Thursday, June 7, 2012


Sandra was born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder characterized, as Wikipedia says, by multiple joint contractures, muscle weakness and fibrosis.  She's 11 years old, part of a large and loving family in San José Villanueva, and in spite of the family's poverty, her grandmother has been taking her to FUNTER, an El Salvador rehabilitation foundation, three times a week for physical and occupational therapy.  She has a good and lively mind, but hasn't been to school - the family told me that the nearest government school wouldn't take her. 

It's one of those God moments: a couple of weeks ago, I told my friend Rosy Melara about Sandra.  I know Rosy as a nurse (she has volunteered as a surgery scrub nurse for our eye surgery missions), but in that same conversation, I learned that she also has a degree in Special Education.  One thing led rather quickly to another, and Rosy volunteered to teach Sandra the basics of reading and writing - we're hoping that after a year of tutoring she'd be able to enter the parish school in Villanueva.  There's a bonus to this: Sandra's grandmother, Ynes, can't read or write, and she would like to learn.  So Rosy has two pupils. 
Here's a photo from the first class.  Sandra's two-hands approach to the pencil was quite effective, probably something she's practiced in occupational therapy - she traced shapes easily and smoothly.
I'm looking forward to seeing what she's learned when I come back from my June-July vacation.  Meanwhile, PeaceHealth is providing the bus and taxi fares that will help to make this God moment a reality. 

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