There is a boy in Ingenio San Antonio, Nicaragua who acts much older than he is. Even though he is only 8 years old, he carries himself like a gentleman, greeting strangers with a handshake and a polite smile. His name is Lesbi, but among ReSurge’s medical partners and volunteers he is known as “the little cowboy.”
Lesbi lives with his family on the sugar cane plantation that drives the local economy in Ingenio San Antonio. Like many households in the area, his parents earn a living by working on the plantation. Their life is modest but comfortable, and is dictated by the ebb and flow of the planting and harvesting season. It was during one of these seasonal transitions when Lesbi had his accident.
Each year after the sugar cane is harvested, the fields are cleared with fire to prepare for planting the following year. Two years ago, when the fields were being burned, Lesbi was on his way to get his horse when he tripped and fell directly onto the scalding embers, using his hands to break his fall.
The open wounds on his hands healed but thick scars formed, tightening the skin and fusing some of his fingers together. It became difficult to pick things up or hold a pencil. When Lesbi’s mother heard that a team of visiting doctors was coming to the area, she brought him to the local hospital to see if anything could be done.
The visiting doctors were a group of ReSurge medical volunteers who had joined forces with a team of our Nicaraguan medical partners to provide reconstructive surgical care for the community. The team met with Lesbi and his mother and decided surgery would help restore function to Lesbi's hands.
On the day of his surgery, Lesbi bravely let go of his mother’s hand and walked by himself back to the OR. The surgery went beautifully. The hand that was operated on now has more range of motion and gripping capability—allowing Lesbi to write, draw and hold things more easily.
Lesbi charmed the entire ReSurge team with his polite confidence and stories. His eyes lit up when he spoke of his horse, earning him his “little cowboy” nickname. Most appropriately, when Lesbi came to say goodbye to the doctors and nurses, his recovering hand was tied up in a sling his mother had fashioned from a bright red bandana. The perfect detail to complete our favorite cowboy!
ReSurge volunteer anesthesiologist Dr. Mike Beach was particularly taken by Lesbi. He asked Lesbi if he could ride a horse by himself. Lesbi responded that not only could he ride a horse by himself, but he would be happy to teach Dr. Beach how to ride, too!