Rosi is a seven-year-old second-grader, the sixth of eight siblings. The family home consists of three adobe-wall and dirt-floor rooms, with no bathroom or drainage, in a rural settlement outside the town of Vacas, Bolivia. They are subsistence farmers, surviving primarily on the potatoes, barley, wheat and beans they harvest on their small plot. The greatest hopes of Rosi’s parents, Fidel and Alicia, are to see their children study and have a better life than theirs. Their two oldest children are already enrolled in the local university.
But ever since kindergarten, it was especially difficult for Rosi to attend school due to her persistent respiratory illnesses and chronic cough. Her ill health became especially obvious when she was unable to keep up with the other children on the playground or in physical education class without gasping for air and turning blue.
After being referred to a pediatric cardiologist at Clinica Belga in Cochabamba, Rosi was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a cyanotic congenital heart defect which is actually a constellation of three or four abnormalities of the heart. The condition inhibits the body from getting the oxygen it needs, which explains why it is often associated with the appropriately-named "blue baby syndrome."
The family was clearly unable to pay for such a specialized surgery, but was relieved to be referred to the social workers at PuenteSol who reassured Fidel and Alicia that Rosi qualified for assistance through the Solidarity Bridge heart surgery program. The surgery was performed by Dr. Carlos Brockman at Clínica Belga on July 9th, 2014, and a week later Rosi was back home. A mesh donated by Solidarity Bridge and funding by Isaac and Rene Goff of Dharma Trading Co. helped make Rosi’s surgery possible, with the hope that soon she can begin to live a life closer to that of her siblings and schoolmates. Fidel and Alicia also breath easier since the surgery, with renewed hope that Rosi may follow in her older siblings’ footsteps and go to university, on the path to a better future.