Posted by: apguess | March 3, 2015

Hola a todos y bienvenidos!

Hello everyone and welcome (back)! It’s that time of year again for the Newberg Rotary Club to prepare for its annual week-long service trip in Guatemala. In partnership with the Antigua Rotary, we are looking forward to providing dental care to the communities of El Hato and San Mateo. San Mateo is a new location for us this year, which we are excited to tell you more about in a later post.

Before the team begins arriving in Guatemala later this week, we would like to take a moment to congratulate Maureen Gonzales on receiving a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) for the many years of service she has provided in the local communities we serve. Her physical therapy services have proven to be an invaluable addition to the services we provide. And as you can see from past blog posts, she has shared some excellent stories of the ministry she provided. Although Maureen is not joining us this year (she is saving her vacation time to be with her daughter Laura for the birth of her son in Mexico City in April), we are truly grateful for her service!

Congratulations to Maureen Gonzales on being named a Paul Harris Fellow recipient!

Congratulations to Maureen Gonzales on being named a Paul Harris Fellow recipient!

Outside of Rotarians, Maureen is the third member to receive a Paul Harris Fellow recognition. Dr. Mike Harper and Dr. Ben Gonzales are past recipients of the Paul Harris Fellow. To be a PHF recipient, $1,000 has been contributed to Rotary International on the individual’s behalf.

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 7, 2014

How Our Clinics Operate

It takes many volunteers help to run a clinic. Here are some of the jobs that happen behind the scenes but are pivotal to the success our team.

Appointment Setting

This happens a few weeks in advance at both the villages we go to. Our partner Rotary Club of Antigua sent Jose Maria Texidor up to the villages to talk with their representatives there. Jose coordinated with the Mayor of Guardania and city council representative Erwin Chan Reyes of El Hato. Together they publicized to the small communities what services will be provided and when. Then villagers are encouraged to come sign up for an appointment time. We moved to this system a few years ago and overall we feel it helps ensure that people are there when we are. We have had times in the past where very few patients showed up on a day we ran a clinic. This approach also keeps the lines outside of the clinic manageable and makes it easier to find the patient when it’s their turn.

Auggie Gonzales from the Noon Newberg Rotary Club with Antigua Rotary Club Members Jose Teixidor, Alma Olson and Tom Olson.

Auggie Gonzales from the Noon Newberg Rotary Club with Antigua Rotary Club Members Jose Maria Teixidor, Alma Olson and Tom Olson.

Patient Intake & Checkout

This one man show is run by who the villagers fondly refer to as Santa. Alonso Enriquez is a volunteer with the Newberg Rotary Club and his job is an important one. He checks people in, gets their name, age, and what problem they think they have written down on their patient card. He keeps track of the schedule to make sure patients are seen in the right order. He also is responsible for handing out toothbrushes, toothpaste, and prizes at the end of the visits. Often times the Dentist will have him translate specific instructions to the patient about after care, whether it is a warm salt water rinse, a pain medicine to take every few hours, or general brushing recommendations. It’s a lot for one person but Alonso does his job happily. Because this job has so many tasks, it is often an area where we are able to plug in Rotary Antigua Club members when they join us for an afternoon or morning of service.

Alonso Enriquez

Newberg Rotary Club Volunteer Alonso Enriquez explaining to a patient what her appointment card says.


I overheard a dentist say “Denise is a saint!”. And it’s true. Sterilization is a dirty job. A dirty, monotonous job. Once a patient has been seen the dentists drop their dirty and often bloody trays over at the sterilizing station. Where upon, Denise Enriquez, begins the process of sterilization. There are three buckets, the first includes a scrub brush to remove any extra tissue or gunk left on the instruments. The second basin is a water and bleach mix. Then she moves the intruments into the third basin which is a clean water rinse. Finally she is able to put the dental instruments into the sterilization machine. Once that is complete, she lays the instruments out to dry and cool down. From there the instruments are distributed back to their proper homes, new trays are set up for the next patient, and the process begins all over again.

RN Denise Enriquez  managed the sterilizing of all the dental instruments for our dental clinics.

