I got an e-mail today from Alex Hernandez, a friend and a great volunteer in our 2009 medical mission in Comasagua. Alex writes (and I translate, loosely) -
I want to tell you about the week of rains and the chaos in Comasagua because of the tropical storm. Twelve shelters have been opened for people in our municipality [municipalities in El Salvador include all the smaller communities around a central town] and I have been in one of them, caring for 50 people day and night, watching over the women, children and old people sleeping and making sure they get their three meals in the day. This has been a beautiful experience for me because you know that one becomes fond of the people and I feel a love for them as if they were my family. I don't know if you understand me, Sister Susan, it's something that it's not possible to explain.
I'm also working in the church with our priest, helping to organize the assistance that arrives for the people in shelters, and then sharing it out with them. I can tell you it was good to be helping my neighbors because they needed the help, but at the same time sad to see so much suffering, to see the faces of each of them, far from their lands, their houses lost, their crops ruined, exhausted after days of suffering. I'm glad, though, for all the work we have been able to do for them. Comasagua begins a new life.
I do understand, Alex, and I know that the help you're giving your neighbors, your new family, returns as a blessing to you. I thank God that you and so many others are working all over El Salvador to help the people first to survive, and now to begin to return to their homes and start the long hard work of digging out and starting again.