Nail tech Suzette Rogers (left) and hairstylist Jen Harley held a benefit to raise funds for Rogers’ journey to Guatemala.
When nail tech Suzette Rogers heard that her longtime client was once again going on a medical mission to Guatemala, her interest was piqued. The team, she learned, would include two physicians, two nurses, and 20 other individuals. This team would travel up into the remote mountains of Guatemala and provide acute medical care for families that have never seen a doctor — or an American for that matter. They endured very poor living conditions with little water and food, and no proper plumbing. The more she heard the more she knew she had to go along.
The price for the trip was steep: $2,000 — $300 of which was for medicine that was shipped before their departure. “After great thought I decided my clients would help me get there,” says Rogers, owner of The Natural Nail Cottage in Crossville, Tenn. “So I embarked on a six-month journey of raising money for my medical mission trip.”
First she put up a jar in the salon to collect extra tips. “Then I decided I would have a benefit — a day of complete mayhem offering 30-minute appointments with the client’s choice of services,” she says. “In addition to this, my very close friend, a hairstylist, also had appointments where she donated all the funds she made to my trip. I served coffee, tea, sandwiches, and cookies. I sent invitations on Facebook and was over-booked. On that day I raised $650 — and it was super fun.”
The medical team provided desperately needed care for residents of remote mountain regions of Guatemala.
During the following months, clients, family, and friends continued to fill the jar and before Rogers knew it, she had exceeded her goal. “This is why I always say I have more friends than clients,” she says. “The extra funds were spent on toys for the children, toothbrushes, floss, and candy. The candy really helped after the terrible-tasting parasite medicine.”
On January 19, 2011, off she went to Guatemala. “My responsibility was to help with the pharmacy we brought with us,” she says. “We traveled up mountains for two hours riding in the back of pickup trucks standing up, on roads not meant for trucks with cliffs that went straight down. It was very scary. These Mayan descendants walked for miles to see a doctor. There was one man who was 85 years old and his feet were small and flat and curved from hanging on to the side of the mountains harvesting corn.
“They were simply amazing people! It was a fantastic 10-day experience and the people of Guatemala were so thankful.”