The story of Doña Alejandra and Lester

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Doña Alejandra and Lester sit opposite me. Doña heard about the club for people with a learning disability through a common friend. She would like to hear more about it as her son Lester, who is 30, never leaves the house. Her husband works in Costa Rica and only visits home a few times a year.

Doña Alejandra tells something about Lester’s early years. He was born after a good pregnancy , was her first-born, and gave them great happiness. When Lester was three, the family were involved in a car accident. She and her husband got through relatively unscathed, but Lester suffered a bad head injury and underwent surgery She shows the cut on his forehead that dates from that accident. After the accident Lester suffered from frequent and strong epileptic seizures that, in spite of medication, took years to get under control. Given the frequency and intensity of the seizures it is a miracle that Lester is still alive, but it has had a huge impact on his development.

Lester totally depends on his mother’s support. He is very limited in being independent and in his ability to communicate. He can eat what is put in front of him, can make clear what he wants, cooperate when he is being washed etcetera, but he cannot be left on his own for long.

Lester has never been to a special school. Doña Alejandra has always carried the burden of looking after Lester by herself, as her husband is not around often. Registering Lester for the club is a Godsend for Doña as it would give her some time to quietly do the shopping and other chores.

The start of the club

We fill in the registration forms and discuss mutual responsibilities. Transport is an issue as Lester and Doña Alejandra live in quite a different part of Juigalpa. Time will tell how much of a barrier this will be in practice. Next week we will start some trial sessions with a few registered participants. Eva, who is employed to manage the club, started her work mid-May, and slowly but surely the club will get off the ground.

Astrid Delleman, in collaboration with Stichting Vivir Juntos