Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I believe that I can speak for everyone who went on the trip to Rio Bravo that the marquee moment occurred in Candido Aguilar on Saturday. Around noon, we were informed that the Salazar family was going to provide lunch for the team at their house. We walked to their home, and enjoyed a wonderful meal together.

From Rio Bravo Medical Mission 2008-12-6

After lunch, Federico Salazar gathered the team together in a circle and told us the story of why they were providing lunch. Federico began sharing the story about his son, Juan. He had tears in his eyes as he paused every few sentences to let our interpreter repeat.

From Rio Bravo Medical Mission 2008-12-6

Several years ago, Juan fell ill, and could not get out of bed the next morning. For a year and half, he remained in his bed in his room, either in a coma or semi conscious state. Federico passed around two photos of his son that were taken while he was in this state. The pictures were heartbreaking, to say the least.

There is no local doctor or hospital, so the medical mission teams are the only healthcare available for the people. Several medical teams came to Candido Aguilar and checked on Juan, but nothing could be done with the limited resources available.

One of the teams went home and raised enough money to bring Juan to Texas and undergo a proper evaluation. He had a brain tumor, and a very risky surgery was the only hope for a cure. Enough money was raised for Juan to undergo the surgery. It was a success, and a near full recovery was made.

As the story was told, Juan began making eye contact with each member of the group, and slightly lowering his chin towards his chest, to show the scar that is still visible just above his hairline.

With tears, Federico told the team that they now insist on providing a meal to each medical team that visits as a way of showing appreciation. If you look closely at the picture of Federico and Juan, you can see the scar on Juan's head.


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