No one would deny that life is hard in Haiti. You can look at every child’s face here and see the fight to find joy in the hardships. For most of us Americans, we might even look at this place and wonder how joy is even possible when the poverty and disadvantages are so overwhelming.
For me personally, as sad as it is to admit, one necessary part of my job traveling to all the various places Heart of God works, is that to even get through the day, I have to build an emotional wall to prevent myself from continually being broken and in tears at everything I see.
Tonight, however, my emotional wall has crumbled.
It’s now after 2:30a.m, and everything going on (worthwhile) in Haiti ended hours ago. I am laying in bed wanting nothing more than to fall sleep, but my emotions are overwhelming me with heartbroken-ness and feelings of helplessness from the events of the day.
If I can be real for a moment about my life in Haiti, it is hard to walk into our orphanage every week and see the limited and nutritionally-lacking food supplies that we have to feed our kids and knowing that the budget is so tight that I really can’t do more. It adds even more difficulty and stress when unavoidable events come, like the destruction to the orphanage when the storm hit. I just have to keep reminding myself that we do what we can with what we have, and try to make things better a little at a time.
But today it all overloaded in me as I sat by a sleeping little boy, laying under a sheet on a tattered mattress, outside in the cool breeze, whose little body was being ravished by fever and such stomach pain that he didn’t want to move. All morning he has had nausea and diarrhea and there is blood in his stool pointing to infection. And now, for some unknown reason, he has started wetting himself without realizing it’s happening.
Jude, age 6, is one of the twins in the orphanage. He is smaller than his twin brother, Anderson, which I’m guessing has to do with his nutrition level as they have grown so far. Sometimes I wonder if he is mentally as capable, as well. These twins are two of the many kids that if I could adopt them as my own, I would do so in a heartbeat.
While I sat next to him, holding his hand and rubbing his back, I could see the concern for him on his brother face. The other kids didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t feeling well, being more interested in pressing in close for their share of my attention. Shooing the other kids back to let him rest, the reality that I couldn’t do anything for him in his distress crushed me.
As I sat there, I laid my hand on his extremely-hot-head and just prayed. We had tried calling our doctor here in Haiti, but couldn’t get him on the phone. By this time it was too late in the day to try and take him down the mountain and have him seen, without putting him in the hospital overnight. I called a friend in the U.S. with a background in both nursing and raising 3 boys of her own to get some advice, and then gave him some medicine for the fever before heading back to my comfortable guesthouse home with electricity and a hot shower awaiting.
As I drove away from the center, the last thing I saw was a beaten up mattress, with a beaten up little boy on it, laying on the side of a mountain; helpless. An image now burned into my head, preventing me from sleeping, and causing me to have to hold back tears.
The reality is that there are things that can be done in our center to help prevent a lot of sickness from coming up or spreading to the other kids (which I don’t want to think about at this point). There are doctors and medicines available here that we can get access to. Beyond that, there is more nutritional food available beyond just the beans and rice, spaghetti and sardines in tomato sauce that we are feeding as staples every week. These kids can have a better life than they have right now, but it requires others to be willing to come alongside us and help.
Now, I don’t want to turn my real emotional struggle into a cheap advertisement like those that can be seen on late-night television for donations. But the truth is that we can’t do what we need to do to care for these kids without your help. So I will ask for your help…
First of all, will you pray for us. As out of fashion as it may seem to some, we really do believe that prayer changes situations, as believers like you go to our Father seeking His mercy and compassion. I know that it’s easy for most of us to hear stories like this, feel moved or saddened for a little while, then forget and get on with life. I’m just asking that you don’t pass over this this too quickly. We really do need your prayers.
And then if you feel led to give, I promise that we will put your money to good use. You can give a one time gift by clicking on the ‘donate’ tab at the top, or if you really want to help us give these kids a better life, consider our sponsorship program (which is still in it’s early stages).
Finally, would you right now just specifically pray for little Jude. Pray for healing. And pray for him to grow up strong and healthy, and have a life knowing and honoring God. All of our kids need your prayers, but in this moment in time, this one does most of all.
Update 9-8-12: Jude has progressively gotten better every time I’ve been back to the center since the day he was laid up.
Yesterday I went to see him again and there is no pain in his stomach, the fever has remained gone since it broke late the first night. The only lasting issue was with his urinary tract. It went from him urinating on himself without realizing it, to not being able to go when he felt like he needed to. Because of his rapid improvement, we didn’t put him on any antibiotics, but decided to wait and see how it went, but because of the problems in his digestive tract and now urinary tract, I took an antibiotic for him yesterday. However, the report was that he no longer has any diarrhea or problems urinating, so we opted not to start those meds.