Mariposas por la frontera: Patient Story 

Written by Maria Cerra for the Iora blog   

The patient population at Grameen VidaSana is very special to say the least. About 99% of our patients are Latino immigrants wanting a better future for their children, seeking refuge from abuse, and/or escaping the limitations of their country’s economic and political bodies. Yearly, we honor them with an event in April called “Mariposas por la frontera,” which translates to “Butterflies across the border.” This past Friday we held yet another successful celebration – a morning of heartfelt conversations, Zumba and guitar performances, games, and a keynote from the representatives of the office of NY Senator Jessica Ramos. Our dedication to our patients speaks this truth louder than words.

For the event, we captured the stories of several patients, who remain anonymous, and displayed them alongside a portrait of their hands at work. Although all stories are equally representative of the courage that our patients have, there is one in particular that I would like to share with everyone.

Patient Story:
Although enamored with the bakery she had owned for six years in El Salvador, she abandoned her business with the hope of never having to submit to another abusive encounter from her husband. Leaving her 3-month old with her mother, she set out to find a better future for them both. To her, the voyage is synonymous with suffering. She had been weak and ill for days and asked the smugglers for water and rest. “No.” … The group continued on. Hours later she awoke, realizing that she had fainted and was now completely alone in the desert. Somewhere near the Mexican border, she wandered until she came across an immigration officer who saw his colleague approaching from the distance. “Go. Run.” She ran until she came upon a crossroad with 3 paths. She put her fate in God’s hands, chose a road, and miraculously caught up with the group. Her strength has brought her to the present, where she babysits two boys and is consistently making strides to one day own her own business again. In only a couple years, she has learned English and received her GED. Although nearing fifty, she holds strong to her dream of receiving a college education. “Look at the bright side and have faith. If you need help, you ask for it. There is something better planned for all of us.”