Dr. Juan Guerrero

As Interviewed by Gabriel L., March 8, 2018

Dr. Juan Guerrero: In His Own Words

Dr. Juan Guerrero talks about providing healthcare to the poor inside our country and other foreign countries.

Ever since I arrived in Austin, which was in 1984, I joined a volunteer healthcare clinic that at that time was called Caritas -- and Caritas is a non-profit community that takes care of indigent families that do not have insurance. We supplied their medications. We supplied any medical supplies they needed, like if they had a broken … whatever, you know, we would wrap it and do things, but we did not have x-ray, we did not have lab.

I have done some volunteer work in Nicaragua and also in Kenya, and I’ve done more in Kenya. In Kenya I’ve been three to four times and that’s with an organization called UBUNTU. One of the biggest things that got me the first time I went to Africa -- we were going down on a safari, and these three teenage girls they were naked out there with their mother, they were obviously a little embarrassed when they saw, you know, “the white person” -- and they went and they put a sheet around them that they had them when they came, and they were curious what was going on. And then I saw the little boy by a tree, and he had a machete, and he was probably about four years of age, and he was sitting there cutting the bark on the machete to try to get to the sap, and then was drinking the sap. They had no water.

And as an American tourist, which I was at that time, the first thing [I thought] is like “Oh, let’s give them money.” So everybody in our vehicle was giving them dollars on there, and the mother, through the translator that we had, says, “I appreciate it, but what am I going to do? I don’t have a store to go buy something.” And that really opened up my eye, you know. I’m there -- money here would not help. So we went about and still did our safari but then we told her we’d be back. And we did. We went into a town and we put as much water as we could -- and we got cases and cases and brought it. Then, when we gave it to them, they were just like “Ahhh!” I mean, they were drinking the water as, you know, because they were starving, they were thirsty. And we were crying, seeing that. And that is when you’re going like: We need try to help. We might only be able to help a few people but a few people is better than helping no one...