Walk, Luquitas! – Get the Amazonian boy on his feet

Update posted by Lukasz and Kinga Krokoszynscy On Mar 31, 2019

Dear Supporters!

Thank you for being with us. We will continue to look for ways to help the family and the boy, but so far this plan has failed. We have reached a point where we are no longer able to see any possibilities of going on with the program and getting Lucas operated (if, indeed that is what he needs, which has now become an open question). Because of that, we have decided to return the money to our supporters. We are very sorry that we are not able to refund all of you and with the full amount. Part of the money has gone into helping the family stay in Iquitos during all the delays. Also, smaller part of the money went into fees. We are returning what is left and we hope that you can accept it in order to maybe help someone else.

If you are interested in the details, keep on reading below.

To all of you, thank you so much!


***

Last year we have been trying to get Luquitas to be operated. The delays began when it turned out that the clinic's guest house in Lima is being renovated, and so they could not provide housing for Luquitas' mother. But if we found a place for her to stay, Lucas was ready to be sent at any moment. At some point in summer, the person responsible for the clinic's program of helping poor children has ceased to respond messages and receive calls.

Luckily, Łukasz has been in Iquitos a few times between August and October. He found that it was incredibly difficult to receive straight answers from the clinic concerning the constant delays.

First, we did manage to find people who would help the family if they went to Lima. Happy with the news, Łukasz went to the clinic to schedule the trip. There, he learned that there will be another month of delay because of a continuing event taking up time of all the workers. No surprise there, we have been patient with so many delays before.

Returning after the said month to Iquitos, Łukasz was told that the person managing the whole program is quitting her job. On top of that, the clinic's secretary told him that there would be no money for any more operations, and that the continuity of the whole program was questionable with the recent change in clinic's management. He was advised to visit in yet another month once things will have settled.

On this last visit, no news of the program. Accidentally, however, it turned out that the person managing the project before was still working at the clinic at another post. She explained that the money for the program have indeed been used up. Despite of us waiting with Luquitas through all the delays, at some earlier point, possibly due to a misunderstanding, the clinic decided that Luquitas' mother was not able to go and supposedly immediately sent another child in their place.

She also offered to try and make new arrangements with the new director of the clinic. In the process, we all learned to our dismay that there was no diagnosis in Luquitas' clinic history, and all the previous x-rays have been lost. The very same doctor who has been seeing Lucas for 2 years could not tell what was responsible for Luquitas' deformity until he saw the new x-ray. And therefore, he could not decide whether Lucas needed to be operated immediately, or once he reached the age of 10. This was beyond belief. No one could answer and would not ask on what basis has Lucas been admitted to the operation program. Since this was Łukasz's last day in Iquitos, he got Lucas to have his x-rays made and was promised that the doctor will see the boy once the pictures were ready.

Trying to get things done back from Poland became virtually impossible. Since Łukasz left, he was again unable to get in touch with the lady who offered to make new arrangements. Lucas' mother has been visiting the clinic several times, and never being able to find the lady, or be seen by the doctor. Łukasz has seen that she is not treated fairly or seriously in the clinic, possibly because of their village origin. She gave up and we can't convince her to try again. It does not help in her motivation that Luquitas so far walks on his deformed legs and supposedly does not complain. She is planning to see another doctor, but that will be another story.

Some consolation can be gained from the side effect of the whole plan. The family will likely stay permanently in Iquitos rather than go back to the river. This means better schools for the kids and some access to medical care (versus virtually none in the village). So if part of the money was used, it was still for the transition to the city, which might mean relatively better future for all of them.

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Update posted by Lukasz and Kinga Krokoszynscy On Jun 28, 2018

Hi everyone!

Things have been silent for a while, so here's an update. There are good news and those that quite frankly could be better.

1. For one, we are all still waiting for the date of the operation. Hopefully, the decision will be made within nearest weeks, and Lucas is still on the list. Yay!

2. Between the two sites, we have been able to gather almost 50% of what will be needed!

!!!Thank you to all who have helped and who have shared!!!

3. In the meanwhile, the conditions have changed in that the clinic's hostel in Lima has been shut down for renovation. This means no free accommodation. We need to find - and pay - for a place for Meri and Mini to stay in Lima.

4. So far, Luquitas, his mother Meri and sister Mini have been staying with a remote Aunt on the outskirts of Iquitos. They need to stay in Iquitos, so to make sure that they are still on the list, and so as to not miss the call, and make it on time (this happened last year!).

4a. Meri's brother

As if staying at the Aunt's was not uneasy enough for Meri, her brother arrived from another city a few weeks ago. We were glad, hoping he would be able to help Meri out. However, he quickly contracted dangerous dengue fever that is spreading in Iquitos. He has been seriously ill for the past two weeks and dependent on Meri's attention. So, Meri was left with no help and no money. The four of them became dependent on their poor Auntie.

4b. Meri's mother and remaining children

But what truly makes things difficult in many ways is this.

As we have mentioned before, Meri's mother had been taking care of the remaining 3 children back in the home village (yes, you remember right, at least 7 days of travel from Iquitos). Which was great, since this allowed Meri to wait in Iquitos and travel with Lucas to Lima.

However, Meri's mother had been calling with bad news for the last two months. She had been suffering from an intensifying stomachache until she became unable to work, move and eat herself. For Meri's kids under her care, this obviously was bad news.

Couldn't Meri's mother see a doctor?

In this remote location, there is only one medical post in a neighbouring village. It is manned by only one nurse with only the rudimentary medical knowledge and capacities. When this nurse is off, the whole Upper Tapiche area remains without even this basic medical assistance. And guess what - the nurse has been gone for weeks. Seriously worried over her condition, Meri's mother decided to embark on a logger's boat and travel 4 days downriver to the town of Requena. And from there, to Iquitos and search for medical attention.

And so, apart from Meri's mother - no one else would take care of the three kids - least of all, sadly, their estranged father who lives in the same village.

Meri's mother has just arrived in Iquitos, sick, unable to care for herself, and bringing the remaining three kids to Meri. Now, she has trouble accessing her state medical insurance. A privately paid USG specialist said: "a tumour in the liver". But this is another Amazonian story.

***

To recap: Meri, her brother, her mother and her five children are staying in the poor Auntie's house and depend on what her small field yields. For Lucas, this means that *for now*, Meri is unable to go with him to Lima leaving everyone else behind, even if the date were to be finally known.

But we still do not give up, and neither does Meri. We intend to influence the father to make him feel responsible for his son and family - and to take Lucas to Lima himself (where he would feel much more secure than Meri). And we intend to continue gathering the funds until Lucas goes through his operation, sooner or later, with this or another obstacle. In the future, he can be the one to help his family out.

Could you please ask a friend if she or he can help?

So, as you can see, if you ever get to question your privilege, or complain about your life, you can think of Meri and her family: from the remotest village in the remote and marginalized region of a country that struggles with ubiquitous, incapacitating corruption and a gaping chasm between those who can and have everything, and those who can and have nothing. And her story or the story of her mother and brother are no exceptions, or not even the most dramatic ones. Living in this part of Peru, you come to hear such stories everywhere around you, and you come to accept them as the sad norm! No good education, no even half-decent health care, not to mention the money or honest authorities...

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He's going to walk again!

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Lukasz and Kinga Krokoszynscy

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We were wed by a long adventure in the Peruvian Amazon. It is a looong story! We now live in Poland, but our thoughts go to Peru.

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