J W Johnston • Photography


11 -18


Francisco is blessed with a strong constitution. He seldom gets sick, however, he is a magnet for serious injury. When drinkin, he becomes belligerent, and as a result gets into fights. Twice he got hit in the head with a skateboard, breaking his cheekbone and partially losing hearing in one ear. Another time he fell off the roof to our house and didn’t land on his head only because he grabbed a bougainvillea vine at the lost moment. When he tried to intervene between fighting dogs, his hands have been left bitten and bloody. Each time he required hospitalization.


A couple of years ago, when Francisco saw a stranger on the street being repeatedly stabbed, he jumped in to help and was stabbed himself. As Francisco tells it the man would have died had he not stepped in. Recently when Francisco and I were waiting at a crisis center, Francisco introduced me to the man who stabbed him, telling me “I forgive him. He was young and made a mistake.”


When dried bougainvillea flowers on our roof caught fire from an ember from his cigarette, Francisco tried stomping out the fire with his bare feet before the firemen arrived. I was in tears when I saw the third degree burns on the bottom of his feet. He told me: “I was not going to let your house burn down because of my smoking.” The burns kept him bedridden for months. It was probably around this time that I began to realize, that Francisco would give his life to save ours.