Word-Snapshots from a Missionary Clinic
In Southern Mexico's Indian Territory

A book by Jim Conrad, based on a visit made to Yerba Buena in 1988

Marie & Ray ComstockThese pages are dedicated to Marie and Ray Comstock who founded Yerba Buena in 1953

You can write to Anita,
Ray & Marie's daughter, here

(a donation for shipping appreciated)
Anita Franklin
2400 Limpy Creek Road
Grants Pass, OR 97527

Yerba Buena Clinic
Yerba Buena Clinic
  1. This Story Begins -- Bus ride from the tropical lowlands to Yerba Buena in the highlands
  2. "Anybody Home... ?" -- Ray Comstock buys the land for Yerba Buena
  3. "Our First Home" -- The Comstocks' first days and nights at Yerba Buena
  4. Waiting in The Garden -- The day's two first patients await the clinic's opening early in the morning
  5. One Day in the Life of Dr. Francisco Sánchez -- Following the clinic's doctor for one day
  6. "These Chamula Indians" -- A visitor describes life among the area's "Chamula Indians"
  7. Breakfast in the Casa Grande -- A pleasant mood reigns in the large dining hall where student nurses and I take our meals
  8. "Water System Update" -- Ray Comstock's Newsletter review of the water system situation
  9. "Medical Highlight" -- Dr. Butler describes a rough but typical day of doctoring during the 1960s
  10. Enrique's Jungle -- Ten-year-old Enrique describes the fun he has going to and from school each day
  11. "Sold" -- Ray Comstock's Newsletter story of a little girl who was sold twice
  12. Gregoria on the Sun Deck -- A young woman receives painful but lovingly offered massage therapy to her arthritic joints
  13. A Little Orange and Green Book's History of Chiapas -- Notes about Chiapas's history found in a small textbook used in history classes here
  14. "Parasites, Peritonitis, & Prayer" -- In the Newsletter Dr. Robert Bowes describes an experience with a young man arriving at the clinic almost dead
  15. Sun-God and Moon -- Antonio Díaz, a native speaker of Tzotzil, describes his family's praying to the Sun-God and Moon
  16. "The Story of Hades or the Case of the Witches" -- Pastor Bercián contributes a story to the Newsletter about a witch from a nearby village
  17. "Not a Penny Too Much!" -- In the Newsletter Marie Comstock describes a pivotal event during the days of collecting money for establishing Yerba Buena
  18. "A Look Inside the Clinic" -- Dr. Maurice Butler provides some word-snapshots for the Newsletter, describing interesting moments of his typical day
  19. Dr. Santos of El Bosque -- An eye-opening visit to a good-humored "Indian doctor"
  20. "Another Truck-Load of Equipment from California" -- In the Newsletter Ray Comstock reports on bringing equipment "up mountains and down mountains" from California
  21. Portrait of Gudulia, a Yerba Buena Graduate -- A nurse at Yerba Buena tells about her life
  22. "Comstock Family News: to Put Each of You Up To Date" -- Marie Comstock reports to Newsletter readers how her familiy is doing
  23. Nuevo Limar -- Description of several days of a tooth-pulling in an isolated Chol Indian village in the Chiapas lowlands
  24. Four Gringos and a Sore Toe -- Visitors from the US provide first-aid for the sore the writer got during the Nuevo Limar trip
  25. "Piña, Pineapple, Piña" -- Exerpt from the Newsletter describing crazy times with pineapples
  26. "Scalped" -- Dr. Butler writes in the Newsletter about an unforgetable  little Indian girl
  27. "Armed Men Invade Yerba Buena Property" -- Nela writes in the Newsletter about one of the first attempts to confiscate Yerba Buena's property
  28. Invaders Planting Beans -- Invaders plant crops in the nature reserve that used to be Yerba Buena's property
  29. Plants & Animals of Reserva Yerba Buena -- special plants and animals the reserve hopes to protect
  30. "Boiling Oil" -- Virginia Butler writes in the Newsletter about a poor woman's terrible experiences giving birth
  31. The Devil in These Hills -- Pastor Bercián consults with some men about what they think may be devilish possession of some young people's bodies
  32. Chichonal Erupts -- Pastor Bercián describes what it was like during the big eruption of Chichonal Volcano in March, 1982
  33. Dr. Sánchez Talks About Medicine -- The clinic's current doctor reflects on practicing medicine in such backcountry environments
  34. "Scalped (Update)" -- An update on the little girl spoken of in Entry #26 above.
  35. Wheat-Flour Meat -- Doña María teaches me how to make gluten -- Wheat-Flour Meat
  36. Hidalgo the Lacandon -- An interview with Hidalgo, a Lacandon Indian who visits from the lowlands
  37. Memories of Don Chús -- The worker who has been at Yerba Buena the longest recalls building the institution, step by step
  38. "Cats & Ghosts" -- Myrtle Neufeld writes a cat story and a ghost story for the Newsletter
  39. Portrait of María, A Student Nurse -- A student nurse's story of how she came to be at Yerba Buena
  40. Fomentations for Ray Hasse -- Step-by-step descriptions of a fomentation treatment giving to a visitor from the US with a bad cold
  41. Notes from the Student Nurses' Little Blue Book -- Some rules for the student nurses
  42. Talking with an Old Invader -- One "invader's" story of why he took possession of some of Yerba Buena's land
  43. "Details of the Accident" -- Tragic news about the Comstock's only son, Burton
  44. "'Scalped' (Sequel)" -- A Newsletter story about what happened to the little girl who was scalped
  45. Eddy Gober's Poem -- Poem by a visitor about life around Yerba Buena
  46. Dr. Sánchez Talks about His Life -- Riding in the back of a pickup truck, Dr. Sánchez tells more of his story
  47. The Elevator Story -- Ray Comstock tells one of his favorite stories about bringing Antonio & María Díaz to the US
  48. San Lorenzo -- A major tooth-pulling trip to an isolated village
    1. Thursday: The long, difficult hike through the mountains
    2. Friday: Taking a look around and setting up for work
    3. Saturday: On the Sabbath, visiting and meeting Dionisio
    4. Sunday: A long day and night of providing many kinds of service
    5. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: More long days, and returning to Yerba Buena
  49. Leaving Yerba Buena -- The author heads back north
  50. More pictures
    1. The Comstock Family at Yerba Buena in April, 1955
    2. The 1938 International truck with the family tent, in 1952
    3. The sawmill, January, 1956
    4. Burning limestone to make lime
    5. The first clinic, October, 1956
    6. Open-air clinic
    7. View of the garden area in 1982
    8. Dentistry in the free air & in the clinic
    9. Devasted landscape near Chichonal during eruption in 1982