She was just 17 years old, and with each passing day her fears increased. I’ll be suspended from school if they find out, she worried to herself. An education was a precious opportunity for someone like her, and she would do anything to keep from losing it. So she did all she could to keep her shameful secret hidden.
Opportunity of any kind is scarce in the tiny town of Rafiki in Western Kenya. Most of the people live in grinding poverty, generation after generation. She had been born there, and she knew that an education could be her ticket out of poverty. When she discovered that she was pregnant, her hopes—and those of her family—seemed hopelessly lost. Desperate, she began plotting a way to get rid of her unborn child.
She did her best to keep her pregnancy secret from almost everyone for nine months. She then gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Although many horrible options had plagued her conscience during the weeks and months before, she hoped her ultimate choice would not be discovered.
Six hours later, someone heard the crying of a baby and found a newborn child lying at the bottom of a latrine, covered in human feces.
That nameless baby girl was rushed to a hospital. During her extended stay there her identity was discovered, and she was therefore entrusted to her Christian grandmother, who named her Maria.
Maria’s six-hour ordeal in the latrine resulted in her eyes being infected with parasites. Tragically, her impoverished grandmother could not afford Maria’s prescribed follow-up treatments once she was released from the hospital. Consequently, over the next four years the still-active parasites slowly destroyed Maria’s eyesight, almost to the point of blindness. It was then that some Heaven’s Family staff members met Maria in her village. Soon, money from Heaven’s Family’s Critical Medical Needs Fund was sent so that Maria and her grandmother could travel to one of the best eye clinics in East Africa.
After much testing, Maria’s doctor concluded that there was nothing he could do to reverse the damage done to her eyes. Hope was not lost for her future, however. Maria’s doctor wrote a personal recommendation to a well-respected school for the blind. There, Maria will not only receive a good education, but also special instruction to help her cope with her disability. Her annual school and boarding fees will all be paid through Heaven’s Family’s Education Fund and Handicapped Christians Fund.
Maria’s story isn’t over yet, and the final ending will be one that is much happier. On that day her sight will be fully restored, and she’ll be delighted to see with perfect eyes those who sacrificed on her behalf—by their gifts to the Critical Medical Needs Fund, the Education Fund, and the Handicapped Christians Fund.