In December 2017, Zacatepec, Mexico, residents received medical care for the first time since the Central Mexico earthquake that September. It caused serious damage to states located at the heart of Mexico and killed nearly 300 people. Many families living in Zacatepec, in the state of Morelos, have few financial resources and meager access to quality health care.
Tzu Chi International Medical Association, or TIMA, volunteers stepped in to offer earthquake survivors with acupuncture, dental, and medical examinations. But, their support didn’t end there. TIMA volunteers also tended to the emotional distress of survivors experiencing loss.
It was common to hear stories of residents who had debris fall on their bodies during the quake; many of them endured pain for months. While they were initially a little frightened at the sight of acupuncture needles, their discomfort was quickly calmed by the joyful energy of TIMA volunteer doctor, Mike Liaw, MD. Dr. Liaw adamantly made sure to bring pain relief and harmony by setting up an “community acupuncture session” where residents are treated together and could see that- despite the number of needles- there was nothing to worry about.
For Alma Rosa Calderón, the services brought her some peace of mind. She’d lost her son and mother during the earthquake. Meanwhile, Alma sustained injuries to her hearing and to her eyesight.
TIMA volunteers saw the importance that their efforts brought to the community. Residents showed gratitude with expressions of love, through hugs or by simply saying, “I love you.” The rewarding feeling was a testament to the volunteers on the importance of their work.