“What’s going on here is not normal. We don’t understand why we have a phone mast right in the school playground. We just want to get rid of it, and certainly not have it put up again somewhere else. We’re not against mobile phones or anything else, but we don’t want them killing our children,” declares Carida Magro, mother of one of the children who now has cancer. She has written to the Ombudsman, to the social services, to the town council, to Parliament, to newspaper editors and anyone else who will listen. But all that she has managed to achieve so far is to publicise the problem and make people aware of it.
Worse still, everyone points out that there isn’t just one phone mast but three of them [for different networks]. In fact within about 200 metres of the school there are two more masts. “It’s a cursed triangle,” declares Juan Gómez, who lives nearby and in whose family there are several cancer cases.
In this part of the town it’s hard to find even one family where everyone is healthy. “My father died four months ago”, “in my house three people out of five are sick”, “in these flats three people are sick”, these are the inevitable answers you get when you ask people in the neighbourhood about this affair.
Apart from the cancer cases, there is a related proliferation of thyroid conditions. “At Macarena hospital they ask us every time if we come from Brenes. It’s not right, we’re all on the way to dying here and nobody is doing anything to put a stop to it,” explains another young woman in whose family three people are sick.
Maria Isabel Gomez, a young woman of 18, has recovered from her illness, a lymphatic cancer that was diagnosed when she was 16. “It’s an age when you’re very sensitive. I had chemo, I lost all my hair and I couldn’t go out with my friends, I stayed at home all day, and I lost a whole year of school.”
Her mother recalls how full of life she used to be. “To see your daughter throwing up and her health crumbling away is heartbreaking and painful.”
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