Twelve year old Maynor is one of four children in his family. Three years ago Maynor’s father, a teacher, was murdered, leaving the family heartbroken and in extreme poverty. Maynor’s mother had been a housewife but suddenly had to look for work to support her family. She began to clean the home of a wealthy woman and Maynor would often go along and help. His mother says that he is the type of child a mother can always count on.
One day, about a year ago, Maynor was helping his mother do laundry. They were up on the terrace, hanging clothes on the line to dry. The house was protected by electrical wire and, when Maynor threw a shirt over the line by mistake, 13,000 electrical volts jolted his entire body. When he woke up, his mother was crying because she thought he was dead. He also began to cry.
The wealthy woman of the house, instead of offering to help, fired Maynor’s mother and gave them the equivalent of $26 to fend for themselves.
Maynor’s mother was desperate. They rushed to a local hospital and his life was saved. However, there was no money for burn repair surgery and Maynor went home with both terrible burns and limited mobility due to skin contractures from flesh that had melted together.
Almost a year later, Maynor’s mother heard a radio announcement about a Partner for Surgery medical mission. Maynor and his mother made a long journey to be seen by one of the volunteer doctors. Shortly thereafter, Maynor received two separate surgeries that slowly released the fused flesh that contorted his body. The second surgery had the most dramatic effect because it released fused skin behind his knees, allowing Maynor to straighten his legs for the first time in a year.
Throughout the weeks at the surgical center, Maynor always had a smile for everyone and was more concerned about the wellbeing of the other children than himself.
Maynor continues to fight for a better life and not let the accident break him down. He hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a teacher. He said, “I think about my father a lot and miss him. I want to make my father proud.”
Darwin was born on June 26, 2014 in his village of Pamoca in the rural Guatemalan highlands. As is typical in this region of Guatemala, his birth was attended by a midwife, who immediately recognized his cleft lip and palate.
Darwin’s father, Fabian, and his mother, Maria, were very upset. Darwin’s oldest brother, Marvin, had also been born with cleft lip and palate. Then as now, they had very little money. Because Partner for Surgery did not yet exist to serve families like theirs, Marvin’s surgeries had not been completed until he was 13. As a baby, he had tremendous difficulty getting enough to eat. When the time came, he couldn’t speak normally. Additionally, to protect him from teasing, Fabian and Maria rarely let him leave the family home. Marvin’s life was difficult and lonely.
Darwin’s parents didn’t want Darwin to have to endure the difficulties Marvin had. But there was a glimmer of hope: in recent years they had heard about Partner for Surgery and hoped that Darwin could be helped while he was still young.
They learned of Gabriel, a Health Promoter who had helped others in their village. Gabriel visited their home, evaluated Darwin, and enrolled him in the Nutrition Program so he could receive robust nutrition and proper care in preparation for surgery.
After several months of nutrition supplements and monitoring by Gabriel, Darwin received his cleft lip surgery in October of 2014, and received his cleft palate surgery in January of 2014. Darwin will speak and eat normally, and will not be hidden away in the family home as his brother was.
Fabian and Maria see Partner for Surgery as a light that came into their lives, a blessing to their family. They are very grateful that Darwin will have a happy, healthy life.
Francisco had been blind for 20 years. He could not tend the crops in the family's fields, so he spent most of his time in the house. Whenever he ventured out of the house where he lived with his son, he was guided by his 6 year old grandson.
One day there was a festival in his village and everyone in his house had gone to be a part of it. He heard the music and the laughter and decided to go, but his grandson had already left. So, he set out to find it alone. He could not see and staggered about, finally falling into a tree and lying on the ground, weeping. Finally a neighbor found him and led him home.
A short while later, Partner for Surgery came to the clinic in Francisco’s village with a small surgical team to do cataract surgery. Francisco’s family had heard about the visiting team and his grandson led him to the clinic. He was told that he had a condition known as cataracts and asked if he would like to have an operation to have his sight restored right then and there. He said yes, that he would like to be able to once again tend his cardamom.
He had a surgery that took all of fifteen minutes and the next day, when the bandages came off and Francisco could see, everyone - including the doctors, the Partner for Surgery staff, and Francisco - cried. After twenty years of blindness – he could see. Such a simple procedure but one that was not available to Francisco until Partner for Surgery came to his village.
This is what we do. Bring joy back into lives of those who have lived with unnecessary hardship for so long. Thank you for supporting our work!