Thank you Rachel and Tammy for taking a medical aid suitcase to El Salvador! Not Just Tourists aims to work with clinics and focus on their supply needs for future travellers!
“When we arrived in the beach town of El Tunco, just 20 minutes or so from the main city of Port La Libertad, we ask at our hostel about how to find the Clinica Economica La Libertad We learned that the Clinic Economica is actually a service-for-pay clinic, and the hostel suggested it might make more sense to make the donation to the regional free clinic. So we arranged for a driver to take us to the clinic and wait for us while we made the delivery. (We learned how to take the bus the next day—had we known, we could have taken the bus home from the clinic easily enough).
The clinic was quite large, and very busy. A young friend of our driver acted as our interpreter and helped connect us with one of the clinic staff. After some confusion and explanation, they were happy to accept the supplies and were quite touched by the gesture. However, supplies were not their primary concern. The doctor who came to meet us told us that there is malnutrition problem in the region, so formula and vitamins would be their greatest need. The clinic seemed to be focused on maternal health and paediatrics. In fact, there was a large poster on the wall advertising an infant nutrition program with Canadian government funding.
We couldn’t seem to get a proper name of the clinic—everyone just called it the public clinic. And, even though we told the staff person and the doctor to list their needs on the form, they just filled in the basic details and signed it. We gave them one of the forms because they wanted to be able to contact NJT—we explained that if they shared their needs, it could be added to the database for future travellers.
I’ve attached a few photos. The first two are of the form they completed, then there’s a shot of the clinic sign that we took from a bus the next day (trying to figure out what it was called). We also took a photo with the clinic staff person.
All in all, it was a good experience and an adventure—even thought it was a little awkward at the clinic, given our donation was unplanned and not very necessary. But, we enjoyed our trip with the driver and his friend, who was happy to practice his English, and everyone was very thankful for the effort.
Making a trip to this clinic would be easy for anyone visiting the region, as everyone knows where it is—right on the main road along the coast, which is Highway 2. The clinic is near the Rio Majahual, and Playa Majahual, so the highway seems to be called Calle Majahual (as per the form—even though she spelled it differently—I’ve been told Spanish speakers don’t fuss about spelling the way English speakers do).
As to why we did this—Tammy and I both travel a lot, for work and pleasure, and we’re quite conscious of what a privilege that is. We’d heard about NJT and thought it would be a good way to do at least something to contribute to the community we were going to visit. We also took some school supplies for a school in Guatemala through the Pack for a Purpose organization. Often when I travel it just isn’t feasible to do these things, so I was happy to be able to do both on this trip.
Please let us know if you have any more questions about La Libertad—I wish we could provide more concrete info about the location of the clinic. But the destination is just great—very beautiful and not overrun with tourists yet—mostly surfers. And the locals are really eager to build their tourism industry.”
– Rachel and Tammy