The Gift of Sight: Marta Darling's Story
One-year-old Marta Darling was born with a rare condition that left part of her brain protruding from her skull. She was rapidly losing her sight and doctors said she would go completely blind without surgery.
But an operation to correct the defect known as encephalocele would cost at least 50,000 quetzales (around $6,800). There was no way her father - a farm labourer - and her mother - a full-time homemaker - could afford that.
They began selling some of the few possessions lying around their sparsely furnished one-room home. They also took out several loans. And Marta’s mother spent weeks travelling around nearby towns on the shores of Lake Atitlan begging churches, businesses and charities for money.
But still they only managed to raise around 16,000 quetzales. They became distraught as they feared they wouldn’t be able to pay for the treatment their daughter
Marta Darling with her mother and father.
so desperately needed. They prayed that the funds would somehow appear.
Touched by Marta’s story and her parents’ efforts to raise money, churches and foreign volunteers made donations while the doctor slashed the cost of the surgery. Adisa provided the remaining 25,000 quetzales and Marta went into hospital for the operation.
"When you go through the hardest times in your life, Adisa is an organization that says: Give me your hand and we’ll walk together. Not many people would do that," said Marta´s mother.
Six months later Marta´s mother says she is a different child. Marta can see and she walks, eats, plays and shouts just like other children. While she still has to undergo facial reconstruction surgery, the future looks a lot brighter than it did a few months ago.
"It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like had Marta not had the surgery,¨ said her mother, holding back tears. "The doctor said she wouldn’t be able to see and people would have made fun of her. It would have been very, very sad but thanks to God and Adisa it looks like she´s going to live a normal life."