Last week, I visited a 13 year old Honduran girl who is here in Boston at Shriners Hospital, being treated for burns. Dania is here without family, as is often the case, having to face surgeries alone. Not only has she been dealing with terrible burns, she also suffered the traumatic loss of having her beautiful, long hair shaved, so that the doctors could use some of her skin for grafting.
I accompanied two women who have befriended Dania, and offer her love, attention and home-cooking. They shared her story with me…
Dania is one of 12 children and has never had the opportunity to attend school. She cannot read, write or name colors. What struck me the harshest is when they described, “she’s never had the chance to play.” Such a shocking reality of life for many growing up in Honduras. Pre-schoolers are active contributors around the house. Older children often work outside the home, doing hard manual labor in order to earn a few “lempiras” (money) for their families.
Dania has missed the chance for a childhood because she has been the one in her family who is responsible for cooking. I have such fond childhood memories of “playing house” or “playing school”…Dania wasn’t playing.