Mar 18, 2021

Damarys

Damarys is 11 years old and lives in Antigua Guatemala with her mother, brother, grandparents and uncle.

Her house is made of cement blocks and sheet metal with a cement floor. The rent is Q700 ($93) a month and is paid by Damarys’s grandfather. Damarys’s parents separated around a year and a half ago. Currently, her father has very little communication with her and her brother and is not helping the family financially.

 

Damarys’s mother has two jobs. She works as a house cleaner and in a shop. She receives Q1100 ($146) a month and uses this to buy food for the family and to pay for Damarys’s medicine.

 

Damarys began to lose weight around a year ago because she was only eating sweets and drinking fizzy drinks. In November 2020 she was taken to Antigua National Hospital and was found to have serious problems with her lungs, kidneys, and liver, as well as being severely malnourished. The doctor indicated that he needed to do a number of further examinations and organised them for the end of November. Damarys’s mother did not take her to them, however, having heard of a large number of COVID cases in the hospital and cancelling out of fear.

 

Some members of a church wanted to help Damarys and paid for her to have an examination at a private clinic and the family was told that there would be no major future complications if Damarys began to have a healthy diet and took some vitamin supplements. The doctor advised that the family should take Damarys to the Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City for further checkups but Damarys’s mother did not have the money to pay for transport.

 

In February 2021 Damarys’s mother approached La Asociación Nuestros Ahijados to ask us to help her daughter. She visited our clinics and was referred to Casa Jackson by our doctor John Dwyer. At the time her weight was 48 lbs (21.8 kg) and her height was 132 cm.

 

Damarys is currently being treated at Casa Jackson and is also having a number of examinations to check on her organs. She has a special diet and supplements to help her weight gain. Damarys’s mother is very grateful to Casa Jackson for giving her hope that her daughter can recuperate and have a chance at a normal life. She will also be able to continue her studies and reach her goals. In the month that Damarys has been in Casa Jackson with us she has gained 2 lbs (0.9 kg) and is feeling much better. We are looking forward to seeing her continue to grow and improve both physically and mentally in the future.

Feb 17, 2021

Forging Her Own Path

The last time we wrote about Sandra, she was recuperating with us in our Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children from a life of neglect and modern-day slavery. She came to us just under a year ago, referred by Guatemala Social Services. She was scared, timid, and without a shred of confidence, scarred by horrible mistreatment. Though 18 years old, she had the height, weight, and appearance of a little girl due to chronic malnutrition and neglect.

The daughter of a father who passed away too soon and an alcoholic mother not fit to take care of her, Sandra was sent to live with a family who the mother trusted. This family treated Sandra like a servant, expecting her to clean and take care of the house without including her in meals. Most of the time, Sandra would not be given anything to eat at all until late at night, and even when she was, it was nothing more than a couple of tortillas. Sandra was also the victim of physical abuse, sometimes being hit when she asked for food. Even when she wanted to leave to go search for her own food, the family did not let her leave.

One day a few weeks back, two of Sandra’s relatives knocked on our doors inquiring about her well-being. She had been with us for just about a year, yet this was the first time since Sandra entered Casa Jackson that anyone came looking for her. We found this to be strange, so we verified the identity of the relatives and then asked them what is was they wanted. They arrived hoping to take Sandra back to live with them. So, then we brought Sandra over to meet them. Her eyes moved in many directions upon seeing them, bringing back a flood of painful memories. After that, we spoke with Sandra in private and asked if she wanted to live with them or go her own way now that she was an adult. She told us that she never wanted to go back to that place.

From that point on, we worked with PGN and found a suitable foster parent for Sandra. We have been in communication with her foster family and they intend to enroll Sandra in school so she can catch up to her peers educationally. Sandra is also receiving firefighter training, as her foster guardian is one in Antigua. She is learning quickly and enjoying the training very much.

In a short time, Sandra has undergone tremendous changes; not only physically but emotionally as well. Her self-confidence has grown by leaps and bounds once she finally started to receive the love and care a young girl deserves. We are forever grateful that she found her way to us and did not end up in the streets in a very vulnerable situation. Her future looks bright, and she is forging her own path to get there.

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Feb 13, 2021

Education When the Odds Are Against You

Jímena García and her older siblings Diana and Marcelo have been students of our Dreamer Center School for a number of years now. Last year Jímena was in second grade, her sister Diana in third grade and her brother in fourth grade. Jímena’s oldest brother, Ludwin, was also a student of our Dreamer Center School before moving up to the Scheel Center. The children’s mother is well-known at the school as well, having spent time working in the kitchen to help feed all the hungry schoolchildren.

 

The past year was extremely difficult for the García family, not only due to the pandemic which has damaged the lives of so many, but also for a number of tragedies that befell the family. However, the children never stopped working hard for their education, knowing that it is the only route they have to a better future.

 

In mid 2020 Jímena and her family were informed that they would be made homeless after they were told to leave the house and land that they had occupied for a number of years. This came as a complete shock to the family, as they had been model occupants. Jímena’s father immediately began to look for somewhere new to live, asking the local municipality for assistance to find a piece of land to build a new house on. The GOD'S Child Project also supported the family, providing them with food, clothes, and toys as well as their education whilst the family were searching.

 

Thankfully, the family were able to find a piece of land not too far away from their home and began building with the materials from their previous home. They were struck, however, by another tragedy when Jímena’s uncle was hospitalised after being robbed and attacked in the street. Once again the family’s life was put on hold as they nursed their uncle back to health.

 

Throughout all this time the children continued to work hard with their schoolwork, collecting the workbooks from the school and completing them to their usual high standard. Even when the world seemed to be pushing against them they persevered and ensured that they never missed a step with their education. The Project's social workers kept checking in on the family to make sure they were managing well. All the children successfully passed their classes and were able to move on to the next grade in 2021.

 

This year the family are in a much better situation. Our Dreamer and Scheel Center Schools are closed in 2021 due to the pandemic but The GOD’S CHILD Project is providing scholarships for every child who studied with us in 2020 so that they can continue to receive an education. The children are in their new schools and continuing to make good progress. We are continuing to support the whole family to make sure they are well, learning and happy.

 
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