RN Denise Enriquez managed the sterilizing of all the dental instruments for our dental clinics.

Handy Man 

Walter Want of the Noon Newberg Rotary Club is a veteran on these trips. In safety, electrical, and mechanical questions, his knowledge is invaluable. His primary role is providing power and compressed air to all the dental units. Yet Walter will often be seen running around in the background of the clinic, problem solving and troubleshooting different issues that arise with the equipment or the facilities.

Walter Want rebuilds a Rotadent Unit and Auggie Gonzales assists

Walter Want rebuilds a Rotadent Unit and Auggie Gonzales assists

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 6, 2014

Day 2 El Hato

thank you adec

The students of El Hato with to thank ADEC and the Austin Family for all their support over the years.

Today was our final day in El Hato and the dental team was able to treat 44 patients. We saw many repeat patients from previous years, which was nice because the dentists were able to check on past work and they were happy to report that everything looks good.

Dr. Adam Polan also got to follow up with his patient from yesterday. It was agreed that because it would be too high risk to complete her treatment, that we work with the Antigua Rotary Club to secure an appointment with a local dentist. This will be the safest option for the patient. We are very grateful to our partner club that we can rely on them to do follow up care especially for special cases like hers.

packing out

Packing the dental clinic out doesn’t have to be a chore!

At the end of the day we wrapped things up and Erwin Chan Reyes, a representative of the city council came to say a few words. He said that the community is very appreciative of our continued support. He also emphasized that our work has also helped keep kids in school. As a teacher in this community for the past 10 years he has witnessed first hand a decrease in student absences due to problems with their teeth. He credits this to our continued presence and the education the kids get from our project.

Erwin Speech

Erwin, the city council representative, came to thank the team at the end of the day for our continued service.

Over all the final day went smoothly and the team was satisfied with another successful clinic.

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 6, 2014

Day 2 in Photos

The textiles of El Hato

The female patients of El Hato always arrive in the most beautifully colored and intricately patterned skirts. Many also wear aprons with hand stitched flowers.

Junior and Dulce

Junior and Dulce happily await a visit at the dental clinic.

Chan Reyes & Gonzales Clan

The Gonzales Family who began volunteering 11 years ago and the children of Erwin & Ophelia Chan Reyes, Evilyn, Erwin Jr. & Leslie have grown close over the years.


Adios El Hato!

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 6, 2014

Day 1 El Hato

Everyone was excited to return to El Hato today and see some familiar faces. We treated many patients this morning. Some only required cleanings, some needed extractions, while many of the children recieved fluoride treatment from Dr. Katie Marsh. As a pediatric dentist, she has a lot of experience talking with children and making them comfortable with their procedures. It also helps that this is her sixth time volunteering with the group and her Spanish fluency is very strong. In total the dental team treated 46 patients.

Start of the day

Shots of the team on our first day in El Hato

The first physical therapy patient of the day came in just by chance, she had stopped by just to socialize with her friends who were waiting to see the dentist. Once we found out she had lots of headaches and vision difficulty she came in for assessment with PT Maureen Gonzales. Her symptoms began when she was 17, and when PT Maureen asked her if she had ever suffered a head injury the patient mentioned she did pass out once, which caused her to fall and hit her head on a rock. Amazingly to the patient, the correlation of this event to her problems never crossed her mind. It was as if it were two separate incidents. Maureen reported that during the entire interview process the patent couldn’t focus on her with her eyes and that she was slow to answer her questions. This was no surprise to Maureen who often treats patients with similar balance issues back home and said that because the patients are so disoriented it often takes them longer to process things and respond. After a visual oculomotor assessment to measure how well the eyes could track, move quickly, and stabilize, Maureeen also completed a test for dizziness and noted that quick head movements did create dizziness for the patient. Because the patient was unable to do any of the tests, she was given a series of visual exercises to preform to help strengthen her eye muscles. She was also treated with manual therapy for her headache. By the end of the appointment we also were able to find her a pair of sunglasses because often times after a head injury where a concussion was likely suffered, people become very sensitive to light, just like our patient. Maureen asked that her patient return tomorrow so they could practice the exercises together one more time. We know it may take her a very long time of completing her visual therapy before this patient feels any real relief. That being said, it was still a remarkable thing was to watch the patient walk away. She literally moved like a completely different person than from when she first arrived. It is good to see immediate results when you only have such a short time to help.

