In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Day 5

I haven't showered in days, and I haven't slept in a week. Our orphanage is in disaray and many of us are working 15 and 16 hour days, so this morning, when I got a call from a British Television network, asking if they could come to God's Littlest Angels later today, it was all I could do to hold it together.

For three of of the five days since the earthquake hit, I have been the sole nurse working with the babies at the main house. For two of those days, I was the only staff member in the NICU. The pace of life here at GLA shows no signs of slowing. Today, with no other nursing support, I was overseeing the care of 85 babies. One of them is on IV fluids and another has a nasogastric feeding tube. Several others are sick with gastroenteritis. I found four infants who were very dehydrated when I started work this morning. One of them has crackles on his right lung, which may indicate a pneumonia. We are running low on the first-line antibiotic I used to treat him. We are also low on IV fluids, particularly those containing sodium and potassium. These minerals are needed to replace salts that are lost by children who have gastroenteritis. Hopefully, some of these essential medical supplies will reach us via one of the aid flights that will be coming in over the next week or so.

We heard today that 23 of GLA's children may be leaving for the Netherlands tomorrow. The Dutch government has agreed to admit all Haitian children who are in the process of being adopted by Dutch families. For them to leave Haiti without the usual paperwork, the Haitian Prime minister must sign a paper, waiving the typical immigration requirements.

It will be an emotional day tomorrow when we wave these children off. We all know that it is in the children's best interests to go; we cannot guarantee that we will have food or baby milk for them a month from now. This kind of parting though, from such a large group of children, leaving the orphanage in such a manner, is unprecendented for us. Usually, we know when a child is nearing the end of the adoption process, and we prepare our-selves for their departure.

I have been wondering what our Haitian staff, and Haitians generally would think, when they heard that several hundred orphaned children would be evacuated out of Haiti. Would it make them sad or would they rejoice? Would they be offended and say that foreigners were 'stealing' their children.
So far, whenever I have spoken about this, our Haitian staff have responded in the same way; 'Sa bon! Pa gen anyen pou yo isit' (meaning, that's good, there is nothing for them here in Haiti.)


dochas said...

Dear Susan,
Your faith will be a light among much darkness in Haiti just now and I pray for your health and strength, as you await relief.

I am very moved by your blog and very heartened to hear that some of the children have homes to go to in the Netherlands, although I'm sure it won't be easy to see them leave.

I am a Scottish girl living in Holland, where I teach and do some freelance journalism. I would love to publicise your story to help you raise money for Earthquake Relief, so please email me at

Thank you and God bless the work you are doing there.


May you find the strength to continue for a very long time. This wonderful work you are doing has just got a whole lot more complicated and my very heart goes out to you and all the devastated ones in Haiti. May the very strength of your faith in god keep you putting one foot in front of the other. Dont look at the whole picture its too immense concentrate on the things you can do and what is immediately in front of you now. Remember not to be anxious about tomorrow as you will be provided for. Your blog is important it will help draw what you need to those in your care. Not all will be saved but our creator who knows when a sparrow falls how much more will he be sick of heart for those who have fallen and will fall in the coming days and months. Take Care pray for the strength beyond what is normal and you will receive. Im far away in Australia and can do nothing that makes much of a difference right now...but try to give you at least words of comfort and hope this helps you through another day. hugs Michelle

Just Me said...

Ever since I "stumbled" upon your blog a few days ago, you have been in my thoughts and prayers. As a pediatric nurse who likely would complain about not having nursing support in caring for three patients...well, thanks for the perspective. Praying that you get the fluids and antibiotics needed to care for these sick babies. And, also prayers to you as you say good-bye to all the children leaving for Holland. Even though this is a "happy loss", it is a loss still the same and grief is inevitable, although I am sure you are too tired and overwhelmed with all the sick ones to deal with it now. All I can say is "wow"...God bless you and your work.
Prayers from the US. said...

Your work is unbelieveable. I am praying for you and your babies. How far away from the Catholic CHurch are you in Kenskoff? I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the area in 1991 (until we were evacuated during the Coup) and I lived with a wonderful family behind the church. I want to find out if they are alright. Is there a phone number at the church I can call? I want to help in any way I can. Thank you.
God Bless You.

Anonymous said...

Your work is amazing. I tried to write a comment but I am not sure it went through. I am trying to find out if a family I lived with in 1991 while I was in the Peace Corps is okay. They live behind the Catholic Church. Do you know if there is a phone number at the church. I would like to help out in any way I can.
God Bless You and your babies.

shelley said...

Sweet Susan,

I,too,am a pediatric ICU nurse. You humble me with your dedication and love of our Lord. Your job is of the utmost importance. Please know that my family will be praying for you and your orpahange. I am feeling frustrated about the lack of movement the USA seems to be having, but hopefully help and relief will be there soon.

May God continue to bless you.


Anonymous said...

You are an angel Susan!

JB said...

M-love's Mom (that's me!!) wants you to know HOW prayed for you have been (and still are!) I am a teacher, so my school, my family, my church....even people around me in a store line soon hear about GLA, it's plight and incredible, beautiful people like you. We are praying for sweet baby girl to come home certainly in time for her 1st birthday! If prayers were pennies--you'd be rich! Spread the love and prayer support to kids and staff around you. THANK YOU for being Jesus to our babies in transition. We love you and appreciate you so...... jayne B