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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gustavo sees again

Darren writes:

PazSalud did a joint eye mission in Estanzuelas with the Bellingham Central Lions Club in September, 2013.  During the 3-day event we screened 325 patients for glasses, readers and potential cataract surgery.  Shortly after the mission we learned that EyeCare International, an NGO that provides cataract surgeries, would be coming to Puerto la Libertad, El Salvador for a 2-week exam and surgery mission.  Kathy and I contacted them and arranged to bring some of our patients to their medical brigade.

Gustavo qualified for surgery and EyeCare International removed one of his two cataracts.  After recovering from surgery I took him to his follow-up appointments at ASAPROSAR (a local NGO specializing in low-cost eye care for Salvadorans) in San Miguel and everything checked out well.  This is this first time he has been able to see clearly in years so naturally, he is all smiles and thrilled with the results.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Making a future possible

PazSalud met Sandra in 2012 when she came to our General Medical Mission in San Jose Villanueva.  She was born with arthrogryposis; a congenital disease characterized by joint contractures and muscle weakness.  When we met Sandra she was eleven years old, and very limited in activities: she had never been in school.  Sandra had been abandoned by her mother at birth and was living with her grandmother, who took her to physical therapy when she could afford the bus fare, but didn't try to enroll her in school because of Sandra's physical limitations.  Sandra's family has very limited resources - there is no electricity in the home, but plenty of loving and supportive family members.

Happily Rosy Melara, a Salvadoran nurse who has been a long-term volunteer with PazSalud mentioned to  PazSalud’s then in-country coordinator, Sr. Susan Dewitt, that she had a degree in special education, and soon Rosy had volunteered to teach Sandra the basics - learning her letters and how to write.   Rosy found that Sandra was bright and eager to learn, but also that her physical limitations tired her out very quickly.  We decided that Sandra needed a tutor who would assist her in the classroom with writing, studying and achieving.  Happily, the local school's director was enthusiastic about having Sandra enter first grade, and even helped us find a tutor with an education degree.  For the first time in her life, Sandra had a chance.  Here she is with (left to right) Rosy Melara, Sandra's tutor Sonia, and Kathy Garcia and with some of her classmates.  

This chance was made possible by a generous donation from PeaceHealth's Rosanne Ponzetti and her family who committed to sponsoring a child.  They provide the funds needed to pay for Sandra's transportation to physical therapy and her individual tutor. Sandra's class work was helped greatly by a desk that can be adjusted to different levels so she can work either sitting or standing.  Sandra's personal school desk was hand-made for her by In-Country Coordinator Darren Streff.  Sandra has now graduated from first grade with high marks, and is moving along in school.

Simple, affordable donations like these can make a huge impact on someone's life in El Salvador and PazSalud is proud to facilitate this type of empowering opportunity.  If you'd like to work with Sandra or any of our other deserving Salvadoran children, please contact Kathy Garcia in Eugene.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A sustaining gift

Darren writes:

Single mother Sonia and her 3 children are among the people PazSalud works with to ensure that they are able to meet the many challenges of life in El Salvador.  With a generous gift from PeaceHealth's Chris Keough, Sonia purchased a sewing machine that she uses to make and sell children's clothing to earn a modest living to support her family.  

Simple, affordable donations like these can make a huge impact on someone's life in El Salvador and PazSalud is proud to facilitate this type of empowering, dignifying, sustainable development.

If you'd like to work with Sonia or any of our other deserving families, please reach out to us.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

An Atol Fiesta

Darren writes: 

Anyone who has ever served on a mission will testify to the remarkable humbleness, kindness and graciousness of the Salvadoran patients and volunteers at our missions.  One of the best parts of working for PazSalud in El Salvador is getting to continually interact with all those incredible people, many of whom I see on regular basis. 

During our recent eye surgery mission in Cojutepeque we performed a successful pterygium surgery on Maria Cruz (shown in the photo above).  One day she called me up to invite me to her house to drink atol, a typical, seasonal Salvadoran drink made from corn.  Because it's in season we also enjoyed some fresh ears of boiled corn-on-the-cob.  I made the trip to Maria's house with Yesenia - the indispensable local coordinator from both of PazSalud's missions this year - and her daughter Alison (shown below with the bowls of atol and fresh corn on the table).

Maria is poor and could not have afforded the surgery she received from PazSalud.  This was her way of saying 'thank you' for all PazSalud did to help her.  Here she is with family in the portal of her home, the place where company is always received in rural Salvadoran homes.