BY SISTER GAYLE DESARMIA
San Martin is a small town about eight kilometres from El Progreso. About 80 families live there. They are poor and very hardworking. Early every day they go to their fields to cultivate broccoli, onions, potatoes and other vegetables. It is cold when they start out and when they come back home their clothes are wet from working through the heat of the day.
In this small town there are three children with different medical syndromes. Their parents suffer because they do not know what to do. All the possibilities of medical attention are far away in Lima, the capital, and it is expensive and time-consuming to travel that distance.
Sister Sara Jiménez is negotiating for the doctors of the Health Center of El Progreso to go to San Martin to conduct a campaign for disease prevention and to give health advice. She has already had meetings at the Health Centre with the head doctor and a social worker about her concerns and her hopes for the people of San Martin.
This village did not have a church in which to gather for prayer and liturgy. The people had to travel by bus to the nearest church in Torre Blanca. The buses do not operate a full service in these outlying villages, so attending Mass could be difficult for these people. Through the Marillac Mission Fund, Sara has been able to construct a small chapel in the village.
Sara wrote this message last July:
“The Chapel is ready. It is very pretty and I am very happy. The people here are also content and have collaborated really well. The delay in the construction was only due to the fact that we needed to level the ground. On June 16, (the villagers) did a food sale to pay for the construction worker. They have built steps and they are making plans to paint them and to create a small garden. I support them and dream with them. The donation of the congregation has allowed them to pay for the major expenses. Now we only need chairs and tables.”