It was almost 8.30 am. The fresh air, cloudless blue skies, and dazzling sun rays distracted Natalia from the chilly morning in the beautiful Peruvian highlands. On the other side of the wall, three-year-old daughter Brisaida was still in bed. The sounds of her yawning and moving around warned Natalia that it was almost time to get her up. 

With Brisaida awake, the quiet morning transformed into laughs, giggles, and the sound of running feet. As Natalia completed her morning chores, she was keeping a close eye on her little girl and the two neighbours who have come to play.  

Suddenly, Natalia heard the girls’ shrieks and giggles have been replaced by an eerie silence.

"I thought, why aren't the girls making any noise? I knew there was something wrong, so I dropped everything," says Natalia.  

What she saw stopped her in her tracks. "I froze. I couldn't utter a word." 

Little Brisaida had fallen from the second storey of the house. Brisaida's little friends stood next to her where she lay on the ground, not understanding what had happened. There was no blood, but Brisaida lay still with her eyes closed. Natalia ran toward her as quickly as she could.  

"She was turning purple. I shook her a little bit, but she wasn't responding. I didn't know what to do. I was desperate," says Natalia, with tears in her eyes. 

Natalia rushed Brisaida to the local health centre. On their way, Brisaida opened her eyes.  

"She looked at me but didn't say a word. I just kissed her on the forehead and thanked God she was alive," says Natalia. "I didn't want to lose another daughter." 

Just a year earlier, in April 2020, Natalia had endured the loss of her four-month-old baby girl in an accident. "When I lost her, I felt God saying, 'I let you borrow her for a little while, but now she's with me.' That comforted me,” she says.  

Seeing Brisaida unmoving on the ground, brought back traumatic memories. "It was very painful. So many thoughts went through my head when I saw Brisaida on the floor that day. I was very afraid," recalls Natalia.  

At the local health centre, Natalia was told Brisaida needed more expert care than they could provide. She was able to take Brisaida to the public hospital for treatment. As usual, it was crowded, not only with regular patients but with Covid-19 patients.  

The hospital's capacity was minimal. When her husband Cesar arrived to meet Natalia, he was not allowed to go in.  

"Even though they finally admitted us, the doctors were so indifferent and cold. I just wanted to know my daughter's condition. They kept going in and out of her room, but they wouldn't give me a straight answer," says Natalia. 

At the hospital, Brisaida was on an IV drip and was receiving pain killers, but there was confusion around her diagnosis or the next steps to take. After a couple of days of uncertainty and anxiety, Brisaida was discharged from this hospital. The distress Natalia had been under was so significant, it didn't occur to her she could count on the people that had already been faithfully helping her daughter and her family for more than a year. 

body2-(2).jpg Brisaida is standing outside her home with Ruth, the Compassion Project Director, who is delivering a food basket and some toys to the family.

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, the Compassion child development centre had been providing Brisaida's family with food baskets, hygiene kits, school supplies, and even psychological assistance.  

"I didn't know the centre could go beyond the help we've already received. I wasn't thinking clearly and didn't think about anything else but my daughter," says Natalia. 

When this Compassion centre opened its doors at the end of 2019, some of the new child registrations were delayed by the pandemic. Brisaida's name is on the list to be registered into the child sponsorship programme. But just because she isn’t officially part of the programme yet, didn’t mean the centre wouldn't be there for her. 

Ruth, the centre director, spoke to Natalia and reassured her that the centre would do whatever they could to see Brisaida well and healthy again.  

The day after she was discharged from the hospital, Brisaida began to complain of headaches and had vomited twice. The centre immediately arranged for Natalia, Brisaida, and Ruth to go to the hospital in a private vehicle. There wasn't a doctor available when they got there. They had to come back the next day. 

It was a long night for Natalia. Brisaida's eye was still purple from the fall and she looked like she was in pain. "I had heard too many things already like fractures, bruises, dead blood inside her head. I just wanted to know if my daughter was going to be okay," says Natalia. 

After driving for almost an hour to the hospital again, the doctor recommended a CT scan. However, the hospital’s machine was broken so she needed to take the test elsewhere. Thanks to Compassion's Medical Funds, the centre covered the NZ $165 needed for the CT scan at a private health facility plus the transportation costs to get there. 

It would've been impossible for this family to meet the expenses. 

The scan showed minor fractures in Brisaida’s skull. Thankfully, because she's very young, the doctor said her bones will join back together over time. Natalia's worries were lifted.  

"When he said that, I was finally at peace. We wouldn't have been able to deal with it all on our own," says Natalia. 

body1-(5).jpg Little Brisaida praying.

It's truly a miracle that today, Brisaida is back to her energetic and curious self. God didn't just protect her during the fall but used the centre to provide the medical care she required and the comfort and encouragement her parents desperately needed during this terrible episode.  

It could've been so much worse. I'm so grateful my daughter is still by my side. My husband is not a Christian, but after this, his heart is more receptive to the things of God. Brisaida asks him to pray with her, and they pray together now," says Natalia, smiling. 

"The centre is with us every time we're in need. I thank God for putting them and the sponsors in our lives,” says Natalia with tears in her eyes.  

For an extra $10 a month on top of regular child sponsorship support, you can help other children receive much-needed healthcare like Brisaida.  Call 0800 800 777 to find out more. 

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