Several hours south of Ensenada, away from the overflowing sewage systems and the shadow of drug lords, lies the peaceful ocean-side town of Ejido Erindira. A farming community, residents enjoy the bounties of both the land and sea, though tuna farming in Ensenada has impacted local fisheries, as baitfish are indiscriminately harvested for tuna feed.
Erindira has a population of around 2000 people, and previously lacked adequate medical facilities to treat the locals. People needing treatment had to make the over 2 hour trip to Ensenada. This all changed several years ago when the Palomar chapter of the Flying Samaritans opened a medical clinic to service the local community.
We were invited to join the Flying Samaritans for the inaugural opening of a dental clinic, the second part of a comprehensive health plan for the town. The clinic is the result of many years of hard work, and lots of donated dental equipment.
Our team was led by Verena Schandera, a medical student at UC San Diego, her parents Oswin and Kristina, and Ethan Fox, a practicing dentist. Verena’s fellow medical student and friend Tyler Morrison invited SWoBs Founding director Loren Luyendyk and practicing Chinese Medical Doctor Brian Falk to join them.
Saturday morning we dawn patrolled the clinic. People were already lined up to receive free dental care, and we proceeded to admit them. We processed 50 patients, but needless to say that was far too many for Ethan to treat in one day. Obviously dental care is a real need for this community.
While Ethan drilled and pulled teeth, Brian performed the less invasive work of treating people with acupuncture. The locals were very receptive to this kind of therapy, and found the results promising.
The night after the big day we were treated to a meal of local authentic Baja Fish Tacos. Local clinic volunteers Alonso and Linda prepared a meal fit for kings and queens, or doctors and dentists in this case…
We had the pleasure of staying at a super-chilo hostel by the sea called Coyote Cal’s. Overlooking the bay and the coast to the south, the hostel boasts super luxurious accommodations and awesome outdoor spaces.
Following the clinic day, we had a chance to explore the coastline north of Erindira. Miles of rugged cliffs punctuated by isolated and empty coves tempted us to jump in the sea. We found a promising little break and had a few waves to ourselves before our journey back home.
One house had some swales to catch water. They had mangoes, guavas, bananas, olives, figs, and nopales.
A California company leases the community land for vegetable farming, and according to anecdotal reports, they are happy to share the crops with locals as long as they don’t strip the fields. Though we also heard that they pay low wages and do not offer health care, hence the clinics.
We are planning a rainwater harvesting installation at the clinic, coupled with a rain garden filled with edible plants. We hope to stimulate the idea of rainwater harvesting and home-scale food production with a simple system composed of parts that are inexpensive and readily available in the town.
Our next trip is on the 16th and 17th of December 2011. Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like to join us on another journey for Surf and Service!