This morning , at 4.30a.m. we were awoken to the very sad news that one of our sponsored students had passed away.
She is Irma #591 ...a little girl from Tierra Linda who is the sister of Mario who works for Mayan Families.
Some of you may have met him. He is a lovely young man with a huge smile that shows teeth so white and straight that they should be in a magazine.
He works in the carpentry work shop and is the caretaker for the River House ...as it is known...this is our house that we had to evacuate from during the last heavy storms and is now being used for the carpentry work shop and for storage.
Mario called me sobbing that his sister had died.
She was just 11 years old and there had been nothing wrong with her.
She had come home from school yesterday afternoon, excited that she would be in a parade today in Solola....It is the annual fair in Solola...which is the capital of this departmento ( like a state) .
She was to be dancing in the parade.
Her mother said that she saw her eat some radishes, ( the family grows radishes ) and that she was fine till 4p.m. when she started vomiting .
Tierra Linda has no ambulance, they have no medical care.
Mario's house is a long way out of town.
It is also not the custom here to rush to the doctor.
By 6p.m. when Mario got home his little sister ...he told me...was unable to speak. I am not sure whether he means she was already unconscious or that she was so weak from vomiting.
They got her to the hospital around 8.p.m. and she passed away just before midnight.
The family asked us to come to the hospital this morning when they would receive the body.
We went there to help them. The hospital was closed for visiting hours and all the hallways were very empty. We were taken to the morgue where the family was waiting, they opened the door to the morgue and asked us to come in. There was the body of little Irma lying on the table ....an elder from Tierra Linda was preparing her body to go into the coffin. She was so tiny for 11 years old.
I was not expecting to go into the morgue and it was a real shock to see her little body lying there.
It was also a shock to realize that the little parcel wrapped in a costale ( corn bag) lying on the next table, was that of a baby. I read the tag and it was a 1 month, 10 day old girl .
The father told me that the doctor had said that a vein burst in her head and that is what caused her death .
So many questions around that.
Irma was one of 10 children and she was elder of the two girls in the family. This is going to be very hard for the little sister.
After leaving the hospital, we took the father to buy sweet bread that he would need for the viewing today. Sweet bread and coffee is offered to guests who come and support the family in their vigil by the coffin...all day today , all night members of the family will sit next to the coffin and she will be buried tomorrow.
It was poignant to see all the happy children in their parade outfits who had finished doing the parade in Solola and realize that Irma should have been one of them.
Instead her body was being transported back from Solola to the village of Tierra Linda.
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