Apolonia and her daughter Esmeralda survive by making jewelry and selling it on the street. Apolonia’s husband abandoned them both several years ago. Mother and daughter live in one small room with no windows. Despite their poverty, Esme and her Mom have a positive attitude toward life. They are two of the most generous people I have ever met, always putting the needs of others before themselves, and often gifting us with pieces of colorful jewelry they have made.
We started tutoring Esmeralda last year when we realized she was in danger of failing first grade. She did not know how to read even the simplest words. Since her mother never went to school, she was unable to help her daughter learn. Now, after months of intensive tutoring, Esme loves to sit down with us and show us how well she reads the stories of Dora the Explorer and many other favorites. I thank God for this little girl who brings us so much joy.
Last month, one of Apolonia’s friends told us she was worried because Apolonia had not been to downtown Cuernavaca to sell her jewelry for almost a week. So we went to their home to see what was wrong. We found Apolonia in bed, unable to see. The house was in disarray, and they had no food. A few weeks before, Apolonia had gone to a folk healer when she started having trouble with her eyes. The healer had rubbed an egg over her eyes and sent her home. Her eyesight continued to get worse. By the time we found her, she was almost completely blind.
That very day we took her to an ophthalmologist. After giving her a number of tests, he told us she had acute glaucoma. Most of the damage was irreversible, he said, but he promised to do everything possible to save her remaining eyesight. We immediately started collecting donations for her surgery.
A few days ago, Apolonia had surgery on her right eye. The results were miraculous. She regained much of her sight in that eye. We pray that the second surgery will be as successful.
The prayers and financial support of our benefactors make a world of difference to people like Apolonia and Esmeralda.