Monday, November 5, 2012

Haiti, Day One

Today was our first full day in Haiti. As most days are on the mission field, things don't always go as planned. We set out this morning to the Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. The roads are not streets, they are dirt roads with huge rocks and potholes like we've never seen in the States. Every time it rains, which is often, more of the road get flooded and washed away. Before the earthquake in 2010, the roads were bad, now they are even worse.

 The boy on the bike in this picture was leading us to the Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity clinic since our driver only had the address of the previous building, which was demolished in the earthquake. People don't stop at gas stations for directions, nor do they use Google maps, they simply pull up to someone on the side of the road and yell out the window, "Do you know where ___ is?" We did this several times before we found this sweet boy who said he would ride his bike and lead us there.

The Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity Clinic is a hospital for very sick children. These mothers literally wait outside the gate for hours, then continue waiting inside the "waiting room" holding their precious sick babies waiting for just a chance to see one of the sisters (nuns) and medical staff. There are 100 babies staying here, receiving treatment, ranging in age from newborn to about 4 or 5 years old. The babies are kept in 4 different rooms, with the sickest in room 1 to the healthiest in room 4. The sister in charge, Anna Frances, explained that most of the children suffer from malnutrition, but many have other illnesses. They did not allow cameras in there so we are unable to show you pictures, but it was the most heartbreaking thing. We were there during "visiting hours," so the mothers and some fathers are able to come to the clinic and hold their sick babies for several hours then a bell rings and all the babies are put back in the cribs and the parents have to leave for 3 hours. Then they can come back and visit for a few more hours before they have to go home for the night. When the mothers leave the babies, the babies cry and cry, so our team members each grabbed one to try to comfort them. It was absolutely heart wrenching to hear these babies screaming for their mamas, and the mamas having to walk away, wiping tears from their eyes, hoping their child will get better quickly so he can come home.

After the mothers left, we held and fed the children. Since they are so malnourished, they are on a 6 meal a day diet with strict portion control because if they eat too much they will get sick. Some of the women who were working there told us it takes them an hour to feed all the children on most days since they don't have much help, and the babies just sit and cry and wait to be fed. We were able to feed most of them in just 20 minutes. It was so great to be a blessing to these women who work so hard for these babies every day!

Next stop was Child Hope. Child Hope is an organization that was started 8 years ago by Americans, Bill and Susette Manassero. They have a well established program housing over 60 children in the orphanage with a school, and transitional program which teaches the children useful skills to help support themselves as adults.  It is not far from one of the "Tent Cities," where 5,000 people live under tarps that were "dropped" after the earthquake almost THREE YEARS AGO.


They have a feeding program for 150 of these neighborhood kids where they come in and let the children play soccer, sing worship songs, share a Bible story,  fix them a healthy meal, and give them clean water.

We played with them while the food was being prepared.  They brought out a parachute for the kids to play with which they absolutely LOVED.


To maintain order when they begin worship and feeding, they line the kids up by which part of the tent city they come from.


Then they had the team form an assembly line and pass the bowls to the children. One of the awesome things is they have children from the neighborhood who prove themselves and become "helpers." They help pass the food out and keep order. You will see in the pictures they are the ones with the yellow vests.






This little boy was the SWEETEST to his little sister. He sat and fed her with the spoon, gave her his water and waited to eat his own food until she was full. It was so precious!

What a GREAT day! And we are all so glad it didn't go the way WE planned.


On the way back, we got stuck in Haitian traffic for an hour. I don't think we will ever complain about traffic again! Getting ready for tomorrow...when we visit Great Hope Rescue Mission.

3 comments:

  1. You made me cry over your description of the sick babies and the mamas that have to leave them. That is absolutely heart-breaking! God bless you guys for helping and loving on those babies.

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  2. Ugh! I'm so sad I didn't see you on Sunday! But, happy that you got to meet a few of my friends here, at Heartline and Child Hope! I know y'all are being such a blessing to all the places you visit!!

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  3. You stayed at Heartlines!!! I love that place! Missing Haiti! Have a great trip and praying for heart changes while y'all are there!
    -Rachel

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