One family from Trujillo (a city north of Lima on the coast) found out about the team and immediately flew to Pucallpa Thursday. That kind of money doesn't come easily around here. They got to the hospital at 4 am on Friday morning, but there were no spots left for the daughter, a 10-year-old who is nearly deaf, to be seen. The dad decided to stay and try to convince the doctors to see her.
Along came an elderly man who had an appointment to be seen. He noticed that the dad and daughter looked like they weren't from here, and they got into a conversation about her condition. Finally, the older man said, "You know, I'm already old. Let her take my place." So the older man gave up his spot until next November, and the girl got to be seen.
When she got to the audiology lab, Allen didn't think he could do anything for her. He was pretty moved by her story and discouraged that after all their traveling, they would go home empty handed. He decided to try one type of hearing aid on the girl but was very doubtful that it would do her any good.
Well it did. Not a lot, maybe, but she could hear a little more. In fact, she asked us to turn down her hearing aid! The dad was sitting next to her and called her name. As she turned her head to answer, he literally jumped out of his chair, so excited to see his daughter hear his voice. I think it was about then that the rest of us broke down into tears.
I'm so grateful that I had the chance to see these amazing stories this week and to be a part of them in a little way. I feel a little sad writing about them because I know I don't have the words to make them real for you. They're the same feel-good stories you read about in a magazine, maybe, and appreciate in a distant way. Here on the ground, it's not so distant. We've eaten in their homes and counseled them through tough situations, played with their children and run into them in the market. To see them hear for the first time is more than a feel-good story. It makes all my exhaustion and frustration nothing in comparison to the gifts I receive being here.