Wow, a whole month has past since I wrote last...it seems like just the other day!
Life here has been crazy this past month, I had two volunteers here for two weeks. They are friends of a friend of my sister, they are traveling South America and doing some volunteering in the process. They live in LA and have experience with organic gardening and working with kids. We did so much! We worked in the gardens and harvested tons of vegetables from the garden next to the house that is still under construction. We ate super well...since they are both vegetarians and both like to cook I got to eat three awesome meals every day...my body loved it! We worked with the kids, got acupuncture (a man who studied in China and works in Quito and the US was here in Pimampiro!), cooked for the old people, danced with the old people, and overall just had an amazing time! The elderly ask me most every day when they are coming back and when we are going to cook for them again...haha!
Since the elderly at their center where they eat lunch every day have a garden we are trying to incorporate more vegetables in their daily meal. They have a HUGE garden and arent using hardly anything in it! It is dying and going to waste. So, teaching the cook and the director (who is a licensed dietician) to use what they have to make healthier more nutritious meals every day. Simple changes, like adding kale or spinach to the soup rather than just having a broth...simple changes that the elderly will not be resistant to but that will increase their vitamin intake. Not an easy task, but little by little we will make a difference.
Im not sure if anyone remembers me mentioning a little girl who was in the daycare and is super small but this week has been an amazing week for this little girl. She is not only suffering from some genetic abnormality but also from neglect from her parents. She is 1 1/2 years old and weighs 5 pounds! Yes, you read that correctly she has the weight of a newborn but is 18 months old. The parents have been very resistant to any help even going as far as pulling her out of the daycare. Well, she returned to the daycare last week and I was determined to not let her suffer anymore. So...I began my search as to what I can do for her and who I can get involved to help me and where to begin with treatment for her. I first asked the teachers at the daycare, they told me that the dad doesnt want help and to be careful because he would yell at me. Well, I decided to first talk to the director of the clinic here and find out where to go from here and what would be my first steps. He told me that this is obvious abuse and I needed to go to the authorities and report the parents and have the child taken away from them and taken to have treatment. But, in my own conscious I couldnt do that without at least giving the parents some sort of chance first. So, my friend who is a lawyer and is basically the head of Childrens and Families for our province said that she would go with me. We went, talked to the parents and they agreed to work alongside me for their child!!! What an answer to prayer! No fighting, no begging or pleading...just a mutual agreement that this child needs help! Here is where the system is lacking, yes healthcare is “free” but if you look a certain way you get brushed aside. This child was born premature at 7 months, the mother gave birth to 5 children...all at 7 months, spontaneously. One died at 3 months from respiratory complications, the other 3 (minus Priscilla-the little girl I am helping) are all small but walking and talking and meeting their milestones. Here is where the problem lies, the parents say that all of their children were the same...obviously this is not the case.
Let me give you the diagnostics of this little girl: 18 months old, 5 lbs, low-set ears, nystagmus, small head circumference, poor muscle tone, no muscle tone in the lower extremities, chronic cough and congestion, weak reflexes, unable to sit or rollover, does not lift head when left on belly, poor sucking-cannot drink a bottle only eats from a spoon, poor hearing, and the worst part of all is that she has parents who are in denial of their childs situation. This mother is indifferent about everything, she is 27 years old and acts as if this child means nothing to her. She doesn’t hold her or play with her or interact with her at all. She leaves her laying on the bed, changes her when she is wet or poopy and otherwise leaves her there to fend for herself. If this child had some love and affection I believe that she would be in a different place, but she is fighting and she will overcome her circumstances...and I will help her.
Currently she is in the hospital!!! The parents agreed to go with me and have her evaluated which Im sure they are regretting at this point, but after fighting first with the clinic doctor (who had to give me a certificate to go to the ER) which said that this is not an emergency, then arriving at the hospital and them telling me that this is not an emergency...she is in the hospital! I did not want to lose the chance that I had to get her evaluated and put on a high calorie diet and to find out what is really wrong with her and where we go from here with treatment. After fighting my way to getting her admitted and meeting the doctors and nurses and explaining this situation that we are in, we finally got what we wanted. Not to the satisfaction of the mother, with no emotion the doctor told her that she probably has a genetic disorder or that the mom herself probably has/had an infection and this is why her child is this way. That this is absolutely NOT normal and that she has neglected her child. The last time this child was seen by a doctor was a year ago! I think that these parents are in denial or they just didnt want to hear the truth. But...little Priscilla has the right to live and to have medical treatment even if her parents are in denial. Tomorrow I will pay (only basic healthcare is free) for the genetic and infectious testing that she needs and hopefully we can come up with a plan of care that the parents will follow and that I will be sure is being implemented.
I would appreciate it greatly if you would keep little Miss Priscilla in your thoughts and prayers, and that her parents will remain open to my help. She has a long road ahead of her but nothing is impossible!
Something less important but still stressing me out....I need a job. I have exhausted all of my personal funds being here and am planning on being in the states for a little less than 3 months this summer, and as of right now there are no travel nurse positions anywhere on the east coast! So, if anyone can help Id be more than grateful! And as always I know that it will work out...and I am trying to be patient!
I will keep you updated on the little girl and as always thank you all of your love and support! Without each and every one of you I wouldnt be here...