Day 1  El Hato Dental

Tell-Show-Do = This is the approach that 2nd year pediatric resident at OHSU, Dr. Sarah Post takes when providing treatment for young children. As you can see, it works!

During the afternoon a patient who was being treated by Dr. Adam Polan & 4th yr OHSU Dental Student Karley Bedford lost consciousness midway through a routine treatment for a cavity and extraction of a very infected tooth. It was quite concerning for everyone in the clinic. After the acute treatment, where we laid her down and got her feet in the air, we continued to observe her for the next two hours. The patient kept going in and out so the decision was made to call an ambulance. During the next half hour we tried to understand better from her and her husband what her actual medical history is. It was very vague, but we were able to piece together that yes this has happened in the past (her husband noted that it happens when she gets mad), and that no she had not eaten anything today, and no she had never been treated for this problem anywhere (it’s simply just the way she is). When the Bomberos arrived they came in and did an assessment and determined that she was fine and that they didn’t need to take her to the hospital. We kept testing her blood pressure and it remained low for quite some time. Finally when the patient was feeling well enough we decided the best thing would be to walk her home. She told us oh yes I live quite close just down the road to the blue truck. In reality, “not very far” is a relative term. We walked her half a mile down some very steep terrain until we delivered her safely to her home where she could rest. It was a concerning event, but it was handled really well by our trained professionals. Unfortunately, the reoccurring theme we see over the years is that people often don’t know their own medical history, and nor do their partners. The acceptance of medical problems is just a matter of life. This is the way the people of El Hato live. And this is why we return here year after year. The need is great, and we just do what we can.

el hato day 1

After her treatment, Dr. Adam Polan, PT Maureen Gonzales, and Rotarian Auggie Gonzales escorted this patient home.

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 3, 2014

Day 3 Guardiana

Today our PT Maureen Gonzales had five patients who came in for treatment. Like yesterday, many of the patients were treated for multiple injuries or persistent pain. In general, it is often a problem with the patient’s situation that really prevents them from living pain free. One patient who was treated for back pain works manual labor 7 days a week and has to drive 2 hours both ways. He explained that often gets home and can’t sleep. Another patient that was treated who was 75 had recently been kicked out of her daughter’s home and was living in a room by herself without an income. She literally depends on her neighbors and a church to provide her with food. She had great difficulty walking due to late state osteoarthritis of her knees. There is no social safety net here in Guatemala for elderly like her. There will be no surgery and she will receive no government aide. The rough terrain makes it difficult for her to use a walker around the community. It was decided that a cane would be optimal for this patient and the Rotarian Club of Antigua has promised to follow up and provide her with one.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapist Maureen Gonzales and her patient from start to finish.

This year we were fortunate to have so many dentists volunteering we were really able to optimize the process in which the clinic runs. As patients came in, we began triage to see which patients had the most severe cases and those who were youngest were moved to the front of the line. From there we used a chair to create treatment plans for these patients and to prepare them for treatment. Dr. Adam Polan spent the entire day completing triage and giving patients the proper injections so that they would be numb and the next dentists could immediately look at the treatment plan and begin treatment. This system allowed the dental team to treat 57 patients today in a short amount of time.

Dental Team

Our awesome and much appreciated dental clinic in full swing!

We took our last patients at 2:30 and began breakdown for the move to El Hato. We were received by an enthusiastic group of students and Erwin, who helped us unload the van’s contents into their community clinic. We are excited about this new space and are expecting 70 patients our first day.

This afternoon the students of El Hato happily helped us unload the truck and then the dental team was able to begin set up of the clinic.

This afternoon the students of El Hato happily helped us unload the truck and then the dental team was able to begin set up of the clinic.

