This is a mother and child we met yesterday at a hospital in Ti Goave. She has stage 3 malnutrition, as evidenced by the thinning hair, pot pelly (parasites) and twig-thin arms.
The mother is homeless and told us she's so despondent that she tried to kill herself last week. Her house was destroyed in the hurricanes last year and she now wanders from friend's house to friend's house, looking for a place for each night to stay with her daughter.
I'm glad we got there. Now the child is hospitalized and getting the treatment she needs and we gave the mom food. All they'd had the previous day, their last meal, was a cup of corn meal.
So many sad stories and sad faces, when you look into the eyes of a mother who tells you she saw no other alternative but a rope, it does something to you inside. She felt like no one cared, like she didn't matter.
I hope she realized yesterday after we left how much she DOES matter, and her child.
Haiti isn't all misery and starvation. I took this photo of a spectacular sunset as we drove to Jacmel.
And we saw two lovely incidents of fulfillment, mothers whom we had met on our last trip in Cite Soleil who now have houses. They practically beamed at us, they were so overjoyed. One of the mothers told me she looks at the house and thinks she is dreaming. And then she awakens and it's still there. It's like a miracle to her.
That made me smile.
Today we are headed up into the mountains where there are isolated cases of malnutrition. Our truck yesterday was loaded with food and meds, which are sorely needed.
I heard a story yesterday that some of the people in the mountains have walked more than 50 kilometers just to get a small bucket of food distributed by a local aid agency. Sigh...
On a brighter note, yesterday at the hospital a small SUV pulled up that read AMBULANCE. A guy jumps out, opens the back doors. Who is inside? A critical case? Someone in need of emergency medical attention?
Nope. He reaches inside and pulls out two... chickens. Trussed and ready to kill for dinner.
I guess sometimes, in areas where the hunger is really bad, delivering a meal by ambulance makes sense.