Doctor finds two boys he delivered, a long way from home
Five Mexican doctors paid a three-day visit this past weekend to Storm Lake to do a check-up of sorts. They were checking up to see how former residents of Santa Rita and La Barca, Jalisco, Mexico were faring as new residents of Storm Lake.
Their former patients and friends are doing quite well, they have found. If there would be any problem, it would possibly be that the émigrés and workers from Mexico have possibly become a bit too Americanized, with material wants taking precedence over other concerns, such as learning English to communicate with the majority culture.
Those visiting included Dra. Blanca Diaz Chanchola and Dr. Miguel Hernandez-Hernandez, both private doctors from Santa Rita; Dr. Jose de Jesus Hernandez Ortiz, a private doctor from La Barca; Dr. Nicolas Mosqueda Vasquez, a certified general surgeon and director of the Regional Hospital in La Barca; and Dra. Maricela Perez Oropeza, certified doctor of internal medicine at the Regional Hospital in La Barca.
The doctors were invited to Iowa by the University of Northern Iowa Center for Immigrant leadership and Integration and Project Export. The doctors visited schools, workplaces and medical facilities, culminating with a community picnic at the Chautauqua Park shelter.
It was old-home week, particularly for Dr. Hernandez who met again with two boys he had delivered back in Mexico, Christian Rodriguez and Humberto Medina, now students at Storm Lake Middle School.
Colleen Last, an English Language Learner teacher at Storm Lake Middle School, told the doctors about the program in which students build vocabulary skills. Last said students start with basic family and medical terms.
"One of the first things we ask is if they can say their name and home number if they need help," Last said.
Dr. Miguel Hernandez asked how well the students could understand English. Juan Vargas-Rivera, one of Last's students, said at the beginning learning English was very difficult.
Last said research shows that it takes five to seven years for students from another country to develop their English skills to an academic level at which language is no longer a learning barrier.
One major difference between schools in the United States and Mexico is that in Mexico, students attend classes half days.
At the community picnic Sunday, with Sara Huddleston as interpreter, Dr. Hernandez said he believed that people from Santa Rita had a positive economic impact on the Storm Lake area. However, he said in the process some people have lost some of their cultural and spiritual values, he said. The materialism he sees in the Storm Lake immigrants concerns him.
Some of the health problems of Mexico transplants are the same as those of Americans, the doctors point out, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Huddleston said the doctors were very impressed with technology at the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center. They said education and communication was very important between Mexican people and medical staff.
Storm Lake medical leaders had previously made a trip to Mexico, coming to the same conclusion.
The doctors also noted a closer relationship between doctors in Mexico and their patients as compared to the relationship between doctors and their patients in the United States.