Monday, July 07, 2008

Indigenous Baby Needs Your Help

By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A young mother fearing her baby would be murdered, fled from her village on a treacherous journey to find help this week. She arrived to safety Wednesday, and now people in the area are asking for help and a doctor.

A family strangled their 5-year-old-boy because he could not walk on the Chirripó Indian reserve, said a expat neighbor. The young mother, Blanca Rosa, feared her 2-year old daughter, whose left hand is limp and who does not talk, would be next. She fled the village and walked for four days with her child and mother to the nearest non-Indian community, said the neighbor.

Blanca Rosa carried her baby Pricilla over raging rivers and helped her feeble mother climb over rugged terrain until they reached safety, said Ginnee Hancock, who lives on a farm below the mountainous reserve and is involved with the Voz Que Clama Mission, the nearest settlement in the area.

Many of the Cabécar Indian people believe any sort of disability is sign of an evil spirit, said Ms. Hancock. One woman was told that she should kill her son who had cerebral palsy, said Ms. Hancock, adding that the mother was told to stop feeding her son so he'd die faster. Ms. Hancock also said that without enough food, villagers may believe they cannot afford to feed those unable to work.

There is a young man who lives at the mission who suffered a spinal cord injury when he fell out of a tree. The boy is covered in scars from head to toe, said Ms. Hancock, because his own family tried to beat and stone him to death.

Since the mission is already over its legal capacity of residents, Blanca Rosa, her baby, and her mother Roxana are staying nearby in the home of an Indian family. Ms. Hancock said she plans to have a doctor see Priscilla at William Allen Hospital in Turrialba today. But, she added a specialist will most likely be needed to diagnose the child's medical condition. Since the family has no money, Ms. Hancock needs to find a doctor in Costa Rica willing to help, she said.

“Priscilla is almost 2 and is severely underdeveloped. She cannot walk or crawl, is not trying to talk at all and has a hard time focusing,” reported Ms. Hancock. “Her eyes . . . my daughter says it is as if there is nothing there . . . the fist never unclenched. The fingers did flex out when my daughter opened the fingers, so they can open, but the child could not keep the fingers open.”

The entire Cabécar village is especially in need of rice and beans right now, said Ms. Hancock. She said she has contacts in San José who could deliver the food to Turrialba. If anyone could donate it would be greatly appreciated, said Ms. Hancock.

For more information those interested can contact Donations into the mission's bank account can be made via Pay Pal at

“The directors of the mission take no salary. All money donated goes to help the Cabécar, the rural poor around Tuis and the Cabécar on the reservation,” said Ms. Hancock. A.M. Costa Rica featured the sprawling, remote reserve in a news story in February.

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