Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I Collect Scars

Ella no creía en finales felices. Yo colecciono cicatrices.
She didn’t believe in happy endings. I collect scars.

This photo and quote were placed by Edgar on his Facebook page today. The quote is from a Spanish rap song called “Apolo y Dafne,” by Sharif. One can only try to imagine the thoughts in Edgar's mind and the emotions in his heart as he posted the photo (one he had taken in the past) and these words.
Edgar in his beloved mountains
Ten days ago Edgar was one of fifteen young people heading five hours into the mountains to share two truckloads of school supplies and clothing with children in the impoverished indigenous village of Aguaxoco. Twenty-two-year old Edgar, a student of Integral Community Development at the National Pedagogical University in Tlapa, had spent Holy Week in that village, and he and his friends wanted to surprise the children there with presents for the Day of the Child, a celebration held in Mexico every April 30. Unfortunately, the presents were never given out.
Edgar and friends praying in cathedral before heading for the mountains last week
We stopped in the village of Xochitepec on our way to Aguaxoco. Edgar wanted to go to a house down the side of the mountainside. A zigzag path led to the house. At one point, Edgar apparrently decided, instead of following the path, to jump down to the next level of the path that was a few meters below. But Edgar landed awkwardly, and his momentum led him to fall forward, down a steep ravine.
After the fall
It was evident that Edgar was seriously hurt. He complained about pain in his back and his chest, and he said that he couldn’t feel his legs. We tried to locate a doctor (by radio) from one of the nearby villages, but no such doctor could be found. We felt we had no choice but to bring him to the nearest hospital, in Acatepec. We placed him, with pillows and blankets, as level as we could in the truck, and I drove slowly (in four-wheel-drive low) for three and a-half hours over a terrible dirt road.
Arriving in Acatepec
In Acatepec, Doctor Alvaro gave him medication for the pain and sent him immediately in an ambulance—a three-hour drive—to Tlapa. He/we arrived in Tlapa at 10 PM. The next morning he was sent to a hospital in Mexico City.
The two trucks of gifts that never made it (yet) to Aguaxoco
On Sunday, May 1, doctors in Mexico City operated on Edgar’s spinal cord. They said that they found a jigsaw puzzle of broken fragments of bone. They placed two 50-cm bars alongside his spinal column. But they were unable to do anything that would allow Edgar to feel or move his legs. Two days later the doctors operated on Edgar’s fractured collarbone.
Edgar and four others from Tlapa with the children of Aguaxoco during Holy Week
Today, May 11, Edgar is supposed to be released from the hospital in Mexico City. He is still paralyzed from the waist down—at the moment. But he and his family—and all of his friends—have hope that rehabilitation and physiotherapy will allow him to recover from this paralysis. Time will tell.
Edgar in the hospital in Mexico City yesterday
Edgar’s family has asked me to bring them to Xochitepec this coming Sunday, so that they can “levantar la sombra” (“lift the shadow”) at the place where Edgar fell. This practice is common among the indigenous peoples here in the mountain. Once again, hope reigns supreme…
Edgar in Xochitepec with parish priests, Fathers Vicente and Juan
It was a tough week. I went twice to Mexico City to visit with Edgar and his family. As I sat on the overnight buses, I thought of the many families from Fort McMurray whose lives—like Edgar’s—were being turned upside down at this time. The scenes appeared on news channels here in Mexico. Edgar’s mother (Antonieta) and grandmother (Agustina) asked me to tell you that they are praying for you and your families “up there.”
Edgar losing a chess match to a formidable opponent in Xochitepec
Mission Mexico has helped so far with some of the ambulance fees, medical costs, and related items. Edgar’s friends have been gathering at the cathedral here in Tlapa every evening to pray for him, and they have been seeking donations to help cover some of the many costs. No one is sure what the future holds, but Edgar and his family will still confront many expenses: rehabilitation; travel; medical supplies; wheelchair; etc. If anyone reading this note about Edgar would like to help Edgar’s family, please give a donation to Mission Mexico. Thank you ever so much

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