Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Today I visited a girl who just might be the cutest 9-year-old on the planet (I know, I know, there are many contestants!). Her name is Gloribel, and our November mission team met her during our eye clinic in San Juan Opico. She is deaf - though apparently she has some level of hearing as I'm told fireworks startle her - and our November team wanted to see how we can help her. We will soon be making an appointment to bring her to San Salvador for hearing tests and fitting with a hearing aid, if that will be helpful. I had missed meeting her in November, so invited myself to a visit today, with help from her neighbor, Carmen Aviles de Mariona who had been one of our grand San Juan Opico volunteers.

On the way to Carmen's I got lost (of course), and with help from local folk, who all know the Marionas, got more or less on the right track again. Stopped to ask for more help, and who was there but Toño, who'd driven all our San Juan Opico surgery patients to Hospital San Rafael - an old friend and neighbor of Carmen's. He hopped in the car and showed me just where to go, and soon I was chatting with Carmen and Chita - they are, by the way, an incredible singing duo, as our March and November, 2010 mission groups can testify. They took me to meet Gloribel, who's a neighbor, and we had a fine time. She's a very bright girl who communicates very well non-verbally - she'll take to sign language like a pro if she gets the opportunity.

Gloribel's mother told me that she had taken Gloribel to FUNTER, a Salvadoran non-profit, for hearing tests and a possible hearing aid. They would have provided a hearing aid, but asked for a payment of $40, which was too much for the very limited resources of this family. I am trusting that we will be able to help Gloribel have a better outcome this time.

I traveled home with Carmen's gift, a sack of beautiful red beans, waved at Toño along the way, and promised to come back soon to visit my new and old Opico friends.

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