Category Archives: Health

Success Stories from the Field #6 – Eyes are the Windows to the World

Content warning – this post discusses suicidal feelings.’

Today, I was walking down the street and this gentleman calls out to me. ” Giselle, do you remember me?” I said” Your eyes”.

He gleefully answered…” six years ago your volunteer group of eye doctors found that I had cataracts. You took me to a clinic and I got treated and was able to see again.

Eye care specialist provide eyeglasses

What no one know at the time was that I was planning on taking my life by hanging myself. You saved my life”. Of course I got a little teary and pulled on the necklace I was wearing . (It had belonged to my mother). The string broke and tiny blue beads flew all over the street.

This man who once had been nearly blind and contemplated suicide, bent over and picked up ever single bead…even those that I couldn’t see because they were so teeny. He said” the hand of God is so with you. He is showing you this truth as I am able to see, find and pick up these little beads of your Mother.”

Indeed I saved his life…and…he taught me something I needed to know.

Happy Birthday to Alan

32 years old and still with us in spite of meeting death two years ago by falling out of a third story construction site. He literally fought for life and limb. He did lose part of his right leg…but saved his life.

We celebrated with a family lunch at KFC at a venue on the third floor. He sat by the window. Here is his wife, her 4 year old daughter and two sons and Alan’s son. Boy those kids can eat! We got a super mega bucket. They scarfed down everything but the very bones.

Zuly says she tells the kids..let’s go out to eat… so she cooks up some rice and beans and they put a blanket on the floor of their little balcony..and they are out to eat!

We pull up into the parking lot in my car and all tumble out…the old lady, the one legged man, the woman with an unusual face, the tiny girl, the very tall boy and the very thin boy. Just like a circus clown car.

After we eat we go to the outdoor park down below and play hide and seek. I won every time because I’m sneaky and always get to the home free tree first.

The Boyz on the Corner

As I was driving out today, I came across what we call “the boyz on the corner”. They all remember me as the condom lady from years past when Common Ground worked with them on reproductive health care.

The thing is…today we had a normal conversation. They weren’t all edgey. we talked about the “gangs” of La Carpio and how they longed for more peace and less violence. And how great it could be if we organized an activity where we could all just sit down together…who knows. ? Maybe the time has come, I thought. Finally. Maybe.

A Mother’s Continued Struggle

A mother, with her little baby she is breast feeding, and her oldest daughter who just earned her second degree in patient care. On her way to becoming a doctor. 16 years old…her 13 year old boy is in extreme screaming pain in the hospital after surgical intervention on which they “drained the liquid out of his médula”, she has to choose between staying in the hospital, caring for her other kids and going into witness protection. Which is required. We have provided food for her every day, paid for a woman to watch the kids, and given her the money for the moving truck. Also..our team has given her lunches and tracked down sacks for her to pack in. The ” plan ” of the OIJ is to take the kids in a van with her and her daughter out of the hospital in an ambulance and drive them all five hours away to a house at the edge of the highway in xxxxxx. An hour away from the nearest hospital, the nearest high school and five hours from the school where the daughter studies medicine. They will pay the rent for one f..ING month and then she is on her own. I’m trying to negotiate a house for her nearer to San Jose. I cannot imagine how her daughter will survive being bounced around in an ambulance four hours.

Names and locations omitted for protection.