Daily Camera LTE – Mission to Mante: Improving quality of life

By Jean Bedell
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Can it be that ‘2010` has more than one meaning? Indeed it can. It was 20 years ago (1990) that the first group of health care workers traveled to Mante, Mexico. At that time, we were a group of 24 doctors, nurses and ancillary personnel who accepted the call and invitation of Dr. David Rodriguez.

Our goal was to provide medical care to poor persons in that mountain community. Sponsored by Boulder Rotary Club, Boulder Community Hospital and First Presbyterian Church, we saw many pediatric and adult problems, and completed surgeries in the local Civil Hospital. Conditions were not always ideal: the laundry was boiled in vats of water behind the hospital and hung out to dry.

The 2010 Medical Campaign is Feb. 10th to Feb. 21. Just short of 100 volunteers, we will likely see over 4,000 patients, and may complete about 300 surgical procedures. As our numbers have grown, and the procurement of high-tech medical equipment has increased, so also has our ability to provide more complex services to local residents.

Some procedures provide positive and dramatic outcomes such as the woman who had a 45-pound hernia removed. Rosa, age 12, had no external ear and cartilage was removed from her rib to fashion a cosmetic external ear. Parents of other children with congenital anomalies can only be given words of encouragement. A breast cancer support group meets regularly and openly to help women deal with the physical and psychological issues of cancer. Physical therapists provide hundreds of wheelchairs and walkers. Audiologists fit almost 200 children and adults with hearing aids.

And, it was 10 years ago that Boulder and Mante officially became sister cities. Our sister city relationship has blossomed with teacher exchanges, middle school student exchanges, cultural exchanges and assistance for a special needs school.

Susan Osborne, mayor of the city of Boulder, has declared Feb. 12-20 Boulder-Mante Week in recognition of our 10-year association as sister cities.

And so, an additional focus on 20-10 celebrates our 20th year of the medical campaign to

Mante and our 10th year as sister cities with Mante.

Read more: Letters to the Editor – Feb. 13 – Boulder Daily Camera

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