Laura arrived at Casa Jackson weighing exactly 15 pounds—impossibly tiny for a 3-year-old girl. Our staff struggled to help Laura. Due to growing up in a home where food was not regularly available, Laura was unaccustomed to eating and struggled against our staff. Over the next few months, Laura’s weight fluctuated. Several times, our medical staff had to place a tube through her nose to deliver formula directly into her stomach to prevent her from losing any more weight.
Some weeks, little Laura truly was fighting for her life. Despite visiting a number of specialists, it remained unclear why Laura was so plagued with medical and developmental issues. We continued to provide her with the medical care, nutrition and affection that are the cornerstones of our in-patient program. Although she continued to fall ill from time to time, as the year wore on, Laura grew heavier and healthier.
After spending an entire year at Casa Jackson, Laura is finally healthy enough to return home to her loving mother and very devoted father. Laura is incredibly weak from being malnourished for much of her life and cannot sit or stand without a great deal of support. Her recovery required took a full year of support and patience; her on-going recuperation will take far longer. Laura’s parents have been taught how to best care for their fragile young daughter—and with continued support from Casa Jackson—Laura will receive the medical attention she needs tocontinue the long process of healing.
As Laura´s family celebrates her homecoming this Christmas, we want to thank you for giving Laura the greatest gift of all: her health. Merry Christmas from the babies, families, volunteers and staff of Casa Jackson.
In Guatemala, Casa Jackson is known and respected for the care and support we provide to malnourished babies and their families. By providing high-quality medical care to the most severely affected infants and children and much-needed education regarding basic nutrition to their families, we offer permanent recovery to malnourished children.
One of our lesser-known roles in the community is to serve as a temporary ‘save haven’ and nurturing environment for infants and children abandoned by incredibly impoverished, desperate parents.
Santos David is a playful, loving 5-year-old who was recently given up by his overwhelmed, desperate parents. With 7 other siblings to care for, they felt unable to care for Santos David any longer. They brought him to a hospital and filled out the paperwork necessary to turn him over to the Guatemalan child protection agency (PGN).
Santos David arrived at Casa Jackson trembling, afraid to look at any of the nurses, volunteers or children around him. Tears streaming down Santos’s face as he spent his first evening at Casa Jackson rocking in the arms of a volunteer, whimpering from time to time that ‘Mommy left.’
Thanks to the steady stream of loving, playful volunteers each day and his new best friend (fellow CJ patient three-and-a-half-year-old Azucena), Santos David has spent more of his days smiling and giggling than crying. He has a wonderful sense of humor and an immense appetite! He loves playing futbol (soccer), coloring, singing songs and—as most 5-year-old boys do—being mischievous!
Santos David faces an uncertain future. Due to the halt in foreign adoptions in recent years, he may grow up in an orphanage unless a local foster family or adoptive Guatemalan family can be found. While his future is uncertain, by looking into his smiling eyes it is clear that his time at Casa Jackson is making an impossibly sad and difficult time a little easier for him.
You may not have been aware of our important temporary safe haven work for infants and young children, but your donations help support this important service we lovingly provide. Please, help us welcome more abandoned children into warm, nurturing, protective custody with your generous donation.
When Alberto arrived at Casa Jackson in late March 2011, 2 months shy of his second birthday, he weighed only 13 pounds. His stomach was riddled with parasites and the resulting diarrhea gave him a rash so severe that his bottom was cracked and bleeding. He had been malnourished for so long that he was not only too weak to walk; he had never had the energy to learn in the first place. He was not yet talking, and communicated his considerable distress through near-constant cries and shrieks.
Alberto was gravely ill and he made it to Casa Jackson just in time. Two years ago, Alberto’s 14-month-old brother was admitted to Casa Jackson in a similar state. Unfortunately, Alberto’s family sought treatment for his brother’s malnutrition too late. Little Denis passed away after only a few days in our care. Determined for history to not repeat itself, we immediately began giving Alberto the vital calories and nutrients he needed, as well as the affection and attention he craved.
His parasitic infections were treated and he began to heal. The process has been slow. Now December, Alberto is still in Casa Jackson, nearly a year after he arrived. With each passing day, Alberto grows healthier and stronger. At two-and-a-half-years-old, he can finally walk, dance, clap and sing along to his favorite silly songs. The sad, frail baby we met in March is gone, replaced by a vibrant, affectionate toddler who will soon go home to his family.
