Fr De Nardi brings forth his mission in the heart of Guatemala with strength, determination and great sensitivity to the social inequalities that have always characterized Guatemalan society. He is an old-style missionary: he runs the oratory, celebrates Mass in the parish and in the surrounding neighborhoods, helps those who knock on his door ... But he is also a young priest who is attentive to gender issues (he opened a Help Desk for women who are victims of domestic abuse in one of the most violent countries of Central and South America, for one...) and those of infancy (unfortunately in Guatemala the rate of child sexual abuse is very high).
The medical dispensary attached to the Salesian parish is one of the activities to which he is most attached. Because of the scarce availability of drinking water and of hygienic precariousness, diseases are widespread: tuberculosis, typhus, malaria, worms and diarrhea, skin diseases ... But also psychological problems (depression is widespread), respiratory diseases, sometimes fatal for children and the elderly, digestive problems, AIDS, genital infections, early and risky pregnancies, exanthematous diseases …
All these ills easily afflict women, and even more children, because they are the most vulnerable and also because there is the highest rate of chronic infantile malnutrition in Latin America: 49.3% of children under the age of five suffer from lack of food.
The medical dispensary fails to be economically independent because the drugs are distributed free to needy families. A tube of antiviral ointment, an anti-parasite pack, folic acid tablets - essential for preventing fetal malformations - are "luxuries" that too many people cannot afford in San Benito. For this reason, Fr De Nardi has asked for help from the Don Bosco Missions of Turin: the Salesian wants to continue to guarantee medicines and treatments to anyone in need.
For more information: www.missionidonbosco.org