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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2006 Projects

April 2006

Dear Friends:

Please find below an update from our clinic support project in El Salvador. Attached is a photo that Hope Jackson, who implemented the project for us, describes this way:

"The fourth photo is of Arely suturing a boy's foot. He had been injured when cutting firewood with a friend. We get a lot of machete wounds at the clinic. Arely learned how to suture during the war, when she got more practice than we could imagine... The grant also provided new sutures, a suturing tool set, 500 syringes for injecting pain killers, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, and ace bandages."

If you’d like to see some additional photos from the project, please let me know.

From Hope:

This trip to El Salvador was intense. Although it had only been a year since the last time I was there, the country and poor people's lives are visibly deteriorating. Prices of gas and oil are making bus prices higher, making it even harder for poor people to get into the cities for work or school (there was a protest at the national university while I was there against the rising bus prices that ended in police opening fire from helicopters against the students). The privatization of water is making it difficult for villages without drinking water to be added to the grid, showing just how little the government is helping even with the bare essentials. Flooding is increasing so people are losing their corn crops and homes. There are no jobs for people in rural villages, but since the currency is now American dollars, prices continue to rise. Illness and parasites are as bad as ever...

The more I love and care for my (adopted) family in Talpetates the harder it is to watch what is happening in the country. It's hard to see any future, any positive change; it makes me very worried that war might break out again. There were many days this trip of feeling extremely overwhelmed with all that I want to help with, and all that I know might never change. Sometimes I feel like it's my responsibility to improve the lives of everyone I meet down there; they look to me with such hope in their eyes. My host family helped me step back and see how much help I am providing, if even in small ways like breaking up the consistent pattern of their daily lives with games and stories and new meals.

I think about the people there everyday. I ended up coming home a week early because I had a bacterial infection that had made me extremely sick, I ended up being hospitalized back home when it spread to my kidneys... not fun at all. But I just remember when I first told one of my friend's there that I was leaving early and she started crying and said "I want to you to get better so you can come back again, but you have to understand that we're all sick all the time, and we can't leave."

That brings me to the importance of the clinic in Talpetates. The three women at the clinic conduct over 20 prenatal exams a month. Some of these women choose to give birth in the clinic, some in the hospital two hours away (usually dependent on wealth or family pressure), some end up being transported to the hospital by the clinic's ambulance due to emergencies. With this grant I was able to bring sterile rubber gloves (rather than non-sterile ones which protects the midwife but not the mother's susceptibility to infection ), a wooden birthing chair to give the mother the option of laboring in a comfortable sitting position, a new fetal heart beat monitor with lubricating fluid and extra batteries, 50 pregnancy test strips, an infant size am-bu-bag for resuscitation, bulb syringes, arnica oil, sterile catheters, an infant hanging scale and tape measure, blood pressure cuffs, pregnancy calendars, information packets on prenatal nutrition, "nine months of pregnancy" posters in Spanish, prenatal vitamins, 24 cloth diapers and diaper covers.

We saw one woman who lives in the mountains, a 2 hour walk from Talpetates. Her baby was lying sideways and we ended up transporting her in the ambulance when her placenta detached prematurely and she started hemorrhaging. The grant paid for new tires and a new rear axial for the ambulance, the only emergency vehicle in the village (one of only 3 vehicles there). I was unfortunate enough to spend some time in an El Salvadorian hospital this visit; once when I was sick, once when I brought in a woman who was hemorrhaging, and once with a woman in labor whose baby was too large to be delivered naturally. The hospitals in El Salvador are horrible. Scary even. I truly felt that you would leave a hospital sicker than you went in. The sheets and equipment were dirty; there was often other people's blood or vomit in puddles on the floor or on the sheets and shifts. It was dangerous to even be a visitor.

The time I spent in the hospitals was the most sobering experience. I finally understood that the clinic in Talpetates was so much more than a necessity for people who couldn't pay for the hospitals, it is a ground breaking facility where three women with no formal education are working together to provide a safe and clean environment to give birth and find health. They understand germs and blood carried diseases, they understand the natural process of labor and birth, and they treat patients with respect and love.

Other than the medical supplies we provided, I also brought educational videos and pamphlets on prenatal nutrition, CPR, and infectious diseases. Jesefa, Arely and Estella welcome any opportunity to supplement their knowledge. The clinic sees over 20 people a week, for a wide range of things. Prenatals, births, any sort of infection, cuts, vitamin needs...The work they do is so valuable.

Thank you for your help. I think education is the only hope for making change in their lives. If nothing else it allows these children to dream!

Thank you for the wonderful work you do.

Sincerely, Hope

Thank you again for your support. Please send in those September contributions and make sure to spread the word about the good work we do!


The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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