Monday, January 3, 2011

Tratar Los Con Respect

Day 3: Sister Gloria came by with her “New Years” horn and did her daily wake up call. I must have gotten use to the sound already because I slept through it. But luckily one of my roommates woke me up. I prepared for a day that was initially intended to be a day of working/ playing with the children from Las Delicias (which constantly reminds me of my favorite Mexican restaurant back home)…..

NEWS FLASH!! As I am writing this blog I felt my first TREMOR!! Shook the entire building; almost felt like a train was going by the building, but then I remember I am not by my old dorm, or nowhere close to a train.

Back to my story… Upon reaching the town Las Delicias I was given the opportunity to spend the day at a local clinic that Project FIAT had built for the community. The days plan was to include visiting the community and families who were given a goat. I waited for an “American” doctor to lead the way. His name was Alex and he had been in El Salvador for at least a year; it was very obvious that the children LOVED him. In Las Delicias there has be a program that gives families a goat. Criteria ranges but a goat is given to a family if they have a child under the age of five or and elder over 65. The family signs a contract with the expectation that they give the goat a sheltered area and a place for food and water. The goats were pregnant; the first female goat will be given back to the committee and the family could keep the male (fun fact: goats give birth to twins; one boy and one female). Together with Alex and our small group we visited about five families to make sure that their goats were being taken care of. It was very eye-opening to see the way that these families lived. I’ve seen pictures of “shacks” but walking into one that was the size of my living room and that was the sleeping area for seven people was shocking. The parents of one of the families was away at work in the coffee fields (an experience that hit close to home), the oldest daughter who was only 12 took care of her two 8 year old brothers, 5 year old sister, and 1 year old brother. The expectation for the children while the parents were away was to clean, cook, and care for the animals. The children in this community have to grow up fairly fast to help the survival of their families.

After visiting the families we returned to the clinic where we began to bag medicine. In the states we have bottles that offer medication like antihistamines, multivitamins, etc. But here in El Salvador we placed 120 ml into small baggies. The work was easy, but hard to keep clean. The small clinic does its very best to make sure it is clean inside, but with a breezy day and being surrounded by nothing but dirt, it was difficult to stay that way. We were bagging these medicines to give to those families in the community who came in. The clinic is free for the community; which means they don’t have to pay any co-pays or pay for medication. However, the medication supply there is very low. The room that holds their supplies has only 8 shelves that were barely full. I began to feel a small headache come on (not enough water intake on my part) and asked for a couple Tylenol. I never felt so guilty for taking some medicine. Seeing how little they had and that I would be taking some of it made me feel really bad. The clinic is in need of many supplies, they had a board in the room with items that very easy to get in the states, but harder to find her. Overall the day was good. The clinic does their best to inform the community of healthy practices. The community is very friendly and has their arms open to those who come in wanting to help.

As we walked through Las Delicias we visited the Day Care center, which we are also currently rebuilding. It was very small and looked like a mini prison. But before you enter the building it has a very simple sign that listed tarea- homework. I want to close by remembering this homework every day:

1.Dar Amor- give love

2.Tratar los con respect.- treat each other with respect

3. Comprender les- Understand each other

Danielle Sosias is a student at Metropolitan State College of Denver and a member of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc.

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