The Miracle of Milk

Read about how milk is helping a child to grow happily and healthily.
September 21, 2018 - Honduras

Meet Giovanna,* one of the newest additions to our family.

A miracle can be something dramatic, that happens suddenly, and leaves you staring with your jaw-dropped; but it can also be ordinary and easily overlooked because its magic takes place little by little. Or in our case, sip by sip. Take milk for example; it’s one of the most commonly consumed food resources and most important ingredients in ensuring that newborns and children develop into healthy adults. Rich in proteins, vitamins, and key nutrients, like calcium and magnesium, milk works to help keep our bones, muscles, and teeth strong.

But Giovanna,* one of the newest additions to our family, isn’t yet aware of all the benefits that milk has on her body. The only thing that this two-year-old knows about milk is that it is white, creamy, and tastes good, and for now, that’s just fine by us.

Like many of the children in our home, she and her older brother, Donato,* arrived malnourished and underweight and needed to drink as much milk as possible, because a deficiency in these nutrients can lead to stunted physical growth as well as delays in social progress - posing a serious threat to early childhood development. Giovanna’s situation was doubly concerning, because, not only did she arrive with walking difficulties, but also with a cleft palate, a genetic condition that complicates her ability to eat, hear, and speak and can only be operated on after she meets the minimum weight requirement.

To help Giovanna reach developmental milestones and ensure that she is cleared for surgery this November, our staff is working hard to give her all of the nutrition, love, and security that she needs. Every day she drinks three glasses of formulated milk, goes to school, and participates in activities with her peers. In addition to the physical therapy that she receives on a weekly basis, Giovanna attends sessions with a speech therapist every month. Volunteer physical therapist Nienke Boersema says that “she is doing much better, especially due to the care that she receives from her caregivers in Casa Suyapa,” NPH Honduras' home for our youngest children. She also adds that Giovanna’s physical and social development can be attributed to the fact that the toddlers at NPH “walk everywhere and play with other kids.”

Since Giovanna has been under our care, we’ve had the opportunity to witness a miracle, not in a course of seconds or days, but during a period of weeks and months. Milk has given her the strength to start walking on her own, milk is helping her to grow and learn, and soon milk will make her a candidate for a surgery that will improve her health even more. It may require some patience on our part, but in the end, we know that this is a miracle well worth waiting for.

*Name changed for privacy purposes.

Arielle Augustin   
Communications Officer

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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