Maria Deysi's Story...


Maria Deysi Aguilar was born on March 15th, 2003, in Okinawa, Bolivia (in the department, or state, of Santa Cruz). She is her mother's third child and only girl. When she was three months old, her mother left their dwelling (a wooden structure with a tarp roof) to look for food, leaving Deysi and her two older brothers alone. As it was a cold night, she had left the embers of their cooking fire burning. A stray spark made it up to the tarp, which caught fire and began to melt and drip onto the dirt floor of their home, where Deysi was sleeping, wrapped in a blanket. The only exposed parts of her body (her face and hands) were severely burned by the burning, liquid plastic of the tarp. By the grace of God, Deysi and her mother made it to the city of Santa Cruz (a two-hour drive) and Deysi spent four months in the burn center at the city's childrens hospital. After two skin grafts and many weeks of painful recovery, she was finally released, but after realizing that she was unable to adequately care for her daughter, Deysi's mother chose to place her in the girls orphanage "Hogar Sagrado Corazon" (Sacred Heart Home) in Montero, shortly before Deysi's second birthday.

How is she now?


Deysi is now 10 years old and will start fifth grade in March. She still lives in the childrens home "Hogar Sagrado Corazon" and is well loved by all. She has a sweet disposition and a quick, easy smile. She is doing well in school and is a hard worker, not easily frustrated and generally well behaved. She has been blessed by more frequent visits from her mother and brothers recently and continues to rekindle the bond that she has with them.

Her skin is completely healed (and has been for some time now) but the effects of the burn are still very noticeable. Deysi has never been self-conscious about her differences, but is approaching an age where those differences will start to matter more. In 2014, thanks to the generosity of Shriner's Children’s Hospital in Boston, and the skill and dedication of their professionals, she has undergone a second surgical procedure (on January 27th). This most recent surgery removed the nail bed of the thickened fingernail on her left hand and grafted skin from her leg onto the back of her left hand, allowing more movement in her fingers and replacing a portion of the scarred skin with her own healthy skin. She has also undergone the first of a series of laser procedures to gradually lighten the areas of (darker) grafted skin on her face. We are so grateful to Shriner's Hospital and to all those who have contributed to allow this second trip to become a reality!

Friday, February 4, 2011

We´re jumping for joy around here...

Yesterday at about noon in the city of La Paz, María Deysi Aguilar became the recipient of a US visa!!! 

This was, of course, after a slightly stressful start to the day, in which:
1. It poured non-stop while we waited in line (outside!)
2. Juana, Deysi´s mom, who had spent the night with her mother and brother, arrived late (traffic jam) and I sprouted a few new white hairs while I waited for her ;)
3. The woman at the reception desk only had Juana´s name on the list and so I was not allowed to go into the embassy with her (THIS WAS A HUGE DEAL--Juana really had little idea of what all the documents in Deysi´s folder were all about, and I had about 2 minutes to try to explain everything to her!!!)  I would just like to point out that this is the SECOND time I have been left out in the cold in front of my own embassy!!

BUT, at the end of the day, and despite nervousness and concerns, Juana came out of the embassy with a huge smile on her face and handed us the sheet that said:
"Su petición para una visa estadounidense ha sido aceptada." 
And suddenly we forgot the rain and the traffic jam and the frantic explanations before the interview.  :) 

It´s only a 3 month visa, and if Deysi needs follow-up surgeries, we will have to file a new petition for a new visa, but we are just so grateful that she was issued the visa and that we can get working on planning our trip!

Thanks again, so much, to all who kept us in prayer yesterday.  I will post again soon regarding how much we have received on Deysi´s behalf, how much has already been spent (the visa process, for example, is quite costly) and with some more specifics on future donations and needs.

We are so incredibly grateful to God and to everyone who has helped us come this far.  Look out, America--here comes Deysi! 

P.S. Extra bonus points if you can name the two jumping girls on the left hand side of this photo--it´s an OLD photo!  (Ahem, ex-voluntarias!)


  1. I am so happy to hear the great news! I am jumping for joy too, I don't know if you feel it in montero! LOL! Ok so I am guessing the girls jumping are Shirley Saucedo and maybe Juana Aranda. Will keep all of you in my prayers!

  2. Yay! :) I just picked her passport up from the DHL in SC yesterday. We´re hoping to get a free flight through our buddy at American Airlines...
    You got Shirley right but look closely at the one furthest to the left--you know her well! (She´s out of high school...)

  3. OMG! I think it's Gladys. I can't believe I missed that! I am so happy to hear you got the visa. Hopefully the visa means she can go home with you for the next ten years! woo hoo!