GUATEMALA – When their daughter Dulce was born, loving parents Alfredo and Erenia were overjoyed. However, the doctors had some bad news. “Since Dulce was born we knew that things were not right,” Alfredo said. “The doctors told us that she was born with strabismus, but that it was possible that her eye would return to the normal position when she grew up.” Hoping that the issue would correct itself on its own, they waited.
Strabismus is a disorder that prevents both eyes from looking at the same place all the time. As time went on, it became clear that Dulce’s eyes were not getting any better. One day when the family was visiting grandma’s house, Dulce and her sister, Alisson, were running and climbing when Dulce’s poor vision led to a fall that knocked the young girl unconscious. “At that moment I was filled with fear,” Erenia recalled. “I thought Dulce was going to die. We quickly rushed her to the hospital. Thank God she was fine.”
The incident shook Erenia and Alfredo to the core. They knew something had to be done for their daughter, but they couldn’t afford the operation Dulce needed. As she grew older, her strabismus began to not only affect Dulce’s vision, but her relationships in school and her self-esteem as well.
One day, Dulce said to her mother, “Mom, I’m very ugly, my friends are right, I look weird.” The words devastated her parents. “I never thought that Dulce would think that of herself,” Erenia said. “Her words tore something inside of me and I did not know what to say. I just took her in my arms trying to erase that thought from her mind.”
Alfredo and Erenia were desperate to find help for their daughter. Erenia recalled, “We sought help from many other NGOs. We did not have the money to take Dulce to a private doctor.” Alfredo added, “We visited more than seven different organizations, but none gave us a definitive solution.” Alfredo and Erenia worked tirelessly to find a solution for Dulce, often leaving the house at 4 a.m. to work.
Finally, they found what appeared to be a solution, a doctor offered to operate on Dulce for $450. Aflredo tried to get help from friends and family to raise the money, but they turned their backs on him. All seemed lost. Dulce would not get the operation she so desperately needed.
Then, at last, came a breakthrough. Operation Blessing staff in Guatemala heard Dulce’s story and began working with the Moore Pediatric Center to provide Dulce’s operation free of charge. Not only did Operation Blessing provide for the surgery, but also for transportation, lodging, meals, and medications as well.
Today, Dulce is well on the road to a full recovery. Her eyesight has dramatically improved and she no longer fears the ridicule of her peers. Truly, young Dulce’s life has been transformed.