There are many medical groups that come to visit the San Lucas Mission to volunteer, learn about the efforts in San Lucas, and participate in the cross-cultural experience the parish offers. Medical groups spend most of their time working in outlying communities. Through working alongside Guatemalans, receiving talks from community members, and observing the local culture, group members can learn about the efforts of the parish clinic and the rural healthcare program, as well as the situation of healthcare in Guatemala.
Due to the nature of work associated with medical volunteering, a maximum of 10 people per group is allowed.
Medical volunteers, after receiving an orientation and a tour of the projects, typically accompany local health professionals into outlying communities. Volunteering in the Parish clinic is typically unavailable.
It is required that medical groups bring a licensed physician in order to provide medical service in the communities.
Talks from Father Greg and Dr. Tun, as well as community members are usually arranged so that the experience is as complete and educational as possible.
- During the festivities of Holy Week, Christmas / New Year's, and the San Lucas Feast Day (Oct.18), San Lucans do not work. Groups are welcome to visit the Mission, but should be aware that typical site work will not be available.
It is required that medical groups bring translators. Short-term volunteers are not required to speak Spanish, although being able to converse with Guatemalans – particularly in a medical context – will greatly facilitate the experience.
If your group would like to bring medical supplies for the clinic, a complete list can be found here.
Room & Board:
Groups stay in one of the many hotels in the San Lucas area – if you have visited San Lucas before and are familiar with a particular hotel, requests can usually be honored. Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are eaten at the parish, with lunch being the biggest meal of the day. All volunteers and staff members share meals. There are phones in the parish to call the States, but internet is not available – instead, there are several internet cafes available in town which usually cost around $1.25/hour.
Visiting groups are asked to offer a donation of approximately $30/day per person, which includes room and board at the Parish and transportation to and from the airport in Guatemala City. Money can be exchanged in the parish office in cash or check form.
Cultural sensitivity and openness to the local culture is paramount in ensuring that a cross-cultural experience is as fruitful and as mutually dignifying as possible. In facilitating the pre-arrival preparation, it is heavily recommended that groups visit www.sanlucasmission.org/med_groups_preparation.php, to download the package of preparation materials for visiting medical groups.
It is recommended that medical volunteers come with an open mind and willingness to do a variety of medical activities – needs of the parish healthcare program vary from season to season and groups should therefore be flexible. To be humble, without preconceptions, and open to learning will ensure a meaningful stay in San Lucas Tolimán.
Travel Information: Up-to-date information about traveling to and from Guatemala can be found at the Department of State’s Guatemalan Travel Information Page (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1129.html).