On Wednesday we met at the rotisserie chicken shop with the Senior Citizens Group (Grupo de Adultos Mayores) to go on our full day outing to the nearby volcano. The group meets every Wednesday - last week was our risaterapia session, if you remember. So we rented a microbus (aka bus that is falling apart) and we all piled in for the 20 minute trip up the volcano to the park entrance. We were about 8 members of the group, me and EDF, Dr. M, the health educator, and the nurse.
The trip up the volcano was very dusty but when we got to the park we wre delighted! It was serene, woodsy, with a lovely little cafetin or cafe and a playground. The park is taken care of by an eco-cooperative that harvests the coffee plants on the premises and produces a small amount of organic coffee to be sold. They also take care of the park and send guides out with groups like ours. So once we were ready, we began the 30 minute or so hike up to the top of the volcano. Keep in mind this was a seniors group hike, so it wasn't exactly fast. Nonetheless, we had a great time, and we only were worried for about 5 mins re. one of the asthmatic group members. One of the men in the group carried a radio with him the whole time, so we were able to listen to cumbia music as we trekked up the volcano. At the top we ate watermelon, papaya, and oranges and we rested with a lovely view of San Salvador below. If it had been a little clearer we would have been able to see the ocean from that far up.
We descended back to the cafetin where we enjoyed a lunch of boca colorada (a local fish with a red mouth), salad, and rice. After lunch we had some of the organic local coffee and EDF and I have an informal talk to the group about the importance of community during natural disasters using Katrina as an example. I praised their community group created out of the clinic as a great model for groups in the US. Although a lot of times our sense of community is more polarized during disasters and crises, it would be great if our communities existed prior to such polarizing events. Groups like this one could easily be formed using the conext of a particular health issue (HTN, DM etc). Especially for senior citizens, these groups are incredibly important.