Adelaida is the youngest of five children of Hugo and Alberta, who live in an isolated community pertaining to the township of Quillacollo, on remote mountain slopes outside of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The community provides a prime example of a subsistence economy. The potatoes they grow are the basis of their diet, and little money is ever exchanged. The family also has one cow, which provides milk to drink and occasionally to make cheese for family consumption. Flowers harvested twice a year represent the only cash crop. When the family needs money during the rest of the year, Hugo works as a peon on one of the farms in the region. The family built their own four-room adobe house, which has electricity but no bathroom.
Adelaida was more sickly as a baby than her older siblings, and struggled to breathe while nursing and when she managed to fall into deep sleep. Her mother found she had to offer more frequent feedings than with her previous babies to keep Adelaida’s weight up. Eventually the baby was diagnosed with moderate ductus arteriosus with slightly increased systolic pressure in the pulmonary artery and chronic increased volumes in her left cavities. Adelaida’s condition was monitored over time and had stabilized thanks to her mother’s close care. But around one year of age, Doppler studies confirmed she would need surgery to repair the shunt. Doctors advised her parents it was time to look in to surgery.
Given the subsistence economy they live in, it is unheard of for families in Hugo and Alberta’s community to have significant cash reserves, much less an amount sufficient for complex cardiac surgery. They were referred to the PuenteSol Foundation, where Alberta shared her plea in her native Quechua language:
Where are we going to get so much money? Our families are also poor and we don’t know anyone who could lend us so much money. That’s why we ask you to help us so that my tiny daughter can be healed.
Adelaida received her surgery on October 1st, 2012 at the Clinica Belga in Cochabamba.This surgery was made possible through the financial support of Dharma Trading Company. Her parents are very grateful for the support from Solidarity Bridge, without which little Adelaida’s life may have been cut short, and most certainly would have been marked by health problems. She is now a happy and virtually normal toddler.