It’s gratifying to revisit our clients and to see their progress over the years. Many have either moved up to become financially self-sufficient or have simply moved out of the Buenos Vecinos service area. Diana is an example of someone who did both. She recently reached out to BVB to tell us how life has changed for her and her sons, six year-old Angel and eight year-old Bryan.
When they first became Buenos Vecinos recipients in 2015 they were renting a 10 x 12 room from a family who paid her $10 a day to clean their house. Even with a meager monthly contribution from the boys’ father, she was barely able to pay the modest rent and other monthly living expenses. As sometimes happens, concerned neighbors referred her to BVB volunteers who vet our prospective clients, and she was quickly accepted.
However, Diana’s greatest challenge was Angel’s medical condition and accompanying expenses. Born with a severe cleft palate and lip, he had feeding and sleeping problems, frequent ear infections and asthma. He wore a small green palate protection device at home or, when away from home, a tape over his lip to hide the defect from curious stares. At that time, as seen in the photo on the left, four year-old Bryan was learning how to make funny faces and two year-old Angel was already becoming self-conscious around cameras.
In 2016 a doctor at the local medical clinic helped Diana contact Operation Smile, an international medical charity based in Virginia. They provide free surgeries in developing countries for young adults and children requiring maxillofacial reconstruction. After a series of three incremental surgeries and a year and a half of speech therapy, Angel is on his way to a complete recovery. His appearance and health have dramatically improved as you can see in the photo on the right.
Diana and the boys now live in a house that she shares with another single mom. She has a full-time housekeeping job in a nearby hotel. Both boys are doing well in school, although Bryan has needed some help learning to read. Diana is proud that she can now support her family and looks forward to a better future for them all. She has never forgotten how BVB helped her family eat during a difficult time in their lives. She wants our donors to know how grateful she has been for their help.