Circle of 12 Update
Back in the Dominican Republic and good news/bad news for Mailona…Mostly good. First, It is going to be harder than I thought to get her to the USA., time and expense but I remain optimistic. The Good news is, we found a new home here in La Romana. She can stay as long as we need her in a better place. The monies we put out for her care will now follow here there. The home has running water, refrigerated food and people who will hug and kiss her and not leave her alone for hours lying in a bed in a dark room. Noemi Torres from the MIR clinic and I and Mailona’s nurse Rosa took her to the beach on Monday (Duarte Day Holiday) It will be the first time ever she has been anywhere but a Batey or a medical clinic. She has gained about 3 pounds since last time. She weighed only 17 pounds! She looks healthier and is getting better nutrition daily. Update: She loved the ocean and laughed and laughed in the water.
Mailona continues to get excellent care and was seen by a doctor. She has bronchitis and is getting an antibiotic. The doctor believes most of her problems are mal-nutrition based and there is some hope for learning. I see here everyday and she smiles when she hears my voice and responds to her name. Tomorrow Feb 4 Dr. Gigi and I are taking her to Santo Domingo to see a brain specialist. (update) The CAT scan showed that she is missing part of her frontal lobe. She also had x-rays on her legs and she they look good. With Physical therapy she may be able to walk. I took her for blood and urine tests Friday at Buen Samaritano. She remains HIV negative, she has no parasites and generally is healthy. In Santo Domingo she saw a neurologist, a pediatrician and a Orthopedist. A long day, but well worth it.
Cristofer who is the deaf child from Batey Cacata has been attending Hogar del Ninos since January 12th and has missed just one day. I visited the school and saw him in class where he is learning sign language. He loves coming to the school every day and his teachers say he is very bright and learning fast. Circle of 12 paid for a new backpack and some supplies for Cris.
I went to see Johanna with Gigi who is a Dominican Doctor who has been working with her case. Johanna after 2 operations now needs an amputation. So far her father has refused to do this, but Gigi and I spoke with him about her prognosis and told him that she would die probably in 6 months or less without it and he agreed. (After I wrote this, he changed his mind again and there is nothing we can do) The case is being dropped by Buen Samaritano. It is very sad, but the reality now instead of amputation will most likely be death for this little thing. This of course would be unacceptable here, but the rules of the Bateyes are different. After the operation, the family would have been required to give up custody for 3 months of after care with a health promoter but again they won’t do it. Gigi continues to check on her and Circle of 12 brought some food and a health kit.
Nanetta in Cacata has had several tests and X-rays on her hand, at this point the doctors don’t believe surgery will help. Circle of 12 continues to get her good nutrition and PT but are revaluating the PT care plan. Her family seems to have really changed with her care. (if you remember she once had an occasional beating) and her dad has stepped up!
Emmanuel is doing great, he is starting to say several words and is vey smart. I am talking with some people to see if he could be placed in a school. He has had no formal schooling. His mother is just such a good caregiver.
Of course every trip is not complete without a trip to see Santos. We supply food and diapers monthly, but the reality is that at 23 years of age and with Batey 50 being so far from La Romana, it is difficult to get an speech therapists their without heavy transportation costs.
Pablito and File are doing great. Pablito has not had a seizure in several months according to his mom and we continue to buy his meds and nutrition. File is getting Braille off and on but is so smart he always wants to go for a ride in the car and we always do. The food the family receives is a blessing, since you know the dad is a single dad. Files mother died.
We have been asked to take another child, a little girl named Carmen who is 3 and can’t walk. She needs corrective shoes and therapy and we would like to take her on, but the reality is, we don’t yet have the money. We did pay for a PT session this trip. If anyone would like to help us take on this case, contact me please.
Special thanks go out to the following folks and organizations: Moorestown Friends School who donated several boxes of health/hygiene kits that the students packed for a service project. The MIR foundation of La Romana, who paid the $5000 pesos for Mailona’s CT scan, Noemi from MIR, my new friend who helped with so much on this trip, Dr. Gigi who runs a clinic outside La Romana, she donated antibiotics for Mailona’s bronchitis, Vitamins, and her time to visit Mailona and examine her. She will continue to see her. Circle of 12 donated a new tire to Gigi since she had a flat and the way to see Mailona. The CURE foundation Hospital in Santo Domingo and the team of Doctor’s there. Thanks to Church and Dwight of Princeton who donated supplies to help fight the spread of HIV. (We helped MIR with this donation in kind) Thanks to all those at First Baptist in Moorestown who helped finance this trip. I love you and appreciate you financial and moral support. Thanks to Gabriel for helping with translation and the Lawyer here who did work for free. (almost unheard of) But at some point we will need some funds to pay him. We also
welcome Karen Washington to the Circle of 12, and thanks to the Wissinger and McClure families for helping support Mailona’s “extra” care. And most of all, thanks to my wife Tami who works so hard and keeps the household running while I get the privilege of working with these kids. She is the best person I know. If I forgot anyone, it was not intentional. Please tell your friends about Circle of 12/Circulo de Doce. The children need and appreciate your continued support.
We will hold a fundraiser at Mirabella Café on March 31st. (a Tuesday) please save the date. An “E-Invite will follow soon. The donation is only $50 per plate and includes and full course meal and entertainment! Please come! See you all soon, God willing.