Would you stand in line for hours for anything? The people of El Cedro would, even as the morning heat and humidity started to intensify. They were waiting in line outside the local school hoping to see a doctor or dentist, desiring nothing more than to care for themselves and their families.
Speroway has been in El Salvador many times. University students from Canada had performed restorations to this very same school a year and a half ago. A construction team were in Amatitan in the spring of 2010 building a new feeding centre and rebuilding homes in a place where floods had wreaked havoc.
This is the third time that a Speroway Medical Team has been in El Salvador. During our February 2010 trip over 4,000 people received primary medical attention and hundreds received restorative dental care. Back again in El Cedro, we were certain to see the same families again; the closest thing people here have to “regular visits” to the doctor!
We strive to provide a great deal of care and attention to each person, young and old, that come into the clinic. In the care of a dentist there often isn’t a lot of talking as treatment for a rotted tooth or restorative work is the priority. However, there is compassion in the eyes and hands of everyone in the dental area and hugs (and tears) from patients are not an unusual occurrence!
This same scene of gratitude is repeated in the classrooms where the medical staff are set up, in the distribution area where it feels like Christmas and in the Pharmacy where humble El Cedrians are overwhelmed by the teams care and generosity.
As we look out at the front gate at the end of the day, we realize what we have accomplished. The seemingly never ending line has just 20 people left in it. Everyone has received some form of treatment and we trust they have a renewed sense of hope.
Over 600 patients came through the clinic today. Was standing in line worth it? It was certainly worth it for the team members who express how they felt genuinely blessed by the people of El Cedro.