A day before departing for the humanitarian mission, Salomon Shabot was feeling sick. Despite having high temperature and acute symptoms of malaise, the college student felt compelled to go.
He met the group of twenty volunteers—including a pediatrician, a dentist, a general practitioner, a gynecologist—who left Mexico City for the northern state of Chihuahua on the 5th of August. For two days, they traveled hundreds of kilometers of the Sierra Tarahumara, meeting with remote indigenous communities suffering from malnutrition, lack of medical attention and extreme poverty.
Relying on a Tarahumara (a local dialect) interpreter, the group delivered basic food packages with the help from Chihuaha’s Food Bank, as well as providing medical and dental consultations. “What surprised me most was the high rate of diabetes,” commented volunteer Victoria Mitrani, who assisted the doctors, “there were also many people with eye problems.”
Luckily for Salomon, the pediatrician for the mission, Dr. Manuel Mochón, had been his doctor as a child. After a quick consultation, Salomon felt much better and decided to help him in his work. “Among those we attended,” he says, “I remember a man who walked eight hours a day in the mountains; since he couldn’t carry water, he had to take what he found. He was very sick.”
“At some point the cell phone signal stopped working,” gynecologist Maria Carmen Rosano said, “we didn’t have technology at our disposal. So the 20 volunteers met face to face. Not having the technology made us have more contact. We listened to each other. We learned from everyone.”Maria Carmen Rosano, Gynecologist
The communities were so remote that some of the beneficiaries walked for four hours to meet the group of doctors. In the second day, they conducted consultations despite a heavy rain. For many, it was the first consultation with a dentist. Although anesthesia ran out, many opted to continue with their procedures.
In total, our volunteers gave 195 consultations and handed out 2,938 food packages, benefitting 15,195 people from communities like Ocobeachi, Tierra Blanca Nopalera Pitorreal, Agua Zarza, Monterde, Nacarare, Coraraibo, Huateachi, Mesa de los Conejos, Cienacita de Bustillos, Basoriachi, La Carrera, Bajios, Batosagachi, Bajios de Pitorreal, Puerto Chiquito, Tahonitas, Rosaravo, Veronica, El Coposo, Guajipa, Sapareachi, Hormigueros, Temoris, Sancillo, Tegorachi, Tepochique, Julio Ornelas, La Estacion and Los Llanos.
“We were efficient because we shared the same tools,” says Dr. Rosano: “love, respect, empathy, solidarity and a search for justice.”