Monday, February 14, 2011

A miracle at Casa Damasco

Casa Damasco has come a long way since I was here last winter. Some of you recall me writing about it during my times here the last 2 years. I wrote about how dirty it was and how small it was, and how I felt that every person should be able to live and die with dignity and how that wasn’t happening at Casa Damasco. I am not and was not then blaming anyone, everyone that was involved did the best they could with what they had at the time. What was needed was a miracle and that is just what they got last March. I visited them last Sunday in their new facility and I was so overwhelmed at this miracle before me that I actually cried, I stood there and cried, not full out crying but tears running down my face. What has happened there is unbelievable.  They have a huge facility, with a huge lot; they have a huge dorm like room. Each person has his/her own bed with a chest of draws for their own things and clothes, they are no longer sleeping on the floor, there is no longer a pile of clothes in a corner where they would just wear whatever they grabbed that day.  Each bed has a ceiling fan above it (this room has a very very high ceiling), there are windows and big sliding doors at each end of the room also with sliding screens. There are a couple of smaller rooms in case someone needs to be contained or quarantined. There is a bathroom (an actual room, not just a toilet in a corner) with a big shower with hot water. They have a laundry room with a brand new washing machine. There is a separate building for the ladies, with a kitchen and bathroom and a washing machine as well. The main kitchen is on a nice tiled patio, with a juice bar like counter and a walk in pantry, there is lots of room for long tables and moving wheelchairs around, this patio also has 3 ceiling fans. And here is the biggy.......they have 3 paid staff members that live on the premises and the place is clean, very clean. The floors were gleaming and shining (is gleaming and shining the same thing?) anyway, the place was clean. The yard is huge, with 2 patio tents set up for shade. There are no plants or tress but there is certainly room for a big garden and many trees. There are plans to do some landscaping yet (I would love to be involved) the people can now move around if they are mobile, they are comfortable and can now live and die in dignity that they deserve. The moral of the place seems to have changed too, before there were a few people that would just sit with their heads down and just never look up, this was not the case on Sunday, every person that I greeted had something to say to me, I of course didn’t understand it all. Nobody looked lost and forlorn. A few people have been transferred to different facilities where they can receive specialized treatment. Anyone that has ever donated and is still donating needs to know that they had a part in making this happen. This is an example of how one should never feel that you can’t make a difference even when the situation seems hopeless. When you leave room for God there is always hope  The financial situation hasn't changed a lot, they are still paying rent there and they are still relying on donations for all expenses. I would also like to point out that this move had nothing to do with us North Americans that are and have been volunteering there, there was local people that stepped in and made that happen. This  just goes to show that we can lend a helping hand, minister to the people, show the people we care, we can even put money to the problem, (like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it) we can buy tea towels and spoons (remember how I was disgusted with the tea towels last year) and we can create awareness about the problem but in the end it is the local people that need to step in in order to fix the hole in bucket. The hole in Casa Damsco's bucket has been fixed and now we North Americans can keep loving these people and help in keeping the bucket full.
Oh, when the locals reorganized and moved them into their new facility they also changed the name, it is now called "Una gota an el oceano" which means "One drop in the ocean" I am not sure what the reason was or how that came about but I think it's nice, it shows that they have taken ownership. 

The dorm room
The separate unit for the ladies, right now there are only 2 ladies

In the ladies unit they even have separate bedrooms, this is the sitting area
The yard, they have a nice tent for shade. As you can see the ground is rock and not great for wheelchairs but there are plans for some landscaping
And there are some puppies for entertainment ...yes he is wearing a sweater
and some rabbits...2 of them hummmm
and a bird......there is something for everybody 

The dining area with the kitchen in the back, check out the ceiling fan and the shiny floor

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