By Brooke Gazer
When you are at the grocery check out, your total is rarely an even number. Your bill might be $273.61pesos. At Soriana, the clerks ask you, “Do you want to donate the centavos to …?” If you answer “yes” they round it up to $274. Nobody misses the 33 tiny centavos; in fact most stores just keep it. Using those stray centavos, Soriana supports various charities throughout the year. This year, from July 1 through October 31, Un Nuevo Amanecer was the recipient and during those four months the centavos added up to a whopping $76,785.97 pesos!
In the small facility which is located above the hardware store “Ferrealianza” on Calle Jazmin, UNA helps a wide range of disabled children in Huatulco and the surrounding communities. Through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and special education, they assist children with down syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, learning impairment and infants born with various respiratory and/or motor impairments.
Rodrigo is 18 months old and has been coming with his mother for the past year. His diagnosis is not completely certain, but some doctors in Oaxaca believe he has cerebral palsy. When he began treatment at the center he was unable to hold his head upright, it lolled to one side or the other. This not only affected his ability to breathe properly but the strain on his upper spinal cord inhibited his ability to control his limbs. After a year of physical therapy he has developed 70% control over his neck muscles with a positive prognosis that eventually he will gain complete control.
At the same time little Rodrigo has severe problems with his lower limbs. They were turned inward at an angle of about 40 degrees and he suffers from severe attacks of spasms. Through Teletón México, his mother has been able to take him to the Centro de Rehabilitación Infantil in Oaxaca City once a month where both legs are put into plaster casts in order to straighten them and to prevent them from going into spasms.
UNA is working on his upper body while the doctors in Oaxaca are hopeful of success on his lower extremities. The treatments, therapy, and exercises he must comply with are not easy. Sometimes it is hard for such a little tyke to understand what is being done to him but this brave little soul endures as best he can. At UNA there are three other small children with similar neck issues and two Down syndrome children who also need therapy to support their heads properly. There is however, some light at the end of this long dark tunnel.
Josiline was a little girl with a similar condition. She suffered with severe spasms and was unable to hold her head upright. She was one year old when she began therapy at UNA and at age twenty she walks and moves more or less normally. Although she also has some learning impairment, she has come a long way to becoming self sufficient and enjoys being part of the baking project at UNA. This occupational therapy was developed last year. The goal is to teach skills which will allow them to earn some money and help them to live with some degree of independence. I cannot think of a better way to use those stray centavos. Kudos to Soriana!
Brooke Gazer operates an oceanview bed and breakfast in Huatulco. www.bbaguaazul.com
Events to support UNA
What: Brunch and Bingo
When: Friday, Dec. 4 at 10:00 AM
Where: Marina Park Plaza, conference room
Tickets: Henriette Clays PH: (044) 958 583 7664
Cost: 250 pesos which include a bingo card for 1 game.
Extra cards will be available for 20 pesos.
Prizes will be donated by various local restaurants and business.
What: Blues on the Beach –Huatulco, Concert/Beach Party
When: Jan 21, 2016 and Feb 25, 2016
Where: Latitude 15º in Chahue
Cost: 300 pesos
These beach parties/concerts have become much anticipated annual events in Huatulco with spectacular participation well in excess of 300 locals and tourists. If there is any chance of being in Huatulco at this time, mark these dates on your calendar. Look for more details in the January issue of The Eye.