Zoila is a playful seven-year-old with a contagious giggle. Gelsi is her older sister, who says through drawing, dancing and physical affection what she cannot convey in words.
You may have seen them in some of our videos. Before coming to Casita, they lived in an orphanage where they barely had enough to survive. Today, the sisters live in a loving home.
Most importantly: they receive medical attention for their epilepsy. This disease can be life-ruining in Copan, a town with no hospitals and definitely no pediatric neurologists. They have to go to San Pedro Sula, a city 3 hours away, to receive specialized care.
The hospital expenses are exorbitant, especially in relation to all the other expenses that are incurred by taking care of the girls. The total budget for Casita increased by almost 5% this year because of all the hospital trips and their ensuing prescriptions and exams.
Going to the doctor is a scary enough experience for a child, so imagine adding a 6 hour round trip on winding mountain roads and staying awake the previous night in preparation for the an EEG exam. Zoila and Gelsi are lucky that they get to go to the doctor, accompanied by a loving caregiver. For many children like them in Honduras, the opportunities for quality health care are slim.
We have talked before about the lack of access for people in rural communities in Honduras. The public hospitals are often overcrowded and short of supplies. They are also concentrated in the major urban areas, leaving places like Copan without basic health care services. The children of Casita rely on us to fill in these gaps, where too many Honduran children have already fallen through.
For Gelsi, the resources Casita Copan provides are essential. She is unable to attend public school as they are ill-equipped to handle her special needs; her time at our daycare center is where she interacts with other children and learns communication and cognitive skills. Zoila is a bright, rambunctious little girl who loves roughhousing. She gets better at managing her emotions every day, with the support from her foster family and everyone at Casita.
Their experience is not much different than that of the other children we work with. The only thing that changes for them is that they have to take their medicine 3 times a day, and every now and then, we have to help them through seizures. The latter don’t happen very often because, thanks to all our supporters, the girls are getting access to the medicine they need.
Pediatric neurology is, unfortunately, a very rare specialty in Honduras, and its price tag reflects this scarcity. A routine visit to a neurologist can cost as much as $500. That may sound cheap for a medical visit, but here in Honduras, that same amount of money could provide 1,000 (yes, one thousand!!) meals to the children in our care.
Without treatment, we cannot bear to imagine what these two little girls would have to go through. You can help us ensure that we never have to find out. Donate today to our CasitaCare campaign and help Gelsi and Zoila lead a carefree childhood!