Ashley Kalbac has spent countless hours working in her local community to collect shoes for distribution to people who live in a remote area of Peru’s Andes Mountains. Kalbac discovered the people’s need for shoes when she worked with the Kausay Wasi Clinic there and learned that patients often wait for months to see a doctor for medical care.
Kalbac keeps a daily journal of her work in Peru to help document the misery of the people she encounters. One entry recounts her encounter with a young girl who came to the clinic in very bad medical condition.
“She walked barefoot for four days with her mother in the winter through the Andes Mountains to the Kausay Wasi Clinic in dire need of medical care,” the entry reads. “That is when I met 13-year old Marissa, a native Peruvian girl who had disfigured feet because she had to walk through a raging brush fire as a young child. It was then that my heart broke for Marissa after seeing her painful gait and deformed feet. Marissa’s hopes had been crushed once before when another surgical team would not operate on her misshapen feet fearing a poor outcome.
“Because of her mother’s pleading, our medical team decided to tackle the risky surgeries that would allow her a chance to walk normal and pain free. With the team’s compassionate hearts and medical expertise, the surgery was a success. As a 16- member surgical team offering advanced medical care to a remote region, we were there to help people who might not have received medical care otherwise.
“After meeting Marissa and many other people there who suffered with foot problems due to inadequate shoes, I wanted to provide a solution. With the help of my school, Palmer Trinity, my family and friends, I collected hundreds of pairs of shoes. They were sent to Peru and to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and most recently to the homeless in Miami through Caring for Miami.
“Caring for Miami seeks to connect resources and volunteers to the under resourced and hurting of Miami-Dade County through the demonstration of Christ’s love. What started as a way to help those in the remote areas of Peru acted as a catalyst to help those in our own backyard and a reminder of how blessed we are.”
While Kalbac looks forward to a return visit to the clinic deep in the Andes Mountains, she continues to collect shoes for those less fortunate in our community, Haiti and Peru. She is an inspiring young person, who is destined to make the world a better place with her generous spirit and compassion.
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