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Last summer, Nancy Kahn ’75 and son Bryan ’07 made their second trip to Parramos, a tiny village in the mountains of Guatemala, with members of the Princeton Latin American Task Force and Nassau Presbyterian Church.

They first visited Santos Inocentes School of Parramos in 2001 and were impressed by the community’s commitment to improving the quality of its children’s education, says Nancy, a pediatrician who practices at a Boston area health center and teaches at Harvard Medical School as a clinical instructor in pediatrics. Each year since then, a group has traveled to Parramos to help the school. Assistance has included painting, making structural repairs, teaching classes, donating school supplies and athletic equipment, setting up a computer lab, and establishing a medical clinic.

“[The previous] summer, Bryan painted the entire exterior of the school, taught stretching exercises to the students, played endless games of soccer, and generally enjoyed the affectionate, smiling children who named him ‘mi gringo,’” she says. “I practiced pediatrics, while another doctor saw adult patients.”

Last summer’s expanded medical team visited other health projects in Guatemala.

“We learned from them the art of listening to what the people of Guatemala want and will accept,” she says. “With this in mind, we were able to take care of 250 children and 150 women in five days. Some walked for days to seek out our care. Our greatest accomplishment was to get a commitment from the community to initiate the process of purifying its water.”

Bryan once again helped wherever needed, building bookshelves, teaching baseball, painting bathrooms – and playing soccer.

“For me, the trip served two purposes,” says Nancy, whose husband Joseph Kahn ’74 is an emergency physician at Boston Medical Center as well as director of medical student education and clinical associate professor in the emergency medicine department at Boston University’s School of Medicine. “One was to treat children for medical diseases. The other was to work with my son and observe in him the huge heart, clear mind, and commitment it takes to partake in such a mission.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles