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!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Princeton...and then Boston, take two.

So...we've been back in Princeton for quite a while now.  Deysi has been recovering nicely and the graft site on the back of her thigh is pretty much totally healed.  She can shower with the help of a plastic bag and an extra set of hands, and can almost dress herself.  Her face is also almost totally healed, though we are continuing to slather it with Vaseline, per doctor's orders, just in case (hence the headband in every picture--it keeps her bangs from turning into a greasy mess).  

Our days have looked a lot like this:

(snow, ice, indoor activities, repeat)

But it does mean we're getting a lot of school work done! 

We had a lovely visit from Melia West, Deysi's baptismal godmother and a former Hogar volunteer, who flew all the way from California to visit!  

snowballs into the Delaware Raritan canal

two beautiful faces

gift shop at the New Jersey Aquarium--the most interesting part was the prank section--
don't ask about the squirty rings or the disappearing ink!

nun...attacked by shark...head first


...and very silly!

We are now back in Boston for stitches removal (tomorrow at 11am).  We came up a day early to avoid being caught in the snow (again) and are currently watching the flakes fall from inside our warm, comfy hotel room (instead of from inside the car, thank Goodness!).  We are hoping that the size of her bandage will at least be a bit smaller (perhaps allowing long-sleeved shirt sleeves on?) and that we will be heading back to Princeton on Thursday at the latest.

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