“Mommy you are already walking!”
On Wednesday November the 4th at 10:30am, Varinia received her first prosthetic. Jaime de Leon accompanied Varinia, her husband, and her daughter, to Xela for the fitting, the beginning of the end of a long and arduous journey.
Jaime writes, “Varinia was so happy and excited, but at the same time it was weird and painful. A mix of feelings, memories, faith, and hope invaded her. But none of those feelings where strong enough to make her stop for a moment. Since the moment she got her prosthetic she was always moving and trying. We spent around two hours in the clinic, and she was always walking. Her husband and daughter were so happy and supportive to her. Her daughter’s word when she first saw her walking were “Mami, ya estas caminando!” (Mommy, you are already walking!”).” Varnia will have more appointments, accompanied by Faith In Practice, to make sure that she adapts well to her leg. But, this was a giant leap forward in her recovery, and she and her family could now envision a bright future.
The journey has been long and difficult. In 2018, Varinia was walking down the road when a motorcycle collided with her, badly mangling her leg. In spite of initial efforts made by physicians at the National Hospital in El Progreso, Varinia’s leg failed to heal and she was left with a badly damaged and painful leg. She could not walk.
Looking for relief and answers, she came, through the assistance of our Guatemalan volunteer leader Lesly Rivera, to the Delk Medical Clinic in 2019. They, in turn, referred Varinia to the Parsley/Woolf Team and in February 2020, Drs. Conrad and Dawson informed Varinia that there was no hope that her leg would heal. Amputation was the only option. They assured her, however, that she would receive a prosthesis and all of the medical care and physical therapy required to prepare her to receive that gift. With a new prosthesis, Varinia could resume a life pain-free and the ability to walk again. So, trusting in Faith In Practice and Drs. Conrad and Dawson, she agreed to the amputation which they performed in mid-February 2020.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Guatemala closed her borders in mid-March. What would happen to those surgical patients who had been seen in the first three months of 2020 who needed follow-up care? What would happen to those, like Varinia, who were awaiting a prothesis?
In spite of the challenges presented, curfews, rising cases, Guatemala staff continued to serve. They creatively and safely found ways to provide follow-up care and to continue the process for amputees like Varinia who were awaiting the blessing of a new limb. Even when movement was restricted in Guatemala, staff remained in close contact with the patients, telling them that Faith In Practice would keep its promises. In the case of Varinia, Faith In Practice sent physical therapy videos to her, so that she would be ready when her leg had been made. And, on November 3rd, our Jaime de Leon traveled with Varinia, her husband, and her daughter to Xela, many hours on the road each way, to finally receive her new leg.
Throughout this time, Varinia has been so grateful to all of those at Faith In Practice who have journeyed beside her, from the medical clinic team and Lesly Rivera, to the Parsley/Woolf Team and the Obras, to the faithful and tender care that Jaime de Leon has provided throughout these challenging times.
Varinia says that she is so grateful because she has not felt alone. Jaime reflects that Varinia’s words mean so much, for as he says, “We are called to witness to the One who tells us that we are never alone. We are so grateful to have been able to be that witness in such a tangible way for Varinia.”
As Varinia and her little family left the clinic in Xela, they told Jaime that while the past two years had been so very difficult, they were reminded through it all, how important it is to always trust God and to never surrender.
All of us, too are reminded of the strength and faith of the people of Guatemala, who consistently show us what courage and faith look like. Who continue to inspire us, even as we seek to serve them.