WARNING: This post contains some strong images.
Yesterday, I posted the story of Marelyn Zuleimy Salazar Miguel, a 10-year-old girl who lives in a place called Nuevo Santo Domingo in the department of El Progresso. I won't retell that story, but I can add a few details.
When Marelyn was very young, she was taken to the hospital with severe pneumonia, very close to death. Apparently the doctors caused damage to one of her legs as they were looking for veins to insert IVs. I don't have all of the details on that. I do know that when she was six, her legs were crushed by a car. The surgeries and skin grafts that followed were basically botched. She was abandoned by her mother, and her father was killed by a stray bullet in "La Terminal" in Guatemala City when a gunfight broke out. That was in December 2013.
When we left Nuevo Santo Domingo yesterday, Marta Alicia (grandmother of Marelyn and her brother, Henrry) promised to enroll them in school this morning and to begin working on their papers. Enrique, Cecy, and I drove back to Guatemala City to look for some shoes and socks for Marelyn and some parts to repair her crutches. We did that. We also picked up some groceries for the family. We found a neat "Real Madrid" cap for Henrry and also got them some other items, including underwear.
Today, we went back to Nuevo Santo Domingo. Marta Alicia WAS able to get both children enrolled in the public school in the area. We were able to meet with the family and share some time together. In fact, they were waiting for us.
When we arrived, Marelyn was walking doubled over, using her legs and arms. Although this works for her, I think it will cause a lot of damage over time. It is already causing some massive callouses on her hand. Her crutches are in good shape now, so she can use those more, and we are going to get a walker out to her.
Marelyn liked her shoes and socks, and Henrry liked his cap!
Both Henrry and Marelyn had a list of things they need to be able to attend school: uniforms, notebooks, pencils, glue, scissors, and so forth. We went to the local tienda and found everything we needed, including a brand new backpack for each one.
It was so special to spend time with the family today. Their situation and story are very, very difficult, but in the middle of all of that is Marelyn's smile. Please keep this family in your prayers as we continue to explore whether there is anything we can do for Marelyn. For now, she is going to live her dream of going to school. The family sends their greetings to everyone who is part of this story!