Thursday, April 2, 2009

Comasagua deliveries

Today I had the wonderful task of delivering new prescription glasses for children and adults in Comasagua - these are for people whose eyeglass needs couldn't be met from our collection of 5000 glasses, mostly children with moderate to severe myopia. The glasses were made by Dave Cohen of Hoya Vision Care in Tacoma and delivered to me while I was in Bellevue. The children's glasses were a special delight, carefully packaged in cheerful cases. For some children, those with especially complex prescriptions, our doctors recommended - and Dave made - two pair of glasses in case one gets lost or broken (kids being kids).

One of those colorful cases went to Nubia, who I met with her mother, Maria Esther, at the Health Clinic. She has her new glasses on in the photo above. Thanks to generous support from friends and community, I was able to restock the family's pantry with a big box of staples - rice, beans, corn flour for tortillas, oil - and provide a few dollars to make the next weeks a little easier. We walked to Maria Esther's house with the food, and I learned more about Nubia's family. Maria Esther cares for her 90-year-old grandmother, who has a heart condition and can't leave the house. (I almost had a heart condition myself after climbing the steps to the house in full sun with 25 pounds of red beans in my hands, so I understand.) Nubia has a 5-year-old sister, Jackeline, and a 15-year-old brother who's in school, I was happy to learn. Nubia is also in school, and her mother assured me that she'll stay in school and not work outside the house.

Maria Esther goes down to Ciudad Merliot to work every day, where she makes her living ironing clothes. It's hard work that keeps her thin and tired, but it's all she has to support this family that depends totally on her. She told me about being involved in a bus accident, all too common in El Salvador, and worrying about how her family could survive if she was hurt or killed. Fortunately, she wasn't.

My own grandmother used to make her living taking in laundry and ironing back during World War I, and was the only support for her three children, so I felt a strong sense of connection with Maria Esther - one of so many women in El Salvador who could tell similar stories of carrying heavy burdens. Thanks to all of you who are helping to make this one family's burden a little lighter.

I delivered the glasses for adults to Dra. de Larios at the Unidad de Salud clinic, and took the kids' glasses up to the Centro Escolar Estados Unidos de America (that's the United States of America Center for Studies, in case you were wondering). Carlos Blanco, the Principal (shown above in a huddle of students) happily received them and will get each pair to the rightful owner.

Could there be a nicer errand?

1 comment:

  1. This day brings tears of gratitude for you and for all who truly make a difference. Your connection between your grandmother and Maria Esther resounds the rightness of your new ministry. Only one resonation of many! MaryC