Thursday, October 25, 2012
Haiti Day 3
Haiti Day 3
Reflecting on yesterday's water day, I don't understand why, with the billions of dollars pledged to Haiti, a field sits empty next to the Commercial Well. We drive past it to get to slums where masses await fresh water.
Is it too complicated to buy the land, equip it with some plumbing and basic necessities and fill the new space with people?
After my first blog yesterday, I didn't think there was anything in me for this today, but here goes:
I started the day getting winded; it's quite a workout to escort a bounding dog halfway around the block. Bacon escaped as we walked to church early this morning. And he's an expert at avoiding recapture. He marked territory hurriedly as we chased and tried to corral him.
Church was unforgettable. The hoarsely shouted Creole sounds of what I thought was a political dictator turned out to be the pastor shouting praises under a large navy blue tent. Exultation was a leading candidate for word of the day. Shouts of joy turned to a chorus of hymns before the pastor began his sermon. Exultations. Hallelujah was one of very few words I could pick up, but it was easy to understand how much the people love Jesus. One woman was so moved she had to dance, and she danced with Jim.
Hospital for Sick and Dying Children
It's surreal from the moment you arrive as you remove shoes to enter the hospital barefoot and douse your hands with bleach and water. It must be comforting for the parents arriving, and bleaching their hands, simultaneously to know that volunteers care to visit too--for days they cannot attend themselves.
After being able to let go of the first "Hey you!" who bounded into my arms, I fed the girl in bed#2 who didn't have the strength to hold up her own head. I noticed Charlene sat on the floor to help with the balancing act, and I did the same. Incredibly she ate the whole bowl of food and I was grateful for my experience of keeping baby food off four chubby cheeks years ago. The weak whimpers tug at your heart as you try to move to another needy child. I feel badly for not being able to comfort with a lullaby, but I can manage a hum now and then without breaking down.
A few of us moved to the very-sick ward and tried to decide who to hold or help. In the end I picked up a girl whose only sign of life were her beautiful eyes. That's what threw me off--I couldn't believe there was so little strength in that body since there was such beauty in those eyes. But I'll never forget how no life flowed from her tiny, thin arm. The grasp reflex in her hand was completely absent, no matter how much I stroked her palm. As I put her down before we left the ward I prayed: please, please let some of my love replace the energy she'll lose with whimpering as I leave her. Please?
Such a dichotomy; so draining and so fulfilling at the same time. And I think that's what tears you up inside...there's so much moving within you. You could ask: Is the Net zero (or love, as they say in tennis)? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
When we returned to the regular ward, the bell indicated visiting parents had to leave, So I calmed one of the abandoned boys. He was so tired. As I put him down it calmed him simply dry the tear that welled up in his eye.
Incredibly lunch was being prepared. Hadn't breakfast just finished? I was instructed to feed crib#9 as the nurse gave me yellow bib, spoon and aluminum bowl of rice, gravy and chicken. She is beautiful. And it was as if the chicken, which she clearly favored with her eyes as I fed her, awakened something within her. My father talks of "personality plus" to describe rare gems and this girl has it. When she finished her bowl i enjoyed taking extra care cleaning her with a wet-wipe packet.
Taking nurse instruction again, I hurried to feed the boy in the neighboring crib before we had to leave. And as I bibbed him, Miss PP reached over and latched on to my forearm, with a gorgeous smile. A smile that I'll never forget. Just as I'll never forget that near-lifeless whimper. But the net is much more than love.
Gertrude's Home for Special Needs Children
Special Needs is a good way to describe the way I feel about these children: I think they're special too. This is a great example of "Net-More-Than-Love" concept for me. And how appropriate that one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen in Haiti will house these people! Looks like they'll have ample space. That is so exciting!