A few years ago, Jamie’s family met Jose, an old Catholic man who hikes the mountains giving aid to the poor, elderly, and anyone in need. Through him, they were introduced to Dayana, a now fifteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who lives in a poor quarter of Valle de Angeles. Dayana was crawling on the ground when they first met her, so Jamie’s family tried to get her a surgery. A long story short, Jamie’s Dad happened to get a ride from Tegucigalpa with a physical therapist who introduced him to a beneficent local doctor who performed the operation on her legs completely for free. Afterwards, Jamie’s family brought the Catholic and Evangelical congregations together, who usually do not communicate with each other, for a celebration of Dayana’s advancement.
All her life, Dayana said she had dreamed of having the ability to walk. After her surgery, two physical therapists, a boyfriend and girlfriend, walked to her house twice a week to help her recover and teach her to walk. She now uses a walker to move, but she can take steps on her own as well. She can also write, though her fingers are crooked and the process is difficult and time-consuming. Her drawings are excellent, though, and she draws landscapes from memory without having to look at anything.
Before Dayana’s surgery, her mother used to carry her to school every day. The mother is wonderful to all her children and was very grateful for the help Jamie gave. When we brought food for her family, she offered to cook. I noticed that she wore the same shirt both days we visited, which was probably her best one. Their house only has one door, curtains to separate “rooms,” and open rectangular holes with no glass or shades for windows.
Dayana’s family not only views education seriously, but also takes great pride in their educational accomplishments. Above the family’s bed are her diplomas and pictures from school. I was astonished at how intelligent and mature Dayana is. She saw my notebook with English-Spanish translations and expressed interest in learning, so we went over a few English phrases, some of which she already knew. We communicated well, and she looked up words in a dictionary when we couldn’t understand each other.
On the first day we visited, Jamie brought personalized baggies of school supplies for Dayana, her sister, and her two brothers. Jamie says that erasers and pencil sharpeners are like gold in Honduras.
Their stove consists of what I assume is a metal surface, a stove pipe, and tiles with cement packed around a hole for firewood. Jamie and Lilly noticed there was no food on their stove for dinner the first day, so Jamie decided we would return the next day with food.
We went to a local store to buy the family rice, beans, eggs, flour, cheese, bread, milk, corn flour, nenteca (shortening), butter, soup, spaghetti, tomato sauce, sardines, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, paper towels, and dish detergent.
The family was very grateful for the food and supplies. We learned that the father is very sick and has not been able to provide for the family lately. While Jamie talked with the family, the sister gave me a little tour of their property. There are many fruit trees on their slope (papaya, banana, orange, and some unidentifiable ones), so thankfully the family can be somewhat self-sustaining while the fruit is in season.