Just after her parent’s 25th wedding anniversary, Luisa (Rosa’s niece) was diagnosed with a form of Down syndrome. Days after that, Mayan Family’s Dr. Luis de Pena recommended physical therapy for the two year old. On our way to Fundabiem for her fifth weekly session Maria told me that her daughter seems to enjoy the training. But, the little one seemed barely able to endure five minutes of having her gnarly feet and legs massaged. She grew furious, tried wriggling away; started shrieking in frustration. Tears really rolled when she was set – belly down -over a large bolster. In fact, the poor kid had been howling purple for fifteen minutes when the therapist at last took a small towel and wiped sweat from her tiny face. Luisa had raged on majestically until the session’s end and when her workout was over she took the breast and nuzzled her head deep into her blanket.
Before we left, the therapist told Maria that that Luisa needs an appointment to have orthopedic shoes made. Otherwise the child’s feet will curl like ferns. This means Maria will need to travel two hours up to Xela for the fitting. The receptionist, then, reminded Maria that next Friday Luisa will see the neurologist in Solola for her first assessment.
In a country that has laws about treatment for the handicapped but scarce resources to fund its own programs these NGO’s are providing brilliant service. Children like Luisa often live their whole lives as shut-ins. But, Luisa is fortunate to have a large supportive family to keep her stimulated and well cared for. This is exceptionally good because it is beginning to look like Luisa will continue to require medical services and care. Luisa needs help with protein suppliments and other expenses, But that’s a budget.