Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala

by The GOD'S CHILD Project
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Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala
Rescue a Malnourished Child in Guatemala

Casa Jackson does so much more than just help children to recover from malnutrition. When a child come to us we have a responsibility to them and their general wellbeing, and we do what we can to take care of them.

One such child who is currently a patient in Casa Jackson is 5-year-old María*. María arrived at Casa Jackson on the 2nd of June along with her mother and younger sister. Both were severely malnourished, with María also showing signs of marasmus. So far, María has gained 4 lbs. 8 oz. or 15% of her initial weight.

María lives in San Juan Sacatepéquez with her mother, sister, grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Their house is made of cement blocks, wood and sheet metal. María, her mother and sister share a bed in the single room they have. It is filled with just a small wardrobe, with no other possessions. María’s father does not support the family, despite there being an order from the judge for him to do so.

During María’s time here we have tried to make her stay as enjoyable as possible. As she is currently our oldest Casa Jackson patient, we looked into ways to keep her occupied and interested. María has started attending our Clases de Reforzamiento in our Centro Soñador, working with our teachers to learn letters, numbers, colours and other useful skills to prepare her for next year when she will start at school.

Whilst her sister was able to go home after 1 month and 24 days, María’s needs are much more complex and she is still currently a patient, having been with us for 5 months and 12 days. After María was examined by our paediatricians we decided that it was necessary to do some further tests. We were able to diagnose María with Marfan Syndrome, something that affects between 1 in 5000 and 1 in 10,000 children. Marfan Syndrome affects connective tissue and those with the condition are generally taller and thinner. It can also cause complications and problems with vision and the cardiovascular system.

In María’s case, both her eyesight and her heart have complications that need intervention. Her eyesight is extremely poor and so we had to order and buy special glasses from Spain to match her prescription. María was delighted to receive her new glasses, having chosen the design and colour herself, and proudly shows them off to the new volunteers who arrive at Casa Jackson.

María’s heart also has complications. Our paediatricians are extremely worried that María could have an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection in the future, something that could be fatal. We have investigated the possibility of heart surgery for María to prevent this from happening. Normally, doctors wait until children are 8 years old to perform the surgery, but our paediatricians and consulting doctors have told us that María’s need is a lot more urgent. If you would like to donate to potentially help María receive heart surgery in the future, please click the link below.

María is almost ready to go home with her family, but we will not stop supporting her. Our Padrinos department has already made the hour-long drive to visit María’s family and discuss plans for next year where we would like to see María enrolled in school. We have also set the groundwork for future medical interventions for when María needs an operation on her heart.

The GOD’S CHILD Project has been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty through education, housing, nutrition and healthcare. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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April has been with us in Casa Jackson for almost 4 months now with her mother, Natalie. She arrived in March 2022 moderately malnourished and in need of our support.

April lives in San Felipe de Jesús, not far from Casa Jackson, with her mother, uncle, aunt and grandparents. Their house is made of cement blocks and sheet metal with a sheet metal roof. It consists of a bedroom and a kitchen and the family has two beds between them, meaning that Avril shares with her mother and aunt. The family has a small tabletop stove but often has to use firewood to cook when they run out of gas.

The first month at Casa Jackson was very difficult for April as she adjusted to a healthy and nutritional diet. In fact, it took almost the whole month for April to gain any weight at all as her body became accustomed to healthier food. Once she had adjusted, however, April started to gain weight a lot faster and has now gained 2 lbs. 14 oz. which is a further 17% of her initial weight. She is now at a normal weight for her age and size and is almost ready to go home.

We have been so happy to see the progress that April has made at Casa Jackson, not only in her weight gain but also developmentally. April is starting to talk and is learning how to play and interact with other children. April is also very caring and empathetic, and often comforts other children with a hug when they are crying.

One of the reasons that April is still staying at Casa Jackson for a bit longer is because of her mother. April’s mother was actually known to the Project before April arrived at Casa Jackson, as she was previously one of our students in our Scheel Center (now Vista Hermosa Center) School. April’s father is not a part of her life and does not support her in any way and her mother does not currently work or study and so April’s grandfather was the one who supported the family. April’s mother wants to change this, however, and is looking to leave the house she is living in and to find herself a job to support April and herself. We are looking into the possibility of offering Natalie a job at Casa Jackson, where she feels comfortable and happy, so that we can continue to support her and April moving forward.

The GOD’S CHILD Project has been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty through education, housing, nutrition and healthcare. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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This is 2-year-old Darlyn , who is currently our longest-serving baby-patient in Casa Jackson, having arrived over 6 months ago in September 2021.

Not much is known about Darlyn’s life before her arrival at Casa Jackson as her case is a PGN (Guatemalan Social Services) case. She arrived at Casa Jackson at 10 pm with hardly any prior notice and was not accompanied by any family member.

We have been able to find out some information of Darlyn through discussions with law enforcement who have been handling Darlyn’s case. We know that Darlyn was born in Quetzaltenango but was referred to us by the PGN in Escuintla. We also know that Darlyn’s mother is currently 17 years old and was 14 when she became pregnant with Darlyn. She is also known to have been in trouble with the law after Darlyn’s birth and has spent time in prison due to gang-related activities. Darlyn’s grandmother was taking care of her when she was removed by the PGN and was accused of mistreating her.

Darlyn is a very intelligent little girl. She is able to understand and communicate with the nurses and staff members. When she first arrived, she was reluctant to be in contact with anyone at all and was very upset for long periods of time. As she has recovered from her malnutrition, however, she has become much happier and more comfortable in Casa Jackson.

