The US Post Office just delivered a pleasant surprise… a check for $5000.00 USD. This set off a scramble to verify that this was not some sort of mistake… donations to Friends of Barrón average about $200. But yes, someone who is an active participant in the charitable work that FOB does every year for the nearby town of Barrón, Sinaloa, Mexico, decided that it was time to give even more than time. And even more pleasant is the fact that the generous donation has been matched by an anonymous donor. FOB now has $10,000 to spend on our ongoing projects; new bathrooms, computers for use in virtual learning “classrooms,” and the new medical/dental clinic which has reopened to serve the people of Barrón during this time of crisis. COVID-19 has struck at the heart of the Estrella del Mar community and it is even more important now than ever to support those who support the residents of the resort in living comfortably and safely.
The clinic had to close only six weeks after its much anticipated opening in February 2020 because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the lack of PPE, personal protective equipment to safeguard our three medical workers. But in August, these professionals decided that the virus has settled into endemic status within the community. That means that one has to assume that anyone walking through the door is potentially infected. Just like the Emergency Departments in hard hit US cities, if professionals are properly equipped, they can administer to the needs of the people of Barrón safely.
And so they are. For the last three weeks, fully armored staff have been seeing patients, both for medical and dental needs and the community is grateful. But this comes at a cost. Almost $1800 USD per month is needed to staff and equip the clinic, with extra monies needed to buy the elusive PPE. And now, with positive cases spiking among the employees at Estrella del Mar, it is more important than ever.
FOB is starting a campaign next month to raise money for the medical/dental clinic focussing on our past donors and on the doctors, nurses, dentists, and hygienists who have volunteered over the years and have a personal interest in the new Clinic’s success.
There are two ways to donate: send a check to FOB CANAM INC, 18 Oxford Ranch Rd, Laramie, WYOMING 82070, or send money using PayPal to FOB_CANAM@aol.com.
The year 2020 started out like gangbusters for Friends of Barrón. Estrella del Mar again hosted a Charity Golf Tournament in January to benefit FOB as well as two other charity organizations. Inclement weather interrupted the awards ceremony, but FOB organizers did receive a very large facsimile of a check for $50,000 MXN. These promised funds were immediately earmarked to help rebuild the bathroom at the secondary school in Barrón. In that school, there are 120 children destined to wait in line for the only single, malfunctioning bathroom available to them. These monies are going to a very good cause as acknowledged by the Charity Golf Tournament organizers, Jorge Corral and Maritza Estrada. The marketing of this historically charitable event was quite effective. About 150 golfers signed up at an average $6000 MXN each; that is at least $900,000 MXN, a portion of which was to benefit the charities. FOB received $50,000 MXN on June 15, 2020, so now, with EDM’s help, we hope to finish the bathroom project.
January 29 was the date set for the annual primary school dental fluoride clinic. EDM residents Claire Silk and Jan Schoen helped the local Barrón dentist, Dr. Javier Witrón treat the 200 students enrolled in the primary school. Permission slips went out and almost every student was treated with fluoride. Those with cavities were given a free treatment coupon to the FOB clinic which was about to open. There, Dr. Witrón can more easily treat the patients in a professional setting.
Here’s an update on Ivana, the student who has been adopted by Christina Richardson. Christina volunteered at last year’s fluoride application clinic and was so enamored with this fifth-grader, she determined to pay for much-needed braces for her teeth. It turns out that her case was a complex one and after a year of free treatment at the Centro clinic of Dr. Susana Pedrero, the foundation hardware had been installed. While Christina pays for the x-rays and hardware, Dr. Susana is donating all her time. It is Ivana who must faithfully attend each of numerous appointments and bear the discomfort. FOB would like to thank Claire, Jan, and Susana for the selfless dedication to their craft and we are happy to help provide them an outlet to spread their kindness.
