Determination and independence


24-year-old Alex was born with cerebral palsy, a condition which impairs muscle coordination, balance and motor skills. In his earliest memories, he remembers the stress of running from one institution to another, getting various opinions, diagnoses, and therapy sessions. It was all very overwhelming and Alex only wanted to live a normal life.

At first, his parents didn't consider schooling as an option.  

They thought I had some kind of mental disability, I don't really know. But when my mom began to teach me to read to me, she realized how quickly I understood the material.

At seven years old, Alex's parents took him to the special education school in Atitlán but it soon became apparent that he was more than capable of studying in a mainstream school. Unfortunately, schools in Atitlán were not wheelchair accessible and he was unable to attend classes on a regular basis. So he studied at home. His teachers brought learning materials to his house and Alex dedicated himself to his books.

In addition to his native language, Maya Tz'utujil and Spanish, Alex taught himself English.

I am fascinated by Asian culture and history and since most of the available texts were written in English, I tried to learn in English.

Alex graduated high school and wants to continue studying psychology at university.

I want to better understand myself, and my disability. With a psychology degree, I can do this and hopefully help others to understand themselves and live a little bit happier.

Alex is now keeping himself busy writing a seven part novel called "Finding my Path." Set post World War II, it tells the story of a young man rejected by his family because of a mysterious physical illness that prevents him from walking. The books also serve as a reflection for Alex on his own life.

I’m not a really ambitious individual, I just want to live as fulfilling a life as possible. I know that many people don't see me as normal. They see me and assume that I lack the mental capacity and reasoning to be an adult. Sometimes it bothers me to know that people see me that way but I can't do anything about it. They can think what they want. They only thing I can do is live as normally as possible - to have my own house, my own job, my own family.

To this end, Alex has set up his own small business selling locally grown coffee. On his computer, he designed the label, wrote his story, and setup local alliances to sell his coffee throughout Lake Atitlán.

I like doing things for myself, not necessarily because of pride but because things are more valuable when you earn them yourself. That is what I am most proud about my coffee business. I don't earn a lot but it is entirely my own effort and that is worth a lot to me.

At Adisa, Alex has made great progress in speech therapy. Three years ago, Alex decided to return to Adisa and last year, he began therapy to improve his verbal communication skills. Every Thursday, he leaves his house and travels by himself to Adisa in his electric wheelchair. The road is rough and the commute takes thirty minutes but it’s worth it to Alex. 

Many people have said that therapy has greatly improved my speech. Before it was so difficult to have a conversation but now I am communicating with more fluency. I would like to thank Adisa’s donors for this. Your contributions do a great service for many people that need it. For many of us, they are small changes that have a great impact on our daily lives. I am sure that you and your children will be compensated for your compassion. Thank you so much for your support.


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Arquidócesis de Osaka,  CBM, Hope and Healing InternationalLiliane Fonds, MiraclefeetStrachan Foundation