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Posted By: Alyson Landry on September 8, 2011

Labels: , Volunteers

Earlier this summer, 21 Project HOPE volunteers provided medical care and health education in El Salvador.  Read their stories. 

A wave of relief came as the USNS Comfort docked in Acajutla, El Salvador after three days of swaying at sea. El Salvador was the first pier-side port since Ecuador, so mobilization to the sites is as easy as walking off the ship and waiting for a bus. 

HOPE volunteer, Christy Manso was one of the first volunteers to get out to a medical site in El Salvador.  “It was pretty organized site and we had a nice space to work in,” she says of the canvas-covered amphitheater she worked in all day. 

El Salvador’s Ministry of Health set up a health fair in front of the site which included HIV education tables and an art station for the kids, according to Manso who was pleasantly surprised. 

The Continuing Promise 2011 medical team screened 118 people and booked 63 patients for surgery and treated 582 patients on the first day at the site. The ship actually has the capacity to serve 93 cases for surgery during the week the team is in El Salvador. 

While some of the medical professionals were busy with the first day of screenings, the U.S. Fleet Forces Band belted out National Anthems for each country and young vocational school nurses in El Salvador waived small flags to greet the distinguished guests on the pier during the opening ceremonies. The mayor of Acajutla, Isabel Aleman, and the U.S. Ambassador, Mari Carmen Aponte were among the guests and crowd of about 75 people who attended the festivities.

“It’s about people helping people,” says Commodore Brian Nickerson at the opening ceremony on the pier. 

Thirteen new HOPE volunteers arrived on the ship with smiles and excitement. Soon they too will be in the thick treating patients at the medical sites and on board the ship.

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