The first question on future expats’ minds is always health care. In order to explain Vivian Pellas hospital in Managua, Nicaragua, it starts with a love story written by Blanco Mareno in 1999. Tomorrow, I’ll discuss health care for expats. Today….the love story.
The life of Vivian Pellas, a survivor of the ill-fated TAN-SAHSA Airlines Flight 414, October 21, 1989 in Las Mesitas, Honduras, is a story of love and solidarity without limits. She is a persevering woman, a humble philanthropist, simple, with a beauty in the soul that is reflected in her saintlike face and a smile that is a balm for the burnt children of Nicaragua, who see in her their guardian angel.
That is the impression I got when I heard her talk with optimism about her great project of a Burn Hospital for Central America in Managua, Nicaragua. Sitting there with a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, behind and seemingly protecting her, nobody could say that she had suffered the ordeal of burns and 62 fractures in her face and body.
Vivian and her husband Carlos Pellas are two of just nine survivors of the worst accident in Central American aviation history where 139 people died amid the horror of fire and smoke.
She has wasted no time in searching for explanations or lamenting. She believes that the same light that led her out of that fiery inferno is the same light that leads her on with the Burnt Children’s Association.
Her indefatigable work to repeat her miracle in the little ones that have been burned, seeking help even from her sickbed, and even dancing again for the noble cause, was acknowledged with the “Servitor Pacis” Award from the Sendero de Paz Foundation that is presided by Archbishop Renato Martino, head of the Permanent Observation Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and the Nuncio in New York.
“This prize gives support to the project of turning tears into smiles, which is the Hospital for the Burned in Central America,” she says with joy reflected in her eyes.