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Travel

Home visits in Villa el Salvador, Peru: Francisco

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

Francisco has just had his third stroke and is thought to be beyond rehabilitation. When we visited him, he clearly knew we were there, but was unable to communicate with us, as his speech and most of his movement had been affected by the stroke, except for movement in one arm. No communication was necessary for us to know that he was miserable. He so wanted to talk to us, and yet all that came out of his mouth was unintelligible sounds. His daughter (his wife was in the kitchen and didn't seem to want to talk to us) told us that the night before, he had made a hand signal across his throat indicating that he wanted to die. Hermana Jacci told him firmly it was God's decision when he would go, and he had no say in the matter. He cried when we left, and I did too.

Although Francisco was still able to attend the program at Los Martincitos after his first and second strokes, he is no longer able to attend because of his deteriorated condition. We now go to visit Francisco on a regular basis, since he cannot come to us. We talk to him and even try to joke with him, but it is difficult for him to respond. We believe he is comprehending because he squeezes Hermana Jacci's hand, and gesticulates wildly with his good arm when he doesn't agree with something, or wants to make a point.

Perhaps Francisco will improve, and will be able to attend the program again someday. If not, I pray that God intervenes and grants him his wish. No one should have to suffer, through no fault of their own, a life they cannot bear. Vaya con Dios, Francisco.

Read the rest of the blogs in this series here.