Imagine listening to a heart murmur and knowing “this person needs a cardiologist” – but you can’t do anything about it. Imagine your friend going into labor, without transportation to get to the obstetrician. See, Paraguay has modern medicine–but not everyone can access it, especially not the indigenous communities suffering from epidemics of physical abuse, sexual assault, and poverty.
Many Paraguayans can’t get to the doctor. So I want to bring the doctor to them.
I fell in love with Paraguay over 20 years ago as a preteen working construction for some local charities in Luque, a city not far from the capital of Asuncion. Paraguay is one of the fastest growing economies in the Majority World, with incredible natural resources and brilliant cultural wealth, but like underprivileged populations in the US, Paraguay’s mixed people still suffer from the demographic fall-out of wars and injustices that took place over a hundred years ago.
Even now, foreign companies are displacing indigenous people off their lands and destroying natural resources that exist only in this country, potentially eliminating undiscovered Amazonian cancer cures the entire world needs–while imperialist foreign governments like the UK pressure Paraguay to abandon the cultural beliefs that have sustained her openhearted resilience for generations.
This is a country that’s developing robotic surgery, boasting multiple advanced pharmaceutical laboratories, making enough hydroelectric clean electricity to sustain most of South America–while women’s health lags so far behind that the third leading cause of female death, according to the WHO, is incredibly preventable cervical cancer.
Paraguay’s naturaleza and people carry secrets and innovations the world desperately needs, but with government corruption against the backdrop of a young, hard-working populace, Paraguay’s growing faster than her human rights can keep up.
I didn’t know all that back when I first fell in love.
But it was in Paraguay that–sitting under the tropical trees in a clown costume with a hungry kid on my lap–I realized I needed to become a physician. Paraguay doesn’t need an American to come “fix” them. But year after year as I came back again and again, Paraguay was always where I felt like me, and as she shelters me her pain is loud to me. I don’t like knowing that the people in the culture I love don’t have blankets when it’s cold, or comfort when they’re depressed. There are other places in the world for other people to take care of; Paraguay is mine.
Over the past ten years, I’ve saved for this dream out of my own earnings, through work as a physician, all the way to YouTube and books and tea, diversifying with as many income sources as I can. In 2017, I joined up with the Project Paraguay Medical Fund, who keep an account open where you can donate to my mobile healthcare plan, tax-free! This fund helps pay for medicines, equipment, and transportation. Costs remain low, since my first community outreach is completely ambulatory (as in, on my two feet), while we work up to a mobile van that will eventually reach out to even more indigenous communities. It’s my goal always to respect and share Paraguayan Guarani culture with you, too: together, we’ll discover the potential of many South American “jujo” (“herbal medicine”) plants, and support their promotion and protection before they disappear.
I’m proud to announce that in 2023, I was finally able to return to Paraguay again to officially “break ground,” bringing health education and medicine to two indigenous groups and starting the process of transferring my medical license from the US to Paraguay. It’s been a long journey (I almost died).
Thank-you thank-you thank-you, superhero squad!
PS. MAKE SURE YOU DESIGNATE “MEDICAL FUND” IN THE COMMENTS OF YOUR PAYPAL DONATIONS! Project Paraguay is an interdenominational Christian organization supporting local Paraguayan Reformed churches that elevate women, educate men, and heal the wounds of domestic abuse and broken families; I’m not of their exact same religious persuasion, but I’ve seen their work first hand and I’ve always loved their focus on non-imperialist, Paraguayan-focused, practical solutions for social good. If you’re uncomfortable giving to an organization that celebrates God’s love, you can designate in the PayPal that you only want your support to go to my medical fund, and they will honor that by law. Or, if you’d rather support me directly, and you don’t mind paying taxes, you can always join my Patreon.