Sunday, November 1, 2009


This is Dany and his mother earlier this year when we gave them a Father's Day Basket of food.
This is Dany at 14yrs old. This is the mask he wore every day since he was 9yrs old and had a kidney transplant. He wore the mask to protect him from germs.This year when he was told that basically there was no hope for him, he took off the mask.

Dany passed away this week. He was just 18yrs old. He had been a sponsored student of ours for several years. We first met Dany when he was about 14yrs old. He had suffered serious kidney problems and his mother had given him one of her kidneys. This is a very rare and amazing thing to do in Guatemala. Even among family members.
He received his mother's kidney when he was 9 years old, they diagnosed the illness when he was 6years old.
The illness caused a lot of stunting and he was very small for his age.
Dany's mother struggled to be able to provide the medication that Dany had to take every month. Often the family went without food to be able to pay for the meds. We were fortunate to have help from COTA.......Jody Green sent the meds and we were able to give them to Dany.
I want to thank the Von Halle family for sponsoring Dany. Their help meant so much to the family. Dany loved going to school. Dany's living conditions were absolutely awful. It was one of the worst houses I have seen in Panajachel. He lived in a tiny alcove that had no light and no fresh air. He slept on a bed of bare boards. The floor was dirt. These conditions could not have been good for him. His mother and father slept in another very tiny alcove that you had to pass through to get to Dany's alcove. The main room was open to the sky.....there was no roof and they had no money to put on a roof. The kitchen was up a ricketty makeshift ramp that was very much in danger of collapsing.
Connie Turvey was one of the visitors I took to this house. She went home, sold jewelry and talked to her friends about Dany's living conditions . Connie raised enough money to be able to renovate the house. Two new rooms were built. Dany's room was light and it opened onto the street. He used to sit outside on his doorway , watch the world go by and enjoy the sunshine.
He was so proud of this new house.
We tried to get help for Dany when his kidney was failing. We sent him to a specialist in the city to have the diagnosis reconfirmed....we did more tests. The results were the same, Dany would have to go on Diaylsis. Dany refused. He said that he had done that many times and it was so painful. He said that it wasn't going to cure him but only prolong the inevitable outcome.
Dany decided that he would prefer to face it is own way. We told Dany that we would support him anyway we could. He said that he would like to be able to drink a glass of orange juice every day and have some extra food. We made sure that Dany had that.
I want to thank Anita Berger who tried so hard to be able to find a solution for Dany. Anita was trying to find a way to get him to the U.S. for treatment but in the end Dany did not have enough time.
Dany's mother told me that Dany would not let her out of his sight the week before he died. If she went to another room, he would say " come and sit with me ".
The night he died, his family had gone to church. When they came home, he called them in and said he thought he was dying, he hugged each of them. His sister said his eyes just rolled back and he fell back on the bed and was gone. He hadn't been able to lie down in the bed for the past few days because of pain, he had been sleeping sitting up , resting his head on a table. This was at 10.p.m., the family called me at 6.30 the next morning to tell me that Dany was gone.
Gloria, Julio and I took flowers and went to the house. It is customary for the coffin to be in the center of a room with flowers and candles if the family can afford it. There is always a black plastic bow outside the house to signify that someone has died.
His mother told me that Dany told her a few days before he died," don't be sad, I am happy , I am going to be with Jesus and I am not going to be in pain" .
She said he was so happy with his new house. He told her to please look after the house and wondered who would live in his room when he was gone.
Dany was a very brave young man. He has suffered a lot. I hope that he and his family will find peace.
Dany's mother has taken out a loan to pay for the coffin. She washes clothes by hand...she earns $2-3 US per day. Dany's father works sporadically, he is not in good health. The coffin cost $150 US and she is paying monthly interest on this loan. It is going to take her a long time to pay it off. If anyone would like to help with this crippling debt for them, they would be very grateful.

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