Saturday, June 12, 2010
Funny how we end up in situations that seem so natural at the time but when reflected upon just seem surreal…the other night was like that for me… I found myself lying in bed at the foot of the mountains of Haiti with 2 other women and 3 severely malnourished children…of course I was...why wouldn’t I have been….
I’ll give you a bit of background on how this situation came into being… Many things affected me on my last trip to Haiti in March but none so much as the severely malnourished boy that was brought into our clinic. After that encounter I knew that working to assist those aiding these children needed to be my focus. In what capacity I have yet to figure out but I am exploring..thus what lead me to the mountains of Haiti the other night. Now there are many malnourished children in the big centers of Haiti, children hungry on the streets, in homes but some children have been fortunate to have found a way into rescue centers like the one run by the amazing people of The Real Hope for Haiti. I have at time caught myself saying things like “I’m starving to death” we all do and in the context it’s a harmless comment but what I saw the other day was literally children who had been starving to death!
Now there are many thoughts that people have, myself included that center around why people have children they cannot afford to care for etc but that is a topic I won’t address here. That’s a discussion better had in person. But the one thing that I have learned is that it is a mixture of education (and the lack of), poverty and lack of access to appropriate healthcare and I will leave it at that for now…
The reality of the situation, the reality that I saw time and time again is this…there are children dying each and every day of malnutrition, lack of access to clean drinking water and preventable illnesses. Children I saw the other day were up to 5 years of age but looked like they were 1-2. 5 year olds that weighted 12 pounds, expressionless unable to interact due to lack of energy required to smile. Could you imagine not having enough energy to even smile?
Children looking at me their eyes hollow..lacking the light that illuminates the eyes of the children I know in Canada. In the Real Hope for Haiti rescue center there are approximately 55 children with differing levels of malnutrition. Some are able to walk, some unable too, some too weak to sit let alone walk, some too weak to cry. I watched as The little boy in the above picture tried to bring a piece of bread to his mouth, his hands trembling so badly because he just didn’t have the strength…
The majority of these kids have parents who just can’t afford to feed them…I cringed at the thought of how much food I alone throw out on any given day (which I will never again do!) I only took 1 picture…one of the little boy who spent the night in my room, the little boy who spoke so clearly because he’s 5 although he looks like he’s 2. I didn’t take pictures of the other children…It just didn’t seem right…they didn’t need me snapping pictures… what they needed was to be held, to be interacted with, someone to lie on the floor beside them when they were too weak to even sit up, they needed Medika Mamba syringed through their NG tubes…they needed to know that hopefully one day the suffering would end….so that’s what I did instead.
That morning I watched as a severely malnourished boy tried to catch a sunray in his hand…It was all at once so beautiful that it stopped me right in my tracks.
There are many things in this trip that have brought tears to my eyes…tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of frustration and tears of amazement for all that is good in the world. Just glad I can be involved in it…Like the little boy I am just trying to catch the sunray for the light it can bring me…even for the brief moment that it exists…
Check out the link to see more about Real Hope for Haiti and pictures. http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/
The work this family does with not only the feeding center but with their medical clinic (that sees over 300 pts a day on average with 4 nurses and no drs.) is essential and amazing! I hope to return soon