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!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We made it back to Bolivia, safe and sound!  I´m sorry for not updating sooner, as I know that some have been waiting to hear about our "re-entry" say we hit the ground running would be an understatement! 

We had a few more adventures, though, before heading south.  :)

We were able to get together one last time with our dear friends the Forness family.  We wanted to make sure they knew how much we appreciated the the fact that they loaned us their car for the duration of our stay...


We got to watch Keri in her end of the year a cappella show, which was so much fun...

They were amazing!!

We also had a fabulous dinner with Tia Teresa and Tio John at their house...

Very fun Ladybug Game

Full tummies and happy hearts

The morning of our flight home, Deysi saw me stripping the beds after we had gotten up and started to cry...I think it had really hit home that we were leaving.  She had been so great about understanding that we couldn´t take everything with us and that some of the special gifts people had given her would stay at my parents´ house until our next trip, but somehow seeing her sheets go into the laundry basket was a little too hard.  :(
But once we had gotten over that little hump, she faced the rest of the day with her usual sunny attitude.  :)

At the Philly airport with ALL the bags!

Our flights were pleasantly uneventful.  We met a very nice woman on the flight from Philly to Miami who took us to the fancy lounge where the first class passengers can relax between flights (she was a member and was allowed to have "guests")--an unexpected but very nice blessing!  It was much more comfortable then just sitting at the gate (we had a looooong layover, just in case the Philly flight was delayed) and, besides, they had free cookies.  :)

We slept almost the whole flight from Miami to La Paz...I woke up briefly when they served dinner (at 11pm!! why do they do that?!) but other than that we had a peaceful night.  The flight from La Paz to Santa Cruz was a little bumpy but we arrived in one piece.  We managed to get all our heavy suitcases back, with nothing lost (!) or refused entry (!!) and when we walked out the doors into the main part of the Santa Cruz airport, there were a few of the sisters and four of Deysi´s classmates waiting for us!  She walked right up to them and they were chattering the whole way home, telling them about the airplane and reminding us all to wear seatbelts.  :)
We didn´t see each other too much that first weekend (she was at the Hogar and I was trying to dig my way through the suitcases back at Casa Santa Clara), but I went to her school on Monday and spoke with her teacher and visited a bit.  Deysi had gotten right back into the swing of things, apparently, and her teacher was thrilled to have her back.  I recently talked to the tutor that works with her age group at the Hogar and she confirmed that Deysi is in fact READING and seems to be up to speed, if not ahead, of her classmates!  Hooray!  Everyone comments on how happy, talkative and animated she is. 

We didn´t see too much of one another this past week, as we had all sorts of things going a visit with Dr. Ferry and his group of doctors, nurses and volunteers:

Dinner with Dr. Ferry´s group at Laura Vicuña (college students home)

Visit to the Hogar (Deysi is the third from the back on the left)

Stefi, Ofelia, Carmen, Ruby, Deysi and Rosa

Serving ice cream (I had just realized that I had dropped a little blob of ice cream on one of the kid´s heads...oops!)

More ice cream...

...and more ice cream!

Overall, we´re both doing well, happy to be home and loving seeing everyone.  Missing everyone back in the States, too.  So grateful for such a blessed trip and for all the moments and experiences that we were gifted with while away.
"Welcome, dear Mother Anita to your sweet Home."
And it is sweet...and home.

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