Sean Duffy was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and received an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Notre Dame. Between his third and fourth years of medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is taking a leave of absence to volunteer at Common Hope. Sean spent the summer of his junior year at Notre Dame volunteering with us, which he says seeded his “Common Hope addiction.” He has returned to volunteer three times since, including a stint during his honeymoon with wife Mariah Quinn Duffy.
Sean works as a volunteer doctor in our Antigua medical clinic as well as one day a week at the clinic in San Rafael. In addition to seeing patients he is helping to develop a well-child program, which we hope to implement at the beginning of next year.
Sean says one of the obvious challenges of working in Guatemala is the limited resources compared to the United States and other developed countries. But he says “the integrated nature of Common Hope — being able to refer to a nutritionist, dentist, and psychologist all within the same campus, the modern clinic and pharmacy facilities, the guidance of clinic director Dr. Walter Estrada and other clinic personnel, and collaboration with other NGOs working in Antigua — helps offset many of the potential problems.”
A great reward of working at Common Hope for Sean is the variety of the patient population. “I am privileged to see patients from across the age spectrum,” says Sean, “from impossibly cute babies to sweet great-grandmothers, from patients with acute problems to patients with chronic disease.”
Sean also finds the environment of Guatemala a great place to work. “Each day, I find myself in awe of the beauty of the people and landscape of Guatemala. Sometimes I catch myself staring at Volcán de Agua for minutes at a time, as if it was the first time I’d laid eyes on it. The people are incredibly welcoming, warm, and generous, in spite of the enormous hardships that many of them face on a daily basis.”