Medical Missions


LAUGHH (Live Abundantly Using Guided Helping Hands) is pleased and excited to announce its FOURTH medical mission to Bucaramanga, Colombia in July 2017. The mission will be led by Gisella Alvarez, RNC – Team Leader and Dr. Bruce Sands – Medical Director. This mission will be a primary care mission serving very poor people living outside the City of Bucaramanga.

There are a lot of details to work out; however the main one at this point is to solidify the commitment of all members of the team. We have limited spots for practitioners and non-clinical applicants for this mission. Our policy is to speak with all new volunteers prior to finalizing the mission team.

This is a primary care and education mission. We will be providing the following specialties and education component:

  • EDUCATION – Nutrition, exercise, chronic disease management, women’s health, etc.
  • OPTOMETRY and PHYSICAL THERAPY (with local providers)

In addition, we will have the necessary support from non-clinical volunteers to help as needed.


The following are the sites we will be visiting. All of them are within 1½ to 2 ½ hours from Bucaramanga, so, traveling will be our norm for the week.

Our temperatures will range from very hot / humid (Tienda Nueva), to hot (El Playon), to very cold/high altitude (Berlin)… comfortable (Matanza). No AC or heat in any of the sites.

Our team members will get to see a lot of the SANTANDER State in just 5 clinic days while serving 1500+ patients..

Our clinic sites were chosen by the State’s Governor, based on need. While we will be staying in the metropolitan area of a city of 1 million people, there is a lot of need in the small municipalities chosen.

Everyone in Colombia is supposed to have Health Care available, the reality is something different.

TIENDA NUEVA  (Sun 7/16/17)

Tienda Nueva is a VERY small town on the road to Barrancabermeja. It is literally a stop on the road. It is VERY HOT (upper 80s/lower 90s), and humid. The majority of the people here make their living farming and living off the river. They are 1½ hours from Bucaramanga and 1 hour from Barranca, making access to health care very difficult and expensive.

We will be working at a very spacious local school there.

EL PLAYON ( Mon 7/17/17 ) Playon

El Playon is a small town 25 miles outside Bucaramanga, on the route to the Atlantic Coast. Average temperature is low 80s.

Teen pregnancy and drug addiction is a major problem in the area. Children as young as 8 years old have been known to abuse inhalation of cheap glue cans, or smoking the waste residual of cocaine mixed with brick powder.

We will be working at a small school here.

BERLIN (Tue 7/18/17 )Berlin

Berlin is a very small town 2½ hours from Bucaramanga. Altitude is 10,500 feet above sea level. It will be VERY COLD!!!

The site of our clinic is “Colegio Luz de la Esperanza”. We have been going to Berlin for the past few years and this is also where we are working with the local schools and sponsoring a garden and greenhouse project.

MATANZA (Thur and Fri 7/20 – 7/21/17)Matanza

The small town of Matanza was founded in 1749, it is about 17 miles from Bucaramanga, but it takes about 1 ½ hour to get there. Temperature is very pleasant around 70s, cooler at night. We will be spending the night here on Thursday as we are doing 2 clinic days here and will be working in the new small hospital they have.

And remember…….. !!!Colombia



THURSDAY 7/13/17: Travel day and PM arrivals for some.

FRIDAY 7/14/17: AM Arrivals, Medication sorting/set up

SATURDAY 7/15/17: Orientation, set up.

SUNDAY 7/16/17 – FRIDAY 7/21/17: Clinic Days, with a day off mid-week

FRIDAY 7/21/17: Inventory/pack up in the afternoon and team celebration in the evening

SATURDAY 7/22/17: Travel day (recommended to leave after noon)

SUNDAY 7/23/17: Travel day


$1500 – $2000/ person approx. Covers airfare, hotel and some meals. Clinic hour lunches are covered by the host town, any other meals we are responsible for. In addition, each team member will be asked for a minimum donation of $100 US dollars to assist with the purchase of medications and supplies for our patients. (Donations greater than 100 dollars are welcome, LAUGHH is totally dependent upon your donations to advance its missions )


As you would expect, airfare is going to be the biggest expense. Currently prices fluctuate from $800 – $1,000, depending on your departure city. There are many options to go to Bucaramanga (BGA), so your best bet is to look at different travel sites. In addition to the US carriers, also try the following airlines: TACA, Avianca ( Colombian airline ), LAN. Do not travel with Spirit airlines, their baggage limit (1) does not allow us to take any supplies.

Any team members arriving on Friday 7/14/17 MUST arrive before 11 am.


Hotel TBA Sharing rooms, 2-3 people per room (~ $ 65 US / day / person ).

We will be comfortable and you will enjoy your stay in the chosen Hotel.


Colombian food is a good value with heaping portions of fresh, local ingredients. Dishes are varied and tasty, with a regional twist. Bucaramanga has countless places to eat, ranging from street stalls to well-appointed restaurants. If you are a steak person, you will be very happy here. If you are a vegetarian…… you may not be so happy.


Security in Colombia has improved 100 % over the past several years. You may see security forces in the cities and check points on the main roads. For everyone’s peace of mind, we will have security with us during our time there.

Francie Stoner – Founder

Bruce Sands, MD – Medical Director

Gisella Alvarez, RNC – Team Leader

Use the CONTACT US form at right to get in touch with us or complete your APPLICATION now!