Over the one-hundred year existence of Welch Allyn, the company has built a strong reputation for giving back to those in need by volunteering and donating medical equipment. Every year Welch Allyn sends teams of employees on humanitarian trips throughout the world. Luckily, I was able to be a part of one of these humanitarian efforts in 2012, and give back to those in need.
When I first found out I won the Guatemala mission trip, I immediately started crying. I couldn't believe I had been chosen out of hundreds of employees. I had increased my United Way donation, which made me eligible for the drawing to go on the trip, and I won— it was unbelievable.
June 4th and 5th, 2012
The first place we visited was Safe Passage, a school started by an American early educator to keep the children out of the dump, or what they called “The Basurero.” The majority of people living in Guatemala City scavenge in the dump all day to find items to sell. They have no place to take their children, other than with them to help scavenge.
We were then taken to a cemetery that overlooked the dump so we could see first-hand why it was important to keep the children away. The dump was forty acres long and 280 feet deep, and full of heavy moving equipment and trucks unloading trash. We could see lots of people scavenging through the newly unloaded trash while vultures flew overhead.
Back at Safe Passage, the children were so happy and seemed to love being at school, even though it was located in what looked like a war zone. The teachers were from all over the world. Many were Americans and Europeans that had chosen not to return home because they realized the difference they were making in the children’s lives. Unfortunately we had to leave the school early because of ongoing protests regarding the lack of water and security issues.
June 6th, 2012
The next place we went was a school in a rural village with thirty medical students from Las Vegas. Medical students come every year and turn the school into a medical clinic for three days. This three-day span is the only medical treatment the villagers get each year. The students were using Welch Allyn equipment to help evaluate the medical needs of the villagers. Many of the villagers waited hours to be evaluated. We were told the medical students did not receive credit for the trip and that they simply signed up for the experience to make a difference in the world.
We then visited a government hospital that had barely any medical equipment. Welch Allyn donated medical equipment to the hospital and Dave Allyn showed the doctors how to use the devices. The hospital staff was so thankful and grateful that I broke down in tears when they hugged us. They continued to show us around but the one thing that really stood out was their ambulance— an empty van with an old wooden bench in the back for patients to sit on.
The Remaining Days
The remaining days of the humanitarian trip were spent visiting rural areas and medical clinics where we gave medical devices to doctor’s in need of equipment. I will never forget the people we met and places we went. My contribution was so small compared to what I took away from this incredible experience. The personal strength of the Guatemalan people, the optimization of valuable resources and the efforts of the people who came to help was unforgettable.
Because of this trip I now share a similar experience with my daughter, all thanks to Welch Allyn. She has volunteered at Safe Passage in Guatemala City and Los Ninos de Guatemala in Antigua, and now teaches English at a Montessori school in Antigua.
Welch Allyn continues to provide employees the chance to go on a humanitarian trip and has now opened the trip to medical students by allowing them to submit a video or essay for a chance to win. I am very proud to be a member of this company and to have been able to represent Welch Allyn on this trip. I hope Welch Allyn continues to help those in need and to include its employees in this effort for the next one-hundred years. Welch Allyn has made such an impact on undeveloped communities and the people are so thankful for what we provide. Once again, I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. I've learned that one person, or in this case one company, can truly make a difference in the lives of those in need.