Training and Dental Care in Guatemala
Dr. West is preparing for his fourth trip to Guatemala to help train dentists and provide dental care in several remote regions. As you can see from the map, Guatemala is a small, central American country just south of Mexico. Guatemala has an area of about 42,000 square miles, about the same size as the state of Tennessee, and has a population of about 14 million.
The country is mountainous with small areas of desert and sand dune patches. Most areas have many hilly valleys, except for the south coastal area and the vast northern lowlands. Currently, Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with more than half of the population living in poverty, and many people do not have access to dental care.
Dr. West first helped train a Guatemalan dentist in the town of Senahu, in the central part of the country. The primary commerce in Senahu is provided by large coffee farms and other agriculture, and most of the people are quite impoverished.
The next stop was to train another dentist in Seamay, deep in the mountains of northeastern Guatemala, high in the Alta Verapaz region.
For many of the children, this was the first time they had ever had any dental care!
Next was a trip over primitive roads to the rural town of Seriquiche. Most of the villagers here have absolutely no access to dental care.
The trip seemed to end quickly and Dr. West is already looking forward to his next opportunity to help the villagers in Guatemala.