I just talked to Kathy Garcia in Seattle, where the mission team has gathered at the airport. Everything is going well, weather looks OK, and - primero Dios - we will soon be greeting each other in San Salvador.
I will not be posting this week, as we won't have internet access during our clinics, so I'll take this chance to look ahead at what we'll be doing.
Tonight, if we're lucky, we'll get to our retreat house about midnight, and everyone will be more than ready for sleep. On Sunday we head for San Rafael Cedros and begin setting up the clinics in the morning. We'll have lunch in a local restaurant and meet the community volunteers who'll be working with us all week. In the afternoon we train the local volunteers, review the clinics with the mission team, and bag vitamins.
Monday through Thursday, we leave the retreat house at 7 AM, in time to start clinics at 8. We're offering four clinics - General Medicine, Pediatrics, Gynecology and Eyes. Our patients can choose as many as three clinics, and when they've completed their clinics they head to our pharmacy for any medications the doctors have prescribed, as well as vitamins, toothbrushes, and lotion. On Friday we have a half-day of clinics, finishing at noon, pack up, and celebrate with a despedida to thank our local volunteers and the community of San Rafael Cedros. We expect to see about 350 patients each day, between 1500 and 1600 in the course of the week.
Friday night we move to the Hotel Novo in San Salvador and celebrate our week with pupusas. On Saturday the mission team visits the Hospital Divina Providencia where Monseñor Romero lived and where he was assassinated in 1980 and the University of Central America (UCA) where six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were killed in 1989. Shopping time is also included in this day, and we finish up with pizza and coconut ice cream at the CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad), getting a perspective on contemporary life in El Salvador from CIS Director Leslie Schuld.
Sunday, the team's last day in El Salvador, we'll come to Suchitoto, visit Sr. Peggy O'Neill at the Centro Arte para la Paz, have lunch at our Base House, do a bit more shopping, and return to the Novo to pack. On Monday, everyone's on the bus at 4am, headed for the airport and the long trip home.
That's primero Dios, of course, God willing. There will be surprises, there always are, and laughter and heartbreaking moments - that I know for sure. And in a week, I'll let you know how it's been.