Daniel’s Story – Melel Xojobal – Mexico
Read Daniel’s Story from Melel Xojobal in Mexico.
When Daniel entered Arrumacos at twelve months of age he could not walk or even crawl, and made no attempt to communicate with words or sounds at all. His mother is an indigenous Tsotsil Mayan from the Chiapas Central Valley. Daniel’s father has not been present since his birth. Having migrated to the city from her home village several hours away, Daniel’s mother did not benefit from the support of other family members during her pregnancy, which was her first. She was unable to get any medical attention during pregnancy or during Daniel’s first year. For much of this time she carried him strapped to her back while she worked, having nowhere to turn for childcare.
Lack of stimulation appears to be a key factor in Daniel’s slow development, and with lots of support he is making progress. He is now just over two years old and is able to walk and is beginning to speak. Melel Xojobal staff have worked with his mother, explaining the exercises she can do with him to stimulate his mobility and motor skills. She also has attended all of Melel Xojobal’s workshops during this year, including those on nutrition, prevention of illnesses, early stimulation, and hygiene. Through this way, Daniel’s mother is learning how to ensure his healthy development and to develop a network of other young mothers in similar situations.
Daniel has no birth certificate and without one he won’t be able to enter school. Melel Xojobal is helping his mother, as the administrative procedures to obtain a birth certificate are difficult to negotiate, particularly for people whose first language is not Spanish or who have little experience dealing with bureaucracy. Melel Xojobal continues to have some concerns about Daniel’s development and are referring him to a specialist for further checks.
Daniel’s case illustrates some of the common problems faced by mothers and young children in the city where Melel Xojobal works: poverty, no access to healthcare, lack of childcare for working mothers, the strains that migration from rural areas brings – including family break-up and separation from the support networks of family and community. Melel Xojobal is very grateful for the support of Global Ministries, which helps them fill these gaps for some children.