La Paz de Susan

Link here to La Paz de Susan, Sister Susan Dewitt's blog about working with PazSalud and living in El Salvador from 2009 through 2013.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gifts of vision

Darren writes:

This past September PazSalud organized a joint eye mission in Estanzuelas with Dr. Ken Henderson of the Lions Club of Bellingham where we were thrilled to see 325 patients in two and a half days.  The goal of mission was to examine needy patients whom we were not able to see during our general mission in Estanzuelas the previous February.

During the September mission with the Lions, we saw some patients who required custom glasses to address their specific vision deficiencies.  Dr. Henderson and the Lions generously volunteered to take on this challenging and expensive task by having eyeglasses for 4 patients made in the U.S.  The Lions sent them to me during my visit to the U.S., I brought them back to El Salvador and recently had the pleasure of delivering the special optics to these very appreciative and deserving Salvadorans.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Fiestas, Suchitoto

I have been missing Suchitoto a lot this week, knowing that the whole village is involved in the events leading up to a huge double celebration.  Tomorrow there'll be a huge procession and parade honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe, with all the children dressed as Juan Diego or as colorful indigenas:

 And on Friday there will be an even huger procession honoring the virgin Santa Lucia, mass with the church packed to the doors and overflowing, and a big party in the parque central, complete with food, dancing, a ferris wheel and other rides, the crowning of Suchitoto's queen for the year, and a great fireworks display. 
These two big days come as the culmination of weeks of preparation.  In the week before Santa Lucia day each neighborhood has its special day, beginning with a procession to the church before sunrise (you get wakened with firecrackers), continuing with events for the children or for the whole neighborhood, and culminating with the carroza (float) for the neighborhood circulating through the town in the evening with the neighborhood princess waving and a band playing.  It's an amazing, joyful, shared fiesta. 

And then everyone takes a two-day breather before the Las Posadas processions begin and the celebrations of Christmas take over the village.

There's nothing like it here, in the decorous city neighborhood I live in, and I miss it all very much. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Darren writes:

Last week I was honored to represent PazSalud at an award ceremony jointly sponsored by PAR (Project of Reciprocal Support), the University of Dr. Jose Matias Delgado and CIS (Center for Interchange and Solidarity).  The ceremony was held in honor of needy rural students who, because of the partnership established by CIS, were able to attend and graduate from an excellent local design school and learn the art of indigo dyeing in a formal, professional setting.  With their new skills, the CIS scholarship students will create a sustainable commercial livelihood for themselves and their families.

And here are some samples of their craft:

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Chili con Carne Thank You

We've had wonderful community volunteers helping us with our three Estanzuelas missions this year - the general medical mission in February, the eye surgery mission in April, and the Bellingham Lions' Eye Clinic in September - and Darren wanted to say "Thank you!"  So he invited a bunch of them to San Salvador where they enjoyed his homemade chili (something that's not part of the Salvadoran cuisine) and a happy evening, extending the fellowship that we have had with these excellent helpers.  Here, left to right, Eric, Marvin, Darren, Delmy, Lea and Fredy.

Delmy and Lea are Marvin's classmates in his English major at the Occidental University, and volunteered as interpreters for the March and September missions - they helped us a lot, they learned a lot, and we all ended up feeling like good friends.  Fredy teaches English at Occidental University and helped with interpretation during the September Lions' Club mission.  Marvin has been our rock throughout the year, always making things work smoothly for PazSalud.