Project News

  NAMPA, IDAHO -- May 2, 2009


Wings of the Eagle Inc. launches first medical clinic in Baja California

Nampa - We are excited to be able to update you, the Partners of Wings of the Eagle, on our most recent project to open a monthly medical clinic for the underserved and indigenous people of the Brechas del Mirador Colonia, in Baja California.

Brechas del Mirador, a small village located about 16 km south of Ensenada, is comprised primarily of indigenous people from the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. The Oaxacans speak one of several languages, such as Trique, depending on their place of origin within Oaxaca. Most adults do not speak Spanish or speak Spanish as a second language. They migrate from Oaxaca to Baja to work in the fields because there is little work in Oaxaca. Many arrive in a malnourished state, strangers in a strange land. They have no money to buy property or build a home. They find limbs from trees, or scraps of old lumber, bury one end in the ground and attach plastic sheets or cardboard to the other end to provide shelter and privacy.

housingThey seldom go to town because most have no transportation, and no money to spend once they get there. They have difficulty communicating in Spanish and they are discriminated against and rejected by the general population. In some ways they are worse off than when they left Oaxaca. They band together for support, with the adults and children older than twelve years toiling in the fields from sun up to sun down to earn enough for a subsistence lifestyle. The younger family members are left to fend for themselves during the day, the older ones helping the very young. Many of the children are not allowed to attend school because they have no birth certificate (their mothers having given birth at home) and many have not received their childhood vaccinations. Some children are stunted and malnourished, and suffer from preventable diseases. Most have never been to a doctor. It is a hopeless life, often without opportunity even for clean water, sanitation, good hygiene or enough food.

It is the mission of Wings of the Eagle, with support from Partners like you, to help address these needs. Wings of the Eagle helped to build and equip a feeding center in Brechas del Mirador to feed children and nursing mothers one nutritious meal per day five days a week. More than 11,000 meals were served last year. Our goal is to use the feeding center to hold medical clinics starting once per month. Of course the need is much greater than this, but we believe it is important to make this modest beginning now instead of waiting for sufficient funding to achieve our more ambitious goals.

Debbie, through her association with Hands of Hope, was able to obtain several thousand dollars of medical supplies and equipment for donation to Wings of the Eagle for this project. examtable_assyThis included an exam table, exam light, ophthalmoscope and otoscope, privacy curtain, hemostats, forceps, and medical supplies such as bandages, gloves, antiseptics, syringes and sutures. Wings of the Eagle also provided a blood glucose monitor and several books for education in health and hygiene classes, which we hope to begin soon.

On March 25, Ted and Rick loaded the Navion to the max with the exam table, exam light and medical supplies and on Thursday, March 26, took off for San Diego. That evening we were to meet Carol and Debbie_loadsDebbie (who flew commercially to San Diego) and the some good friends from Ensenada who were to transport us into Mexico the next morning. Springtime weather conditions can be severe. Following a rather turbulent flight and warnings against flights into southern California, we were forced to change our flight plan and we landed outside Las Vegas with winds gusting to 35 mph. We rented a truck, unloaded the Navion and drove for five hours to San Diego where we joined Debbie and Carol.

Early the next morning, we joined Walt and Tatiana Eckstein, who are also working in Mexico. We combined our medical equipment and supplies with those Debbie and Carol brought down and loaded up the truck that Walt brought from Ensenada. After an uneventful border crossing, we met Dra. Jeannette Garcia for breakfast in Ensenada to get better acquainted and to further evaluate her commitment to this project. She told us her parents had worked with indigenous people in Mexico for nearly 50 years, often walking all day to their villages in the mountains.

Dra_Garcia Like her parents, Dra. Garcia’s desire is to help the indigenous people. Dra. Garcia previously worked with a group of indigenous (Mixteco) migrant workers in Baja for three years but last year the farming in that location stopped due to lack of productivity and the workers left. Dra. Garcia began to look for a new opportunity to help the poor. Wings of the Eagle and this project became the answer for her.

After breakfast we headed to the feeding center to meet Francisco and his wife Detra, who operate the center. Ted and Francisco reassembled the exam table and the next day Ted, Debbie and Francisco helped build the privacy curtain and reassemble the exam light. Dra. Garcia and her mother, Ernestina, came to the feeding center for orientation. We showed them the supplies and equipment and also hired Ernestina, a nurse, to assist with the medical clinic.

Rick and Carol accompanied Dra. Garcia to a pharmacy and purchased five large sacks of pharmaceuticals for less than $250. It would have cost much more than that amount to purchase the same medications in the US. We left the feeding center that evening knowing we now had a doctor, nurse, acting pharmacist and equipped mini-pharmacy! The date for the first clinic was set for April 17.

On Monday we assisted with a feeding where almost seventy children, and a few nursing moms and elderly women were served. It was a blessing to know that Wings of the Eagle and our Partners were contributing to this mission as well.

girl eatsWe returned to the US on March 31 and the next day Ted and Rick flew the Navion home. Due to strong headwinds that impeded our progress, it took us almost seven hours to fly from Las Vegas to Caldwell. The clouds began to close in around us just south of the Owyhee mountains, suddenly a little path opened up that allowed us to descend into the Treasure Valley and land safely in Caldwell.

April 17 was the day of the first medical clinic at Brechas del Mirador, and it was a success. Dra. Garcia and Ernestina, together with Detra, who is managing the logistics of the clinic, examined thirty-six patients in eight hours - that’s about one patient every fifteen minutes - and dispensed many medications from our pharmacy. Detra and Francisco also managed to serve another regular noon meal to over sixty children and adults.

Although many lives were touched that day, two stories stand out. One 5 year old little girl, Vikki, was staying with big smileher aunt because her parents were working in the fields in Fresno, CA. She scraped her knee and because of poor hygiene got a severe infection.
Dra. Garcia said that if they had not been able to clean her wound and give antibiotics she could have lost her leg or even her life. Another young girl with chicken pox developed a severe infection from improper hygiene. A little education and a course of antibiotics likely saved her from severe scarring or worse.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this trip report. Through the combined efforts of Wings of the Eagle and you, our Partners, we have touched the lives of these precious people. By working together we are accomplishing a lot.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!







Contact Information

Telephone: 208-466-7463
Postal address: 605 Crocus Ct.,
Nampa ID 83651
email: click here

  "Trabajando unidos para lograr salud integral para los pueblos de America Latina"