Casa Jackson exists to help infants, children and families recover from chronic malnutrition and reduce the chances of it coming back. While malnutrition can often be attributed to poverty and a lack of education, our children and their families are often affected by many serious issues that make it difficult to keep their children safe and healthy.
In Guatemala, violence against women is widespread. Sadly, each year, we treat a number of infants that were conceived through rape. These mothers try desperately to care for and nourish their children, despite the horror of their conception. Casa Jackson not only provides in-patient medical care for these infants and education for their mothers, but much-needed support, acceptance and often even a safe place for mothers to live while their children recover.
Alex is one of these beautiful babies with a very sad start. His mother was working for a wealthy man in a nearby city, making just enough to care for her young daughter and herself. Her boss forced himself on her. When she became pregnant, he fired her. After Alex was born, she struggled to care for him and his sister. When Alex was 5 months old, she fled the town she was born in with her children and found Casa Jackson.
After one month in Casa Jackson, Alex and his older sister gained weight and were growing properly. Alex was curious, happy and content and his older sister enjoyed playing with all of the babies at Casa Jackson- especially her little brother. Our social worker helped their mother find a kind, generous neighbor who offered to provide the family with food and a safe home in exchange for assistance with laundry and housekeeping. Alex and his family left Casa Jackson recently for this new home. Thanks to the generosity of our many supporters, Alex and his sister are finally free from hunger, and their mother is free from the exploitation and abuse that has marked the past few years of her life.
Casa Jackson has experienced a lot of success this year, thanks to your generous support. Our share of the hospital’s operating cost is covered for this year…and next year! This success translates directly into the number of children we are able to rehabilitate here in Guatemala, a country plagued by childhood malnutrition. Alison is one of these success stories.
When we first met 2-year-old Alison, she didn’t have that mischievous toddler spirit. She should have been running around her family’s tiny house in coastal Escuintla, Guatemala. She should have been quite the handful for her young, single mother, Elizabeth.
But Alison was slowly starving to death. Her mother, with no education or family, earned pennies a day…on a good day. Even when she could afford food, she didn’t know what babies were supposed to eat. When Elizabeth finally sought out help for Alison, she weighed barely 10 pounds.
Alison’s recovery in Casa Jackson was slow. She had to learn how to suck a bottle, how to swallow, how to chew. It took nearly six months for Alison to recover.
The story could end there, with Alison going home healthy. With hopes and prayers that she would continue to grow up strong. A success in the moment but a question mark in the future. But your support has ensured that babies like Alison will continue to receive rehabilitation in Casa Jackson and follow-up visits after they leave, that mothers like Elizabeth will continue to learn about childhood nutrition and parenting.
When we told Elizabeth that it was time for Alison to go home, she didn’t believe us at first. She pointed out all of the things that Alison still needed to learn to be a “normal” 2-year-old. She can’t walk. She still isn’t talking. She can drink from a bottle on her own but can’t feed herself with a spoon.
We promised Elizabeth that our support doesn’t end just because Alison is going home. We explained that this was the beginning of a beautiful partnership between her family and ours. And we vowed to help them succeed in every way that we can.
You are part of this promise we’ve made to Elizabeth. Your partnership allows us to make commitments to Elizabeth and countless other mothers and fathers who want a better life for their children.
One of the many ways we give children a better life is through better nutrition. With your help, we can offer nutrition-based programs in The GOD’S CHILD Project’s other Guatemalan sub-programs that guarantee that Guatemala’s next generation is growing up strong and healthy.
We feed 400 students at our schools three healthy, well-balanced meals every day. We distribute hundreds of pounds of fresh produce and dry goods to our Mothers’ Club every Friday, promising that their children will have plenty of healthy food over the weekend. We teach parents about childhood growth and proper nutrition. Our dentist and doctor see hundreds of patients every month, curing the illnesses and infection that prevent proper growth and development.
In short, your donation to Casa Jackson has helped babies like Alison in a very real way. You have given them a fresh, healthy start at life. But you have also given them the promise that they will continue to grow up strong and smart and healthy for years and years to come. Thank you for the support that you have already given us. We hope that you continue to choose us in the future.
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