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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.  

  • Medical Success Story: Veronica

    by Katie Carroll | Mar 20, 2014

    We are so excited to share with you the success story of Veronica Beznos, a Moldovan child, who's life has been transformed by your generosity.

    Last year a group of MTI volunteers visited children and families in the poverty stricken village of Oxentea, Moldova. Their goal was to assist in the provision of sustainable infrastructure for community health and therapeutic training for the disabled through MTI’s Community Health Evangelism project.

    While in Oxentea, the team checked in on the Beznos family, recipients of MTI’s services thanks to donors like you. Mrs. Beznos - a mother of five - has struggled to properly support her family since the untimely and tragic death of her husband. To further complicate the situation, the youngest Beznos daughter, 6-year-old Veronica, had been in a tragic accident, rendering her physically disfigured and causing multiple brain injuries which severely affected her speech, hearing and mobility. Appropriate and timely medical care following the accident had not been possible due to limited financial resources within her family unit.

    In 2010, when MTI first met the Beznos family, Veronica was completely isolated and emotionally withdrawn. The accident had left her unable to communicate with peers or attend school.



    Since then, MTI volunteers Dr. Darii and Mariana Socinschi have been working with Veronica to slowly rehabilitate her emotional status and physical health. In 2011, MTI brought Veronica to the capital city where she was able to undergo reconstructive surgery on a severely disfigured leg. This procedure provided Veronica the mobility she needed to attend a center for disabled children within her community.

    Your generous donations have provided Veronica the opportunity to reengage with society. Thank you!!

    Story by Krystal Foote
  • Safe Motherhood Success Story: Chalumène

    by Katie Carroll | Mar 19, 2014

    We are excited to share with you a story of how your gifts likely saved a life... or two!

    Chalumène Vernis lives in Ti Place, a locality of Crochu, Haiti. On February 21st, she delivered a beautiful baby girl safely thanks to your donations to our Community Health programs.


    Medical Teams International's Haiti team creates emergency evacuation plans with communities in case of complications during community births. This baby was born safely as a result of training of the traditional birth attendant (TBA) by MTI and coordination among the community to execute the evacuation plan.

    Chalumène was in labor for a couple of hours when Lorinma, the TBA assisting her, noticed that she took too long to have her baby. He asked the family to transport her to the hospital. The neighbors contacted the local Ministries of Health to get an ambulance to come to the center of Crochu.

    Her neighbors took Chalumène on a makeshift stretcher to Noailles (about 3 hours of walk), a locality in the center of Crochu which is the farthest the ambulance could reach. Chalumène was then transported by ambulance to the hospital where she delivered safely with the assistance of an obstetrician.

    Lorinma is grateful for the training he received that helped him identify the risk signs.  He says, "I used to keep women in labor for several days, now because of the training, I know I should refer them.  I know a woman should not spend two sunrises in labor."


    Thank you for your generous support of our Haiti programs! Join us in welcoming this beautiful baby into the world!

  • Disaster Update: Syrian War Enters 4th Year

    by Katie Carroll | Mar 18, 2014

    Thank you for your support of our Syrian refugee relief program.  Thanks to you, Syrian families in desperate need can receive care during this time of conflict and uncertainty.

    Your generous donations have shipped 10 Intra-Agency Emergency Health Kits and 10 major surgery kits to Lebanon - enough medical supplies to serve up to 100,000 refugees.  You have also sent a 40-foot container of medical supplies to provide for up to 25,000 refugees in Jordan.

    Yet the need continues to be great. The Syrian Civil War enters its 4th year this month, and nearly 2.5 million displaced Syrians are enduring yet another harsh winter in refugee camps. Syrian refugees are without access to healthcare.  According to a recent report by UNICEF, 1.2 million Syrian children are refugees in need of humanitarian aid.

    If you haven't yet, watch our video that takes you inside the settlements of Syrian refugees where Medical Teams International is providing care.

    Thank you for your generosity and commitment to demonstrate the love of Christ to Syrian refugees in need. Your support sends these critical supplies to the most urgent situations around the world, where refugees are dependent on the generosity of people like you.
  • Volunteer Highlight: RJ Tripicchio

    by User Not Found | Mar 18, 2014


    RJ Tripicchio served with MTI on an 11-member Providence Health International volunteer team in Guatemala in February of 2014. The volunteers funded 40 fuel-efficient ventilated stoves in Chioyá, Alta Verapaz, and worked with community members and MTI staff to construct the stoves in families’ homes. This article was originally posted by Providence Health International and has been reproduced with the author’s permission.

    Holy Smoke

    by RJ Tripicchio

    As I reflect on our final days in Guatemala, I realize it is all too much right now. We were preparing to come home as the same, but somehow different people. Our time spent, our work performed, was so concentrated like a heavy black ink, that the experience will take days, weeks, months for its true components to be realized for both us and them as we move forward through life. 

    However, in my last day I was struck by the story of Pentecost and how in so many ways our experience resonates with those early followers of Jesus. When this hit me I had a thousand thoughts about all the images of the week, the experiences, the conversations, and the emotions—it was like being in a movie rewinding back to all the clips connecting the dots making everything so clear. I of course had to pull back into my Jesuit education and lifelong Catholic lessons that at times I had not paid attention to. But this experience suddenly became clear: an Aha! Or perhaps a Duh! sent from Fr. Muller, S.J.

