Reports from the Field

Healthcare Volunteering in Guatemala

Medical and Healthcare Project in Guatemala

By: Jane Marks | Posted on: 23 Aug 2019

My name is Jane I am married and have two grown up children. My career over the last twenty five years has been as a swimming teacher taking classes ranging from 3 month old babies to adults. I’ve coached in schools and clubs to county level. Latterly I studied in nutrition and have worked with groups and individuals that were suffering with weight and health problems. Since having lessons for over two years I became more aware and interested in the charity that we support – “Association Fatima”.  I decided I wanted to help by volunteering and in turn improve my Spanish.

Medical and Healthcare Project in Guatemala

After much discussion, research and preparation, it became apparent that my experience in health and hygiene, nutrition and fitness would be the most beneficial for the charity. A programme was put in place, and shortly after my arrival, myself, Lucy, and other volunteers (when necessary) went into rural communities, to assess their nutritional level by weighing and measuring hundreds of children from different communities. During my stay we also completed a Cookery Workshop -Sport and Fitness Workshop – Foot and Personal Hygiene Workshop. These were all successful indifferent ways, and seeing the problems first-hand was humbling and most rewarding.

Association Fatima is re-building itself, and is laying very solid foundations, with Lucy at the forefront. Lucy the director has been involved with the charity for over thirty years, however, they are always open to consider ideas and input. Being involved with a small growing charity, for me was important as everything was very transparent, and I look forward to watching the charity grow in the future.

Medical and Healthcare Project in Guatemala

Guatemala is a beautiful country, with dramatic volcanoes, cobblestone streets and traditionally dressed women. It was important for me to travel whilst volunteering, and Tikal and Lake Atitlan were certainly highlights.

Now, reflecting on my trip to Guatemala, I feel it was a great success, I’ve gained confidence in myself and communicating in Spanish. Working with the charity and traveling to the remote areas from my base “Quetzaltenango” (Xela), in many different forms of transport, and spending many hours with these mothers and children in the rural communities and schools, has helped me to understand the problems and difficulties of this country. Seeing how difficult everyday chores are in these rural communities can at times be upsetting, but, however difficult these people lives are, the mothers and children are kind and happy. I feel now the charity and the people within it will always have a place in my heart, and they have become good friends.


Medical and Healthcare Project in Guatemala

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Jane Marks