha Peak Helman

Rotary members often say that the work we do will change the lives of people we will never have the chance to meet. But nothing could be further from the truth in Jose’s case.

My Rotarian husband and I first met Jose when he was a gawky teen enrolled at Safe Passage, a program that makes it possible for children who live on the Guatemala City garbage dump to go to school and improve their lives. Through Rotary Foundation grants and Rotary involvement, Safe Passage has grown in the past decade into an organization that supports more than 500 children each year, in preschool through high school and beyond.  Continue reading

Sister clubs form deep bonds of friendship and service

Luis Pedro Fuxet Ciani, president of the Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, and Suzanne Gibson, president of the Rotary Club of Barrington Breakfast, sign a sister club agreement.

Luis Pedro Fuxet Ciani, president of the Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, and Suzanne Gibson, president of the Rotary Club of Barrington Breakfast, sign a sister club agreement.

By Narayan Murarka, a member of the Rotary Club of Barrington Breakfast, Illinois, USA

Through Rotary, people from different backgrounds and cultures come together to serve side by side and build long lasting friendships. I have seen this first hand in my club, the Rotary Club of Barrington Breakfast, Illinois, USA, which has formed a sister club relationship with the Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, Guatemala.

In March 2010, I took part in an international service project to Guatemala, distributing water filters to residents of Sumpango, a village near Antigua. Continue reading

Supporting literacy in the jungles of Guatemala

Rotarian Barry Gray (left) with Walter Proppe (far right), a student at the Ak’Tenamit school, and his family.

 By Barry Gray, a member of the Rotary Club of Deerfield, Illinois, USA.

Sweating profusely, and aching in my knees from the strenuous hike through the jungle, I was beginning to question my sanity and wonder what I had gotten myself into.

My son Jeff, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and I joined 18 other Rotarians from northern Illinois for nine days in late January, delving deep into the rainforest of eastern Guatemala on a service project with District 6440 (Illinois, USA) to Ak’Tenamit.

Continue reading