"Where am I going to find 20 - 25 pigs feet in two days?" laughed Jorge Chen, Guatemala Country Director, at the request of Dr. Tyler DeLange. On the recent "Singular Humanitarian" expedition Dr. DeLange and other medical professionals spent their week teaching basic health care to the local Rural Health Promoters and Midwives in the Polochic Valley. Jorge provided enough pig's feet for the 40-45 villagers attending the classes to practice suturing on something that closely resembles the actual skin of a human patient. They learned about sterilization and even got to practice giving anesthesia injections. Even the women were eager to try stitching the wounds on their little pig patients. "They did incredibly well. Through this experience, and the tools we gave them, they are now prepared to suture real patients with minor lacerations," stated Dr. DeLange. In addition to the educational materials received, the students were encouraged to meet weekly to review what they had learned. Since the conclusion of the expedition the villagers have continued to meet weekly and are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from each other and solidify their new knowledge.
Such health care training helps develop these rural communities in many ways. It is providing better access to sustainable medical care within the communities. In turn, villagers are learning how knowledge creates increased opportunity - which ultimately liberates people from poverty.