We are delighted to announce the start of a new Ayuda program for San Marcos La Laguna and surrounding villages on the western shoreline of Lake Atitlan. In honor of Darlena Lake, a long-time resident of San Marcos and enormous animal lover, The Darlena Lake Fellowship program officially began on 1 August.
The program is a joint effort between Ayuda, The Darlena Lake Trust, the Municipality of San Marcos, the University of San Carlos, and Dr. Isael Estrada Atz. It offers a 6-month, hands-on work experience to veterinary students from the University of San Carlos. Students are required to work under a licensed veterinarian prior to receiving their diploma.
Our first intern, Dulce Morales arrived on 4 August. Under the tutelage of Dr. Isael, she will provide basic veterinary care to dogs and cats in the village Mondays – Fridays, and will assist with surgeries during our regularly scheduled sterilization clinics. These services will be provided at a low-cost or for bartered services to needy local families with pets. Each case will be evaluated for the person’s financial abilities.
This is a wonderful opportunity for all involved. The program is being piloted in San Marcos because it’s the village in which Dalena lived. If the program is successful, Ayuda hopes to attract other donors to support similar internships in other villages around the Lake.
The fellowship offers great potential in Ayuda’s effort to groom Guatemalan veterinarians to pick up the torch and take low-cost sterilization clinics well into the future. With a majority of Guatemalans in the highlands living under the international poverty line, it is critical to offer these services to avoid overpopulation and the spread of diseases which infect the canine/feline community as well as those which are zoonotic.
We wish to thank the Dalena Lake Trust for their belief in Ayuda’s work, the Mayor of San Marcos for providing the building, land, water, and electricity, Centro de Salud Solola for their support with rabies vaccines, the University San Carlos for their support, and most of all Dr. Isael for taking on the added responsibilities of training the interns.
Locals, please help us welcome Dulce to the San Marcos/Lake Atitlan community! A special celebration is being planned for September. Watch for announcements!
Ayuda’s daily work around Lake Atitlan is supported by Fondacion Brigitte Bardot, The Marchig Trust for the Animals, and private donors. Please help us continue our work through a financial donation. Thank you!