Leslie Baer, right, Drector and Founder of Xela Aid, motors across Lake Atitlan, Guatemala with Wolfram Alderson, horticulturist who heads Xela Aid's gardening team. The two have found a relationship beyond friendship. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Team doctors working with Xela Aid hike into remote villages in Guatemala and treat hundreds of Indian peasants, most of them subsistence farmers, for malnutrition, respiratory infections and dysentery.©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 One of Baer's toughest challenges is steering clear ofCentral America's last remaining civil war, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives.  On a remote mountainous path, the team encounters some soldiers but is able to continue their journey unharmed. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Wolfram Alderson, the horticulturist who heads Xela Aid's gardening team, is also a close friend and significant part of Baer’s personal life. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Lanky and blue-eyed, Leslie Baer, right, strides through Indian villages, half a foot taller than anyone around, and makes instant friends with midwife, Comadrona Amalia Vasquez, left. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Villagers dressed in the intricately woven clothing of the Mam and Quiche Indians lined up dozens deep to have their eyes examined by the Xela Aid team of doctors. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 On the several trips to Guatemala, Xela Aid Volunteer doctors have treated more than 2,500 villagers. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Xela Aid has delivered about $5 million in donated medical supplies since 1993 and has built a school high in the Tojalic mountains. This trip, optometrists examined 1,300 people. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Taylor Bladh,  Diamond Bar optometrist,  director of Xela Aid optical team, examines another patient as the Mam and Quiche Indians lined up dozens deep in the small mountainous village of San Martin Chiquito. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 "Leslie is Xela Aid and Xela Aid is Leslie," said David Krasnow, the president of VOSH California, a volunteer group that brings vision care to the needy around the world, enjoys interacting with the local children. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 On this mission, 20 people received prosthetic arms and legs, and optometrists examined 1,300 people in four days in the village of San Martin Chiquito. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Baer met with new President Alvaro Arzu. She not only charmed him but also got him to agree to everything she wanted, which included exempting her shipments of supplies from a crippling new tax. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Baer, right with a group of the women villagers in San Martin Chiquito, enjoys interacting with music and songs and continues to work on the native language which led her to Guatemala several years ago before she founded Xela Aid. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 The Xela Aid rules are clear: no politics, no religion, no colonizing. She is not a missionary and will allow no one in Xela Aid to be, kicking out one volunteer who promised villagers an evangelical church.  She enjoys clowning around with the village children. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 One-year-old baby Ana Victoria Hernandez in the arms of her mother Rosario Monroy, 25 are some of the lucky ones. The thirty some year civil war has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives, and caused another 40,000 people to ‘disappear,’ most of them peasants. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 As Leslie Baer, right, interacts with the locals she says,  “I learned something very important. If you see it, it's for you to say. That's why I'm so vocal. Take responsibility for what needs to be said or needs to be done.” That’s her motto and she’s driven by it. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 Leslie Baer, founder of Xela Aid, comforts Irna Lepe who has just been told that her two-year-old daughter, Diana, has a total retinal detachment in one eye, complicated by an infection which likely came from a farm animal, and will never see out the eye. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
 One of Baer’s spiritual signposts to guide her to Guatemala was ‘San Simon,’ and she makes a pilgrimage to Zunil, one of the few remaining places where the ‘pagan’ image of San Simon is till openly revered with pomp and ceremony. ©Gail Fisher Los Angeles Times
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