Typing to become independent.
July 10, 2009 - Honduras
It takes a lot of concentration to write a letter to a loved one. But for Eda, concentration is just one piece to the puzzle. As a young girl, she contracted Encephalitis and Meningitis; the scar tissue of which gives Eda difficulty walking, talking, and writing. She has physical difficulties, but after a recent visit to a Neurologist, he recommended that with 3 hours of physical therapy a day, 7 days a week, in conjunction with hydro-therapy, Eda could walk normally again. These physical disabilities do not mean she is mentally challenged. And more than likely you will hear the quick witted "oh me? No, you." And everyone is laughing at you before you know what’s going on.
One of the most amazing things about Eda began to show six months ago. For half a year she had been in physical therapy with Jose Ramon, one of our volunteers from Spain, learning how to read and write. However, after working for so long with her "we weren't seeing any improvement.” Jose continued, “We had been in therapy for 6 months and she could still only just write her name."
Eda and Jose working on the computer
This was a terrible problem, and while Jose was writing his daily report about what was going on at the end of a therapy session, Eda asked him if she could use the computer. "We started to use the computer in February, with very simple things, like her name and those of her brothers and sisters." But it was obvious from the start that she had more cognitive power and understanding than just names.
They began typing phrases and sentences. Focusing on Eda’s feelings, Jose helped her to type down a path towards communication and sophistication. After showing such great prowess with these new tools to speak, Tom (our IT volunteer) and Armin (our Project Coordinator) have begun to try and find Eda a permanent computer to practice with, and use in everyday life.
As Jose was finishing his year of service and had to return to Spain, he and Eda agreed to sit down for a short interview:
HC: How do you feel about using the computer?
EDA: I feel very happy when I use a computer, because it helps me to write better.
HC: And why do you want to write?
EDA: Because I love writing letters to my friends, family, Padrinos, and Jessica.
HC: What do you wish to tell Jose before he leaves?
EDA: I want to say that I am very thankful to Jose because thanks to him I was able to learn how to use a computer.
HC: Just one more question. If you could reach out and tell the whole world something, what is it that you would say to everyone?
EDA: That they should fight for what they want in the future.
Powerful and sincere words from a strong and caring young lady. Eda (and most of us) would never have guessed that those words would come just a week before Honduras fell into a grave political crisis, with people from both sides trying to make the future better.
Although Eda has progressed dramatically in these last few months, she still needs a great deal of help; like a more rigorous physical-therapy and her own laptop computer. However, Eda has taken some enormous steps in her learning. She is an inspiration to us all, as we fight for what we wish to see in the future.