Tijuana Medical Campus Breaks New Ground With Ophthalmology Clinic

National Headquarters  |  April 16, 2023
Veteran volunteer Ah Mui Manguy leads 23 local volunteers in the groundbreaking ceremony.
Veteran volunteer Ah Mui Manguy leads 23 local volunteers in the groundbreaking ceremony. Photo/Ying Dan Lai

Written by Jingyi Li, Ah Mui Manguy, Mark Chou
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Andrea Barkley

On March 5, 2023, a diverse group of Tzu Chi officials visited the Tzu Chi campus in Tijuana, Mexico. The group consisted of Tzu Chi Foundation’s Europe-America-Africa branch team leader Tsung Han Lu, Wei Chung Tsao, former Tzu Chi USA CEO, and Ji Hong Chen, a Tzu Chi USA headquarters delegation member. They were joined by American volunteers from various locations across the United States, as well as members of the Central and South America Care Group, including Lu Rong Chen, Ji Jue Ge, and Liang Dai Hong. In addition, there were also veteran local volunteers such as Dr. Si Hong Wang and Ah Mui Manguy, as well as other local volunteers.

The purpose of their visit was to witness and participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for an ophthalmology clinic in the Tzu Chi Tijuana medical campus. The visitors brought with them the blessings of Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide.

Caring for a Wider Area

2023 has been a remarkable year for Tzu Chi Tijuana medical campus. In January, the Care Mission Foundation donated the ownership of a new headquarters, central kitchen, and buildings to Tzu Chi. This generosity helped expand and extend the medical campus’s scope of care by providing the space to open an ophthalmology clinic. This clinic will provide vision health services to local people who struggle with barriers in healthcare affordability. 

With more people seeking services from the Tzu Chi Tijuana medical campus, the need for care is ever-increasing. The medical campus already provides various medical services, such as diabetes prevention screenings. This new ophthalmology clinic is scheduled to open by the end of May 2023.

Local guests attending the ceremony included police officers, nuns, and teachers. All who attended were happy that this new service would benefit under-served  community residents. 

Volunteers from the Tzu Chi USA headquarters delegation team presented a  red ribbon, a symbol of the Jing Si Aphorism, to local volunteers. Twenty-three local volunteers led by veteran volunteer Ah Mui Manguy shoveled the soil together. The first shovel symbolized the purification of the heart, the second shovel symbolized peace in society, and the third shovel symbolized a world free of disasters.

Tzu Chi Foundation’s Europe-America-Africa Team Leader Lu Tsung-Han said, “This ceremony breaks ground for the ophthalmology clinic; in the future, Western medicine, Chinese medicine, dentistry, and the ophthalmology wards will benefit those struggling with poverty in Tijuana.”

The Tijuana campus is a new frontier for Tzu Chi. The base is not only a hope for all of us, but also a center for us to gather more volunteers from Central and South America.

Graciela Sanchez Raygoza, principal of Escuela Primaria Tijuana Tzu Chi, said, “I am grateful for the privilege of attending the groundbreaking ceremony here and to learn that my fellow citizens will have access to the ophthalmology clinic provided by the Tzu Chi Buddhist Charity Foundation on the campus. It is a great initiative by Tzu Chi. We appreciate that Tzu Chi always considers  Mexican citizens’ needs. It’s great that one’s eyes are being taken care of, and there is a special diabetes treatment unit. Thank you, dear Foundation, thank you, dear Master Cheng Yen.”

Thankful for Companionship

After the ground-breaking ceremony, 20 local volunteers (including on-campus doctors and campus staff) shared touching stories about their time with Tzu Chi. Many of the local volunteers came to the campus with illnesses. After being helped by Dr. Joe Wang or Ah Mui Manguy, they readily joined as volunteers.

Dr. Joe Wang, a member of the Tzu Chi family, prioritizes helping people in need over promoting Buddhism or religious rules. Despite being a Buddhist organization, Tzu Chi welcomes people of all faiths, such as the Catholic community, as seen through Dr. Joe Wang’s efforts over the past 20 years.

The local volunteers in the community have come to understand Tzu Chi better through the long-term company of US volunteer Jia Xiang Hsu, who shared his Spanish translations of “Jing Si Aphorism” and “The Bodhi on Earth.” During a lively discussion led by volunteer Wei Chung Tsao, the volunteers explored the deep value of interfaith collaboration. They all felt a sense of love and respect from Dr. Joe Wang and Ah Mui Manguy, as Tzu Chi never asked them to abandon their faiths. Instead, volunteers showed empathy and respect, and helped them in their time of need.  

Buddhism has similar values as the Bible and we want to know more about the Buddha's teachings.

Abundance of Talent Among Local Volunteers

After hearing from the local volunteers, the Tzu Chi USA headquarters delegation felt confident about Tzu Chi’s growth and presence in Mexico. The volunteers also expressed their admiration and gratitude towards Master Cheng Yen. The training of local volunteers began in August 2022. Over the past six months, many local talents have practiced and progressed in Chinese, English, and Spanish. 

Additionally, Tzu Chi purchased a 14-passenger van for the Tijuana medical campus to help the volunteers visit and distribute aid in the local community. The van’s hood and sides were decorated with eye-catching Tzu Chi campus messages, attracting the attention of many pedestrians and drivers who stopped to look.

At the end of the groundbreaking ceremony, guests received a red packet of blessings from Master Cheng Yen and a gift from the Jing Si Hall. Despite a week-long period of heavy rain and wind before the event, the ceremony took place under a clear blue sky, a welcome sign for all good deeds ahead.

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