Cristhofer is the first child in his family—he lives with his parents in a one room adobe house with a tin roof in Guatemala. He absolutely loves to play with his ball, which always makes him smile. His mother works at home: cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children as well as being a janitor at a school. His father is a day laborer in the fields, making only a couple dollars per day when there’s work—but he’s often left without any income. Although his parents work hard, they do not have the resources to feed him even one vegetable, piece of fruit, or egg per day—the minimum that he needs to reach a healthy height and weight.
Cristhofer is suffering from malnutrition, meaning that he is much too small for an 18-month-old baby. Not only has his physical grown been stunted, but his poor diet has left his body unable to fight off common sicknesses such as diarrhea, coughs, and cold. He gets sick a lot more often than a healthy child, further impeding his growth and development. Until meeting with our nurse, his mother did not realize that Cristhofer was underweight and not growing well. She was also unaware of the consequences malnutrition can cause in the long run. If Cristhofer does not receive treatment, he could face the consequences for the rest of his life—such as short stature as an adult, lower IQ, a harder time focusing, and trouble in school–all making it more likely that he will have lower-paying job as an adult and have children who are also malnourished.
$512 in funding will allow Watsi’s medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, to provide Cristhofer with growth monitoring, food supplements, and deworming medication. These measures will help him grow, develop healthily both mentally and physically, and overcome malnutrition. His parents will receive motivational nutrition education so they can learn how to best feed Cristhofer, even with the little resources they have. If he receives treatment now, he will have normal mental and physical development, giving him a better chance to be a successful student and to one day be qualified for a well-paying job.
His mother shares with us, “We want to do our part so our son can grow. When he’s older, he can get a university degree.” This treatment will give Cristhofer a better chance of escaping the cycle of malnutrition and poverty.