We were told that after passing Nono we needed turn at a big tree with an arrow painted on it. You can imagine our chuckling at the directions, but indeed we found it. We drove up a small, curvy, two-way road hardly big enough for one car. As we passed several trucks, we were literally on the edge of the mountainside. We finally came to the village of Nono. Margoth had the driver stop when we saw a lone woman on the road. This woman knew where Maria’s grandmother lived and hopped in the car to help guide us there. Maria’s grandmother came out with her youngest child, about 7 years old. After talking with her it was obvious she did not have the means to provide for Maria. This meant the baby would be left in the care of her aunt and uncle.
On the Road to Nono
The Famous Tree with the red arrow!
The Narrow Road
Maria's great grandmother lives on the other side of this mountain
I'm glad we decided to go by car!
The Beauty was Breathtaking
The little house where the woman found Maria's grandmother. I was too self conscious to take her picture. I didn't want to intrude on her privacy.
The abandoned school house where Maria's grandmother had permission to live. The trail in the background was about the width of the one we hiked in the cloud forest.
Maria - A Happy Outcome
We had been searching for six hours. Although wet, muddy, and tired with nightfall approaching, we headed down the winding road. I was heading back to the U.S. the next morning. I had no way of drying my clothes and shoes, so I stuck them in a plastic bag and shoved them in my suitcase and started my twelve-hour journey back to the United States.
I thought about Maria all year long, I even dreamed about her occasionally. The following summer Margoth and I tried to see her several times, but never found her at home. This last summer of 2010 while I was working with a new group of babies, Margoth came and told me to come with her because she had a surprise for me. There stood three-year old Maria. Her uncle had come to the shelter to talk to Margoth about legally adopting her. While he talked with Margoth I held Maria by the hand and took her to play. She was adorable and talked to me without hesitation. Although I hadn’t wanted to see her leave two years before she is currently doing great. She is living with her uncle who adores her and she calls him papa.
Pictures of Maria that I took when she visited the shelter with her uncle this summer, 2010: