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PROJECT CARE - Medical Supplies to Mexico

Mission | Humanitarian Aircraft History | Medical Supplies to Mexico | School Busses for Tados Kids | Gray Whales, Orcas & Turtles |

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Another Gift for Todos Santos, Mexico

Every year since late 2000 humanitarian missions have been flown to villages in Baja California. Medical and school supplies for small clinics and remote schools have helped solve health and educational needs. During every Christmas season, hundreds of gifts have been provided to the children of farm workers who have virtually nothing. The following is but one report that is typical of the missions of Wilderness Conservancy's Project CARE.

On February 22 I flew another load of medical supplies to the Todos Santos clinic in Baja California. While there I visited the small Special Education school (for handicapped children) where the little girl mentioned in my initial report (quoted below) was in attendance. I was amazed!!! That little girl who only a couple of months earlier was virtually comatose in the wheelchair was up and running about like a near normal little kid - smiling, laughing and wanting to be in all the photos.


She had turned her wheelchair over to a little boy who has Down’s Syndrome and undiagnosed birth defects. I attach to this up-date a photo of the little girl in early December in the wheelchair and another photo taken during the February trip of the same little girl goofing off with the little boy in her old wheelchair, and me. During the course of this last trip, I stopped at Mulege, BCS, to talk with the doctor at the village clinic that is under construction and to fly across to the western side to San Ignacio Lagoon to monitor the status of that California Gray Whale calving ground. You will recall that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries wanted to build the world's largest salt factory at that lagoon and only abandoned that goal when extreme local and international pressure was brought to bear on the Mexican government. Her new mobility made the trip well worthwhile.

I am delighted to report that the lagoon is alive and well. I saw several hundred whales with calves. I went out in a panga (a small outboard motor boat that can carry up to eight people) and was approached many times by curious whales and calves, so close that I could pet them. It is amazing how gentle these giants are. The people who provide the pangas are carefully controlled by the government. They must be licensed following a training program and they are monitored to ensure that no regulations are violated and that no whales are approached by the boats - if a whale approaches a boat, that is OK. This is a remote venue but has a dirt road that can be used for access to the launching site at the lagoon, and a good dirt airstrip that handles private aircraft and charter aircraft. If you might be interested in visiting the lagoon during the calving season, please let me know and I will give you a contact. I can strongly recommend it.


I also want to report that that aside from the medical supplies and equipment donated by Kaiser Permanente Hospital of Panorama City, Gayle Smashey and Ron Milberger donated a very nice Gateway 2000 computer system. That computer was set up and operating at the Special Education school where it was in constant use by the children. They were mesmerized by this marvel and clearly will benefit by it. Little kids learn fast and this fine tool will help them learn computer skills.


A Year 2000 Christmas Gift for a Small Village in Mexico

In December 2000, Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Panorama City, California, generously donated medical equipment and supplies to Wilderness Conservancy's "Project CARE." The gift was sufficient to fully equip the small village clinic at Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico, and its three examination rooms. Wilderness Conservancy's President, Bob Cleaves, flew the smaller items to Todos Santos in the foundation's Cessna 206 in time for Christmas. The larger items of medical equipment and supplies, office equipment and furniture and patient waiting room furniture filled a semi-truck with 48 foot trailer and was delivered to the refurbished clinic at Todos Santos in April 2001.



The little girl seen here is the youngest of five and is severely handicapped. The father abandoned the family and the mother works in the fields. The girl had rarely been taken outside because the mother found it difficult to carry her after a long day of hard work. With this wheelchair, the girl is now able to come outside and with her new mobility and the help of friends is able to be taken to the school building nearby where she will be given therapy and an education. This little girl and her new mobility made the trip well worthwhile.

Little girl suffering from Downs
Syndrome in a wheelchair with Bob beside her



"Who said a 206 can't carry
a lot of stuff"

 


The TS airstrip alone has an interesting history. The airstrip is not licensed and is not open to the public. Special permission was needed for our aircraft to land there. About five years ago a Columbian aircraft carrying drugs experienced engine problems and landed on the strip. The towns people were very angry, unloaded the drugs and burned them then dug a big, very big, hole then destroyed and buried the aircraft. The Columbia government was unhappy because it wanted the aircraft back but it was too late. Since then no aircraft has landed there except an occasional crop duster. The strip had to be graded for our aircraft to land. In addition, the Mexican government arranged for our aircraft to be met by the Marines (who guarded the aircraft for four days) and the police (who handled the formalities). Everyone was very nice and most appreciative of the project. The big and heavy items are being shipped by truck to Todos Santos. Bob carried most of the small, light weight medical items and a computer system for the special education school (for handicapped kids) so it can be hooked up to the Internet and communicate via e-mail with Bob.




The reception committee that met the 206 at the Todos
Santos air strip - volunteer firemen/medics and others

 

      


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