Monday, March 2, 2009

Up the road to Comasagua

I drove up to Comasagua today to meet with Mercedes Arias, the community organizer for CIS who coordinated our medical mission. We went over the list of those who were screened for cataract surgery and planned hiring a bus to take each day's patients in to San Rafael Hospital in Santa Tecla. It's great to work in an organized community - between the CIS organizers and students and the health promoters in the Unidad de Salud clinic, we have really great connections with our patients in their smaller communities.

We walked up to the Unidad de Salud and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces - Alex, the world's best pharmacy volunteer; Gloria, the clinic pharmacist; Mauricio, who keeps the physical plant in order; and Doctora de Larios, who opened the clinic to us and managed the referrals for patients who needed to be seen at the hospital. There were some people waiting to be seen, but nothing like our crowds. And the water is running again!

Mercedes asked for a ride down to Santa Tecla, and on the way we talked about the earthquake of 2001, which destroyed every house and building in Comasagua. Mercedes and her husband and children lived in a tent for more than a year, until her husband managed to build a very small house, which they are still enlarging and arranging. Much of today's Comasagua, especially the public buildings - the San Mateo church, above, the Alcaldia, the Unidad de Salud, and the Casa Comunal - were built by Venezuelan soldiers. They also rebuilt some houses, but the Salvadoran government decided it was time for them to return home - before they got to Mercedes' house.


  1. I am trying to help a friend find a contact at San Rafael Hospital in El Salvador - her mother has been there for a few weeks and they just released her without helping her. If you could forward the phone number of the hospital as well as any contact you may have there, we would be very appreciative.
    Thank you,
    Robin Parsons

  2. Hello, Robin - I hope you check here for my response! Some numbers listed for Hospital San Rafael are 2249-9683, 2249-9684, 2249-9685, 2249-9686. If you and your friend are in the U.S., you would first dial 011-503 and then any of these numbers. The director of nursing is Licenciada Guardado - she might be the best person to try to contact. I hope your friend's mother's health will improve. Peace, Susan Dewitt