by Sarah Clark
Dennys Marroquín is a veterinarian from Guatemala City. This is his first experience in Todos Santos, but he has been working in rural communities throughout Guatemala for many years, including areas of extreme poverty as well as natural disaster situations. Dennys explained that the Todos Santos campaign is very similar to the work he has been doing elsewhere so he was very interested in coming. In Todos Santos his primary responsibility was surgery — the sterilization of cats and dogs to prevent overpopulation — and veterinary work to prevent diseases that are transferred from dogs to humans, principally rabies.
A colleague and a friend from university, Heidi Sandoval, introduced Dennys to the Todos Santos campaign, and he is thankful to GAAP, Veterinarians International, and Vets Without Borders for enabling him to participate in the
project and have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience with the other veterinarians. Dennys shared that the time in Todos Santos has been a lovely experience, especially being able to work with people from other countries. He realized that because of the caliber of the other veterinarians from Canada, the US and Chile an opportunity presented itself for sharing experiences and knowledge. In Dennys’ words, “The interchange is very important with other colleagues because it enriches us… Overall it’s been really great, and we’re helping the community! Which is the most important part.”
Dennys explained that there weren’t any particularly difficult or challenging aspects of the work in Todos Santos because he is used to working in such situations and he enjoys his work: “You have to leave your work and family for a little while, the transportation is really far, there are a few inconveniences. But when you have the desire to work and to help it’s enjoyable, it’s a lovely experience.”
Given Dennys’ experience with other rural communities in Guatemala we were curious to learn whether Todos Santos was different in any way. Dennys explained: “Definitely in each place I work there are similarities and differences. Here something different is that the community has a very tight-knit culture so with these types of communities it can be very difficult to enter, and the work that you do has to be perfect because we have to create trust in the community in order to be able to return and provide the work that we would like to in the future.”
Dennys would love to return to Todos Santos again in the future, adding: “I like it very much, I like to share with people in other countries and I love my work and I would love to return as much as I can.”