Health and safety information

Highland Support Project
Serving Mayan Communities of Guatemala
Health and Safety Information
Inoculations and First Aid
The standard tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations are suggested. Vaccinations for tropical diseases are NOT
required because we are operating in the temperate highlands region. We always bring a first aid kit to treat
minor medical needs. Every team is accompanied by professional guides trained in CPR and first aid.
Health should not be a problem if precautions are taken with drinking water, milk, uncooked vegetables, and
peeled fruits. Carelessness on this point is likely to lead to amebic dysentery, which is endemic.
HSP requires medical and emergency medical evacuation insurance for every trip participant. In addition, we recommend having both a medical and dental checkup prior to travel. We also recommend having an optical checkup and obtaining spare eyeglasses/contact lenses to travel with. Finally, we recommend obtaining a letter from your physician explaining the details of any special health concerns or preexisting conditions. Intestinal Upsets
A few participants experience slight intestinal problems. These upsets are not a big deal and usually just mean a
day of rest. To avoid the situation, don’t eat uncooked fish or vegetables, always peel your own fruit, and give
up salads and tap water for the week. Bottled water is abundant and safe. DON’T HAVE A DRINK WITH ICE
CUBES AND DON’T SHOWER WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN. Be wary of milk or milk products.
HSP makes safety our top priority and follow these safety precautions:
• We rent ordinary passenger vans with no markings.
• We limit travel to areas that fall inside the region known as the “golden driver training, are licensed to triangle of tourism.” The Guatemalan government takes special care that this area remains trouble-free, as it is a key source of income for We check the State Department travel advisories on a weekly basis.
• We maintain ongoing relations with local police departments. HSP has coordinated an average of ten teams a year for the past 15 years through our Partners in Service program, with anywhere from 100 to 400 people serving with us each year. Thanks to our dedication to safety precautions, good leadership, and long-term relationships in the areas we serve, we have never had a single security issue.
Many teams and individuals return with us year after year, with almost 80% of Partners in Service participants returning with us to Guatemala within two years of their last trip. We offer our spotless record and high return rate as a testament to the quality and safety of the service trips we provide.
Highland Support Project
Serving Mayan Communities of Guatemala
Health and Safety Information (continued)
Food poison germs normally cause diarrhea. Drinking water is rarely the culprit. Exposure to various
organisms such as viruses, bacteria, amoebae (the most common cause), salmonella, and cholera can give rise to
diarrhea. If diarrhea is acute (i.e., you can time the onset to the minute) then it most likely due to a virus or a
bacterium and/or dysentery and will pass If it is sub-acute, then inform a Partners in Service staff person for
medical attention.
You may wish to pack Cipro or Pepto-Bismal in case of intestinal upset or diarrhea. Many people who travel to the developing world take Cipro as a preventative measure. Highland Support Project does not recommend this personally. Some participants have also taken Pepto-Bismal daily as a preventative. In general, we have taken Cipro to be used as a treatment as soon as someone starts experiencing intestinal problems and the problem has resolved itself quickly. WE ARE NOT MEDICAL EXPERTS. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
Other Considerations
The Highlands of Guatemala has a very temperate climate. It can be cold during the evening and in the shade.
We suggest that participants bring clothing that can be worn in layers.
It is important to realize that you will be at high elevations and certain precautions are warranted. We suggest that you invest in a good pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm. It is also important to remember to take it easy and not overly exert yourself at these elevations. Participants with heart conditions need to inform and remind Highland Support Project staff of their medical conditions.
Emergency Contact Information
United States:

Highland Support Project Office
Mrs. Guadalupe Ramirez-Blevins, Co-Director
Speaks English and Spanish
(Sister Fair-Trade store)
(804) 342-5886
Ms. Claudia Ramirez, Chief Administrator
Speaks Spanish only
Ms. Muna Hijazi, Program Coordinator
Speaks English only
Mr. Marvin Gonzalez, Logistics Coordinator
Speaks Spanish only


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