When Marianne Welch visited Guatemala with members of the Pulaski Heights Methodist Church, she said she thought that members of her own church St. Peter’s Episcopal in Conway could also be interested in a similar medical mission trip.
"We have 24 adults to go and a waiting list," Welch said.
The group will leave for Guatemala on March 20 and stay a week where they will see 500-700 patients per day.
She described the country as being "beautiful and tropical."
Welch said the patients will be mostly Mayan.
She described the patients as "gracious, patient and strong."
"They are lovely and hospitable and happy to have people do things for their kids and babies," Welch said.
To raise funds for the trip to Guatemala, several fund raising events will be held with the first being "Caldo de Gallo," Nov. 13 at St. Peter’s Episcopal. "Caldo de Gallo" translates to rooster stew and is a meal that is eaten by Guatemalans.
Welch said the stew is a thin chicken broth served with large chunks of vegetables such as carrots and corn and chicken. The stew will be served with corn tortillas. A vegetarian option will be a smooth black bean soup with garlic and onion. A fresh fruit dessert will also be served.
The suggested donation for the meal is $10 per person. There will be three dinner seatings at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Carry-out lunches will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Orders for carry-out lunches should be made by 5 p.m. Nov. 12.
The group will be made up of half medical professionals and half non-medical people, according to Welch.
"The non-medical people will pass out toothbrushes, shoes, sunglasses and reading glasses," Welch said. "They have a lot of eye problems, mostly probably because of a lack of clean water. There is plenty of work for 24 people."
She added that many Mayan children do not know what a toothbrush is or how to use it.
Most of the patients that the group will see will be women and children.
"The men are stoic. They do not take the time to go to the doctor," Welch said.
Welch said about $10,000 will need to be raised for the trip and that much of that money will be used to purchase medicine.
"We will pack it in bags and take it with us," Welch said.
She said that the parish priest, Teri Daily, will have to leave the trip a little early to return to Conway for Palm Sunday. Before becoming a priest, Daily was a pediatrician.
A later event to raise money for the mission trip will take place in January. Welch said an art show and silent auction will be held.
"We have a lot of artists in our parish," she said.
Within the parish, parishioners are being asked to bring bottles of vitamins wrapped in money to help with trip expenses.
"We hope to get a lot of the medicines donated," Welch said.
She said that after working on this mission trip she hopes to have more in the future.
"We can get our feet under us. It will be easier in subsequent years," Welch said.