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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Get the latest updates from our programs in the field internationally and here in the United States.  

  • From Myanmar, With Thanks

    by Katie Carroll | Oct 08, 2014

    For residents of Me Chaung village in Myanmar, getting to a health clinic isn't easy. There is a new toll road to the capitol nearby - but it costs $5 and does not allow motorcycles or bikes. Since the villagers don't have cars, they have to make the long trip to the nearest health center, which is four kilometers away.

    Thanks to your gifts, MTI has been working in this village, providing health education and medical supplies. Unlike other impoverished regions of Asia, there are few NGOs working in Myanmar, and none in this area.

    Recently our Manager of Asia Programs Connie Cummings took a trip to Me Chaung village to visit with our staff and volunteers. She was interested in hearing success stories from our program. Little did she know the village would gather together to provide testimony on the dramatic difference your gifts are having in that community.

    Hear directly from those whose lives you are transforming!:

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    “Before this project we have had many difficulties, but I fully support this project because I have seen improved health here.” - Saw Monday

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    “Before we had to go to the health center - which is far away - when we were sick. Now we can discuss our illness with the [Traditional Birth Attendant] and can get treatment here in the village. We like that the village now has some medical supplies here.” -Saw Roe

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    “Now we can give health education to mothers about pre- and post-natal care right here in the village. Before, they only believed in the traditional medicine; but now we can give good education to the community.” - Naw Paw

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    “I give thanks to God for this project. We are able to give health education for the prevention and treatment of diarrhea and malaria to the community. Health education is so important to this community and has made an impact here." - Naw Saw Htoo Say

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    “Having low cost medical supplies here in this community has helped us a lot. We can buy medicines from the village health workers. We don’t have to travel far to get help now.” - Naw Paw Lay

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    “Thank God for this project and now we have medicine to help those who are pregnant. Women can give birth here now with less pain. We are very thankful to you and for your project.”  - Toe Sau Poe

    Thank you for your generous donations to our Maternal & Child Health programs. You are providing lifesaving care to the most remote regions of the world. Thank you!

  • Volunteer Story: Mike and Loren's Guatemalan Adventure

    by Katie Carroll | Oct 06, 2014

    Excerpts republished with permission from Clark County Bar Association's July Hearsay Newsletter.  

    This past March, Mike Simon and Loren Etengoff from the Clark County Bar Association traveled to Guatemala on a volunteer MTI work team to build ventilated stoves. Here is what they had to say about their trip.

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    How did you get interested in going on a trip with MTI?
    Loren: I had heard Mike talking about his trips to Central America... I casually mentioned that I might be interested in going on a trip. I forgot about it until I got an email from Mike about 6 months ago ... asking if I wanted to go to Guatemala and build stoves. I had no idea why one would go to Guatemala to build stoves (don’t stoves come from SEARS) and why I, who can barely hammer a nail, could build a stove. However, I asked Mike more questions and decided that it sounded intriguing.

    Mike: An old scuba diving buddy of mine went on a trip to Peru with MTI to convert an old jail to a medical center. I said the same fateful words that so many other people have said: “Gee, I would like to go on a trip like that someday.” The next thing I knew, I was off to Honduras where we built latrines in a village up in the mountains. Honduras is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti and it is very different from and even poorer than Guatemala.

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    What was the experience like?
    Loren: Like nothing I expected or have previously experienced. From the concern/fear of having an armed escort with m-16 automatic rifles while on the drive to the village along the washed out dirt road hugging the side of a mountain to the humbling experience of arriving at the village and seeing the entire village lining the road and applauding as we pulled in.

    The sense of community and the importance of family in the village astounded me. Notwithstanding the extreme poverty, the village was thriving. Parents loved their children, and did their best to provide for them. They were willing to change the way they had been doing things for many years if there was a chance that the change would help their children.

    Mike: Seeing the armed guards Loren mentions was not unique. There are guns everywhere in Central America: outside gas stations, banks, stores, wherever there’s money. In San Salvador, neighborhoods hire security guards to patrol their neighborhoods. If you don’t pay them, your house is burglarized. 

    I always remember the roads and the time it takes to get anywhere. On our return trip, we went west from Chicamán on a country road. There were houses scattered on both sides of the road and every house had a speed bump the size of bowling balls. We barely crawled over every one.

    Ojo de Agua is at about 4,800 feet in elevation. And it was steep. In one day in one short distance we climbed about 2,100 feet in elevation going from house to house working. That was fun.

