We are midway through our service here at St Damien’s, the only pediatric hospital in Haiti. Having never been to Haiti before, I had somewhat of a “skewed” view of the climate of the country overall.
Having come straight to the hospital, and living in the camp on the grounds of the hospital, all we have seen are the sickest of the country. Parents bringing their children from hundreds of miles away, or locally, for medical care. These kids have come in minutes away from death, and we have seen more death in 3 days than in my entire career as a medical provider spanning 15 years.
The fragmented medical system and lack of available resources to people are somewhat foreign to us as Americans. We have the fortunate ability to have better access to healthcare, regardless of our location or ability to pay.
So today I was able to see a more pleasant view of Haiti. Our team traveled over 2 hours to a sister orphanage/day boarding school that children from age 3 to adulthood belong to. Either these children are orphaned and live there, or their parents pay to send them there for schooling. Over 700 kids are served in this beautiful facility.
On the way there I was able to see the countryside, the “suburbs”, the day-to-day life. People living and smiling. The culture. As a child of immigrants, I related to the bustling activity of roadside markets, the selling of goods that occur in the center of town, city chaos. We passed beautiful homes, another reminder that many countries have the very rich and the very poor, but very few in between.
We bonded so much today as a group. It was a happy day. We ate at a lovely little restaurant with Sister Judy and shopped at some local markets. Before we left we went looking for a little boy named Moses. During the hurricane in 2005, it was reported that this baby boy’s family knew they would not survive the flooding and put him in a basket and laid him on top of a tree. The tree stayed afloat and the boy was found.
Unfortunately, the family perished, but he has been living in this beautiful orphanage. Today we found him! Moses is adorable – and we were able to play and see how kids are the same worldwide.