(recent snapshot)

On a certain afternoon about twenty of us pile into the blue truck, mostly in the back, and head up the road five miles to the village of Bosques. At the town's Adventist temple we're going to present a program of preaching, the recitation of poems and singing. Most of Yerba Buena's adult population comes along, as well as some of the student nurses. Even Dr. Sánchez accompanies us, for he's a member of the choir. I'm surprised that in his busy life he finds room for such activities as this. Seeing how demanding Yerba Buena is on his life, and understanding how few material rewards life here has to offer, I become curious about how he views life. I ask him to tell me a little about himself. With a far-away look in his face, he smiles and, choosing his words very carefully, begins at the beginning:

"I was born in the state of Zacatecas on January 30, l934 -- I'm more than fifty-five years old. The name of my town was Río Grande. Now it has a population of about 50,000. But I grew up in the country outside of town, so from about six years of age I began doing farm work of a more or less vigorous nature. My father, it could be said, was a hard taskmaster. He worked hard himself and he inculcated into us his discipline. Moreover he taught us to love work, and he showed us how to do things. Though he wanted all of his children to go to school to become professionals, when I finished primary school at fourteen, for reasons that I don't know, I didn't continue my education. I stayed out of school for eleven years. Finally I finished my secondary instruction in Montemorelos, in the state of Nuevo Leon. Montemorelos is an institution operated by the Seventh Day Adventists. My mother was an Adventist. My father was just a sympathizer."

"Even when I arrived at Montemorelos I hadn't yet decided on what my vocation would be. My mother had told me, 'Study whatever you want, but please don't become a teacher. Nowadays teachers don't want to work. All they think about is politics and going on strike. Many of them sit around so much that they become alcoholics.' On the other hand, my father said, 'Study whatever you want, but don't become a lawyer. You'll never be a good lawyer, son, because you don't know how to steal from people.' Well, I was thinking about becoming an agronomist, a preacher, or possibly a doctor. Finally, in preparatory school, some friends urged me to become a doctor, so I began working for that."

"Three months before I finished my medical studies, I still hadn't found a place in which I could do my internship. Then one day Sr. Comstock visited us, looking for someone who would do his internship here at Yerba Buena. Well, I accepted his invitation. This was mid June, l969, when Dr. Mauricio Butler was here. He was a very capable, eminent North American doctor, and under him I did my ten-month internship."

"After my internship, I did my Social Service in a health center in El Bosque, and that lasted for one year and two months. Then I was for over a year and a half down below at Colegio Linda Vista. Finally I came here. At that time Dr. Clarence Attaberry, another North American doctor, was here and beside him I was able to have a good practice. For four years I learned a great deal, especially about surgery."

"In fact, for me Yerba Buena has been my second university. Also it's been my home. My children have grown up here. My family and I love this place. We've unconditionally dedicated ourselves completely to this work. And we hope to stay here until someone else is able to take the responsibilities upon themselves."

"However, the time has come when we must be thinking about leaving here, mostly in order to acquire a good education for my girls, who now are growing up. Wherever they go to study, my wife and I would like to accompany them. Maybe we'll even go to the United States... "

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