Ronaldo is eleven years old. He lives in Puerto Cabezas, a city in Nicaragua that's right by the ocean. He lives there with his mother, aunt, and about twenty other family members on a little plot of land that has three houses and one well where they all get their water.
Among all his family, his favorite is his cousin Sylvi. Sylvi helps him eat and bathe and keeps him company during the day. Ronaldo needs extra help because he has cerebral palsy. That means he has trouble moving his body, so he can't walk or talk or move his arms very well.
Ronaldo likes to show people how he feels with his face. He especially likes to smile. Sylvi always seems to know if he's feeling hungry or lonely or if he wants to move his body around, and she knows just what to do to make him smile again.
During the week, Sylvi takes Ronaldo to school at Escuela Maureen, a school for children like Orlando who have special needs. Ronaldo loves going to school to see his friends. He smiles a lot there. When it is very hot, his friends always remember to help Orlando wipe his brow so he doesn't get too sweaty.
Ronaldo likes going to school with Sylvi. He was very sad when one day, Sylvi wasn't at home to take him to school. Sylvi and Ronaldo had another cousin, and he hurt Sylvi very badly when they were little. Now, they are almost grown up, but her cousin told Sylvi that he wanted to hurt her again. She was very scared, but she did not want to tell her mom because she thought her mom would get mad and say, "Your cousin is a good person. He would never hurt you."
Sylvi wanted to leave the house to be safe, but she did not know where to go. One night, she got very scared and sad and tried to die. But she did not die after all, and her family took her to the hospital. She talked with a woman there who told her she could go to a safe house where there were other women who had been threatened by someone in their family.
Sylvi did not want to leave Ronaldo and her family, but she knew she needed to be safe, so she went to the safe house. Now she is sad because she cannot take Ronaldo to school and keep him company anymore. Ronaldo is sad, too. He misses Sylvi and does not understand why she is not in the house. He misses school, too, because now no one can take him. He hopes someday Sylvi will come back so that they can spend time together and go to school again. Sylvi hopes so, too.
THE END. For now...