Rural home visit – Hugo Andres

We finally reached the home of Hugo Andres and his grandparents at the end of a tortuous road, and there he was, like a pop-up, at our car window, welcoming us to his home. He had been waiting for us.

Hugo Andres shares a smile with Marlene.

Hugo Andres is an amiable 23-year-old with an intellectual disability. He lives on a cacao farm of one-half hectare with his aging grandparents, Mery and Hugo, in a barrio called La Sabana. Hugo Andres loves his life on the farm. He helps his grandparents with the cacao farm but needs direction for each step.

His grandparents are concerned about what will happen to Hugo Andres once they pass on. They want him to have the cacao farm, but at this point, he can’t manage it on his own. Another concern is that Hugo Andres doesn’t know about money – the denominations, how to make change, how to budget etc. He will have help from neighbours, but there is a lot to learn if he will be able to live independently on the farm.

Olguita with Hugo in the midst of the cacao farm.

Hugo kindly showed Olguita and me around his farm while therapists worked with Hugo Andres indoors. He showed us part of the cacao growing process and talked about Hugo Andres. He looks after himself very well. He studied up to grade 2 in school, goes to the country store to buy items for the house, gets along with everyone and has lots of friends. But he has never had any special attention of any kind until now and his grandfather is worried. Hugo Andres has been with Fandic for five months. There is opportunity, but time is short.

The little walk through the farm was very helpful in giving Olguita thoughts about a possible 3-point therapy plan which she discussed with Hugo. The plan requires up-front work on the part of the therapists to learn the process of cacao farming and to represent it in picture form; then to go over it repeatedly with Hugo Andres until he learns it. Secondly, to give him a plot of land as a practice plot but also a plot over which he will have ownership. The last point in the plan is to learn money management, something that Fandic already includes in their therapy plan for other adolescents.

Hugo Andres poses with his grandmother, Mery, and his grandfather, Hugo.

I sensed the love in this family. The grandparents want their grandson to succeed. They want him to have a future. But they have not had the orientation required to achieve this goal until now. With God’s help and with that of Fandic, their goal will be realized.