Monday, January 23, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

I have a request that I would like to share with all of you who have followed me here over the past couple of years. I wrote a couple of times about my attempts to learn the local dialect of K’iche’ and my patient teacher, Rafael. Throughout the two years of classes I often wondered if someday I would be able to repay the patience and kindness of Rafael and his family. Now, under unfortunate circumstances, it appears that I have my chance.

In the months leading up to my departure, Rafael’s wife, Paola, was due to have their second child. The first sonograms showed some problems and the doctors originally thought that the baby would be stillborn and told them to prepare themselves as such. Thankfully the doctors were wrong and their second child, a boy named Del Angel, was born on September 28th.

Unfortunately, Del Angel was born with a congenital cyst in his brain that needs surgery. In America and other developed countries this is a relatively easy and common surgery in which most of the children go on to lead normal lives. In Guatemala, however, this is not as easy. When I left Santa Maria and said my goodbyes I promised Rafael I would do what I can to help out him and his family. I emailed the MRI images to some family friends who confirmed the diagnosis that was given by the Guatemalan doctors and stressed the need to operate in order for Del Angel to live a normal life. Almost four months later they still have been unable to get the surgery due to a bureaucratic mess with the poorly run insurance and hospitals in Guatemala.

I offered to help Rafael raise some money from friends and family in order to help out and although I can tell that he is embarrassed to have to ask, they are now in serious need of some financial assistance. After talking with him it seems that they will be needing roughly $1,000 dollars for doctor’s appointments both before and after the surgery, travel expenses to and from the appointments (Guatemala City is about a five hours bus ride), paying for a work replacement (Rafael is a teacher and in his absence will have to find and pay another person to fill in for him), and most importantly the supplies for the surgery (the insurance, in theory, pays for the surgery but since the hospitals are usually empty of supplies he will need to provide the supplies which will likely include everything up to the gauze).

I know that this might not be an opportune time to ask for money and for that I completely understand if you cannot contribute. For those of you that can, even the smallest amount will go a long ways towards the relatively modest goal of $1,000 and will be much appreciated by Rafael, Paola and the entire Osorio family. Click on the link here to donate. Thank you all so much.

Stephen

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