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 2, 2014

Day 2 Guardenia el Hato

The first day up began with quite some enthusiasm due the the fact that the sterilizer was not going to be a setback! Right away, Physical Therapist Maureen Gonzales had patients waiting and ready for assessments. She was able to treat seven different patients throughout the day. Many patients were treated for multiple issues, the most common being persistent back pain due to the type of work they are involved in and postural issues.

Physical Therapist Maureen Gonzales completes an assessment on a patient.

Physical Therapist Maureen Gonzales completes an assessment on a patient. Millie Teixidor, a volunteer with our partner Antigua Rotarian club, assisted with translations

Once our new sterilization unit was up, Dr. Harper trained volunteer Denise Enrique and she handled the operation of cleaning all the instruments all day. The dentists were able to treat 66 patients in total. Many patients were treated for extractions and fillings and others only required cleanings. Overall we considered the day a success and are looking forward to continuing our work tomorrow for this community. Below are our favorite shots from the day.

Dental Health Education

A patient colored her dental education handout while she waited to be seen by the dentist.

Dr. Methven Kelly Bedford 4th Year Dental Student OHSU

Dr. Methven with Kelly Bedford 4th Year Dental Student OHSU completing a restoration.

Panorama of the clinics

Panorama of the clinics, physical therapy on the left, dental on the right.

Dental Supplies

Dental Instruments

The dental team's influence on oral hygiene knows no bounds.

The dental team’s influence on oral hygiene knows no bounds.

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 2, 2014

Morning Sterilizer Update

Dr. Methven saved the week! The sterilizer made it down with him so we are all greatly relieved and excited to start our first day of clinic in the next half hour. 

Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | March 1, 2014

Day 1: Clinic Set Up in Guardenia el Hato

By early afternoon most our team of Dentists had arrived to Antigua. We headed over to our Antigua Rotary sponsored storage unit that they graciously allow us to use, and began the arduous task of unloading, and dusting, and packing up the trucks.

We headed up a surprisingly short drive  to a new town called Guardenia el Hato. There we began unloading the trucks and general set up of the dental clinic and physical therapy clinic. Like every year, it’s always a time for us to do inventory and account for what things we need to get or replace.  One issue that we discovered is that the dental sterilizer does not seem to be functioning properly. Without this critical piece of eqiupment, the dental clinic is under uncertain circumstances. Not to fear, we do believe there may be a hero to this situation. Rumor has it that Dr. Allen Methven, who will arrive later this evening, has in tow a newly donated sterilizer. Even though he hasn’t been able to come the last two years, he had the foresight to realize that a new sterilizer was needed. Our back up plan is to contact another local dentist Dr. Oscar Garcia we know to see if he might be able to support us in locating a sterilizer. Either way, it’s not feeling like much of a setback. Si, podemos!

It never fails to amaze me to see how the saying “Many hands make light work” really comes to life in moments like these. All the veteran volunteers lead the way in instructing how the clinic layout should look like and the new volunteers learned quickly how to set up the chairs and dental units. We also had locals helping us unload the many boxes of dental supplies and bring us tables from seemingly nowhere. The last thing they brought us were two fresh lilies for our window. What a kind gesture! We look forward to serving the community of Guardenia el Hato!

Check out our video here!


Posted by: newbergrotaryclub | February 28, 2014

Bienvenidos! Welcome Back!

This year we are excited to have many returning volunteers and some new faces as well. The group is trickling in and we are getting excited about the week of service we have ahead. So far everything is going smoothly so let’s hope that trend continues! Please keep checking back during the week for more updates.

Rotary Club Volunteers

Rotary Club Volunteers from top to bottom: Alonso Enriquez, Auggie Gonzales, Denise Enriquez, Karley Harness, Maureen Gonzales, Walter Want, Kelly Bedford, Laura McKenna

Dentist Volunteers

From top to bottom: Dr. Kelly Andrews, Dr. Micheal Harper, Dr. Katie Harper, Dr. Benjamin Gonzales, Dr. Allen Methven, Dr. Brittany Fox, Dr. Charlie Hartman, Dr. Adam Polan, Dr. Sarah Post

Older Posts »



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