2019 LAUGHH Foundation Medical Mission Details



LAUGHH (Live Abundantly Using Guided Helping Hands) is pleased and excited to announce its FIFTH medical mission to Bucaramanga, Colombia in June, 2019.

The mission will be led by Gisella Alvarez, RN – Team Leader and Dr. Bruce Sands – Medical Director. This mission will be a Primary Care Mission with an additional focus on Wellness Education specifically around nutrition and healthy lifestyles.  We will continue serving the very poor people living in the State of Santander.

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 personnel for this mission. Our policy is to speak with all new volunteers prior to joining the mission team.

This is a Primary Care Mission. We are looking for volunteers for the following positions:

  • WOUND CARE: (2)
  • NURSES: (8)
  • EDUCATION TEAM: (Team is full.)

In addition, we will need the support from non-clinical volunteers to help as runners, section organizers, clinical support staff and in education.


BUCARAMANGA, the capital of Santander State, is a city of approx 800,000. We will be serving the communities of nearby towns where there is much need: Curiti, Valle de San Jose and Aratoca.  We will be serving the very poor of these areas.  The people have little to no resources for medical care.

Colombia does offers a basic medical care system to all Colombians.  The system is quite complicated, cumbersome and when it comes to real need, the people don’t have access to the kind care they need.


THU 6/20/19: Travel day and PM arrivals.

All team members MUST arrive on Thursday.

FRI 6/21/19:  Sorting of supplies.

USA team meeting.

SAT 6/22/19: USA / Colombia team meeting.

Final preparations.

Check out of Hotel Chicamocha

Early PM departure to Curiti.

Check into the hotel in Curiti.

Final set up.

SUN 6/23/19:  Clinic – Valle de San Jose   (Towns may shift days)

MON 6/24/19: Clinic – Town of Curiti

TUE 6/25/19:  Clinic – Town of Simacota

WED 6/26/19: Day off

THU 6/27/19:  Clinic – Town of Aratoca

FRI  6/28/19:   Clinic – ½ day Town of Aratoca   

Check out of the hotel in Curiti

Pack up

Travel to Bucaramanga.

Check back in at Hotel Chicamocha

Sort supplies, donations, inventory

Chiva night!

SAT 6/29/19:   Travel back day for some


SUN 6/30/19:    Travel back day for others



$ 1500 – $2000/ person approx. Covers airfare, hotel and some meals.  Breakfast is provided at the hotel and is included in the room charge. Clinic day lunches are covered by the host town.  You will be individually responsible for most dinners and any other meals.

In addition, there is a $25 application fee and each team member will be asked for a minimum donation of $100 US dollars to help cover the cost of the medications and supplies for our patients.  Donations greater than $100 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. Prices can fluctuate from $700 to $1000, depending on your departure city.

There are many options when flying to Bucaramanga (BGA), so your best bet is to look at different airlines. In addition to the US carriers, try the following South American carriers:  TACA, Avianca, LATAM, and COPA.

When you travel with a combination of a US carrier and a South American carrier, look at their alliances (One World vs Star Alliance).  This alliance will make a BIG difference when it comes to your suitcases being checked straight through to your final destination, Bucaramanga (BGA). Otherwise, you will have to claim your bags in Bogotá, proceed through Customs and then re-check your bags at the ticket counter. This time delay can make a big difference if you have a tight connection.  Colombia is probably the only country where you can skip customs all together if you fly with the right airline combination.

DO NOT travel with Spirit Airlines, Their baggage limit of one (1) bag / passenger traveling to Colombia does not allow you to take any supplies.  Each team member will be carrying one (1) suitcase of supplies to Colombia.


Hotel Chicamocha: (www.hotelchicamocha.com) Sharing rooms, 2-3 people per room ($60 – $65 US / day / person). Price may be less depending on how strong the dollar is at the time of hotel payment.

A breakfast buffet is included.  This is a nice hotel and they take good care of us.  You will be very comfortable, and we are sure you will enjoy your stay here.

The hotel(s) in Curiti are smaller with clean, basic rooms. Sharing rooms between 4-5 people will be the norm.


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.


Please visit our website (www.laughh.org) for additional information on our organization, what we have done, view a video of our past mission and to apply for the upcoming 2019 Medical Mission to Colombia.

Link to Application Form (if necessary, copy and paste in your browser) :

Francie Stoner –Founder and President

Bruce Sands – Medical Director

Gisella Alvarez, RNC – Clinical Coordinator



LAUGHH Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Contributions to the LAUGHH Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.