Carlos Agustín Vasquéz Mendoza

Well, I had written a really long and detailed post about the events involving Carlos that have transpired over the last month. But then WordPress deleted it all when I put in this gallery.

So, suffice to say:

It has been one month since Carlos had life-saving surgery.

This month has been an exhausting challenge, a grueling process, a frustrating encounter with the Guatemala public health system. It’s been a month of facing many harsh realities, shedding many tears, and feeling powerless and desperate.

But it’s also been a month of pure gratitude and love, a story of triumph, an instillment of hope. A reminder that life is fragile and precious and we should be grateful for each new day in this world, and all of the amazing people in it.

After a lot of stress, tears, worry, hospital visits, trips to the city, doctor’s visits, exams, medicines, wound cleanings, dietary restrictions, etc…Carlos is doing well. Despite an initial 30% survival rate, he fought through it victoriously, and it seems both of our lives can finally go back to “normal,” though we’ll never be the same.

In the past month, Carlos and I have talked a lot about what this experience has been like for him, and Sunday after the surgery, he truly thought he was going to die, as did I. When his family came in during the 1 hour of visitation, he said his final goodbyes to each of them, and to me as well. I thought it would be the last time I saw him. That was definitely the most difficult day, for all of us.

But when I saw Carlos the following morning, something had definitely changed and that was when I knew he would live. He later told me that at some point on Sunday night, while he lay in that terrible hospital in excruciating pain with no familiar faces around to comfort him, he started thinking about all of the people who care about him and all of the things he still wanted to accomplish in life, all of the things he had to live for, and he describes a very pleasant sensation coming over him, something he had never felt before, and he believes it to have been the presence of god.

That moment gave Carlos strength, and he made up his mind to fight for his life from that point on. And he has done so admirably, without complaint, and with so much gratitude. He believes he’s been given a second chance at life, and he’s going to take full advantage of it. Let that be an inspiration to us all.


Los Artesanos de ADISA

Una vista al los Artesanos de ADISA – un grupo de jóvenes con discapacidades de Santiago Atitlán que han logrado grandes éxitos en el desarrollo de una empresa donde ellos realizan productos de alta calidad hechos por mano de papel reciclaje.

Carlos and Chema

I work with these two beautiful souls, Carlos and Chema. Both are from San Juan la Laguna and are proud of their heritage. Carlos, the youngest of 11 siblings, is actually Chema’s uncle. These two could not be more different, but I end up spending a lot of time with just the two of them in our work with Unlocking Silent Histories and we always have a blast. Working with Carlos and Chema, among other indigenous youth, to create documentaries that tell their stories from their perspectives is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever been a part of. They’re a constant source of inspiration.