Miracle at Dawn

by Captain Bill

By Mike Collis

Well there I was having a quiet beer in my favourite bar in the back streets of Iquitos. It was 12.15 p.m. on Good Friday and there I was minding my own business taking in a Crystal, the way I like it, cold and on my own. My solitude was soon to be ended when 2 young Peruvian women approached me, one holding what appeared to be a small body completely covered with a sheet, and she was holding it at arms length. I thought, “Oh no!  She’s bringing me a dead baby!”. But no, the other young woman, who I knew as Liliana said “This little boy of 18 months has been seriously scalded by hot water and needs immediate hospital treatment”. I said  “Well, get him to the hospital now”. The young woman holding the child said “ But I have no insurance and no money to pay so they will not treat my little boy”. I knew that the burns would not kill the little boy but infection would soon set in if the burns were not treated quickly and the infection would for certain kill the child.

Grabbing the young mother by the hand, abandoning my beer and leaving the bar without paying I led the two women through the streets to the nearest point I could think of where help just might be available, The Dawn on the Amazon Restaurant.

When we got there, I left the two young women outside in the street and entered the restaurant. My friend, Bill Grimes the owner was not there. What can I do?  There was about 15 diners enjoying, probably what is considered to be the best food in Iquitos. I approached them, raised my arms and said “Sorry folks but this is an emergency, I have an 18 month old boy outside who has been scalded. I estimate 30% to 40% of his body is affected and he needs hospital treatment NOW and his Mother has no insurance and no money so the hospital will not even look at him” A diner got up and said “ I am a nurse let me see the boy”. She went over and gently lifted the sheet from the child and turned back to the other diners and said “ Yes, it’s serious”.

Within a minute, the 2 women and the child were in a motocarro and on their way to the Regional Hospital with enough money to cover the entire cost of any treatment, thanks to the generosity of those kind customers of the Dawn on the Amazon Restaurant. I think the total amount raised was about 200 peruvian soles ($60US). Enough to save this young life. Yes, it don’t cost much to save a life here in the Amazon.

I will keep you informed on the little boys progress.

By Mike Collis

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David Volkmann April 21, 2014 at 6:52 am

WOW. What a wonderful story to read the first thing in the morning when I wake up.

2 Monty Fulton April 21, 2014 at 9:36 am

Great story, Mike! Please keep us posted!

3 Mark Kennet April 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

And the question we all need to know the answer to: Was your beer still there when you returned to the bar?

4 Kath Lawson April 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

Brilliant, hope he is ok.

5 Kate Hagstrom April 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

Good job.

6 Mike Collis April 23, 2014 at 9:04 am

First of all his name is James and he is in fact 2 years old but looks smaller than his age.
He is now in his own isolation room with his Mother. No visitors are allowed and the doctors and nurses have to wear special clothing to avoid bringing infection into James’s safe room.
James is bandaged from his lower chest down to his little feet. He has a lot of pain when using his bowels and urinating because of the damage to his bottom and private parts. All of his little body is raw flesh under those bandages. They do not know how long James and his Mom will remain in the Regional Hospital.

7 David Volkmann April 25, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Where does this go from here? $60.00 can start the care for James but surely this is not enough for all the medical care he needs.

8 Mike Collis April 26, 2014 at 8:16 am

You are right Dave. The little boy has taken a turn for the worse. He has a swollen stomach because he cannot pee properly also he has a small infection on his right leg. I am working on this now. Of course I will ask for reciepts.

9 Mike Collis May 18, 2014 at 8:35 am


First of all his name is Junio.
Junio is now home with his Mom and he is OK. He has got scar damage on his lower torso and legs and feet but his face, arms and hands were unscathed. He will be fine.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those (unknown) customers of the Dawn on the Amazon for paying for Junio’s initial treatment which probably saved his life, and to Monty Fulton who paid for the final treatment. Thank You All.

10 Captain Bill May 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Thanks for the update Mike, and thanks to everyone that helped Junio. Good job Mike and Monty, you made a difference again.

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