    Our mission was to help to the people of Chioyá build stoves. Not to simply pay for the stoves, but to work side-by-side and live with them for those days. I imagine it was like walking in the footsteps of Christ going from village to village sharing Love with those whom the world had forgotten or given up on. And in walking in his footsteps we were able to experience small glimpses of a beautiful world and kingdom in which the people of Chioyá live—a reward beyond any price; a gift impossible to describe, filled with both heartache and overwhelming Love. Even though we split up as teams daily, our bus rides and reflections would be filled with the same emotions, same feelings, same stories. Some moments were loud, boisterous, exotic tales, and others were true moments where silence superseded the words. And even in the end the stories didn’t matter, they were just an avenue to release the emotions inside. When we removed all the layers deep down, the kernel of what mattered in our attempt to describe what we experienced, was a communion of understanding. Ultimately it was our attempt to describe our overwhelming encounter of God’s Love for All.

    During Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit where the disciples and others from many lands came together to pray. Were they actually on fire? Did they actually speak in tongues? My Jesuit education suggested that perhaps they all truly spoke different languages, had different customs, different gestures; but perhaps the real miracle was that they all came together to express their encounter of Christ, and somehow they all understood the same message, felt the same inspiration. These varied people became unified and felt like a community because they finally found others who had a shared experience. I imagine they felt relieved and overwhelmed with joy to know that their Jesus experience was not unique to themselves, but in fact part of a community who encountered God’s Love through “The One.” And this experience they described as the Holy Spirit descending from heaven and entering into each one, not only filling them with joy and understanding but compelling, inspiring, them to take the message out and start the community known as Christianity.

    So I thank everyone who made this experience possible because I feel filled with “something.” I call it the Holy Spirit, which for Catholics is that feeling inside your gut that has to be released into life like our breath. We talked on our last day as to “what next?” Maybe it’s letting time and action diffuse out the intense, concentrated Love that was placed inside of us during our time in Guatemala. I’m excited that the experience will never end, and will change for me tomorrow, in a month, in years. I am amazed!

    (I laugh too, because perhaps the Pentecost theme was too obvious—riding on a red bus every day, three cultures communicating easily, our failing attempt to put emotions into words yet understanding each other deeply, building stoves for fire, giving them clean air to inspire.) 

    God’s Grandeur
    by Gerard Manley Hopkins

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


    MTI_Guatemala_Alta Verapaz
  • Volunteer Highlight: Ian Yocum

    by Katie Carroll | Mar 17, 2014

    Volunteers are essential to Medical Teams International.  This month we are proud to highlight volunteer Ian Yocum, who has served on 5 disaster response teams and 2 EMS Capacity Training teams, providing care for at least 5,200 adults and 4,725 children.  He has donated over 1,000 hours to Medical Teams International, with services worth more than $25,000!

    Ian is a Battalion Chief for Tualatin Valley & Fire Rescue, a fire protection and emergency services agency that serves more than 440,000 citizens in one of the fastest growing regions in Oregon. When the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami hit in 2004, he immediately signed up to volunteer with Medical Teams International.

    Ian has been integral in developing our non-profit’s Emergency Medical Services program by serving in disaster relief teams for Sri Lanka, Japan, Haiti, Cambodia and Uganda. He also helped recruit and establish 35 other technical experts as disaster relief volunteers for Medical Teams International. More importantly, Ian introduced and developed a crucial strategic partnership between Medical Teams International and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, allowing the MTI to mobilize lifesaving care as soon as within 24 hours of a disaster striking. Ian and his colleagues not only give their personal time, they also use their own funds for travel expenses, allowing Medical Teams International to mobilize more funding for the people they serve.



    Ian has been an integral part of implementing an Incident Command System (ICS) into MTI's First-In teams in disaster situations. In 2011, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake, one of the five largest earthquakes ever recorded in world history, hit the eastern coast of Japan’s Tohoku region. This created an extremely destructive tsunami, with heights up to 133 feet, which hit Japan just minutes after the earthquake. Ian led two teams to Japan with the mission of implementing ICS and training members of the disaster relief partner (CRASH Japan) in its use. ICS, endorsed by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that is internationally accepted and used.  

    Ian Yocum in the Philippines, Nov. 2013


    In addition to being team leader for our first team to respond to the Japan tsunami, Ian was also the team leader on our first team for our response to Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.  Altogether Ian has been on 7 missions with Medical Teams International and has every plan to keep doing so. When asked why he keeps coming back, Ian quickly responds: “It allows me to marry my three passions: my profession, my desire to help people and my love of travel.”

    “More importantly, it lets me teach my kids, Wyett (10) and Cooper (7), that the world is a big place and that we need to help each other. Volunteering gets your out of your usual ‘comfort zone’ and makes you become a more well-rounded person.”

    Join us in thanking Ian for his generosity and compassion as well as his commitment to serving people in need.  Thank you!

    Original story by Chiqui Flowers

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