What does K'uhul Balam mean?

Pronounced "kuh-hool ba-laam"

In the traditional Yucatan Mayan language, k’uhul balam means sacred jaguar. In Mayan mythology no animal is more central than the jaguars. Jaguars took on many roles in their culture including gods and demi-gods. Most importantly they believed Jaguars to be guardians of the people, keeping the community safe. To honor the Mayan people we are k’uhul balam.

Our team of second year medical students spent three weeks in the Petén region of Guatemala. It was apparent that the community needed more guardians. We were able to assess the needs of the people and there are many. Numerous villages do not have access to healthcare, and the lucky ones have clinics that cannot even afford alcohol wipes or basic examination lights. However, everyone was kind, welcoming, and appreciative despite being dramatically restricted by lack of local resources.  With your help and support you too can be a jaguar.


Why Guatemala?

Many people have asked, "There are places in the United States that could benefit from these projects, why Guatemala?"

While this is a very valid questions, the answer is simple...because no one else is.  

Several of the founders of K'uhul Balam  grew up very poor, however there is a huge difference between being poor in the United States and being poor in Guatemala.  In the US, you might be poor, but you usually have access to clean water, you qualify for Medicaid, you get an education through "No Child  Left Behind", and you have potential to work hard and change your socioeconomic status. 

This is not the case for many parts of the world, with Guatemala being just one example.  It was serendipity that our founders chose Guatemala as their target location for a summer medical school elective, but the region quickly captured their hearts and passion.  

Why Petén, Guatemala?

Of the 22 Departments, or States, Petén (highlighted in red) is the largest, with a population of 800,000 spread throughout the entire region.  Because of the immense space, healthcare supplies and personnel as well as other infrastructure such as clean water distribution, waste management, electricity, public transportation, and even inexpensive fruits and  vegetables are scarce in many of the regions.  

When researching prior to our trip, we were surprised to find a lack of non-governmental or non-profit organizations operating within the area, and this reality was confirmed during our exploration of the region.  While there are numerous humanitarian organizations operating in the south, specifically around Lake Atîtlan in the SW and the cities of Antigua and Guatemala City in the SE, there are nearly no other organizations providing aid in the north.  We hope to help fill a small portion of this large  gap.   

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Help Our Cause

Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve healthcare access in Guatemala. Your generous donation will fund our mission.

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Support us with your Amazon.com purchases!

Kuhul Balam is now registered with Amazon Smile. Select Kuhul Balam as your non-profit, complete purchases at smile.amazon.com, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase amount to our efforts to support the women and children of Petén, Guatemala! Download the file below for instructions if needed. ¡Gracias por su apoyo!

KB Amazon Smile Handout (pdf)