This blog was created by friends of Sergio Castro in 2008. Sergio is a humanitarian in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, who has helped build schools, clean water systems and educates tourists on the local Maya population via his museum. He also provides wound and burn care to the locals - gratis. His museo contains a rare collection of traditional Maya costumes and clothing given as gifts over the last 45 years for his humanitarian work.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday October 24, 2011 – San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
In Transit to San Cristóbal
After several months of planning this sixth trip to San Cristóbal – el viaje a San Cristóbal – and we are finally on our way. This last week of packing the medical supplies has been more challenging than ever. Comrade, Kathleen McLoughlin, a physical therapist and fellow Clinica Amistad volunteer, is accompanying me this trip. We have trimmed our each of four unsightly suitcases to just under 50 pounds… a feather will tip the scale into the higher checked baggage range.
Ninety six tubes of triple antibiotic donated by my Mom!
The producer and director of the film, El Andalon, Consuelo Alba and John Speyer will be in attendance as will be Betsy McNair, owner of from My Mexico Tours and her friend Jane. And, to my extreme surprise, Don Sergio and his wife Elsa will be there! I once asked Sergio if he would be interested in coming to the US and he flat out said he cannot leave San Cristóbal. This has to be Don Sergio’s first vacation in decades, if ever.
The documentary about Don Sergio, El Andalon, will be showing at the Angela Peralta Theater in SMA October 25th, at 7pm. Tickets are $150 pesos (~10.30USD). On Wednesday, October 26th, Mary has arranged a reception exhibiting some unique textiles from his museum. This will be in Sala Quetzal at 7:15 pm and tickets are at the Biblioteca box office for $250 pesos. Profits go to Yok Chij, A. C. which supports Don Sergio's work. Don Sergio will be in attendance for both.
Jim and Carol from Tucson.
Since my last trip in May I’ve had the pleasure of meeting two wonderful people: Carol and Jim who love everything about Mexico. They have kindly shared their support for Don Sergio after seeing El Andalon, which was shown to them by their friends Janet and Barbara. Thanks to Betsy McNair, who corresponded with Janet, I sent them a copy of El Andalon and a circle of kindness has been created. Carol and Jim live close to us and Carol, a retired Spanish teacher, has given her time generously with Spanish lessons for me. I am spoiled with one-on-one classes in her Mexican style home. Thank you Janet, Barbara, Carol, Jim and please tell your neighbors thank you por el apoyo también (for the support).
Janet and her sister Barbara.
Our neighbors, Sue and Jerome always make it a point to come by and give a donation for Sergio days before my departure. !Muchisimas gracias!
Again, the success of this trip is in great part due to World Care, a non-profit organization that is basically a recycling center of much needed goods (medical, educational) for third world countries. The medical supplies we are taking have been carefully collected over the last six months. Not everything we need is available at one time so multiple trips have to be made. Lisa Hopper’s staff (referred to as the "Pats" – there being five Pats there, Bernadette, and the gang) have been incredibly helpful in putting aside items they know only we would need and holding them for me. Their supplies and support are invaluable for Sergio and his patients. They also provide supplies for Clinica Amistad. If you live in Tucson and want to donate locally, check out World Care!
This summer and fall I was able to see first world burn care given at its highest standards. I spent two days at The Maricopa Burn Center in Phoenix with the help of their outreach educational nurse, RN Suzanne. Their staff is very supportive in helping to educate providers that go abroad and that are abroad. This is Arizona’s only verified burn center and the quality of care they provide is outstanding. Depending on the extent of burn injuries, when these patients are all admitted a long-term relationship is established. All aspects of burn care are addressed: pain control, proper bandage changing, fluid control, social work, diet, physical therapy, occupational therapy, immediate and post burn surgeries (grafting, burn scar corrections, etc). This has put a light on the limitations Don Sergio faces daily due to lack of resources, however he provides the basics which is better than nothing.
There are two wound care centers in Tucson and both offer top-notch care for chronic wounds – the same type of wounds Sergio encounters daily (diabetic ulcers, venous stasis ulcer, injuries etc). Dr. Quick at St. Mary’s and Dr. Bolhack at NW Medical shared their knowledge and the importance of basic healing techniques of chronic and recalcitrant wounds regardless of pricey dressings. This training helped me to know better how to choose the items needed; hence I could order more items that will yield greater benefit to Sergio’s patients. Although in Chiapas we don’t have half of what we need, their shared skill is very helpful.
Gracias a mis padres (A thanks to my parents)
I always sense concern from my parents when traveling to Mexico. Both parents were born in the US and Spanish is their first language. They’ve heard all the unfortunate stories and problems in Mexico from their parents. As a young adult my father made a trip back to Mexico and experienced firsthand the truth of some of those stories. I wish they could see and experience the true beauty of Mexico and their people, in spite of the problems. Their concern is not without reason, but we are careful and safe, and their prayers and blessings are gratefully appreciated.