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!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hangin' out at home...

We've just been hangin' out...takin' some pictures...

Oops!  Sorry, Papi...let's try that again...

Ah...much better.  :)

Tuesday was Children's Day in Bolivia, so we had to do something fun...of course it was a big sacrifice for me... :)

Our introduction to soft serve ice cream at Thomas Sweets (chocolate, with Reeces Pieces!)

The mural on the wall at Thomas Sweet's, which she thought was very funny...

After our ice cream we went to see a movie.  The only G-rated movie in our area was a documentary film called "Born to be Wild" about orphaned baby elephants and orangatangs raised in captivity and later released into the wild.  She loved it (as did I!) and we were the only people in the whole theatre (does no one like documentaries any more?!) which was great because I could translate everything out loud to her without anyone shushing us!  :) 

On Wednesday we went to Terhune Orchards with our buddy Gina...I think it had been at least 20 years since I had been!  It was kind of a cold and cloudy day, but we had a great time!

Faithfully obeying the stop sign in the mini tractor pit :)

Gina and Deysi with a pair of nesting Canadian Geese we found (who accepted our presence as long as we didn't get any closer!)

Now we're snuggled up inside, drinking hot chocolate (thanks for the mugs and hot chocolate, Tara and Pat!) and enjoying the movie Balto (for the third time since we rented it, but who's counting!)

We leave on Tuesday for Boston, with a stop for lunch on the way with my dear friend Tracy (the Camp Nyoda nurse who loves not-camping!).  We'll spend the evening in Quincy with "our girl" Segundina, who grew up in the Hogar in Montero and is now married to a great guy who grew up in Massachusetts (but was born in Peru)...sound confusing?  It's a long and beautiful Cinderella story that I'm convinced will eventually be made into a movie :) but the short version is that they fell in love in Bolivia but now live (with his wonderful parents) in Quincy!  We're really looking forward to seeing them.

Updates to follow once we're back from Boston!

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