It was another successful Guatemala trip for the Moose Jaw International Medical Mission (MJIMM).

The 38-member team travelled to Patzún, Guatemala in early February to assist those less fortunate. The medical team, which included a general surgeon and gynecologist, performed a record 57 surgeries. Another section of the team installed 46 properly venting stoves and provided medical treatment for less serious issues. Approximately 300 patients were treated in those smaller clinics.

This was the sixth mission for MJIMM. The first trip was back in 2016.

Co-ordinator Jackie Wilson said the response they received was overwhelming.

"It's the same every year when we go. They are so grateful and so thankful for the support that we're able to offer to them. They are poor in so many financial ways but in other ways, we are so touched when we see them because we know they are living very full lives. They have family, they have their work. They don't have the same kind of things that we have but they are still so rich in their community that it's actually such a beautiful thing to see."

MJIMM StoveMJIMM installed a total of 46 properly venting stoves

This was the seventh medical mission trip for Wilson, who is a registered nurse in the operating room at Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw.

"I think it's just such a good thing that we're able to do. The other part that's exciting for me is seeing the changes that happen with the new team members that come along every year and just how valuable that is for us. I feel like it's kind of a good reset for me. I remember how privileged we are here and how grateful we should be for the kind of health care that we have here. It's very rewarding. I think it impacts how we care for people after we return here as well. It's a deep kind of change where it hits you in the feels. It hits you in the heart."

MJIMM was required to fundraise for the trip and Wilson says they were able to cover their expenses while they were in South America.

Wilson told a heartwarming story about a young girl they were able to help.

"This year we had the pleasure of looking after a young girl who was there for a fairly minor procedure. She really gripped all of our hearts because of one of the things she had said. It was a lump that we were removing from her and she had said the reason she was so thankful to have this procedure was because she was hoping that her friends would be willing to play with her more now once she had this growth removed."

In addition to the medical services provided, the team also brought along about 550 feminine hygiene kits and offered health advice to women and girls in the impoverished country.

MJIMM is planning another trip in 2024.

MJIMMMJIMM team in Guatemala