Kate Sheehy reports for PRI’s The World:
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In the western lowlands of Nicaragua, in a region of vast sugarcane fields, sits the tiny community of La Isla.The small houses are a patchwork of concrete and wood. Pieces of cloth serve as doors.
Maudiel Martinez emerges from his house to greet me. He’s pale, and his cheekbones protrude from his face. He hunches over like an old man — but he is only 19-years-old.
“The way this sickness is — you see me now, but in a month I could be gone. It can take you down all of a sudden,” he says. Maudiel’s kidneys are failing. They do not perform the essential function of filtering waste from his body. He’s being poisoned from the inside. When he got ill two years ago, he was already familiar with this disease and how it might end. “I thought about my father and grandfather,” he says.