By Patricia Spross
Today we worked at the clinic in San Jacinto, about 45 minutes outside of San Salvador. The doctors saw about 45 women. Once again, I was given the opportunity to do interviews. Nearly half of the women I interviewed had experienced some form of sexual abuse. They never included those experiences when they gave the number of their sex partners. There were psychologists on hand to counsel these women.
The younger women had fewer children, and many used a form of birth control. In this way, they were more modern, and apparently better educated, than the women of Comasagua whom we met last week. Two of the older women were reluctant to sign their names at the bottom of the form. With some encouragement, they managed to print the letters of their first name, with the concentration and careful strokes of a first grader.
There were more children today, a number of them school age. They waited uncomplaining for long stretches. Each child had one small toy to keep them amused, and they played quietly without disturbing any of the adults.
We gave a cosmetic bag filled with sample size shampoos and lotions to the cook and cleaning lady of the hotel. We received effusive thanks. At a visit to the park, we were entertained by a lively soccer game of girls vs. boys. The girls played in their white school uniform dresses, barefoot except for their white socks. They were great players and highly competitive. At the park we also met a charming young couple who chatted with us, delighted for an opportunity to practice their English. The Salvadoreans are warm and welcoming. So far, there have been no signs of any of the violence of which we have heard.