In 2006 Paul Jacquay, a Physician Assistant and his wife, Marianne Schomaker went to Asuncion, Paraguay. Paul worked as a volunteer medical missionary.
Paul started Phoenix, a traveling medical team that served people in communities on the edges of Asuncion. Working with a Paraguayan doctor, a nurse and a social worker they travelled to rural government health clinics that had been abandoned and provided medical care for the local people.
In the process of providing these services the team has discovered an area of even greater need, and they have shifted their focus. Most of the indigenous families in Paraguay lost their land when it was sold by corrupt politicians to rich land barons, many from other countries. The land was burned and plowed under to plant mostly soy beans. Eventually the government allotted tracks of land for these displaced people, but the allotments lacked actual housing, water and sanitation facilities. The indigenous people lack education and have no skills for finding work. As a result most resort to begging, selling goods on the street and prostitution.
The Phoenix team travels to 2 of these indigenous communities to provide medical services. The team treats hypertension, diabetes, parasites especially in children; illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, dengue, dysentery and malnutrition. Skin infections are also very common. The OB/GYN nurse practitioner does PAP screening for cervical disease and cancer.
Though medical care in Paraguay is free this population is unable to access it easily due to the great distances of the hospital and medical clinics. Phoenix is able to obtain some free medications from the government and pharmaceutical companies but it is insufficient. Phoenix provides all of the medication for the patients.
Phoenix aspires to expand services to these communities. They want to continue medical clinics, improve nutrition, encourage and support educational opportunities and training for professional skills. Hands On Global has recently teamed up with Phoenix and will be collaborating on providing services.
Ryan & Katie McPhereson
from Good Blood Media
SACRED MEDICINE DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT
The remote region and stunning scenery of Zanskar is any filmmakers dream but it is not the size of the mountains that shook our core but rather the strength of the Hands On Global medical team and the beauty, wisdom and generosity engrained in the people of Zanskar. After one month with this pristine culture we came to understand how much about life the western world must learn from the resilient, wise and endearing Zanskaris. As Lobzang Wangtak, one of our hard working translators told us, “In Zanskar the culture is not founded on capital, the culture is built upon helping one another.” Everybody in Zanskar lives out the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a way of life. Peace, generosity and contentment is in their DNA they don’t need to read a book or some quotes to learn how to be a good citizen of our planet, it is simply who they are.
The level of collaboration between the locals and the Hands On Global crew proves how all humans from different backgrounds can come together to fight for the common cause of saving one another. There are so many memorable moments that make Hands On Global an amazing team to be a part of. Every day was an example of synergy at its finest where the healers learned from the patients and the patients learned from the healers. When we trekked to remote villages to see patients we would be greeted by the entire community and would share multiple cups of tea and laughs with the Zanskaris on the small living room floor of their Cobb house. Usually after the 4th cup of tea they were asking you to stay the night.
Sacred Medicine is a film in the making, documenting the journey to provide medical care to Zanskar by Good Blood Media.
BRINGING HEAT TO ZANSKAR HOSPITAL: ENGINEERS & CONSTRUCTION
In 2015 His Holiness the Dalai Lama funded the construction of the Zanskar Health Clinic in Padum, India to bring western and traditional medicine to treat the villagers residing in the Zanskar Valley, one of the most remote inhabited regions of the world. In this twelve-thousand-foot high Himalayan valley, surrounded by twenty-thousand-foot glacial peaks, the people are isolated from the rest of the world each winter as the temperatures drop to -400 F. The narrow dirt roads lining the cliffs to Padum are buried in snow. Every year, as the cold settles in and healthcare needs become more critical, the Dalai Lama’s hospital must close—it has no heating system.
In June 2017, Hands On Global invited two engineers on their medical mission, brought along to investigate options for heating the hospital facility for year-round operation. The engineers made their assessment, studied available resources and capacities, and are currently considering the most reliable options to heat the facility using reliable, alternative-energy appliances so the people of Padum can have year-round access to basic health care and medicines.
STANDING ROCK, NORTH DAKOTA 2017
In January of 2017, Hands On Global received a request to provide medical services in North Dakota at the Ocheti Oyate camp, during their months-long dispute with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) over water and treaty rights.
Hands on Global raised funds for much needed medicines and medical supplies, as well as fresh fruit, dry goods and a cord of wood. Our doctor and nurses worked 12 hour shifts, in a camp with no running water, intermittent off-grid electricity and near-zero temperatures
As many of the tribal patients were leery of allopathic medicine; our staff worked with herbalists and holistic therapists to provide the best possible care for each individual.
Team members also sorted and organized the massive amounts of medical supplies which had been donated to the camps. They provided firewood and kindling to Lakota elders.
Members of the Hands on Global team returned to Standing Rock in February 2017. In partnership with Witnesses For Peace, they stood in solidarity with the Water Protectors as their camps were forcefully evacuated and bulldozed.