When she arrived at Casa Jackson, Darlyn had obvious signs of trauma from her previous life. She found it very difficult to be in contact with adults and did not like to be held. She also did not know how to play and interact with other children appropriately either. On one occasion she pretended to shoot a staff member, something that she had witnessed in her previous life.

Now, however, Darlyn is a completely different child. She is much more confident and happy, and has made great strides in her development. She has gained 2 lbs. 8 oz. or 16% of her initial weight, as well as growing 3 cm taller. She has also started to speak and can explain what she wants to our staff. Darlyn loves to dance and sing, and has become much better at playing with the other children. She has learnt to share and wait her turn as well. We are so proud of the progress that Darlyn has made, and can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

The GOD’S CHILD Project has been working for 30 years to break the chains of poverty through education, housing and healthcare. Please click the link below to donate to support us in our ongoing mission.

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Maria - April 2021
Maria - April 2021

In June 2021 we received the great news that María del Carmen, one of our baby-patients in Casa Jackson, was finally ready to go home. She had been in Casa Jackson for 3 months and 9 days and had gained 4 lbs. 15 oz. (2.2kg) which was 40% of her initial weight. The Casa Jackson staff and volunteers were delighted at the progress María had made and were extremely confident that María had turned a corner.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of October, we received some sad news. Just four months after leaving Casa Jackson, María was malnourished again. Not only that, but she was also suffering from a number of infections and rashes due to the conditions in which she was living. The lady who was supporting the family, Susan, was very worried and contacted us to see if María could come back to Casa Jackson along with her older sister, Estelita, who had also been a Casa Jackson baby-patient in 2018.

When María and her sister came to Casa Jackson for a check-up they arrived in bad shape. Both were extremely dirty and had a number of rashes, insect bites and an infection in their eyes. Before they could be weighed and measured, they both needed to have a bath to clean them up. They were also severely malnourished based on clinical signs, meaning that their weight to height ratio was acceptable but that they showed physical signs of malnutrition. They were both put on a special diet and given antibiotics so they could once again begin on the road to recovery.

In the month that the girls have been at Casa Jackson they have both gained weight. Estelita has gained 11 oz. (0.3kg) and María has gained 1 lb. 12 oz. (0.8kg). They are both looking much healthier and no longer showing signs of malnutrition. María is still taking antibiotics for her eyes, which are taking a little while to get better, but Estelita is much better now.

We want to make sure that this improvement is long lasting, however, as this is Estelita’s and María’s second time in Casa Jackson. Their older brother, Valerio, has also been a patient in Casa Jackson before. Our Padrinos department decided to make the hour-long trip to visit the family to see what the best way to support this family was. They discussed with Susan and the family and are now in the process of finding the family a new house which will not have a dirt floor and will give the girls somewhere dignified to stay. They also had discussions with a pastor in the local area who wanted to help the girls’ father to find a secure job to be able to provide for the family. We are hopeful that we can implement these changes before the girls leave so that they will no longer be at risk of returning to Casa Jackson for a third time.

Maria - November 2021
Maria - November 2021
Estelita - October 2021
Estelita - October 2021
Estelita - November 2021
Estelita - November 2021
Maria - October 2021
Maria - October 2021
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If you have visited Casa Jackson in the past year and a half or have interacted with our social media page, then you will have met our longest-serving patient in Casa Jackson, Angel.

Angel arrived at Casa Jackson in February 2020 after being referred by the PGN (Guatemalan Social Services). His mother had abandoned him as he was too much of a burden for her to look after. Angel was aged around 6 and was unable to walk or talk. Since then Angel has spent over 500 days in Casa Jackson and the progress he has made has been astounding.

When he arrived, the prognosis for Angel was not good. It was doubtful that he would ever be able to walk or talk. He was also unable to focus his eyes. However, after sessions with our staff and volunteers Angel is now not only able to walk completely independently but can also say a number of key phrases to let staff know of his needs. He is also able to communicate non-verbally through actions and symbols to get his point across. Angel eats and dresses himself independently as well.

On top of that Angel has also gained a significant amount of weight since arriving at Casa Jackson. At the most recent weigh-in Angel had gained 16 lbs. 3 oz. or 66% of his initial weight.

So why is Angel still at Casa Jackson? He is actually no longer malnourished and has not been since around April 2020 but has not been able to leave. This is because due to COVID-19 Angel seems to have fallen through the cracks of the Guatemalan Social Services. He was required to go to a children’s home but that home needs to be able to match his needs and provide him with further speech and physical therapy and, as of yet, that has not been possible.

This story may well have a happy ending, however. Angel has an upcoming hearing to attend with the goal of finding him an adoptive family to live with. It seems that there is already a family lined up to take Angel and we just have to wait and see if they are suitable. It is no less than Angel deserves, as he is a wonderful child who brightens up everyone in Casa Jackson’s days.

When the time comes for Angel to join his new family it will be hard to adjust. Many staff members and volunteers alike have become extremely fond of Angel and how he is part of the furniture at Casa Jackson. It will definitely be strange to walk into Casa Jackson and not hear Angel’s voice shouting ‘hola’ to you, pointing to the nurses to show who has arrived. Nevertheless, everything we do at Casa Jackson is for the benefit of our patients and the time has come for Angel to start a new life with a loving family. We can’t wait for Angel to finally get what he has always deserved.

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The GOD'S CHILD Project

Location: Bismarck, ND - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Brendan Dwyer
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$151,703 raised of $150,000 goal
 
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