About Reverend Luke Rhyee, MD
The Rev. Luke MoonTaeg Rhyee M.D. graduated from CNU Medical School in Korea and worked as a medical doctor. He also graduated from Duke Divinity School and is in full connection with the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church as an elder.
Currently, he serves the people of Guatemala, mostly Mayan people, in Quetzaltenango as a president and executive director of Healing Guatemala with his family.
He is married to SunHee Kim R.N., S.W., and they have three boys, Daniel Lee, 8; Andrew Lee, 10; and Joshua Lee, 15.
Dr. Luke's Medical Clinic
Guatemala is located in Central America, right next to Mexico, whose population is 14 million. 55% of the population is Mestizo, and the rest of them is Mayan indigenous people. The official language is Spanish, but in the area where Mayan people live, there are several Mayan languages used. Though the capital city, Guatemala City, is an advanced modern city, the rest of the country is under developed rural area.
The main focusing area of Healing Guatemala will be Quetzaltenango, which is located in northwestern area of the country. According to the statistics of Guatemalan government, the population of the city is around 200,000, but Healing Guatemala will serve around a million people who live scattered around the city of Quetzaltenango. Majority of this people is Mayan indigenous people. Since they live in mountain area scattered, they do not have political power. They do not know official language Spanish, which makes them isolated from the central government. They express, "We are abandoned by our government."
Living Condition in Quetzaltenango?
The life in this area is very harsh. Whole family lives in a small house, maybe living room size of average American home, made of log. The floor is dirt, and kitchen and oven which fired by woods are inside, which causes serious smoke. The majorities of people in this area live with less than one dollar, which is the average income. It is extremely hard for them to approach medical service. Their physical location, their poverty, and their lack of medical knowledge make them hard to have medical service. Also since they use their own language Kiche instead of Spanish, even at the clinic where doctors use Spanish only, they are discriminated. One of examples would be my experience of short term medical mission in this area. I met two little girls who has Down's syndrome. Yet, their parents do not know what it is. The statistics of infant mortality rate is 25.16, where that of America is 6.05. The postpartum mortality rate is 120, where that of America is 12. This statistic represent entire population of Guatemala, so if we separate Mayan people the rate will be much higher than this.
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