Rosa is 11 years old but she’s never been to school. Her father, Carlos, is a former drunk who accepted Christ and has turned his life over to following Christ as he works odd jobs to provide for his family of 7 children. Carlos and his wife, Juana, have another baby on the way.
Besides the difficulties of paying for school fees for their seven children, Carlos and Juana face other obstacles when it comes to sending Rosa to school.
Rosa hasn’t gone to school because her left foot is turned almost backward. Walking is difficult for her and children can be cruel. After her parents saw how, even at church, children made fun of Rosa, they decided not to risk sending her to school to face worse.
So, for now, Rosa helps with her siblings and around the house as much as she can. Since she’s never been to school, she only speaks K’iché, the Mayan language spoken in their home. She doesn’t speak Spanish–the language used for most business transactions and activities in town because most Mayan kids first learn to speak Spanish while in school.
We first met Rosa after we heard about her from her older sister.
One evening we went to Juana and Carlos’ home to visit the family and see if we could help with Rosa’s situation. Their clean but sparsely furnished home once belonged to them, but was sold by Rosa’s dad during his drinking days. Now, the uncle who bought the property loans it back to them so they have a place to live. The adobe mud brick walls of their kitchen are undecorated and their stove top looks more like an outdoor griddle you’d see in a park in the United States than something for a home.
The family told us that they had gone to a public health clinic when Rosa was a baby to see what could be done for her foot, but once they found out about the cost of corrective surgery, they dropped the matter because there just was not enough money to go around. Much less enough to pay for a surgery.
That night we prayed over Rosa, and both Chrisi and I left that home knowing that somehow we would be part of answering that prayer.
Through connections at the Father’s Heart Clinic at ASELSI, we were able to get an appointment set up for young Rosa. The earliest appointment we could get with an orthopedic doctor was more than two months after our first meeting with Rosa, but that little appointment card represented a piece of hope for a little girl who wants to run, play, learn and grow like a normal child.
During those two months, the excitement grew for this little girl who is eager to walk normally and be able to attend school. Despite pain that causes her to call out during the night, Rosa had renewed hope that something could be done for her awkward foot.
Just two days ago, we saw Rosa at the medical clinic. Rosa and her mom had arrived at the clinic gate at about 6:30 a.m. to stand in line to see the doctor. At about 8 a.m. the gates opened and they made their way into a waiting room crammed with others waiting to see the doctors. That’s where Rosa was waiting when we saw her.
She has an infectious smile that makes you feel like a million bucks when you see the joy in this little girl’s face. When we came up to greet Rosa and her mom, little Rosa lit up the room with her smile and gave us big hugs.
To pass the time as they waited in the clinic, Juana worked on a needlework handicraft that will later earn her about US$3.40 for about 8 hours of work. After nearly six and a half hours of waiting, Rosa finally got to show her twisted foot to the doctor.
It was a short meeting, but one that got her one more step toward the foot she’s always wanted.
The doctor said correction of her foot would have been much easier when she was first born, but there is hope for corrective procedures on her foot if we act soon.
Since the sort of surgery involved in this situation is for a child, ASELSI requires for both parents to be in on the approval process. Too often fathers will not approve a planned surgery. So, after a brief explanation, Juana and Rosa were invited to come back next week with Carlos to discuss the process that she would go through for the correction.
While Rosa is excited about the prospect of having a normal foot, this is but one step forward in a process that could take months to get family approval, further examinations, surgery and rehabilitation therapy.
We’ve committed to help with this process and we’re hoping to team up with other outreaches that provide this sort of surgery. Thanks to the team at The Father’s Heart Clinic, we can see a growing light of hope for Rosa.
It is exciting to see how helping with Rosa’s situation is another way of showing a struggling family that Christ has not forgotten them and that despite the newness of their faith, God is working good out of their situations.
Please pray for the details to all come together for Rosa and for every financial need to be provided for this family. Pray for healing for Rosa’s foot and that her family and even her neighbors will see that the source of the help they are getting is not us, but Christ.
UPDATE: Rosa had two surgeries on her foot in 2012 and is healing up nicely. She will be meeting with a physical therapist in October, 2012 to see about exercises to get the maximum use of her foot!
If you would like to help with Rosa specifically and other children in similar situations, consider giving a tax-deductible gift through the link below.