Free and Low Cost Opportunities to Volunteer Abroad
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Doctor and nurse with patient in poor village
OrganizationHospitalito Atitlan
Program Costs$100 admin fee
Duration1 month or longer
Room & Boardnot included - typically $150+
Language RequirementsIntermediate to Advanced Spanish
Santiago Atitlán has some of the highest infant and child mortality rates in Latin America. Out of every 1000 children, 37 die at birth and 54 die before they reach the age of 5. Out of 1000 pregnancies, an astounding 190 women die as a result of maternal complications. The leading cause of death among both the very young and elderly is untreated pneumonia, respiratory infections and severe intestinal diseases. The Hospitalito was first conceived in the mid-1960's, after a devastating outbreak of measles killed over 600 children during a one month period. The Hospitalito Atitlán was built in the late 60’s by the Archdioceses of Oklahoma, under the direction of linguist Father Ramon Carlen and Father Stanley Rother. Father Rother selflessly served the Tz'tujil community until his assassination in 1982. The Hospitalito was once a model healthcare facility. Complete with operating room, a 15 bed ward, and dental clinic; the Hospitalito once provided the best medical care outside of Guatemala City. Medical and dental students from the University of San Carlos rotated through the hospital. In the mid 70’s, the hospital expanded its operations, emphasizing the treatment of malnutrition and tuberculosis as well as training of community healthcare workers.