|View from La Mirador, viewpoint above Alamos|
One of the places Dr Elizabeth Petit goes to provide health care to Guarijío natives in Sonora and Chihuahua Mexico requires two days ride on horseback. We didn’t do that ride, but our little group feels a bit battered after driving just two hours (and maybe 45 minutes of it on an eroded dirt road) out of the lovely city of Alamos, Sonora. Burapaco and Mesa Colorada, our destinations, are the most easily reached of the places “Dr. Betsy” and her team are committed to serve.
|Church Clock Tower, Alamos.|
Dr Betsy is rather well-known in Alamos, where her base camp is located. Barbara Kiernan, a member of the Catalina (Tucson) Rotary Club met her during her extensive travels in Mexico and is writing and fundraising for a Rotary Foundation Grant to provide supplies for the Clinic’s work in these remote villages. Barbara, too, is a determined sort, and the two of them make an impressive combination. These grants provide matching funds and have strict criteria for approval.
|Dr. Elizabeth Petit|
I was there last weekend in my capacity as Grants Chair for one of the two Rotary Districts in Arizona and, if I’m honest, because this trip sounded like a rare adventure.
|Guity and his Paella|
Rotary Global Grants require that clubs in at least two countries collaborate. The “Host Club” for this project is the Rotary Club of Navojoa, about an hour’s drive from Alamos. We were hosted by this 22-member club for a Paella lunch (Guity, shown here with his creation wins contests with his secret recipe) and to hear about their work in the community. While many service clubs volunteer and donate money to good causes, these guys (for they are all men, common in Mexican Service Clubs) run a first-rate day care and are building a Boys and Girls club, one of only 6 in Sonora so far.
|Women warming the tamales, Burapaco|
We gringos followed Dr Betsy in her Toyota FJ into Burapaco. She drove a little faster than we, but each time we’d catch up with her talking with a couple of cowboys on horseback or a mother with her daughters. She invited them to join us for tamales she’d brought, and by the time we arrived, there were 80 or more people there to enjoy the 40 tamales. Not to be deterred, we cut each in half and the Americans deferred eating to the locals.
|Meeting under a tree, Burapaco|
|Dr Betsy draws a map|
Elizabeth took advantage of the captive audience (gathered in the shade of a tree) to explain her plans for the rural health system, complete with a map drawn in the dirt with a stick and with an emphasis on community ownership of the project.
|Curandera Cornelia, Mesa Colorada|
Among the audience is Cornelia, the local Curandera (traditional healer) who is an integral part of the health plan for this village.
There’s more to say about this trip, like good cheap street tacos and sunset on the beach in San Carlos, but you’ve heard the important part. Please let me know if you’d like to get involved.