Gwo Vant (Big Belly)
May 31st 2012 – Completely withdrawn, Dayana had a swollen belly, face, ankles, and feet, skin taught from kwashiorkor protein deficiency. She weighed 23.5 lbs and would shed 20% of her swollen body weight before starting to put on healthy pounds. There was a deep sadness to Dayana’s eyes that we couldn’t touch. When asked what Dayana likes to do, the other kids from Kenscoff would quickly respond on her shy behalf “Dayana doesn’t know how to do anything,” only confirming our suspicion that she had shut down as an emotional self-protection measure long before she arrived at our gates. Eating was hard for her, sleeping was hard for her, accepting affection was hard for her, she remained to herself, quietly observing beneath half closed eyes the people around her. She was in pain, her swollen limbs aching with too quick a movement she remained still most of the time, stiffening when someone would pick her up, or another child bumped into her.
1 yr later – “Gwo Vant” has kept her nickname, but the belly that once protruded from hosting an army of parasites is now a healthy jelly belly that likes to be tickled and works overtime as we have to control Dayana’s intake of her new found love of food. Having gained over 60% of her body weight, Dayana is now 38 lbs and a full 5 inches taller, bringing her to a boxy 38lbs/38inches. To the old question “Dayana what do you like to do?” She herself now quickly responds, “I can do everything!” Which she can! Dayana loves to joke, she laughs at her humor, even when no one else does. She finds joy in the most random occurrences of daily life. She sings while putting on her pjs, she dances when going to bed, she skips through the yard to school, and races to the dining room for meals. Though at times we see in our little Dayana the faraway look of deep embedded pain and loss that she mirrored constantly through her first weeks here, daily there is evidence of a growing confidence in herself, willing to let us in, to accept our love, and to love without fear those around her. She enjoys drawing, loves to be creative with her hands, and proudly shares her artist endeavors, waiting expectantly for the praise she knows is due her. We have heard from other parents that have come to visit their kids that Dayana’s mother died several years ago and she has no known family in the area. Her future is very much up in the air, and at six yrs old she has experienced things a child should never have to go through. Pray with us that we may never fail this little soul on her long journey to trust again.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
To be continued…
Posted on Tue, May 21, 2013