I want to share an experience of a very sad accident but the overwhelming generosity of people. Carmen the 30 year-old cook for the volunteers and Sisters for the past 6 years fell at night last week into an uncovered drainage ditch and partially severed her spinal cord. She was completely paralyzed for a week until surgery and now can feel painful stimuli to her feet. We have hope she will recover some movement in her legs.
She was transferred to a local hospital for rehab but returned to the distant hospital due to pneumonia. She is still numb from the chest down and fighting the pneumonia at the writing of this blog. She is the single mother of two children. She is a very nice woman and a good mother. Almost daily she would “sneak” me leftover food from lunch so I would not have to cook my own dinner. We are all so shocked that this could happen.
She had health insurance only until the end of the month as she lost her job last month. The mission has less income and half the employees were let go last month. She was transferred to a private hospital so she could have the operation she needed. The expenses were supposed to be paid for by the health insurance she has until the 30th of this month but they only paid some of the cost. She had a $600 bill after a week (nothing by US standards of health costs but a lot to people who earn $300 a month if they have work). She had also co- signed a loan for a friend who did not pay back the loan so Carmen lost all of her severance pay to pay the bank loan. Thus, she is without work, has no money, no health insurance soon and rent and food to buy for her children as well as a very long, expensive rehabilitation time.
This is where the incredible generosity of the town of Guadalupe comes in. The people made photos of Carmen with her neck brace in the hospital bed that I am including in this blog.
They put the photo on cardboard boxes and walked the streets in the nearby larger town. They collected $834 in coins in one day which is pretty incredible for a small group of neighbors and kids. The mother of one of the Sisters Carmen cooked for lent her the total amount to pay the hospital bill. Also, one of the husbands of a friend of Carmen, who has a job has offered to pay the first month to continue her health insurance. There is a box for donations here in the Clinic and money is put in everyday. The volunteers have also been extremely generous. Carmen has never lacked for someone to stay with her in the hospital. The whole town is pulling for her.
Time and time again in mission I see the overwhelming generosity of materially poor people but people so rich in: concern for others, willingness to give the little they have and so giving of their time to help others.