Saturday, March 3, 2012

How Much Would You Pay to be able to Hear?

Our Finding Freedom through Friendship board members are fortunate to have our health. None of us have lost our vision, hearing or any major sensory ability. It was therefore understandable that we were reluctant to spend $700 of our funding to assist a young lady in remote northern Guatemala with the purchase of a hearing aid. In fact, we couldn't afford to do so, despite our original intention to help. When the bid for the hearing aid came in it was twice as much as we thought it would be. Thanks to our close working relationship with Adopt-A-Village's founder and director, Frances Dixon, we were able to combine our funds with AAV's and work together to help with this request.                
 Candalaria's father had moved to Guatemala City and worked for three years to be able to afford her original hearing aid, which was now too old and damaged to function. He had carefully packaged the original aids manual and receipt in a plastic bag and carried it to Frances in Huehuetenango when he originally sought help. Frances mailed it to me in Kentucky so that I could seek a donation. Replacing it with a model from the U.S. that was logistical and would function without frequent follow-up was not possible. AAV and FFF worked together to get this young woman to a credible ear doctor, to have her hearing tested and to provide the long transportation to and from her village. We assisted with $400 of the needed funding and $100 in transportation costs.
But admittedly, I still struggled with this expense...our funds are so precious...and it was enough money to feed all of our students for a month. And then I received this from Frances today. The expense seems trivial in light of the positive effect it had on Candalaria's life. We think you will agree.

I am happy to tell you that prior to my departure from Guatemala, I had the opportunity to visit Candalaria, the girl who you helped with the hearing aid, and her father.
My only wish is that you could have been with me, because truly, your heart would have been so full at meeting her.  She is a lovely, gracious young woman of 22, and was so overwhelmingly grateful for the help you and Adopt-a-Village provided her by giving her back her hearing.  Her father and brother were equally as grateful and it really struck me how much care and love exists in that family, one for the other.  The family is very protective of Candalaria.
Between them, they told me that after her original hearing aid “gave up”, Candalaria no longer left their hut, she stayed inside day and night, fearful to leave because she could not hear.  Now, she told me proudly, she goes out to talk to the neighbors.  And the big prize was when her brother recently took her on the bus to visit a distant aunt, it sounds like it was a very special vacation for Candalaria (although a trip that neither you nor I would dub a vacation!)
I have a letter of thank here that I will mail to you on Monday.
Thank you for participating in this deeply meaningful project with Adopt-a-Village.