The team was asked:
What is one patient experience / idea / thing / realization that you bring back with you from Mexico?
“I think the one thing I have realized and come to appreciate  through this trip is the value of communication
It has been a while since I have been in a situation where I am unable to speak the local language. having that barrier between myself and the people I am trying to care for and interact with had a huge impact on my ability to connect well with them as individuals. 
No matter how fantastic the interpreter, and believe me we had many of them, there is still something that gets lost when individuals cannot speak the same language. Along with this, however, is the reality that we can still work together and impact one another, even when words are not exchanged.” ~ Alanna Martin

“It was another reminder of the many blessings that I have been blessed with. I’ve been on many mission trips before, yet each one teaches me something new. I had a couple patients that stuck out to me in particular. One was a middle age man who had fallen from a tree and dislocated his shoulder and possible a couple broken his ribs three weeks prior to meeting him. He was in a lot of pain, yet he was more concerned about me. He had to quit his job due to the injury and pain and therefore couldn’t even afford regular Tylenol to assist with the pain. After a physio session with Marylin Holmes he was clearly a new man. I sent him home with Tylenol and an anti inflammatory medication the smile that was on his face I will remember for the rest of my life. Something so simple that we take for granted, but it changed his life.

On our busiest clinical day a three day old baby girl was presented to me by her grandmother. The grandmother stated that the baby cried constantly and the mother was at home recovering from birth. I assessed the baby and didn’t find anything significantly wrong with the girl other than maybe the possibility of a colicky baby. My second thought was maybe the baby was having latching on issue. Eventually I got the mother to the clinic. Linda Reid helped me assess the mother and diagnosed the mother with mastitis and a kidney infection. The mother  would have went septic within a couple days and the baby was not getting enough milk hence why it had hardly peed since birth. I’m so thankful I was able to assist in saving this child life and most likely her mothers. Miracles do happen! I’m thankful I was in the right place at the right time! If anything, this is most likely the reason God sent me to Mexico. For this particular moment!”  ~ Jaimie Weber

"My role was mostly keeping the children busy with coloring or crafts while the parents or grandparents waited to see the medical team.  I think my favorite moment was when my sister and I were goalies playing soccer with the kids.  We would get high fives from every player on our team when a goal was scored. That joy was infectious.  But the first moment that made the whole trip worthwhile was when Marilyn, la fisioterapeuta, put the dislocated clavicle and ribs back in place of a man who had fallen out of a tree picking fruit a month ago and had lived in pain all that time. While I felt our day in San Pedro, the poorest, most isolated community we helped, was our best day, the team was great and found the most helpful way to serve in each location." ~ Josy Britton

I was moved by the commitment of everyone on the team wanting to do the best job possible. In a team meeting, we reflected on how we could be more effective with each succeeding clinic and for future missions work towards sustainability. We didn't want this mission to be a 'one off' but the beginning of something that would really make a difference. ~ Marian Landry

"After nine previous mission trips elsewhere, this might seem to be an odd choice: being thankful for the gift of critical thinking.
At each step of life's journey in Canada we face choices and have options. As children, when there is enough money to afford a choice, we can help pick clothing to wear and favourite foods to purchase. As teens, we select classes, part time jobs, how to express our individuality and post secondary education. As young adults, we focus on which career path we will follow, seeking meaningful jobs. Lucky for us, our gender isn't usually a limiting factor. And so it goes throughout our lives.
In a small village in Mexico, there are not the same opportunities to develop or use critical thinking skills at all ages of life. When resources are limited and options are few, the scenario is more black and white than multi-coloured: this is the only available clothing, food etc. Tradition, expectations and societal norms propel certain decisions. A female seems to have a very narrow path.
One intersection of these two different life experiences happened at Linda Reid's reading glasses station where some women were unable to decide, or who were reluctant to speak up when asked a simple question: "Which is better?" From our point of view, it should be easy to decide which pair of glasses would actually improve the ability to see and read without strain. Being asked for an opinion was obviously new to these women. Hmm?? Much to ponder." ~ Mary Lou Ross


"LEAD BY EXAMPLE - This short sentence has a lot of impact for me. This mission trip showed a lot of this.

