Dos mundos diferentes

This is a submission for this week’s What Pegman Saw, which takes us to Guatemala City. The story is based on the screenshot below.  To see other people’s stories or submit your own, please click the link:

Hospital (2)

Dos mundos diferentes

Mayra played happily. She was going home, as soon as Mamá finished talking to the doctor and the tall man who smelled like flowers.

The hospital’s newest sponsor listened with pride while the doctor interpreted the words that the child’s mother spoke, slowly, between deep sobs. He passed her his handkerchief.

“She says she cannot thank you enough for letting her daughter experience things she could never afford to give her – a clean bed, plentiful food and beautiful toys,” the doctor explained.

“And the treatment of course?” the sponsor asked.

“Of course.”

“It warms my heart to see this woman crying with happiness,” said the sponsor.

The doctor smiled enigmatically.

“She is happy?” the sponsor asked.

Now the doctor shrugged his shoulders.

“What‘s that supposed to mean?”

“She says she’s filled with joy that her daughter will live, but broken-hearted that she must take her back to her old life.”

150 words


I started out hoping I could write a frivolous story this time. Pegman’s original photo (below) set me thinking on the lines of a spaced-out tourist wandering into what he thought was a circus entrance (i.e. the hotel that looks like a giant face with a mouth full of crooked teeth, together with the elephant on the adjacent shop front). That didn’t work out, so I embarked on a virtual walk through Guatemala City, and found myself inside a hospital operated by the Fundación Ayudame a Vivir (Foundation Help Me To Live), which provides free treatment for children with cancer. I couldn’t bring myself to wander elsewhere, hence this story.

Clearly there was no place for frivolity, but I’m disappointed that I ended up producing a depressing story about something that is really positive. Admittedly my glass is often half empty.

I should say that this story isn’t about the real Foundation; the characters and the conversation are strictly fictional. The foundation’s website can be found at . There are foundations of the same name operating in other parts of Central America and at least one US state, but I was unable to clarify whether they are linked to each other.


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11 Responses to Dos mundos diferentes

  1. k rawson says:

    What a beautiful story. Sad and sweet and full of goodness. Loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved this story, too. There is so much hope and promise, even though the child has to return to her old life. She has a mother who loves her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jwdwrites says:

    Well done JS, this story really makes you think about what life must be like for the mother and daughter if the mother has such mixed feelings. This hospital looks beautiful, I have been in a charity run children’s hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador that my mother-in-law works for and it certainly doesn’t look this good. They are constantly begging people to give them money so that they can buy medicines and sometimes there is no money to pay the staff, but they still come to work even though they are hard up. The doctors and surgeons are usually volunteers from the US that belong to a program and come to offer three to six months for no payment whatsoever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JS Brand says:

      Thank you. I was struck by how clean and well appointed this hospital looked, better than some I’ve seen in the UK. That’s how it should be, of course, but without charities it wouldn’t be. It sometimes seems as though most of the facilities that the first world takes for granted only exist in poorer countries when charitable organisations have taken it upon themselves to provide them – that can’t be right? A couple of days ago I saw some distressing footage from Venezuela, a country whose oil revenue ought to allow the government to look after its people. That’s clearly not happening.
      Thank goodness there are enough caring and selfless people around to plug some of the gaps left by the people with power.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. James says:

    That is a very powerful story. Very thoughtful and compassionate. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear JS,

    Tender and poignant story. Dos mundos is an apt title. Well told.



    Liked by 1 person

  6. JS Brand says:

    Thank you Rochelle.


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