    I especially enjoy watching the interactions of team members with the local community... one day Loren was showing the kids how to make paper airplanes. He’s pretty good at it too. Loren’s son, Gabrielle, had one young lady hanging all over him. We have a lot of pictures of that.

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    What did you bring home from the trip?
    Loren: A sense of accomplishment. A closer relationship with my son as a result of our shared experience. The confidence to step out of my comfort zone. A greater understanding of myself. A desire to go again. An idea of what I would like to do when I retire from the practice of law.

    Conclusion
    Mike: I think you can tell that Loren and I are pretty enthusiastic about the trip and we both plan on going back sometime soon. We would both tell you that it is a unique experience and a very valuable one. If you have any interest in going on a trip, let us know. We would be glad to talk to you about it, which is something we never grow tired of.

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  • Field Photo: MTI's Dan Ward meets Liberian President

    by Katie Carroll | Oct 06, 2014

    On Saturday, MTI's Director of Africa Programs Dan Ward met with the President of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    Dan says, "our point of connection, besides Ebola and MTI’s work in Liberia, is that she is also a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School. So we called it a mini alumni meeting! ...She emphasized her Christian faith and appreciated the role of Christian NGO’s like MTI here."

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    Thank you for your continued prayers for West Africans impacted by this deadly virus.

  • Field Photos: Conflict in Iraq

    by Katie Carroll | Sep 30, 2014

    Due to intense fighting and the violent persecution of ethnic and religious minorities by the Islamic State in Iraq, more than 1.8 million people have been displaced within Iraq. MTI's Director of Emergency Relief & Global Security Roger Sandberg recently visited Erbil in Kurdistan Iraq to coordinate a plan with local partners to assist those displaced by the conflict.

    Here are some photos from his trip:

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    A young friend who lives in the basement of an unfinished mall with 100 other families.

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    Inside a church, where two families' "homes" are divided by a bench.

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    A family from Qaraqosh.

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    A local church.  People living in the sanctuary of a church.  One office is now a primary health clinic and the other office is a pharamacy.  The church is doing food distributions for two meals a day.

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    A Christian couple from Qaraqosh.  What they wear is all they have, and this is where they sleep.  They have nothing else.  She saved her wedding ring by wiping hiding it in a tissue she used to wipe her face.

     

    Please join us in praying for those affected by the conflict. Thank you.

  • Field Highlight: Herlinda in Guatemala

    by Katie Carroll | Sep 29, 2014

    Meet Herlinda, a Mother Counselor in Guatemala!

    Herlinda (38) lives in Paapá with her husband José and their three children: Edgar Rolando (21), Floricelda María (18), and Darwin Jeremy (6). Paapá is an hour outside of Cobán and is the largest community that MTI works with in the municipality of San Juan Chamelco, with 263 families and a total population of 1,397.

    Prior to beginning as a volunteer with MTI, Herlinda only dedicated her time to caring for her home and children. Now she said she participates in monthly health education trainings and as a woman she feels fulfilled having 10 families in her care and being in charge of giving them advice on the care of women, children, and home hygiene. Herlinda noted that she performs home visits to reinforce the health topics and says she is very well known in the community for the work that she does. She also said that the families in her care are stronger, and that when the day comes that MTI is no longer working in the community they will be able to continue practicing nutrition and hygiene practices.

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    Regarding her own family, Herlinda noted that before receiving the fuel-efficient, ventilated stove from MTI her family suffered from respiratory infections but they no longer experience this thanks to the stove. As a result of her participation and training, Herlinda said she is familiar with a number of health themes, and that her children no longer suffer from pneumonia and diarrhea because her family practices good hygiene within the home, hand-washing, and a healthy diet.

    Herlinda told MTI staff that the training that she has been given from MTI health coordinators has helped her as an individual as she is no longer afraid to speak in public. She said she is happy to belong to the network of Mother Counselors in her community, and is motivated by to help mothers in Paapá and educate the families in her care on the health topics she receives.

    Within her community Herlinda said that MTI has strengthened leadership that participates in training sessions, and that religious leaders now help offer families information about the care of their children and mothers. Together, the village is working for the development of the community.

    You are changing lives through your gifts to our Community Health programs! You are providing sustainable development programs that are transforming the lives of Guatemalan families. Thank you!

    Story by Brittn Grey

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