Fanshawe College Respiratory Therapy

June 8 – June 16, 2019

A group of 13 third year students and three faculty traveled to Antigua, Guatemala for a Medical Mission to four clinics as part of their clinical placement with a focus on Global Citizenship.

Guatemala International Trip June 2019


Four students (Elio, Andrea, Nathalie and Emily) with rotating faculty (Julie, Yvonne and Dave) spent the week at the Puesto de Salud Alotenango medical clinic. This clinic offered basic health care to the general Guatemalan population free of charge. This clinic was in a very poor region of Guatemala and students here could see almost anything. Students/faculty were triaging patients, doing newborn/child checkups and immunizations, assessing incoming medical emergencies and patients for TB and even assessing a gynecological emergency. Students here were very busy with packed waiting rooms but also saw some very difficult conditions such as no water and supplies, dirty floors and even a dead dog in the waiting room.


Three students (Keanna, Chris, Keah) with rotating faculty spent the week at the Elderly Center in Cuidad Vieja. This clinic run by Guatemala’s President and his wife and is for elderly people who live alone and do not have family members to take care of them. These elderly get picked up by bus, and are brought in for medical care, activities, physiotherapy and meals. Students here were triaging the patients and offering medical aid, medications from a box of those available or referral care for their health concerns as well as helping with exercise/dance classes. The elderly loved our students and faculty and I think we all had a good cry on our last days. We could not believe how happy they were to get a Canada sticker or lanyard. Our group would go out every morning to wait for their bus to arrive and escort them in after rounds of hugs. The elderly were thrilled one day when we had a playlist prepared to play for them as they slowly came off the bus in their walkers.


Three students (Kim, Kayla and Tina) with rotating faculty spent the week at the Madres Teresa Clinic Complex. This clinic had a general doctor, a dentist, a social worker, a nutritionist and a breast milk collection center with space to open soon as a birthing stay unit. Here students were triaging patients of all ages and then referring them to the doctor, dentist or social worker as needed. Students were also assisting the doctor and dentist with any treatments such as stitches, aerosol treatments, tooth extractions, x-ray developing and even had the privilege of being invited to the funeral of nurse Louis father as the clinic and community shut down to attend. This was a beautiful, brand new clinic with a gorgeous roof top patio with views of the volcanoes.


Three students (Taylor, Nivetha and Sandra) with rotating faculty spent the week at the Puesto de Salud de Santa Catarina. This clinic offered basic health care to the general Guatemalan population free of charge. Students here were doing newborn checkups and immunizations, assessing emergencies that came in for treatment or referral to hospital, giving aerosol treatments and stocking the pharmacy. These students even went out with Ministry of Health Officials to the local community to evacuate houses for fumigation after a dengue fever case from malaria and were also provided a police escort one day to get to the home of a very sick child for assessment. The staff at this clinic were amazing with our students and were so proud to show them around the community.


Images (top to bottom left to right) 1. Typical home and people. 2. Eating local Taquitos. 3. Selling local goods at market. 4. Chicken bus, the public transportation. 5. Iximche Mayan Ruins. 6. Climbing Pacaya, an active volcano. 7. Roasting marshmallows at the top of Pacaya. 8. Cerro de la Cruz. 9-12. Hiking and kayaking our way around Lake Atitlan to celebrate after our hard work!

Student Quotes:

“I can honestly say that I now have a different approach to not only patient interaction but life itself”, Keanna.

“These memories will last forever”, Keah.

“Such a life changing experience” Nivetha.

“One of the most eye-opening experiences” Sandra

“I’ll be forever grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity” Taylor

“Between the laughs, the sweat and tears, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget” Tina

“My heart is so full”, Keanna.

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