How We Started
How We Started – Our Odd History
Hands of Hope (which is Manos de Esperanza, in Spanish) started out in 1998 operating a mobile medical clinic to the rural poor in Guatemala. We converted a small school bus into a fully-equipped doctor’s office so we could take medical care where it’s needed the most.
Our original converted clinic bus
Anita is an RN, and she, a Guatemalan doctor and our assistant formed the first medical team. They used the bus to deliver medical care and medicines to poor people in the villages we serve. These indigenous Mayan people live in small mountain villages and in the surrounding hills where there is no access to medical or dental care.
Many of the people we serve live a day-to-day existence in cornstalk shacks with dirt floors, working in fields for US$4.00 a day or less. There is no running water in their houses, many of which are built from corn stalks. Families have up to 11 children and most children must sleep on cold, damp dirt floors. Many children do not have shoes, which leads to infections and worms in their body.
Many lack the basic necessities of living such as clean water and enough food. In some areas where there is no medical care, up to 50% of the children die before age eight. There is a basic lack of access to consistent and affordable medical or dental care in the mountain villages where we are, except for our clinic.
We sold the medical bus in the fall of 2000, and used that money to buy a small piece of land. Thanks to many generous donations, we have been able to build a very nice 2,400 square foot medical clinic in the middle village of three rural mountain villages we serve.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”