Grace (not her real name), lives in Mango. She's 11 years old. We met her while doing house visits during our October trip to Mango.
One day, Grace decided to climb a coco tree to get some coconuts. While trying to cut them... she fell about 7 meters to the ground. Arms out to protect herself, she hit the ground hard and heard a loud snap. She didn't know what was worse, the searing pain or seeing her bone sticking out through her skin.
Grace's 25 year old mom Norah (not her real name), was about 2 hrs away working on their farm, so her grandfather did his best to push her bone back in a wrap up her arm.
In Mango... there is no medical clinic. The nearest one is a 4 hour boat ride up river to Tortuguero. The boat ride costs 120 cordobas (US $4) each way, which is about 4 days wages for most people in this area. A trip to the clinic also typically means having to stay overnight in Tortuguero adding extra cost.
Grace's family made the decision not to take Grace to the clinic in Tortuguero. It was not only due to the cost, but they believed Grace's arm would heal if they continued to massage it and wrap it up tightly. They also had some pretty strong fears that the doctors might want to amputate her arm.
Our visit to Grace's house last October... was 7 months after she had fallen. She struggled to move her arm, had lost the use of her right hand and could barely move her fingers. Norah explained, that even Grace's personality had changed since the accident because she loved school but had to re-learn to write again with her left hand and couldn't do it as well. She had "pena" - which means shame.
Our friend Mayra, a doctor and the director of our kids program, advised that we take Norah and Grace to Managua with us so we could take her to the hospital. Norah agreed. This would be their first time going to Managua and they had a lot of fears about being in city, but they trusted us. Grace was admitted into one of the best hospitals in Managua and x-rays quickly showed that her arm was still broken in two places. A few days later she had surgery that involved screwing her bones back together, but this wouldn't be enough. Grace would need to return for more surgeries.
Grace just had her second surgery last week. Doctors took some bone from her leg and grafted it into the bone in her arm. She's staying with us now for a few weeks while she recuperates. She'll go home soon and return for a third operation in a few months. This time, doctors will try to repair some damage done to her nerves and restore the use of her hand.
Grace's story reminds me of me... and actually all of us. Jesus talked about falling spiritually... "falling into temptation...falling into sin...and falling away."
When we do "fall"... sometimes we're like Grace's family. We tell ourselves "it's not that big of a deal" or we try to "fix" ourselves rather than going to the only one that can truly restore us and make us like new again ~ God, our creator.
Grace is doing really well now. It's been amazing to witness the change in her over the last few months and Nora too. Hope has been restored and is giving way to faith... that someday soon, Grace will be able to use her right hand again soon!
"You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth" ~ Psalm 71:20 NLT