I am a gardener. My favorite thing to do is put seeds in the ground and return each morning after, and look for sprouts. I know they won’t be coming for 5-14 days, yet I still look, expectant and waiting. It is so satisfying when one of those mornings, I see a long row of baby sprouts breaking through the crust of the soil and reaching for the sun.

I am returning to the same Salvadoran people after seeing them last April. The anticipation leading up to the trip felt like those mornings of waiting for my seedlings to emerge. After a long week and end of our final clinic day today, I have seen those long awaited sprouts.

Our last day was our most remote. Some of the families walked 2-3 hours just to be seen. (This is common in many of the communities). We were shown unbelievable hospitality and kindness by their welcome. They fed us, led tours through their mountain and shared stories of themselves and their lives. I learned to make pupusas; I was horrible at it and gave the matriarch of the community a great laugh. It was hysterical!

I did have moments this past week of feeling very small. Can we do more for these communities? Can we do more for this mother of nine? She boils 50 pounds of corn, rinses it in the river, grinds it, and then makes and sells tortillas for lunch and dinner every day. She smiles and laughs with us, present in every moment. I am so humbled by her. I feel a longing to do more for her and remind myself that we are giving love, care, and enhancing hers and her children’s’ circumstance by bringing a wellness clinic to them. We are planting SEEDS. We have growth curves, medicine, education and vitamins to provide. It may be just one area of their lives, but it is a significant one.

At every clinic, mothers ask how their child’s growth is. Because we are returning to these families, we are able to give such reassurances. We also heard reports of improvements in their childrens’ health since and because of the care we gave 6 months ago. What beautiful SPROUTS!

I am in awe of seeds. They are so small and give nothing until you put them in rich soil. They will not thrive and grow unless you return to them, care for them, and water them. So we will continue to come, we will continue to water and fertilize the seeds we’ve planted. I cannot wait to return again and see how much bigger our sprouts have gotten.

Tracie Abrams, Pediatric Nurse, Lactation Consultant