Tuesday, June 13, 2006

La Senora Teodosia

I went to San Genaro with my girlfriend Sonia and her friend Lucia to visit a women´s cooperative that´s looking for help in locating a new place for their operations. Along the way we stopped to visit a woman I had met several years ago, who was the recipient of a house built by Sonia´s group of lay missionaries. Teodosia lives with her son Fermín near the top of the hill. Somehow they survive on her sales of popcorn and his work as a laborer, for which he is paid $30 per month. She can´t afford the $200 installation charge for an electric meter, so she has to buy her electricity from a neighbor for $8 per month -- a high price to pay for the single bare bulb that illuminates her living room.

On this afternoon she welcomed us and invited us to sit with her in her house, but she seemed distracted. Eventually she told us that her daughter, who lives in the mountains several hundred miles from Lima, was seriously ill. She had received a phone call from relatives a week ago saying that she should come right away, but it would cost $30 each way for the several dìfferent buses and taxis she would have to take to get there. She wanted to bring her daughter to Lima for treatment, because in the area where her daughter lives, the only medical care available is from the curanderos, who have a good knowledge of effective herbal treatments but a poor ability to diagnose many illnesses. Someone had offered her a loan of $15, but she had no way to repay it. We took up a collection among Sonia´s group and were able to give Teodosia enough money for her travels. I´ll check back in a week or so to find out how her daughter is doing.

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