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Maternity Hospital of San Salvador

"Margaret’s Room of Laughter"
This project is in honor of Nancy Ballard’s dear friend, Margaret Shaw, that had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. She truly was full of laughter and joy – which we brought into the clinic with our hope and care. She has since passed and her memory lives on in the hearts of many in the USA and San Salvador.

Project Info

Client Maternity Hospital, San Salvador | San Salvador, El Salvador | August 2012
Project Specs Rooms: 13 | Beds/Chairs: 35 | Patient Visits: 72,800

Project Description

When Nancy was in San Salvador in March 2012, she met the entire board of the Cancer Institute, including Dr. Maurico Maza as they worked side by side. He is employed by Basic Health International, a nonprofit that works diligently in third world countries to eradicate cervical cancer. In a country such as El Salvador, many women can be spared from this number one killer by a simple test. However the culture often forbids woman to be checked.

Dr. Maza took me on a “tour” of the Maternity Hospital, which had been condemned after a major earthquake and reopened when it was needed regardless of safety. The floors were buckled; it was dark and dreary; they are not able to provide toilet paper, soap or towels to patients. No men were allowed.

Just one look and Nancy was hooked as Dr. Maza hoped she would be.

Just four months later, four volunteer/representatives, traveled once again to San Salvador at the invitation of Dr. Mauricio Maza, to transform the chemotherapy unit at Maternity Hospital in San Salvador.

With the grateful assistance of Basic Health International, 30+ local volunteers, including our new friends from the Cancer Institute, and community donations, we were able to paint, stencil and totally transform the entire chemotherapy center in just two days. This center has an impact on over 1500 patient visits a year and we are delighted that we have made a difference for the woman in need of these services.

Much of the initial work was done before our arrival, all donated by local vendors and without fanfare or acknowledgement. These local vendors contributed tremendously to the success of our project by creating a healing, transformational and beautiful environment at the Maternity Hospital. As a result, they now feature fabulous new windows, amazing, colorful, clean and bright bathrooms, new flooring, and much-appreciated, almost unheard of, air conditioning and wall adorned with fresh paint, art, and stencils. New chemotherapy chairs were also donated. These gifts most certainly helped transform and rejuvenate the spaces. Knowing that all these items were donated to help soothe the difficulties women must endure while battling cancer is an extra gift for which we are all grateful.

Because so many volunteers from the community came together, these women are now able to be in a clean, peaceful environment, knowing that in any language, complete strangers care about the condition they are in even if they don’t know them.

Volunteers that helped make this happen: Kimball Star, Designer, Project Manager, Taylor Watts, Mario Ballard, Regina Cabrero, Dr. Mauricio Maza, Basic Health Internationa Team consisting of Lauren Ditzian, Mariam Cremer, Wendy Liberante, Elizabeth & Katerine Conlisk, David & Naomi Einhorn, Dra. Dalia Saravia, Dra. Karla Alfaro. Stencils by Cutting Edge Stencils.