Friday, December 4, 2009

August 2009 - Return to San Cristobal, Chiapas

In August of 2009, I returned to San Cristóbal bringing medical supplies and to assist Sergio Castro with his humanitarian work. The month of August is beautiful in San Cristóbal with its plants blooming and the afternoon showers. I find Sergio, as before, with many patients, few supplies and his getting by on minimal funds. Tourism is down in all of Mexico (economy and H1N1) and more so in San Cristóbal - since it is harder to get here. Hence, visitor volume to his museo is down significantly.

Our daily rounds include an indigenous man with a burn to the front part of his left leg with mid-deep dermal (2nd - 3rdº burn). Imbibing too much posh he fell asleep by the fire... he has since discontinued his alcohol consumption. The hospital initially cared for his wound and sent him home with no follow-up aftercare. We visit this man every other day. We also see a middle-aged woman with poorly controlled epilepsy that fell into a cooking fire during an episode. The left buttock suffered a larger area of mid dermal 2ndº burn. She is in severe pain during our bandage change and she has to mentally prepare herself for our visits. Some days she cannot muster the strength to endure the pain.

Sergio uses the minimum of supplies and pain medication is out of the question. He has none, nor access to anything adequate to lessen the discomfort the patients experience.

Another house calls includes the indigenous man who burned the back of his right leg severely in December '08. This long-term care of severe burns is typical. This man will have life-long disability but it will not prevent him from working in his field. There are several other patients that I won't list and if interested click here see my most recent powerpoint.

Sergio hired a driver from Chamula that comes dily to drive him to his house calls. He pays him weekly or when ever he can. Sadly, Marcos, the driver we had in April has died unexpectedly and suddenly. From what I can make out, he complained of stomach pain and never saw a doctor. He then started vomiting blood and bled to death. The family took him to a "curandero" (spiritual medicine-man/quasi-shaman) and he died in a short period of time. From the story I'm guessing he bled to death from a stomach ulcer or possibly esophageal varices. Regardless, a sad demise as he was in his mid 30s. His brother, Mariano, has now taken the task of driving Sergio around.

My cousin Roy came for a visit my second week there and he brought with him more medical supplies from a company called MedShare. With a $75 donation my cousin was able to pack 50 pounsa of medical supplies and to my joy it appeared to have a street value of over $1000. Fortunately the airlines did not charge him extra for this load.

To see the clinical photos of this latest visit in powerpoint presentation format click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sergio Castro: The Tireless Humanitarian

April 20, 2009


Photo right: Sergio to received the Dr. Manuel Velazquez-Suarez Medal of Merit Sancristobalense on March 31, 2009.

My name is Patricia and I originally started this website for Sergio Castro Martinez. I initially met Sergio last year and was so impressed with his work I have committed to helping him in anyway possible so that he can continue his remarkable efforts.

This classroom is in a tool shed, the chilren's desk is held up by shortened tree trunks. Sergio is currently trying to raise money to build a 3-room school, with latrines and a water system.

The past five weeks I have spent with Sr. Castro confirms his five-decade commitment to helping the people of Chiapas, mainly those around San Cristóbal de las Casas. In the morning our house calls include burn victims or those with various other types of wounds. In the late afternoon we see more patients at his museum, these are lower leg ulcers caused from varicose veins or diabetes. After the evening clinic Sr. Castro gives an educational tour of his museum.

This 5 year old boy was burned accidentally with boiling water. His 12 year old aunt came to Sergio's museo at 9am seeking his help for her nephew.

Museo de Trajes Regionales
is a rustic museum that exhibits a large collection of costumes, textiles and other items ranging from musical instruments, tools, masks, celebratory and religious artifacts from various Chiapaneca indigenous Indians. These items have been collected over a period of 45 years by museum owner Sergio Castro Martinez. This collection is rare, as the clothing and personal possessions are typically buried with the deceased and some pieces are no longer reproduced in the same fashion.

This unique collection as been accumulated through Sr. Castro’s daily humanitarian work with the indigenous population. In his more than 45 years hgere Sr. Castro has built schools and water catchment and filtration systems for the indigenous villages lacking this basic infrastructure. In addition, the majority of his time is spent providing medical and wound care to burn victims of Chiapas. The extensive collection are gifts from the many he has helped during the last five decades.

The museum tour educates visitors on the functionality, style and type of the dress you may find as you explore Chiapas. Sr. Castro demonstrates the different indigenous languages and provides insight to traditional living standards. A section of the museum displays photos of the schools and water systems he has constructed, recognitions for his humanitarian work and photos of burn victims he has helped.

The museo helps fund Sr. Castro's humanitarian efforts with wound care, building of schools and water treatment systems. This website was created to help facilitate donating in an easier and modern fashion. By clicking on the donate button above you can easily donate to Sr. Castro via PayPal.

I am currently working on a new website for clarity's sake and hope to have it up and running in one to two months. Please come back and visit. Thank you!

Santa Elena needs 2-room building for more students. More funds are needed to complete this project.