When it came to light that the computers donated years ago by an about-to-retire Joe Oviatt, were either obsolete or dysfunctional, FOB sent out a letter requesting donations. During the week of February 23, 2020, EDM residents responded and we were able to raise an additional $120,000 MXN. Using those funds, we purchased 18 brand new Google Chrome computers. Our computer-whiz expert, Jeremy Kennell, was busy getting them set up to conform with the eight remaining functional computers in the lab when the schools closed for Spring Break. When they were unable to reopen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the computers were put away safely to await the new semester. One note, the average class size at the primary school is about 35 kids. If we were able to provide a few more computers, it would make learning a lot easier. The chrome books are $6000 pesos each. If you would like to buy the 19th or 20th computer, please let us know.
Over Spring Break, work began to expand the secondary school’s single-hole bathroom into a modern, sanitary, three-stall facility; two for the girls and one for the boys. As the project neared half-completion using community- and district-sourced funding, work was halted due to lack of matching funds promised by FOB and parents of students. An additional $80,000 MXN is needed to complete this project, $50,000 recently provided by EDM and the remainder by the school parents.
February also saw the opening of the long-awaited Barrón Dispensario, a combined dental and medical clinic. Using funds raised on the internet by FOB and other donations over the past three years, the property was rented, refurbished, and equipped to house both a medical and a dental clinic for the people of Barrón. FOB hired a doctor, a dentist, and a nurse to offer basic health care in a clean, modern, welcoming facility. Its success was gradual, but by the end of March, a steady stream of satisfied patients were gracing its doors. Our dentist, Dr. Javier Witron, even provided emergency treatment for a South African golfer aspiring to play in the Estrella del Mar-sponsored PGA event. But as fate would have it, the pandemic forced our clinic to close its doors temporarily. All staff members continue to receive their salaries throughout the closure.
The good news is that the Barrón Clinic is planning to reopen soon. Our nurse has been able to obtain the necessary personal protective equipment to safeguard our health care providers as they once again open the doors to care for the good people of Barrón. While one doctor from Villa Union has succumbed to the virus and several cases and at least one death were reported in Barrón, our staff will decide when they are able to once again serve because they purchased the required PPE. We need to raise an additional $100,000 MXN to cover unanticipated costs incurred by the medical/dental clinic due to the pandemic.
The schools are another thing. They will not be reopening this semester but the fall semester is just around the corner. FOB has recently distributed $104,000 MXN in scholarship payments to our 26 scholarship recipients for this past semester, even though the schools were closed, but continued to operate with all on-line classes. Several of the program participants have graduated but the others are anxious to resume their in-classroom studies next semester. This program rolls along due entirely to the dedication of the student sponsors. These sponsors, the majority of whom are EDM residents, have been able to establish meaningful relationships with their student(s) and their extended families. This continues to be a very popular program with sponsors whose students have graduated. Sponsors are eager to support a new scholarship candidate as a way to participate in the local culture by truly helping an aspiring student in need and for the thrill of witnessing their student’s achievements. The newly elected Mexican government last year promised to provide all lower-income students with scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to all levels of students from primary school to university. We admire the new administration’s novel approach to a guaranteed minimum income. Many of the families in Barrón qualify for this much-needed income stream. This may require that FOB take another look at our scholarship program. We have, over the past eleven years, modified the scholarship program requirements to ensure maximum benefit for our deserving students and we will continue to do so.
So where do we go from here?
FOB has raised funds on the internet and committed these funds to keep the dental/medical clinic open for a full year. All salaries are guaranteed and at-cost or free services will be provided to anyone who walks through the door. FOB feels that it is not only in the best interests of this isolated community but also for the main, outside employer of Barrón residents, Estrella del Mar. As the resort reopens, they can rest assured that the families of their employees will have a local, reliable, available, and affordable place to seek medical and dental attention.
This is a pilot program to provide operational seed money with the long-term goal of having the clinic stand on its own financially. Doctors, dentists, and nurses will gradually increase fees and solicit additional outside donations such that, after a year, the clinic could be self-sustaining with a minimum of FOB support. During this time and beyond we expect to once again offer specialty healthcare providers from Mexico, the US, and Canada an opportunity to do mission work, this time in a well-equipped and suitable facility.
If you would like to facilitate the school bathroom project, help cover the costs incurred by the FOB medical/dental clinic during the pandemic, or contribute to our classroom computerization program please donate using FOBs new PayPal account (FOB_CANAM@aol.com). Any amount in any currency will be greatly appreciated. Make a note in the instructions box if you have a preference as to which project your donation will support.
