Rochester Rotary Club’s ongoing support leads to nursing degree for Guatemala resident

Rochester Rotary

Media contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466; barbara@eafocus.com

Rochester, Mich. — Dec. 9, 2015 – Rochester Rotary, a member club of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service and encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, is pleased to announce that its ongoing humanitarian efforts in Guatemala include the recent graduation of a Mayan nurse, Mateo Nicolás Domingo.

Mateo received a scholarship through the Future Vision Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation, which enabled him to attend nursing school and support his family during his absence. The Rochester Rotary Club, which sought out the grant for Mateo, served as the flagship club to support and encourage Mateo’s schooling.

Longtime Rochester Rotarian Linda Eastman explained how the Rotary Club came to meet Mateo.

“Our Rochester Rotary Club has supported important projects in Guatemala for more than ten years, mainly working in areas of health and human services,” Eastman said. “I met Mateo when he was a schoolteacher in the remote village of San Ángel in northwest Guatemala while I was in the area doing midwife training for a small group of traditional birth attendants. I was called to San Angel with a colleague who is a neonatal nurse practitioner because a newborn baby with a birth defect was struggling to survive.”

Mateo had heard that Eastman’s organization, Casa Colibrí, offered trainings for village health promoters (VHPs) and asked if he could attend the next session because, in the absence of a VHP in his village, he was the go-to person for health problems and related questions. With training, Eastman said Mateo caught on immediately and proved to be a natural learner and teacher.

“We had been trying for several years to find a health-care provider to staff the clinic that Rotary had established, but to no avail,” Eastman said. “Every prospective candidate declined the offer of employment after learning the clinic’s location and lack of electricity, clean water, satellite, and Internet.”

Ultimately, Eastman asked Mateo if he would be interested in attending nursing school, with the goal of staffing the clinic after graduation. Mateo had a wife and two small children to support, and this would mean leaving his family for several years to study in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city. For the family to survive during Mateo’s absence, Casa Colibrí paid a monthly salary to support Mateo and his family. In addition, Mateo received a Rotary scholarship to attend the University and pay for room, board, books, transportation, uniforms, school fees, and supplies.

Eastman attended Mateo’s graduation day on Nov. 20th and commented on the occasion.

“It took my breath away! I love graduations because of the hope and promise they represent. This graduation was extra special because Mateo’s full-time presence at the Casa Colibrí clinic in the hinterlands of Guatemala will bring health and healing to some of the neediest people on the planet,” Eastman said.

About Rochester Rotary
Celebrating 61 years as a club in 2015, Rochester Rotary is one of 34,000 member clubs of Rotary International, which has more than 1.2 million members and raises and disburses funds for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. Monies are raised through social events and service projects organized by the club, ‘fines’ collected at Rochester Rotary meetings and gifts offered to the club through members and supporters.

The club welcomes new members who live or work in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township. For membership information, contact Jeff Whitbey at Jeff@whitbey.net. Rochester Rotary meets each Tuesday at noon at the River Crest Banquet Hall on Avon Road and Livernois in Rochester Hills. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RochesterRotaryMI and learn more at http://www.rochesterrotaryclub.org/.

About Rotary International
Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who hail from Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations. Learn more at https://www.rotary.org/en.

– end –