The commitment shown by this team was tested everyday among the people with amazing results.  We gained trust among the local people by showing we care enough by helping them with their problem, be it big or small.

The smile from the elderly lady who left wearing the only pair of -5.00 glasses with the fact she could see was, in itself, reward enough. Thanks Linda Reid.

I, myself, was humbled by the experience and reminded, once again, how very fortunate we are to live where we live and have available to us what we do. I pray that I am a positive example for all around me." ~ Linda Soldan


"After giving out several hundred sun glasses and an equal number of hats on our mission trip to Mexico I do believe my Spanish improved to the point I could now be a successful hat salesman in any Latin American country.

My part in the mission trip was very small and certainly I received more than I was capable of giving. I had the experience of meeting many Mexican people in the places and situations in which they lived and found them very appreciative of our efforts.

I was able to form many new friendships with the 22 other people on the mission team while in some difficult situations - the best opportunity for finding the type of people worthy of the effort it takes to become a true friend.

It was very satisfying to witness the immediate positive impact the team was able to have on the 800 or so patients presented. At the same time one had to wonder what might be the long term solution to some of the problems obvious to even the most casual observer.
In turn that  provided a reason for thinking about the project long long after returning home and perhaps planting a desire to return another day better prepared.

And finally I developed a new appreciation for Tequila after visiting the source, the mother lode  - the actual town of the same name where it is made in copious quantities and varying qualities. No longer will I simply slam down the precious fermented nectar of the blue agave down followed by a salt lick off the wrist and a suck of lemon to impress my male drinking buddies.
In the future, on appropriate occasions,  I will sip it down slowly, tastefully and thoughtfully as I recall fondly my adventures and new found friends in Mexico." ~ Bob Reid

"There were many rewarding experiences during my time at various clinics and towns around Chapala, but a couple of examples stick out for me. One is that when people came in with poorly-fitted canes of all types (carved or simple sticks) and dilapidated walkers, and we were able to provide them with a new walker or properly-fitted cane (by using my 50 peso saw), they insisted on giving us their old device in exchange. In this way, they insured we both got something; a grass-root example of fair-trade?
Another example was when an older señor, who came to clinic just shuffling along, almost ran with his new device, which we had exchanged for his worn-out walker. He, as most others we saw, was grateful for anything we did for them. Lastly, the ingenuity of the people to make things work was inspiring. For example, making a wood-fired oven, to cook hand-made tortillas in a market square, portable by building the oven in a wheelbarrow was a simple, yet creative way to solve a problem." ~ Stuart Arkett


"When we were packing and meeting before the trip, I was struggling to fit names and faces together, and wondered a lot about the roles of the people coming on the trip.  The doctor, dentist, pharmacy, physio and nursing roles were obvious to me, but not so of the support staff. What I came to realize was that the support staff turned out to be the most important job on the trip.

We were faced with numerous problems to deal with on a daily basis on this trip.  I was so thankful for those people who molded themselves into roles of leadership; advocating on behalf of the group, taking care of finances, administration, and taking ownership of roles that were not comfortable for them, as well as learning new skills to be able to assist where they were needed, struggling with the language, due to the lack of translators, lack of ground support, and the cold showers too. If it wasn't for the leadership of the support people, the nurses could not nurse, the doctor could not doctor, the physio could not physio, and I could have not fit glasses, and so on.