The newly opened Barrón Medical and Dental Dispensary
The long-awaited Barrón Medical/Dental Clinic has recently opened. Located on the main plaza in the town center, the freshly painted, former pool hall, has the bold green cross emblazoned on the wall; “FIRST AID”. Yes, first aid and a whole lot more. The permanent clinic is open five days a week, from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, Tuesday through Saturday and is staffed by full- time nurse, Monica, doctor Giseth and dentist Javier. All professionals are locals, serving the people of this small, relatively isolated, farming town.
The doctor holds hours at the Barrón Clinic three days a week; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The dentist, holds regular hours on Saturdays. All professionals have the flexibility to open the clinic at any time for emergencies. The pharmacy is fully stocked. The clinic and pharmacy are the first of their kind in this rural community of 3500 inhabitants in Sinaloa state, Mexico.
Work has begun to convert the central pool hall in Barrón into a new medical and dental clinic. The clinic will be open for first aid treatments five days a week and for medical and dental appointments one day each per week. Friends of Barrón has committed to keep the clinic open for one year. Donations are being accepted to provide these services. Please contact either Dale Lyster or Richard McGuire if you are interested in helping.
Deb and Lee Slupianek are pleased to announce the preparatory school graduation of their sponsored student, Miriam. Miriam has been with the FOB scholarship program for three years and represents the last of the high school students on the program. Two years ago, FOB transitioned to extending scholarships to only University students. This decision was based upon the fact that our program was originally intended to help students overcome the financial burden of the daily bus fare into Mazatlán. Since the Barrón Preparatory School opened three years ago, local students no longer need to commute to receive a high school education. In fact, through the efforts of Lance Gutersohn and Jeremy Kennell, Barrón’s high school has the latest computer technology and can potentially deliver a better education than is available in other local schools.
Miriam at graduation
October 1 is the deadline for University applications. Lee and Deb report that Miriam has been accepted into a University and they look forward to continuing her support as she pursues a career. If you would like to adopt a deserving University student from Barrón, Mexíco, please contact either Dale Lyster or Richard McGuire. We hope to receive the applications by mid-October and by November, we will know how many additional sponsors will be needed.
Jorge has been with the Friends of Barrón Scholarship Program since he was in preparatory school. His first sponsors were Ron and Joyce Pogue, who supported him until his graduation. He was able to use his diploma and education to qualify for entrance into the prestigious maritime academy in Mazatlán, Mexico, and graduated this spring. During his four collegiate years, Rob and Jayne Rupe were his sponsors.
Jorge at age 15. He spent one year on high school scholarship.
The future captain will eventually have his own ship.
Friends of Barrón received an update from Jayne last month. Jorge left for his first job in Campeche, Mexico (a major port on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula) on July 3, 2019. According to Jayne, his departure for Campeche was very touch and go, since he did not receive his maritime passport until the day before.
He is living on a “vessel” that is currently inactive and he is waiting for a contract. He is sailing every day on another boat that transports people to oil platforms out in the Gulf of Mexico.
The captain has given him permission to learn how to do maneuvers and pilot the boat. When inactive he even cooks for the crew….not one of his favorite activities. He is still not “an employee,” but does receive room and board and experience. He is searching for a company where he can be gainfully employed.
Rob and Jayne are two of FOB’s best supporters. They also sponsored Daniella, who has graduated from university this year. Her major was physical therapy and she is now performing her residency. She prefers to work with children and is gaining valuable experience. Ron and Jayne hope to sponsor Daniela’s brother, Manuel when he enters University.
It is only because of the generosity of people like the Rupe’s that Friends of Barrón is able to enable the children of Barrón to attend university and have a chance to give back to their community. If you would like to contribute to the advanced education of deserving children of people who live nearby our beautiful estate in Mexico, Estrella del Mar, please contact Dale Lyster or Richard McGuire.
