Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Erica's Story

This is Erica. She is 10 years old. She lives in a mud hut with her mother, brother and sister. They do not have running water, electricity, or any modern conveniences. When Erica was about 3 months old she had a terrible ear infection. It is unimaginable to us that a child could suffer severe brain damage as a result of an ear infection… but this is exactly what happened. An otherwise normal child was left unable to do many things basic to survival. Erica lost the ability to suck and swallow making it nearly impossible for her mother to feed her. She is unable to hear, has never learned to communicate, and is mentally on a 1 year old level. It is a miracle that she has survived.

When the director of Little Hands visited Erica’s family, he found them in a desperate situation. As is so common in Honduras, the father had left the family. Maria was left alone to carry the burden of providing for her family. She is able to earn a meager income sewing children’s clothing and selling them to her neighbors.
Her son, 8 years old, collects wood for cooking and finds fruit for them to eat. Many times, while Maria is preoccupied with the new baby or working, Erica runs off. Sometimes they would find her way up in a tree, or lost in a vast sugar cane field, or in the middle of a busy street. With no other options, and for Erica’s protection, Maria was forced to chain her daughter by her ankle to a stake or to the rusty metal bed frame in their hut.
This is the condition that our mission found her in. Little Hands Big Hearts used a team of visiting American volunteers to build an enclosure where Erica can play safely while her mother works. Now, Maria can sew with out worrying about where Erica is. Little Hands often visits this family and gives them children’s vitamins and other supplies to meet their physical needs, as well as trying to encourage Maria in her walk with Christ. We also hope to begin teaching Erica sign language as means of communicating.
Erica’s survival is a testament of God’s providence, and of her mother’s love. In a culture that abandons handicapped children by taking them up into the mountains to die, or by leaving them on someone’s doorstep, Maria has found the strength to care for this needy little one. We were able to visit Maria and her family this past October. A doctor in our group told Maria that she was a wonderful mother to have done all of the things necessary for Erica’s survival. Maria’s response was that it was no burden to her. She said, "God has blessed me and loves me. So I am reflecting His love as I care for Erica."
This is our hope for every family that is served by Little Hands Big Hearts…. That they would be in relationship with the God that loves them so much, and receive from Him everything they need for this life and for eternity.


Amy said...

Thank you for sharing this, very well written of course :-)

Amy said...

The site where I post pictures isn't working, so I've posted pictures of you and Brian on my blogspot site :-) Love you ~