Part II: A Day at San Lucas Rural Health Project

On Tuesday, I promised you a story of someone whose life was saved by the efforts of San Lucas Rural Health Project, a Cross Catholic-supported health outreach to rural mountain communities in Bolivia. Meet Sabina Ovideo, a 47-year-old woman whose life was threatened by a heart condition, but thanks to the efforts of the rural clinic she was saved!

A few years ago, Sabina was suffering from what seemed like mysterious symptoms: she had trouble breathing and walking, felt tired, and was vomiting. “I could barely walk. I would vomit up blood. I had no strength, I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t make any effort to do anything,” Sabina said.

She and her husband of 25 years, Roberto, are poor farmers with nine children. When I visited their house, I saw there was no way they could have afforded health care without help from the San Lucas Rural Health Project. The dirt floors, single bed, and lack of electricity and plumbing said it all—this woman would never have been able to see a doctor, let alone pay for a surgery or sophisticated treatment, without help from the Catholic clinic. As it is, they can barely even eat.

Sabina and her husband of 25 years, Roberto, are poor farmers with nine children.

Sabina and her husband of 25 years, Roberto, are poor farmers with nine children.

Sabina went to her local San Lucas Rural Health Project clinic in the village of Sapanani Alto, high in the mountains. The doctor at the clinic diagnosed the problem as an irregular heartbeat. With little time to spare, clinic staff took her to a hospital in Cochabamba, the nearest city about an hour away by car, and paid for her to have a pacemaker surgically implanted, something she and her husband never could have paid for on their own.

After the surgery, Sabina was able to walk and work without any problems—she was a new woman! Today she maintains her health with medications and regular check-ups at the clinic. Without the quality, affordable care from this Catholic clinic, Sabina probably would have kept on suffering at home, her poverty keeping her from the care she so desperately needed.

Roberto and Sabina both say they had great faith that God would carry them through the ordeal—and He did. “With God, you can go anywhere,” Sabina said with a smile.

Thank you to the generous Catholics who give through Cross Catholic so that the clinic has the resources to provide healing and a new life to women like Sabina!

-Stephanie J.