Iris is our success story. She originally joined the scholarship program in 2014. She went unsponsored until Jim & Sue Baillon stepped up to the plate and sponsored both her and Teresita, who remains in University. Teresita is now sponsored by Bonnie McGuire Wreschner and she is set to graduate next year. Iris has been sponsored by Dick & Kris Mcguire since 2016. Although Iris has struggled in her academic career (she went on probation at least twice) but each time, she pulled her grades up to again qualify for the program. In the interim, she has matured in a beautiful young woman with goals and aspirations. Her scholarship will continue for another year as she serves her year internship in physical therapy.
Iris, a student sponsored by Jim & Susan Baillon for the academic year 2014-2015.
Iris & her proud father at her University graduation ceremony. He is a long-time EDM employee. Dick & Kris Mcguire are her proud sponsors.
With our collective efforts, we are happy to celebrate the 2nd Graduating Class from the Barron High Schoolnext Monday, June 10 at 4:30 pm. There are nine graduates in the class of 2019, all of which have been working at Estrella del Mar through a cooperative internship program between the schools and Estrella del Mar. Due to this relationship, the Graduation ceremony will be held in the Ballroom at Las Villas Hotel.
We are excited to have you as our guest for the celebration dinner and ceremony.
Dinner will include salad, your choice of pasta and dessert with light refreshments. Drink service will be available in Las Delfines.
The cost for dinner and the celebration is $400 pesos per person and cash is greatly appreciated.
Our charitable organization, Friends of Barron (FOB CANAM INC) has sponsored medical clinics in the small rural community of Barron, Sinaloa, Mexico since 2015. Dr Bonnie McGuire and her team of volunteer doctors and nurses have performed three week-long, free clinics thus far. Each annual clinic has treated between 200-300 patients. The objective of these clinics has not only been to provide vital medical services but to demonstrate the need for a permanent clinic to the townspeople and the government of the state of Sinaloa.
The people of Barron have recently petitioned their government to build, staff and equip a new permanent clinic. Recently, the government has committed to do so. The community of Barron has donated the land for the project and FOB and Barron have raised $20,000 USD. We hope to have a clinic operational by this time next year.
Once operational, FOB and our volunteer doctors and nurses will resume annual intensive clinics in cooperation with local doctors. We anticipate our focus to be more on medical staff training and education as well as patient treatment. We would be pleased and grateful for volunteers for these future clinics. Meanwhile, check out our blog site fobnews.org and feel free to contact Dr. McGuire directly for additional information.
The long-awaited medical/dental clinic for the town of Barrón is glimmering with renewed hope. Historically, an objective of the three “Pilot Clinics” that were pioneered by Dr. Bonnie McGuire, Dr. Rod Kassa and Dr. Ben Kaasa was to evaluate the need and desire of the community to have a permanent clinic with a doctor, full time nurse and part-time dentist. The community response was overwhelmingly positive. Friends of Barrón presented the idea of building a permanent clinic to the Ejido president and he invited us to present it to the Ejido general assembly on two occasions. The assembly unanimously voted to donate the land for the clinic. They then appointed a committee of four local women, plus the Ejido president and FOB to move the program forward. Over the last three years, the committee and FOB raised $400,000 pesos for the project.
In March 2018, Barrón solicited the help of the Mazatlan government to build, equip and staff the clinic. The committee and FOB were invited to present the project to the MZT president and his staff. They approved the project and within three months provided plans and budget. Then the president lost the election in July. The committee presented the project to the new administration and they rejected it due to lack of funds. At that point, we thought it was dead. The committee decided that the only option was to solicit Sinaloan state government help. Luckily, the Barrón Ejido president had a good contact in Culiacán who scheduled an audience with the governor’s Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Health and Social Development.
A delegation drove to Culiacán and presented the project. Surprisingly, they approved it and said they had the budget to build, equip and staff the clinic. A week later the Secretary and his entourage of 10 people came to Barron to see the site for the clinic and discuss further details. During the meetings the Secretary of Health was texting the Governor, explaining the project to him. Before the meeting was over, the governor called to approve the project. That was early March.
Three weeks later the Ejido Assembly met and signed over title to the land to the state of Sinaloa. The Medical Clinic project is now in the hands of the State. Friends of Barrón feels that the clinic will be built but, as always in Mexico, we will believe it when we see it. We have their promise, let’s celebrate when they break ground.