Archive for June 26, 2013

Jun 26

Guatemala May 2013 Mission – Story of Dania

2013 | by Clint | Category: Field Updates,Global,Rabinal Achi

Another story from our Guatemala May 2013 Mission, part of the Rabinal Achi Partnership.

The Story of Dania By DSC Member Michelle E.:

Our family has been blessed to go to Guatemala a number of times. One of the wonderful things about returning is the opportunity to build ongoing relationships with our partners. Another blessing is the opportunity to build relationships with many of the Achi we meet in the course of our work there.

This is the story of one Achi young lady, named Dania, and how God has blessed both her and us through our relationship over the past few years.

Dania is a 9-year-old blind girl who lives outside of San Miguel. DSC first heard about Dania through Carol Barrera in 2011, when Dania’s father, Rolando showed up on the doorstep of the Barrera home asking for help for his daughter (Actually he wanted glasses for her to help her see!). Carol got in touch with DSC about Dania with the hope that some of us could visit Dania on the 2011 medical/dental trip.

Carol, Kathi Archer, and I went on that first visit and heard the story of Dania told through the voice of her father. The love Rolando showed for his daughter was incredible (remember that females are not as highly valued in this culture and often not educated). It was obvious that Dania was totally blind and also had an enlarged head. Her father told us that she had hydrocephalus after birth and that they sought medical help in the city without success. She needed a shunt put in to take the pressure off her brain, but each time they returned to the city they were told to return in a month. Each time an excuse was given why nothing needed to be done or would be done. Rolando faithfully went to the city every month with his toddler seeking care and was rejected. Dania then got very ill with vomiting and fever about age 3 and probably had meningitis, which also went untreated. This more than likely caused her optic nerves to be destroyed and resulted in her blindness.


Carol had suggestions for the family to take Dania to a preschool in San Miguel where one of the teachers had a disabled son and a love to help the disabled.

On the 2011 trip we also brought some educational tools for the blind and left them for the teacher. In 2012 we brought a type-writing machine to type Braille for the teacher. This was donated through a member at DSC who works at the school for the blind here in Albuquerque.

On this year’s trip (2013) we planned a special time to visit Dania and her family in their home. Carol, Dr. Jacobo, and my husband Paul and I went for this visit. According to her need, we brought Dania a cane and God once again supplied this through the Albuquerque connection at DSC, as well as a folder full of ideas for the family to help Dania.


We have been blessed to participate in Dania’s care in some small but meaningful ways. Meanwhile, the Barreras continue to provide ongoing connections and care for Dania and the family. For example, this past year Dania had a financial need in order to travel to Salama twice a week to attend a special school. Carol also had a friend in the states that offered to help “sponsor” Dania and provide for her transportation. She was able to begin classes when the new school year began in January. This school is for disabled children (66 total) and there is a teacher who is blind in the school and Dania’s teacher.

To be able to get Dania to this school the family must first walk quite a distance to catch transportation (and hope it is not full which means they have to wait for another van). They take this van to the center of Salama and then catch another van to the other side of Salama. Her mom usually stays and helps fix the snack for the children of the school. In exchange they do not have to pay for the snack. Dania has two younger brothers. One that goes to school in San Miguel and the other that must go along to Salama. It is no easy task for this family to get Dania to school, let alone pay for the transportation cost, yet they are remaining faithful to taking her and getting her educated in difficult circumstances.

On this year’s trip, our team was able to invite the family to the Buena Vista clinic this year and they came, so we actually got to see them again. We were able to remove two root tips for Dania, seal several of her permanent teeth and paint on fluoride for her. Her younger brother had a couple of sealants placed and fluoride and they had a visit to the medical area. The best part was when we were able to get family photos and pray with them before they left. One of our guest partners was Sonia and she offered to pray for them and asked what they want prayer for. The father asked that we pray for peace within the family. Sonia was quick to respond that Jesus is the One who gives peace and prayed sweetly over each member of the family.