You are “Esperanza!”
As Magdalena, age 11, was taking her medication a grasshopper landed on the kitchen floor next to her feet. All the girls in Casa 2 gasped as they ran over to pick it up, in order to throw it outside I had thought. To my surprise Nelsy, age 10, yelled “Put it in our room!” I must have made a face because Maria, age 9, then explained it was called an esperanza, which means hope. The belief is that if one lands on your shoulder you will have an esperanza. “Like what?” I asked while I was curious to see the example she’d give me, I knew I was already experiencing my esperanza.
In the 13 months that I have been a missionary nurse at The Farm of the Child, a Catholic Children’s Home in Trujillo, Honduras, I have had countless moments like this in which I feel God has handed me an esperanza. Everything from helping Nolvia, age 15 with her algebra homework to listening to Roni, age 11, explain to me how he learned by trial and error to construct his own kite, to having Dorfa, age 10, save me a seat in the Chapel every morning for prayer, have shown me God’s Love through new eyes.
In my work this year as the nurse, I have witnessed several of what I would call miracles. In seeing the “befores” and “afters” of many pregnant women and machete wounded patients, the one patient I will always remember is Rudy. Rudy, age 5, fell playing and dislocated his hip, something which can easily be fixed by a physician popping it back into place. But Rudy lived a day’s walk up in the mountains and comes from a very poor family, so by the time they had enough money to make it to Trujillo Hospital, it was too late. He needed surgery. The ramifications of having a limp leg in rural Honduras meant that Rudy would never be able to provide for himself, that he would remain dependent on his family for the rest of his life, unless he could have surgery. Eight months later a Medical Brigade came to Trujillo and decided Rudy would be a good candidate for surgery. He underwent a difficult surgery and was placed in a full body cast for 8 weeks. His family moved farther down the mountain closer to Trujillo and I observed them caring for him diligently, following every instruction given by the doctors as I visited every 2 weeks. A month after getting his cast removed, I visited his house and was greeted by him running around with his brothers! I will always be touched by Rudy’s mother’s immense gratitude for the life saving operation he went through.
I cannot help but think about the many reasons why I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the children of The Farm, as well as the surrounding community. This experience has helped form me into a better Catholic Christian, a better version of myself … the person God created me to be. In this time of holidays and holy days, I am especially thankful for all those who’ve helped make this experience possible – whether it was financially or spiritually. “Thank you!” to those who attended or helped to put on the Turkey Bingo event hosted by the Knights of Columbus. The luncheon, sponsored by ISD 196 District Office, donated vitamins and clothing, or wrote out a personal check to The Farm. Or have been our prayer warriors! All of which helped in more ways than can ever be known.
You have been an Esperanza. May God bless you and your families in that you do, and may He bless you this year and next! Paz y Bien, Deirdre Fleming, parishioner and daughter of Tim and Desiree’ Fleming