This is a story of a young man of 14 years and his sister. His Name Is Danny and his sister’s name is Lizbeth. I first met these two when Danny was eight and his sister was six. They were two of my first students in the small English school we had started in downtown Salasaka.
Now six years later Lizbeth is in the colegio (Jr. High school), and still comes for English lessons three times a week in our library. Last week, Lizbeth came for a lesson and when we had finished, she sheepishly brought out three tickets that she was supposed to sell by Friday. The tickets were for a concert that was being sponsored by her school. I did not want to buy the tickets as the last thing I wanted to do on Saturday night was to sit in the cold for a couple of hours listening to music that was way out of my comfort zone. She pleaded as 12 year olds can do and to sweeten the pot she said she would bring me the biggest bag of capolis that I could imagine. I bought the tickets and gave them to some volunteers who thought it was the great.
On Wednesday of this week Lizbeth stopped by the library, to tell me she was off to pick capolis. Ten minutes later she returned and told me her mother wanted me to see me. We walked the short distance to where I found her mother sitting on the ground, under a giant capoli tree with Danny laying in her arms. With a sad smile on her face, she told me that Danny was high in the capoli tree picking berries for her and me when the branch broke and he fell, (about 30 feet), and almost landed on the cow. If it had not been for the fact that the cultivated soil was soft, I am sure he would have been killed.
When I asked how long ago it had happened she told me about a half hour and was just waiting for Lizbeth to arrive. I told her we had to get him to a hospital quickly because he was shaking and she said she had no money…I left and found my neighbor who had a truck and in fifteen minutes Danny was in the emergency room at the hospital in Pelileo. I gave her $40 and told her when she needed more to let me know.
Today I saw his mother on the street and she told me he has a neck brace and had broken some bones close to his neck. The doctors told her that since he is only 14, he should heal rapidly. I asked her if she needed any help and she smiled and said no…I said how about the bills? She said he needed to set some more x-rays next week to be sure the bones are healing in place….I looked at her and told her not to worry. And she smiled. This story could have had a very different ending.
Danny is Fabiola’s nephew. All of the past volunteers who have been here, I am sure remember Fabiola.
Because of this experience, I have decided to start a small fund which can be used when a family has no money set aside for emergencies and will not get emergency help until it is sometimes too late. It is not uncommon for someone to die while the family is trying to get enough money together from friends to cover the cost of an emergency visit. If you would like to help with this fund, please feel free to push the button below.
Here is a picture of Lizbeth and Danny, taken in 2006. Lizbeth is on the left on top and Danny is on the bottom right.
UP-DATE: We now have $140 in the Fund. I have set the goal of $500 which we will use as needed.
I am thinking of various ways to make the fund self-sustainable. Since I believe that most people want, if at all possible, to take care of their own problems, I would like the fund to work like this: When money is needed, we will make it available at once, but would ask that it be repaid with cash, produce or something of like value when it was possible.
I am still working on the details.