The jeep, the pickup and ambulance were all ready to go at 6:45am to head out to rescue a baby. My heart is in my throat as I realize what we are going to do. Hold on, we haven’t even started yet! From Hope of Life we headed up to the mountains where there is a 4 month old baby girl with a serious health problem. Why was it taking so long to get there? I was anxious and nervous at the same time. We leave the pavement and continue on loose gravel roads as we wind and climb up the side of the mountain. Finally we get there and hike up a steep narrow trail to the house.
There was a small homemade bench just outside the house and immediately we were invited to sit down and rest. This impacted me that they were still offering hospitality with the little they had and even when they had a sick child waiting for our help.
We met the worried mom, and as she begins to talk she starts to cry. My heart is broken too, what if that was my child? I was so thankful that I could speak Spanish and communicate with her. She has five other children and is a good mom. They had taken the baby all the way down to the nearest clinic but the clinic was not equipped to handle anything so serious. Hope of Life was contacted – so they went home to wait. She handed the baby to Whitney, a nurse from Virginia who moved here with her husband (he is the cook for HOL) to work in the hospital and go on these rescues. A baby Whitney rescued just two days before didn’t make it, this is heartbreaking work. The baby girl’s name is Jennie Paola. She has intestine problems, her anus is closed and there is an opening that has formed on the side of her abdomen. It is red and hot around it but she doesn’t have a fever. Examining her further Whitney discovers her ear on one side is disfigured and there is no ear at all on the other side. She is probably deaf. But what a pretty little face with huge eyes and tons of hair.
Both parents are ready to go, a good sign. Some women can’t make the decision to let HOL have their baby because their husband is away working. If the baby died after she gave him or her away what would she tell him? Many leave it too long before seeking help, often it is a very long way to the nearest clinic, or they think God gives and God takes away and there is nothing you can do about that. This child has a chance and the fact that she doesn’t have a fever is promising.
Many of the rescued babies have nothing wrong with them other than malnutrition. If they are brought to HOL sooner than later, a skin and bones baby or child with extended tummies can be totally restored to health. But if the malnutrition is left too long then there can be permanent damage to kidneys, they become diabetic and even become deaf and their mental capabilities will be limited. Some babies are abandoned because they have defects, HOL rescues them and cares for them for the rest of their lives.
Alfredo is one of the scouts who goes around to the isolated little pueblas and calls back to HOL to send an ambulance. He travels these dangerous mountain roads on a motorcycle and often has to deal with difficult or set in their ways indigenous peoples. He is compassionate and has a heart for these babies, you can see it in the way he talks and the sacrifice he is making to search these babies out.
Everyone who works at Hope of Life works there because they are passionate about saving lives. It is no ordinary job, they have to be able to drop everything and go on a rescue at a moments notice or be ready to receive them whenever they get back. Just a month before we visited, there was a fire in Guatemala City in a facility that started out as a place for disabled children, then they added difficult teens to the mix because there was no other place to put them. Some of the rebellious teenagers wanting to escape and set a fire that got out of control. Many died and hundreds are now without a place to live. Carlos went to rescue the disabled kids and 42 more children were added to HOL. Build an extension on the building, add more water to the soup, do what needs to be done – and trust God.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.