As with many individuals living in the forests, deserts or jungles where our distribution partners work, there are thousands of stories of individuals that go unheard. Their stories deserve to be heard and we are thankful we can share a story this week from our partner, Children International, in Guatemala:
In a small community located in the mountains of Tecpan, in the western part of Guatemala living beneath an ancient eucalyptus forest lives Joaquín Gonzalez and his sister Francisca, 10 and 11 years old, respectively. They suffer from a congenital malformation that prevents them from walking, communicating, and fending for themselves. Their mother cares for her children while their father works for long periods of time in faraway farms, following the crop seasons. Joaquín, who has more strength than his sister, has always had a dream to be able to walk. He crawled in the dirt, and he held on to anything trying to take some steps; and when he fell down, he got up smiling and tried all over again. His scraped hands and his dirty, worn clothes were evidence of his many attempts. Joaquín just wanted to be able to move and to explore his little world, the tiny backyard of his home located on a steep slope.
Thinking their lives would always be lived on the ground, it was with great joy when the family found out that each child would be receiving a wheelchair. Mrs. Olga, the children’s mother told us, “We are very happy because it is difficult to live like this [having two children with disabilities]. A person, who does not live in this situation can’t imagine how it is. But these children, due to their disabilities need more attention. They want to move and they cannot do it; they get bored being in the same place. We have to carry them and since they are growing, they are heavier than when they were babies which makes the task even more difficult. When they told us about the wheelchairs, my husband and I were so happy that we both went to receive them and to express our gratitude. And even though they can’t talk, when the children saw the wheelchairs they were so happy. The wheelchair is like a big toy for them, but they [the wheelchairs] are a great support for us since they allow children to do what they enjoy the most, to be in motion.”
Joaquín and Francisca use their wheelchairs daily. In the rough piece of land where they spend their days life is more hopeful and happier for them. Even though they are not able to speak, they smile and look excited when they use their wheelchairs and these transparent, innocent smiles are the biggest proof of gratitude.
Thanks to YOU and Children International, Joaquín and Francisca won’t grow up hidden from the rest of the world; and their wishes for a better life were already answered with a life in motion.