Ester
Hopscotch and
med school

“I will know what to say to children”

For a very long time, Ester was scared of ‘people with white coats.’ Yet now, Ester is seven, she is in second grade, and wants to become a doctor someday. “I spent so much time in hospitals, I want to be able to help kids like me, and I will know what to tell them.”

Ester writing on the blackboard
Ester writing on the blackboard

When she was one year old, a lump appeared on Ester’s neck, then on her foot and knee. Soon enough, although she was already standing and starting to walk, she couldn’t even crawl. It was the start of a long medical ordeal with many visits to the hospital, three surgeries and no results. Ester later escaped a programmed amputation because the nurse mistakenly fed her. The next day, a doctor said it was not necessary. Too scared to go back, even for the treatment, the family abandoned the process. And this is when they encountered Maria Celeste and Natercia, our outreach workers.

Ester and her parents told their stories and found comfort in telling these. The outreach workers gave them the psychological support they needed. Feeling it was a bit early to talk about medical care, they focused on the importance of sending Ester to school, as she was turning six.

Ester with the outreach workers
Ester with the outreach workers

Later on they finally convinced the family to go back to a hospital and accompanied them to a proper orthopaedics service. Finally, Ester went under a final surgery in January 2016. In February, she was walking.

Ester playing hopscotch in the playground
Ester playing hopscotch in the playground

Natercia says often families drop medical treatment, out of despair, and this is where an outreach programme plays a strong role to give courage and strength to continue. Referring them directly to the good service, accompanying them through what can be a difficult process. They fight against despair and soon enough, through moral support and good referral, as families see actual results, they have a very positive impact.

Ester with her parents
Ester with her parents

Today, Ester walks to school with her older sister Sifa. She is very excited during recess, and plays hopscotch relentlessly with her friends. Natercia will go and talk to her teacher, as Ester easily gets distracted with all her new possibilities. “I have so much time to catch up,” exclaims Ester. And she will have to study hard to become the good pediatrician she wants to be.

Ester and her sister on the way to school
Ester and her sister on the way to school

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