Friday, July 10, 2009

Santa and Alise (2)

PHOTO DONATION: Valdis

We are again in Iecava where Arta and Dace, two helpful social work assistants of Iecava Social Centre, ask us to help the lovely sisters Santa and Alise. We are warned by Arta and Dace that the sight in the girl's apartment is quite sad. They live in Zālītes village, approximately 10 km away from Iecava, in many-storey building where the only heating source is a wood burning stove; thus the staircase is cold and bleak. Once at the doorstep, I get a whiff of moist and poverty. And then suddenly I get stunned, for there is a small, stooping body of a woman walking towards me. 1,50m tall, her legs form an O shape, her knees and shins twisted outwards like a barrel.
This is the mother of two, Silvija, she walks wobbling from left to right like a duck mother and there they come just behind her – the little ducklings – little Santa and Alise. Santa is five and her legs are also very bow, but little Alise, who is only three, is well says her mother, but we clearly see, that it is quite the opposite. Her legs as well have started to bow into an O. The cause of this deformation is most commonly known as rachitis; people touched by this disease suffer from a lack of calcium, their bones become soft and, due the weight of their body, deform. But at this point we are not sure about girl's disease; they have never been medically examined, there's no diagnosis, nor has she undergone any treatment.
The girls are excited to see us, three intruders with big boxes, cables and unknown instruments. The photographers Iveta Vaivode and Anna decide first to take some pictures outside in the playground in front of the building, where the girls use to play. Santa wears a very bright red coat which pleases much the photographers, for it contrasts so marvellously with the white snow. When we get back to the apartment, the girls are still very excited. Such an adventure!!!! Alise is quieter and shy, she stays close to her mum, but Santa on the contrary poses for the cameras like a professional model.
While the photographers entertain the little girls, I have an opportunity to talk to their mother. She is a young woman, in her thirties, but she doesn’t complain about her condition, she accepts it the way it is. What matters is that they have a roof over their heads and some occasional work from time to time. Of course, it is better during the summer, then she can get some occasional work at the local farms; it’s hard in wintertime, because then there’s no work at all. Then she tries to sell her handmade socks, gloves, pillowcases, she gets along somehow. She is very happy that the local authority has helped her to find this apartment, not far from her hometown, although absolutely with no sanitary conditions, but it is their own. Their new apartment is unfurnished, has got no other household items neither, but Silvija is not worried about that; they'll get them when the opportunity comes. Alice's father hopes to get some work in the forest, and then there will be some santims for the furniture.
Girls are tired from the photo-session, especially little Alise. One of the photographers wants to make some more pictures of girl in the bed and the little one executes all the instructions very patiently.
On our way back from Zālītes we agree with the photographers that one doesn't meet such bright, smiley children every day. How come they are so happy, while they are so ill, living in such a misery? Then we get it! It is not important to have one or two TV sets, full house of toys or just one or two. These girls have seen nothing in their lives and they feel happy about what they have. Still, there is a thing they would really like to have: some dolls and a doll pram.
We really want to help these little girls. To help them to visit experts in Riga in order to make a diagnosis and to find out if there is any treatment for their legs and to correct their posture. To help them to furnish their new home. Therefore we invite you to donate money (for the medical examination and treatment), as well as all sorts of household items or furniture.
Here are the first needs: two children's beds, a parent's bed, wardrobe, kitchen shelves and table with chairs.
Silvija told us that if she had a sewing-machine, she could make nice cloths for her children. Cloths, shoes, books and toys are very welcome. And of course – dolls!

You have the possibility to donate 1 LVL by calling 90006888

Many, many thanks to the angels of Santa and Alise:
Laura, Kristīne, Gunda, Sandra, Guna
Our photographers
Egils Druviņš - LVL 100,- (23.11.09.)
The youth board of Iecava - LVL 1008,29 (23.12.09.)

24.11.2009.
The diagnosis of Santa and Alise after a week spent in the Children clinic university hospital in Riga (from 21.09.09.- 30.09.09.):
- the shortage of vitamin D
- the secondary hyperparatyreosis
- family hypofosfatemic rachitis suspecta
- the Varus type deformation of the legs
- oedema papilla n.optici
- undersized

Further directions:
– a consultation of a geneticist
- control at the endocrinologist on 14.12.09.
- in food must be used the products containing calcium
- Calcigran ½ tbl. 3 x day , protractedly
- Alfa D3 1 x day, for about 3 months
- 1 x month to control the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood

The operation will not be made at the moment because the bones of the girls are still forming. Operation could be made when the girls will be about 12 years old. The use of medicine and regular visits at the doctors are compulsory.

07.12.09.
Santa and Alise had a consultation at the geneticist Dr. Z.Krūmiņa in the hospital “Gaiļezers”. Nearly a whole day was sent there. The girls were measured, weighted, photographed, the analysis were taken and there were talks as well. Santa and Alise tolerated it very well- without cry and being quarrelsome. Only at the end Alise simply fell asleep in mum’s lap. At the moment according to Dr. Krūmiņa, it is necessary to make genetic tests which are not possible to do in Latvia. The most advantageous it can be done in England, in Royal Devon & Exeter hospital, by sending a blood sample of one girl to the laboratory. It will cost about 700 GBP. After receiving the results of the analysis, it will be necessary to send the blood samples of the other girl and mum in order to make definite additional tests which in total will cost about 300 GBP. So in total 1000,- GBP. After receiving these results, it will be possible to make a precise diagnosis and to define the most effective treatment to keep the girls maximum well until the operation and after that.

23.12.09.
In total in 3 charity events”"Palīdzi!" (Help!) which were organized by the youth board of Iecava, were gathered donations of 1008,29 LVL which were given for the medical treatment of Alise and Santa.

20.01.10
Here is a letter from the workers of SIA "RSC": today we were in Bauska and Iecava. At first we visited small Linda, we were awaited. At the beginning Linda was very shy, but she was not able to hide the joy about the big bear. We did not know that she has a brother, but also he got the present because we had a big bag with the presents. Then we went to see Ksanders, also the small boy was shy at first, but later with the help of his mum he took his gifts. And finally our most emotional visit was at Santa and Alise (I have them in my heart since a long time already- when I read the news in your blog). The dad met us in the yard, the girls waited us inside, in the room, they all nicely dressed were sitting in the sofa. The eyes of the girls were shining so bright when they saw the bag with the presents that also our eyes were shining- with the tears. Also mum of the girls was smiling. As we have now gathered more things, then we have the idea to send more things to this family with the help of our colleague who lives in Iecava. Because now we clearly know what is needed for this family. We have clothes for man that would suit very well to the dad of the girls. Also preserved food. That is all shortly. We still have the positive emotions about the shiny eyes of Santa and Alise.

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