Thursday, September 08, 2005

Haiti

Back from Cap Haitien, in Port-au-Prince. Country is very quiet now, a refreshing change of pace. Unreal poverty we saw this week... homes built on a mangrove swamp by the sea that flood twice a day at high tide. Yet the people remain because they are desperate. "I have nowhere else to go," this one woman told me. The women told me they get terrified of the water during storms and pray their children won't drown in their own houses.

I got this chill down my spine when she told me that.

We saw some malnourished children including this one baby that was horribly malnourished. I'd say stage three. We came back to a house at about 6 to see if a mother was home and she wasn't and suddenly Ben swears. He rarely swears. I turn around and he says quietly, "Look at that baby."

OMG. The baby was two years old, huge pot belly from parasites, and his ribs were sticking out. His short-cropped hair was orange. He had matchstick legs and arms. A walking skeleton. The mother wasn't home but we talked with the father. We made a promise to come back this morning before our plane left for Cap Haitien, so we could visit with the mother.

We did... and took photos, interviewed the mom and then promptly told her to dress the baby and come with us, we were taking her and the child to a hospital. She accompanied us, walking along the sands back to the truck. Sat in the truck, the baby started fussing. She had said they hadn't anything to eat yet. The baby cries all night. He's been sick for three months. Her greatest fear was her son was going to die. She knew how sick he was.

Before we told her we were taking her son to the hospital, she told me, "I've been praying for money to get him to the hospital. I ask God, God, can you please protect us and protect the baby. I don't know why this is happening to us, but please can you do something?"

Today, he did something. He sent us. It's ironic. Yesterday as we are driving to Petite Anse, as this beachfront area is called, I was mentally questioning why I have done this kind of work for 12 years. It makes me weary, sometimes very depressed, and drained of energy. As we are driving in the car, I asked God, is it time for me to quit and chuck it all in and do something else for a career? Am I really doing anything good? Then we arrived at Petite Anse and Ben spots the sick baby.

If we hadn't returned to see the mother, we never would have seen the baby. Or gone back this morning. I'm sure the baby would have eventually died. God used us to answer this woman's prayer to send her son to a hospital. I guess he answered my prayer as well.

4 comments:

FerfeLaBat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FerfeLaBat said...

I have this compelling need to cheer you up somehow. I must ponder this sadness of yours for awhile and get back to you. I have one thought for you before I get back to work.

The world would be far worse if no one cared. As long as we care for one another, no matter how powerless we may feel in other ways, all is not despair and gloom.

You make the world a better place and by sharing your experiences, show the rest of us how to make the world a better place, too.

It's Friday. Ophelia will probably circle around and kill all of us by Monday. We should do lunch!

FerfeLaBat said...

That was me that deleted. It was a typo infested hell. You were sad enough as it was and didn't need to see mangled, tortured verbiage as well.

Mary Stella said...

God bless you, Bonnie.

"There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it." (Edith Wharton)