Craig Blackwell, MD

Santa Cruz, CA
Diplomate: American Board of Ophthalmology
Fellow: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Welcome to the Website of Craig Blackwell, MD

An Ophthalmology Practice in Santa Cruz, CA

Guatemala Clinic Intro Part Six

April 22nd, 2008

Mix of people waiting outside the clinic door.

Some days are full, working to dinner time. Sometimes we finish early and get to do other things. Further up in the hills is a school that Father Hazy, the mission priest, has been instrumental in building. Part of the aim is to train local people as teachers who will extend the reach of education. We try to visit the school site almost every year, and there is always building going on. Last time they had just acquired several computers, but their internet connection was sketchy at best.

Group visit to the school in 2004. Another building underway. With Dr. Hsei and my daughter Kate.

Sister Anna runs several programs to benefit the poor. In the town there are people who are older and can’t work any longer, and if they have no family or source of income they have very basic needs like food. These people and their situation are known within the town and those who able to donate funds to Sister Anna who purchases basic food supplies like rice and cooking oil. After packaging them up she delivers these supplies to intermediates who have agreed to distribute them. One afternoon Dr. Hsei and I got to go on a food delivery run. Sr. Anna drove us through the back roads of town, one of which runs through a school yard with students playing soccer around farm animals grazing there. Not only did we see another side of life here, but it was a moving experience to be part of food delivery to people that would otherwise have little to eat.

Late afternoon foray into town for the 2008 crew. Left to right. In the colorful shirt is our Mr. Fix-it this trip, Ron Young. Dr. Hsei in tan (UCLA) cap. Reynalda Flatte, our excellent translator, and veteran of many other medical group trips. Nurse Shelly Young with hands in the air. Connie Rose, veteran nurse and visitor to Guatamala.

That this endeavor has been so successful is due to the combined efforts of the nurses, translators, clinic staff and other eye doctors all sustained by the leadership of Dr.’s McKenzie and Singer.

Dr. Martin Fishman of Los Gatos has taken over leading the summer trip. Sr. Mary has been a great administrator, advocating for these people. She is now retired, but still living there, while a new administrator, Shiela McShane has taken over running the show. Sr. Anna, as of early 2008, is recovering from her own health issues. Fr. Hazy continues his work with rural villages and school building.