University of Minnesota

“If It Isn’t Fun.” – A Letter from Cuba

It has been suggested (is that vague enough a reference?) that adulation and “playing God” are major motivations for missionaries; translated, of course, in Politically Correct, as “Satisfactions from doing the Lord’s Work.” Its seductive power is only hinted at, from my limited experience as a missionary, in the quote from this letter received on return from my summer mission to Cuba: “She asked me to thank you for saving her child’s hand. Truly, it is wonderful.”

Heady stuff!


Para Niños Pobres

Una Institucion de la Iglesia Metodista

Mayari, Oriente, Cuba

September 6, 1949

Dear Doctor Blackburn:

This is the first time I could tell you anything definite of the little girl with the burned hand. The mother brought her into the clinic Saturday to show us the hand. It is completely alright. The only evidence of the burn is a line on the back of the hand from the base of the little finqer to the wrist, a pink scar. They did not take her to Preston [Hospital] after all. Because they had promised to do so, they were embarrassed to return here. The mother said the child felt no pain and did not ever have a fever. She changed the bandage eight days later and the wound was not infected. She said it was almost all covered with new skin, “bien seca.” She said the fingers were a little drawn and she had to work at them for three days before she got them straightened out and flexible. She asked me to thank you for saving her child’s hand. Truly, it is wonderful.

Our typhoid epidemic is almost over. It never reached the proportions broadcast but we did have a lot of it. Our clinic staff injected 700 people in two communities where it was the worst, before the Sanidad got under way. We gave it all into the hands of the Army when they came in.

Fortunately for us, the “big doctors” were still here from Habana when three polio cases arrived. They still won’t report them as polio and won’t direct treatment for them. Cuban doctors are so afraid of publicity.

Our clinic provided 2,257 treatments in July and August and is still going strong. We all appreciate the lift [you gave] to Mr. Evans, and are exceedingly regretful you did not have a month to give to this clinic. We would be glad for you to come back to Cuba.

Very sincerely,

Hazel Stroud, Director

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