Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Well Played, Carolina

This is Carolina. She is 11 years old. Carolina not only stole my heart during our mission trip, she folded it into an origami swan and put it in her pocket where I knew I would never get it back again.

Carolina has been at Children's Haven International for about a year. She has a perfectly healthy twin brother, but for some reason Carolina was born with severe physical handicaps. Although she arrived at this facility in Reynosa in a wheelchair, doctors believe with proper surgeries and therapy, she could eventually walk unaided, and she is getting those treatments at CHI. Here she lives in a house full of girls, and for the first time is attending school.

Several months ago Carolina had her first surgery and now she gets around with the aid of a walker. It is brutally hard work--imagine learning how to walk at the age of 10, on legs that still aren't cooperative. She's often the last one to arrive at an activity, slipping in quietly after the other children have stormed in, but she is doggedly persistent and doesn't expect (or receive) pampering.

I had noticed Carolina during our week, and had occasionally helped her when her walker was being especially wayward, but I hadn't had the chance to talk with her until the final day of our stay. She is soft-spoken.

"So, Carolina," I said (in Spanish). "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

She smiled, and told me in her sweet whisper that she didn't know yet.

"Maybe a teacher?" I prompted. "Or maybe a nurse?"

She sat straight up and looked me in the eye, pausing for just a moment before she replied and punched my condescension right in the gut..

"Or maybe," she said, "a lawyer?"

Oh, Carolina, my money is on you.

To Be Continued

This is not an official statement from Children's Haven International. If I've made mistakes in information, they're my own, and not those of CHI. However, I asked permission before writing any posts or publishing any pictures of their residents and activities.  

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