Tesorito, or Tesoro Nueva Esperanza, is a small Community of Population in Resistance (CPR), outside the town of Patulul, in the Guatemalan department of Suchitepequez. Many of these small CPRs emerged across the Highlands of Guatemala in response to the internal armed conflict of the 1980’s and 90’s. CPRs are communities of internally displaced peoples who fled to the most remote, mountainous, regions of Guatemala in an effort to escape the violence and persecution they were subjected to during those years.
DJPC and CAMINOS, in coordination with St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Arizona, have been involved in health care and health promotion in this small community for nearly twenty years. The Promesa project helps support the existing health clinic and local health workers in Tesorito by donating medicines, professional health services, contributing to the salaries of local health promoters, and delegation trips to Tesorito. The small clinic in Tesorito fills the large gap between the health needs of this community, and the services offered by the national Health Ministry. The Health Ministry is either unable, or unwilling, to provide adequate health care for the remote CPRs. The offered services are ineffective, too sporadic, too expensive, too far away, or all of the above. Through the assistance of DJPC and St. Michael’s, the clinics at Tesorito can offer affordable medical treatment for a wide array of medical ailments.
In July 2009, two CAMINOS members traveled to Tesorito on the yearly Promesa Delegation with members from St. Michael. Susan Cotton and Katy Troyer attended local meetings with Tesorito’s authorities, visited the dental andhealth clinic, assessed the need for further health care development, and assisted with over eighty health consultations over a day and a half.
The most significant concerns Susan and Katy observed during their delegation are eye care, medical-emergency transportation-funds, and the current use of the dental clinic. There is a great need for eye consultations. However the ophthalmology clinic is far, and expensive to use. The second concern is the difficulty in seeking outside medical help for the people of Tesorito. In addition to the high cost, there are significant linguistic and cultural barriers. The third concern is the dental clinic. The dental clinic was abandoned by the five trained dental assistants, and the clinic now stands abandoned. Tesorito, as with much of rural Guatemala, has a huge need for dental hygiene education and care. In August, a dentist from Tucson saw seventy-seven patients and performed ten cleanings, forty-nine fillings, and ninety-one extractions (tooth-pullings) over the course of three days.
Despite these concerns, Susan and Katy witnessed a hopeful situation in Tesorito. The long-standing trust between Tesorito, and St. Michael’s and CAMINOS continues to strengthen. The community has undergone significant infrastructural development, such as a new paved road, and a new school building. The community is truly grateful for
the health clinic, and the dedication of the local health promoters. It appears the Promesa project is continuing to succeed, largely thanks to the support of St. Michael’s, DJPC/CAMINOS, and of course, the many local advocates, health promoters, authorities, and members of Tesoro Nueva Esperanza.
To view a Power Point presentation created by Susan and Katy about their trip to Tesorito, please follow this link: Promesa Delegation Presentaion