There are so many stories to tell of the needs and heartbreak when you are in Haiti, but I never have enough time or energy to just sit and write it all down. I am early for breakfast so I am just taking a few minutes to tell you about a couple of very touching moments.
Jude John Paul. I knew the minute I heard his name there would be something very special about this child. Dropped on the cement floor during his birth at the hospital after the use of forceps, Jude seemed to be a normal happy baby and young child until he started having epileptic seizures at 5 years old. Jude is now 17 and is a quadrapalegic with severe brain damage. During my visit with him and his mother I just broke down. I couldn't imagine the pain and suffering his mother has been through. She has cared for him with such love. I noticed he has a wheel chair, but during my visit he was laying on a metal wire base that a mattress should have been on, but instead a piece of cardboard and a sheet of plastic.
Jude John Paul
I had been visiting the elderly with Dr. Sem while the others were playing with the kids at the orphanage. I couldn't believe what I was feeling. Dr. Sem said that I should try to get him to the US for a cat scan and an MRI. I remembered hearing from a couple of American technicians I had met at the airport in Haiti a while ago that Haiti has 2 MRI machines. I just started to cry even harder. At the Mayo they have 34 MRI machines and I have had several at an hours notice along with CTs when there was just a possibility of a problem. Why was all this technology and care available to me, when this young man needed it so badly. Again Bono’s words echoed in my head...the accident of longitude and latitude should not determine whether you live or die. I went back to our group and gathered them all to come and pray for Jude.
It was an incredible experience. We laid hands on him and began to pray for his healing. For the first time in my life I heard tongues. I really prayed for a miracle. When we were finished, Dr. Sem, and the other Haitians we were with, including Jean, Andrenoi, Claude and Judes mother prayed over him. I have never been in a situation like this. I really did expect to see Jude get up and walk, the prayers were so powerful. But he didn't. I realize that it is in Gods hands and He has his plan for Jude. Maybe part of that plan was for us to have this holy experience. Maybe His plan is to put Jude in our path to see what we do about his situation. It has been hard to stop thinking about Jude John Paul and his mother. He is her only child.
While delivering water in Cite Soleil. we met a mother with a young boy and a brand new baby girl. She was telling us that she was sick and had no breast milk for her baby. She then pointed out the hernia on her little boy and asked how we could help her. It just overwhelmed me. Her pain of not being able to feed her baby must have been so great. And when trying to bring some relief or solution for her, I found myself in the middle of the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere. There are no gas stations or supermarkets that we could quickly run to to buy formula, There are no food shelves, no government or charitable safety nets for Gods people here. We were her only hope and we had to leave her with just the promise that we would not forget her.
A sick mother with no breast milk
As we were leaving, our friend Kevin showed up on his motorcycle (Gods perfect timing). I told him of this woman and her baby and we made a plan. The water truck would go to the next stop without me while I stayed and waited for Kevin to run for formula, bottles and bottled water.
Girls playing hopscotch
As I sat on the city road waiting and trying to sit in the shade, I watched 4 young girls play hop scotch. They had drawn the game on the pavement with charcoal and had wrapped stones in little plastic bags to throw into the squares. As the smallest girl passed her stone an older girl picked it up and tossed it into the green slimy, mucky waters in the gutter. When the little girl turned around to go back she saw that her stone was missing. The older girl then pushed her out of the game. I guess kids will be kids no matter where they live. She later came over to sit with me and her teletubby. Just another ordinary day in Cite Soleil.
Curious girls with Teletubby
Kevin finally returned and we walked to the sick mothers house. It was a very small tin shanty. She was sitting on a board that blanced on concrete blocks on the dirt floor. We taught her how to mix the formula, feed and how important it was to wash the bottle thoroughly after each feeding. A whole crowd of woman had gathered at her door to see what we were doing. I realized that the baby wasn't getting any milk...the nipple didn't have a hole in it. So we asked all the women if anyone had a pin...They passed one into us... so much for sterilization. I poked the nipple and gave the bottle to the baby. This precious 15 day old baby sucked so hard and had no problem eating. Thank you God!!! We will be checking on her this week to see how she is doing and try to find some long-term help for her.
First bottle feeding
As I said when I started, this is just a couple of stories out of the hundreds we could tell. God gives us so much opportunity to serve when we are here. And with your help we continue to provide hope to those who have such Faith in our God. Thank you for your continued support and for your kind heart.