The Jesuit student, clad in his blue polo, hunches over, entering the small white tent filled with doctors and patients. He slowly lifts up his right hand revealing a large white bag, filled to the brim with medical supplies like cough syrup, reading glasses, and toothpaste. The patients loudly exclaim joyful cheers at the sight of such marvels, as the doctors distribute these essential everyday items to the people in the tent.
Every summer the Jesuit Medical Society helps to collect medical supplies here at school to bring relief to areas in Guatemala, helping some of the many underprivileged citizens with lacking health care. Each fall, the Medical Society runs a school wide drive to collect items that, although seem cheap and easy to acquire, are rare in some of the rural communities in Guatemala. We often overlook simple items like vitamins and toothpaste here in the United States because they’re things you could effortlessly pick up at your local grocery store, but they’re also extremely important in the medical care of the Guatemalans that Jesuit treats. As Mr. Von Schlehenried puts it, “these medicines are a crucial part of our mission work. Without some simple items, we cannot help the people we seek to serve. Some of their ailments are simple problems that are easily treatable in our society but become chronic due to the lack of treatment.”
The success of the drive over the past couple weeks has been imparative for the Medical Society as Jesuit students were able to exchange basic items for service credits. The drive was received with wonderful responses from students, not only bringing in items but also noting the good that the drive provides. Nic Colombo ‘17 raved about the drive, exclaiming, “It was great to be able to bring in a few things that are just regular things in my life, but, can be so helpful in someone else’s life. It’s just great to know that each one of us can make a difference.” The praise from the students is fantastic, especially considering the importance of the drive to many medical society members, especially Will Aberger ‘17, who commented that “This drive was absolutely crucial, the things that students bring in help so many of the people that we treat down there. It makes a huge difference in their lives.”
This year’s drive was no doubt a success, but, it’s important to understand the gravity of the work done by the Jesuit Medical Society in Guatemala, because they disseminate such essential supplies. Mr. Von Schlehenried noted that “Our goal is to spend a few years in each community we serve to help teach the people and try to impact some more substantial change. We hope to teach the young so they can pass on the knowledge and good practices.”
Make sure to congratulate the members of the Medical Society on their very successful drive as they continue through another fantastic year!