A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

El Chele

I mentioned last month in a post about my cousin that while she was here I had to attend to a child in the hospital for almost a week. It hadn't occurred to me to write more in-depth about that situation because it didn't strike me as terribly note-worthy but given the recent turn of events I think I shall and will also add that this is a solicitation for prayer for our dear light-skinned friend we call Chele.

One Wednesday late last month as I was frantically scouring the community looking for signatures, photos, and permission slips for our soccer teams, a group of breathless children came running up to me to report that Kevin, also known as Chele for his light skin, the goalie of our U-14 soccer team had fallen off his bike on the dirt road and landed in broken glass and that he had broken his knee. To the medical laymen of this great nation the "knee" and sometimes the "foot" consists of everything below the hip and the word "broke" could mean anything from a laceration to an amputation so I really had no idea what to expect. They led me to this dark shack were he was laid out on a mattress writhing in pain and gushing blood. What I could see was that he had managed to cut a gash to the left of his right knee down to what I assumed to be cartilage or bone. The people in his home, his immediate family including his father, seemed to be making no effort to comfort him or to stop the bleeding and when I asked what they planned to do they replied that they'd take care of it in-house. I'm all for home remedies and not rushing to the hospital at every sniffle but this laissez-faire attitude smacked more of indifference than anything else and I almost delivered some choice words to that oaf of a father. When it became evident that they weren't planning on lifting a finger to help him I stormed out, retrieved my car and sped off to the hospital with Chele, my cousin, her boyfriend and about 12 concerned teammates entow. We first visited the private hospital where they wanted to admit him and operate immediately but with a $1,000 deposit and the promise of more fees in the future. I politely declined, paid for the consultation/cleaning they gave him and off we went to the public hospital where he was admitted, operated on and hospitalized for the next week. In the first few days Manuel and I took turns staying with Chele on 6 hour shifts. I spent the first night there, Manuel the second and in the daytime we split it evenly...and on it went. In that time his father visited twice for a few minutes each time and his grandmother who happened to be in from out of town visited a few days towards the end of his stay.

When it came time to bring Chele home we were confronted with another problem, his father no longer wanted him in the house. Really it was Chele's stepmother that didn't want him there but she has considerable pull with the father; she's pregnant and seemed to think that a boy with a gaping wound might do harm to the fetus she's carrying. I didn't point out that they had originally planned on letting him bleed out in the middle of the house and that that hadn't seemed to bother them then nor did I mention that he arrived back in the community so pumped full of antibiotics that he was probably the healthiest person in Laureles at the moment. I kept my mouth shut for fear of what might come out. Chele looked rejected, distraught and hopeless yet he seemed to take it as normal that he was unwanted by his family. I asked for a few minutes, left the home and sought out Manuel and Johnny, his soccer coach. Between the three of us we decided that Chele would convalesce between our two homes; he could sleep at Johnny's with Johnny's son, he could take his meals at our house and spend his days between the two homes. I returned to Chele's home an hour later and proffered the idea with the stipulation that he be accepted back into the home once the knee had healed. All agreed to the arrangement and this is how we've been living these past 3 weeks. Quite well I might add. Chele is happy here, his knee is healing well and he's taken on some responsibilities around the house; he came to church with us for the first time last week and seemed to really like it. Pray for him though, he will eventually have to return to his father's house where he will put back to work on a banana truck. Pray for strength.

the healing knee

i removed the lone stitch the other night.


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