Canadians bring smiles to Champerico

Champerico is a small village on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, whose inhabitants struggle to survive despite the lack of food, medicine and education. Nothing happens in Champerico to attract international attention, and life and poverty go on unnoticed … almost.

Father Armand Gagné, a Quebec priest, has noticed. The foundation he started supports the work of a feeding centre and more recently, has built a hospital in the town, providing basic nutrition and medical care to the underprivileged population. Father Gagné takes teams of volunteers to Champerico and carries Physician Travel Packs for the health care needs of the people of the community.

Recently a dental team, under the auspices of Dentistes sans Frontières, also noticed. They chose Champerico as their field of service in November 2007 and returned in April 2008, bringing with them Dental Travel Packs from HPIC.

Dental team leader Dr. Claude Leduc said that working with Father Gagné and his group made this one of the best organized missions in their experience. In four days, the 12-member team was able to perform close to 1,000 interventions, as well as teaching large groups of children how to brush their teeth.

The right combination of PTPs, DTPs and caring Canadians has left the forgotten village of Champerico smiling.