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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Special Order Glasses

During every PazSalud General Mission we screen hundreds of patients' vision and fit them with reading and/or distance glasses donated to us by various sources in the U.S.  Invariably we encounter patients who need specific prescriptions that we don't have among the thousands of pairs of glasses we bring to the mission site.  When this happens, the optician volunteering with PazSalud fits the patient with a pair of frames, obtains the prescription from the optometrist, brings the frames back to the U.S. and sends them to the laboratory they typically work with.  Through the generosity of the laboratory that makes the lenses and the efforts of the optician, the special prescription glasses make their way back to me in El Salvador where I get the fun job of delivering them to the patients.  Everyone was thrilled to receive their glasses and deeply grateful to PazSalud for the gift of better vision.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Post-surgery eye exams

After every eye surgery mission PazSalud works with a local ophthalmologist to provide two 'controls', or follow-up eye exams, for every patient to ensure their surgery was sound and everything is healing on schedule.  This year we were fortunate to work with Dr. Jule, an excellent physician who, along with his son, runs a private eye clinic in San Salvador where they saw our patients.

We completed both controls in June and I'm happy to report that our surgeries were exceptionally successful.  Many patients even see 20/40 in their operated eye.  Dr. Jule provided every patient with a careful exam and took the time to time to answer their myriad questions.  Some patients needed additional eye drops, some had their stitches removed and because of pre-existing medical conditions, some were slower to heal than others.  But the vast majority of our patients talked about their overwhelming joy at being able to see again for the first time in many years.

Dr. Jule's son examining a patient

Dr. Jule and a patient

Checking the healing process

Our patients in Dr. Jule's waiting room

Happy patients

Monday, September 15, 2014


On one of Kathy's recent trips to El Salvador we were invited to visit ASAPROSAR; a local NGO based in Santa Ana.  The mission of ASAPROSAR is to work with the neediest families in El Salvador to improve their quality of life and empower them through health care, youth leadership training, environmental and nutritional education, micro-credit, and community development.  Among their many development programs, ASAPROSAR specializes in visual health and has a permanent clinic in Santa Ana that Kathy and I visited for the day.  The scale of their efforts is impressive and their dedication is inspiring and perhaps PazSalud will have an opportunity to partner with them on an eye surgery mission one day.

Entrance to ASAPROSAR

Eye clinic entrance

Exam room

Eyeglasses shop

Kathy and a nurse in one of their operating rooms

Operating room

Monday, September 8, 2014

Carmen Aviles

In addition to conducting medical missions, PazSalud works closely with a handful of Salvadorans who require additional attention, resources and care beyond what our teams are able to provide during a medical brigade.  For example PazSalud has been working with Gloribel Marroquin since 2011 to ensure that she receives the special education she needs as a deaf child. 

Essential to our ability to assist Gloribel, however, is Carmen Aviles and her family.  Carmen lives next door to Gloribel and is PazSalud's conduit to manage the funds donated for her education, to provide us with regular updates on her progress, to troubleshoot problems that occur and to be a constant resource for guidance and advice to Gloribel and her family.  Without Carmen's generous help PazSalud would simply be unable to help Gloribel in that way that we currently do.  A very warm and special thank you for all she, and her family, does.

Carmen Aviles and 4 of her 9 children

Kathy Garcia and Carmen

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quilts to Comasagua

The Bellingham Central Lions Club donated some beautiful quilts to PazSalud and recently I was able to distribute them to deserving families in Comasagua.  Host to a PazSalud mission in 2009, Comasagua is a picturesque town set in the hills overlooking San Salvador and home to many people struggling to obtain life's basic amenities.  Although El Salvador’s climate is generally temperate to tropical, Comasagua is roughly 3,300 ft. above sea level and the evenings can get very cool and chilly.

PazSalud is committed to working with Salvadoran communities long after the mission teams have left and distributing blankets is one of the many ways we honor this commitment.  A very special 'thank you' to the Bellingham Central Lions Club who continue to give back to a land and a people dear to all our hearts.