by David Werner

The participation of Dr. Kent Benedict, pediatrician from California, at, the Clínica de Ajoya for most of the past year and a half has been a great boon. Not only have the villagers received better medical care than ever before, but all of us amateurs who have had the opportunity to work with Kent have learned a tremendous amount from him about the practice of medicine, for not only is Kent a first rank practitioner, he is an inspiring teacher.

This last November, Kent returned to California to begin a practice in Watsonville, and although his loss is deeply felt at the Ajoya clinic, the young “medics” who work there, American trainees as well as village apprentices, are able to carry on far more competently for having had the opportunity to work with Kent. Insofar as Kent, or “Andrés”, as he is better known in Ajoya, has been the Big Daddy of our medical program during the past year, it is only fitting that our friends who make Project Piaxtla possible, have a chance to hear from him directly. I particularly appreciate Kent’s taking over the responsibility for this newsletter since I have put off writing one myself for far too long. Lately, nearly all of my spare time has gone into preparing the manuscript for the medical handbook for campesinos (which I mentioned in my last newsletter.) This “Guía de Medicina” is now about four fifths completed, with over 160 pages and 300 illustrations. Thanks to a contact made by Dr. Norman Sissman, who arranged the open heart surgery for Manuel Alarcón three years ago, Syntex Laboratories of California has offered to publish the handbook for us as a public service.

Before I turn over this newsletter to Dr. Benedict, I will give a brief resume of some important events which have happened in our clinics in the past year.