Maria’s Strength Unleashed

El Salvador – Maria wiped the sweat from her brow and stood up from the cooking fire. Her chest felt tight and all this smoke from the open fire was making it hard to breathe. The heat and humidity that came with living on the coast of El Salvador certainly wasn’t helping. She forced a smile to her children, who were playing on the dirt floor of their home; she tried to quiet the sound of her wheezing so they wouldn’t worry.

It had been several months now since Maria noticed she couldn’t quite get a deep breath. She probably should have gone to see a doctor, but who had time or money for that? Every spare moment she had was spent cooking over that fire to earn a living for herself and her children. With no husband in the picture, Maria had no choice but to put her head down and keep working hard. Her children depended on her.

But the smoke from that cooking fire was taking its toll. At this point, Maria struggled to breathe, the hacking cough and wheezing too strong to stifle any longer. She knew she had to do something, or she wouldn’t be physically able to keep working.

Fortunately, Maria came across a medical mission team who was seeing patients for free at a nearby health clinic. The doctors there diagnosed her with asthma, which they said was aggravated by the wood smoke from her cooking fire.

Since simply giving up cooking wasn’t an option, the mission team did their best to equip Maria to manage her condition. They gave her an albuterol inhaler and other medicines from MAP that would help control her asthma and mitigate her symptoms.

“It was humbling to be able to at least temporarily meet the needs of this strong woman, a survivalist, who is navigating motherhood and financially supporting her children alone,” said Taera Felkins, a volunteer physician assistant on the team.

“We are blessed to be able to offer such needed medications to the community and would not be able to do this without the ongoing help of MAP International. As always, thank you so much.”

Women like Maria don’t need MAP in order to make them strong; they are already resilient, hardworking people. But sometimes, even the strongest of us all needs a little help. For Maria, MAP medicine made the difference between surviving her life and thriving in it. Now, Maria is well enough to continue providing for her children, without fear of the next asthma attack.


Inspired by this story?

Join the Movement of Healing and Hope

Your gift today can change lives and transform communities worldwide.