Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: July 06, 2011

DEYSI: A reason to smile

Deysi was born on March 15th, 2003, in Okinawa, Bolivia. When she was three months old, her mother went outside to look for food, leaving Deysi and her two older brothers inside their home – a small wooden structure with a plastic tarp roof. As with most people living in similar conditions, embers of the cooking fire were left to fend off the evening chill.  A stray spark drifted upwards, igniting the tarp, which began to melt and drip onto the dirt floor where Deysi was sleeping.  She was wrapped in a blanket leaving her hands and face exposed, which became severely burned by the scolding liquid plastic.

By the grace of God, Deysi and her mother made it to the city of Santa Cruz (the equivalent of a two-hour drive) and Deysi spent four months in the burn center at the city's children's hospital. After two skin grafts and many weeks of painful recovery, she was finally released.

However, Deysi's mother realized that she could not adequately care for her recovering daughter and placed her in the Salesian girls’ orphanage "Hogar Sagrado Corazón" (Sacred Heart Home) in Montero. Deysi was just shy of her second birthday.

Today, Deysi is 8 years old. She still lives in the children's home "Hogar Sagrado Corazon" and is well loved by all. She has a sweet disposition and a quick, easy smile. She is doing well in school and is a hard worker, not easily frustrated, and generally well behaved. She has been blessed by frequent visits from her mother and brothers in the last year and is starting to strengthen the bond that she has with them. Her mother seems to be doing much better both personally and economically, which is wonderful for both her and Deysi.

Deysi's skin is completely healed (and has been for some time now) but the effects of the burn are still very noticeable. Deysi has never been self-conscious about her differences, but is approaching an age where those differences will start to matter more. It is for this reason that we contacted a number of different hospitals in the US who could provide free plastic surgery for Deysi.

We were blessed to be accepted by Shriner's Childrens Hospital, Boston! We were also able to coordinate with American Airlines who generously donated her flight to Boston.

Deysi had skin graft surgery on March 28th, 2011 and pulled through like a trooper. Her doctor said the effects of the procedure would not be fully noticeable until after 6 months to a year and no further procedure would even be considered at this point.

We are forever grateful to all those who have so generously supported Deysi's journey –you truly are God's hands in this world!

Read about Deysi's adventures in the US with Sister Anna, her chaperone and former Salesian Lay Missionary: