of the month
By Rich Petersen
Xochitl Natalí García Márquez
Niños Incapacitados is happy to introduce you to Xochitl Natalí García Márquez. Perhaps you haven’t heard or seen this name before—Xochitl (pronounced SO-chil) comes from the indigenous Náhuatl language (a pre-Hispanic language) and means “flower.”
Little Xochitl is two years old and lives with her family in Tlachichilco, east of Chapala on the road to Mezcala. Xochitl was born prematurely (before seven months gestation) and in addition was a breech baby and had to be delivered by Cesarean section. Unfortunately before delivery her mother had to wait for medical attention (a problem all-too-common here in Mexico) and therefore the baby’s oxygen supply was diminished, resulting in what is known as cerebral paralysis or cerebral palsy. She only weighed two kilos at birth and had to spend one month in an incubator.
Cerebral palsy or brain paralysis encompasses several disorders which affect body movement, balance and posture and is caused by abnormal development or damage to one or more parts of the brain that control muscle tone and movement. Children with this disorder are slow to develop with regard to sitting up, crawling, and walking. Xochitl has just recently begun to be able to hold her head up straight, but still at age two cannot walk or crawl. With therapy she is now beginning to say a few words.
Xochitl’s mother, Alma Rosa, has two other children, Marco Antonio y Azucena, and is raising the children on her own. She designs and makes earrings for a wholesaler jeweler in Guadalajara but is only paid a fraction of what the earrings eventually sell for in the city.
Mom has been diligent and tireless in helping her daughter overcome her cerebral palsy. Physical therapy is the only way to accomplish this, and mother and daughter attend therapy sessions 2-3 times every week at the DIF facility in Chapala. Those of us who have known this family for over a year now are able to see the progress little Xochitl is making. She is much more interactive and most always has a big smile on her face when she comes to see us.
Niños Incapacitados has been paying for her therapy, transportation into the city for doctors’ appointments, and special scans to monitor her brain activity. We are hopeful that over the years Xochitl will make further progress and be able to lead a more normal life.
Niños Incapacitados welcomes everyone to our monthly meetings the second Thursday of each month at 10:30 a.m. in the garden area of La Nueva Posada in Ajijic. For more information please see our website: www.programaninos.org.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com