When asked politely  'How was the trip Linda?" ... Well, I have been on 7 mission trips, and I can freely answer that it was one of the most cohesive groups that I have ever worked with. All with a common goal to serve, and the motivation to make it happen despite the road blocks. It was a pleasure working together, but also getting to know each person individually as we worked and played was something I will always cherish. They were also great card players and knew how to have fun in any circumstance. Well done mates." ~ Linda Reid


"I had the opportunity to share this experience with my daughter Julie who is a pharmacy technician. It was a great experience working with everyone on the team. Even though there were some issues with our travel and arrangements when we got there, we pulled together and made the best of it.  Seeing the smiles on people when they: “could see when reading”, or received a cane or walker, some medical care or even just a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap made it all worthwhile. We are so blessed and take many things for granted. I am so grateful for my husband, children and grandchildren and I could hardly wait to see them. Also, since I am home I am very grateful for warm showers and our septic systems." ~ Charlene Kropf

"When I think of our trip to Mexico I am struck by how everyone jumped into unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable circumstances and found a way to make it work. From dealing with the check-in, to the Aduana situation to the deficiencies at the hotel and the various unexpected challenges at each site, there was always someone who came up with a solution to keep the team focused on the goal – getting medical help to those who needed it. I really appreciated the debrief each day as we refined the process and made it work.
Throughout, I was very impressed with the efficient and professional manner which characterized the medical team’s day to day operations. As a NON medical person I found that very impressive! It is even more impressive considering that so few of you had worked together prior to the mission." ~ Brian Hall

"As a last minute "relief agent" I really didn't know what to expect. I am fairly new to Rotary, I have been highly impressed with the organization, the commitment of so many people to give and to help making the lives of others better and the openness to new members that want to get involved in this worthy line of work. I am glad that I met Jean and that at the end I could meet and work with you all. It was a challenging but fun endeavour and it was because of the work and commitment of everyone in the team that things went well. Thank you! I am always impressed seeing positive results when there is union and a common goal." ~ Ramon Marti


"There have been many things that I have taken away from our medical trip, but the one thing I'd like to mention here is the relationships that we formed that stand out in my mind. As in the lasting friendships we developed, the awesome team that we formed, the leadership roles that some members took on, and especially the friendly faces and beautiful smiles from the people we met. These relationships help to learn about ourselves and continue to grow and transform the daily nature of our lives." ~ Brenda Biggelaar


"As a non-medical staff member I was unsure of what my position on the team was going to be but after our first clinic day I got paired with Kim to do triage. Our job was to take the blood pressure and weight of everyone who registered. Next with the help of a translator we figured out what services they needed and made sure that they got to the right place. In this position I didn’t get to spend much time with any one individual but what stuck out for me was the sense of community that was shared between strangers. In San Pedro and Mezcala is when I noticed it most, since we needed to weigh everyone individually it regularly meant that little babies or small children needed to be held while the parent was weighed. Often times the child would just be handed to the next person in line to hold even though they didn’t know each other. I also found there were times that young children were too scared to step onto the scale and everyone around would be encouraging them and doing what they could to make them feel comfortable even though they didn’t have a personal relationship with the child. The level of trust and companionship that was formed while peopled waited in line was amazing. I also found there was a sense of community that was quickly fostered within our group, everyone was always willing to lend a helping hand which helped us to deliver the best care possible to those who needed it." ~ Christy Harris  


"This, my first mission trip, has been a great experience! We had our ups and downs from the beginning, but that only made it more interesting and challenging. I feel Jean and our team rose above it all.

I will forever remember the local people we got to know briefly in our clinics. They came with some common health concerns, but also with some health problems that were unique to their living conditions. The people were friendly, appreciative and the children so cute.  There were a lot of smiles. The children had a look of awe on their faces as they saw a machine light up when a family member or themselves were having their vital signs checked.  I loved watching them as they received a doll, stickers or crocs. They loved to play soccer, and the boys, they could bounce a newly received ball higher than the trees!  

I believe we had the best team. A few people I knew before the trip, but many of them I did not.  Now I feel we have a lasting friendship, as we have been through this journey together. I realize how important EVERY team member is on a trip like this.  Thank you all for this time we shared. I hope we can continue this bond in some way or another." ~ Joyce Gerber