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, 7 February 2010

A Return To 'Normality'.

Friday brought some difficult decisions. We had a full complement of nannies; 24 working the day shift and 2 working the night shift. Unfortunately there were just 18 children at GLA. Things were not going well; many of the nannies, having nothing to do, were slipping into a depression.

Our childcare staff are used to working 14 hour days, 4 days a week, with 85 children. Now, they were lying on their beds and sitting on chairs. With too much time to think about all they had lost, they wore dazed expressions. Apathy was setting in, and as the days passed, the babies became more and more fractious and irritable. Something had to change.

We gave this much thought, and came to the conclusion, with regret, that we would have to send some of our staff home. We wrestled with the numbers, and the thoughts in our heads. Must she go? Really? This lady is so good with the children...and this one is such a hard worker....

In the end, just 12 of our senior nannies remain. Those who were asked to leave did not argue or put up any kind of fight. Many of them are struggling with the psychological impact of the earthquake. All have lost family members and most have lost there homes and are sleeping in make-shift shelters. They talk of many deeply distressing things that they witness on the city streets.

I am sure that many of our Haitian staff feel unable to cope with work at this point, and would rather be with their families. Their kind of brokenness will take time to heal. They have been sent home on half pay. We hope to be able to call them back to work, one-by-one, as more children arrive.

We have closed our step-down nursery, and consolidated the remaining children and staff into our largest nursery.This nursery usually holds 50 children. There are just 12 there today. Each of the nannies have been assigned 2 children.

These ladies have excellent childcare skills, and they are doing a fantastic job of loving our little ones, and maintaining their routine. The babies are enjoying lots of individualized attention. The change in them, has been truly wonderful to behold. They are happy, smiling and playful; proof, I think, that we made some good decisions regarding their on-going care.


Catherine said...

Dear Susan, I am so sad that GLA had to send home so many nannies... but if it is for the best of our kids, then I can understand... and this will give them time to reconstruct... I hope.
Is this Nad├Ęge on the bottom picture ? I guess this is my baby... If this is her then she looks great !
Catherine (beeing a bad mother not recognizing her baby on a picture rrrrrr)

Wendy said...

Hi Susan, I am sooo enjoying being kept informed with your blog. Thank you. Are the camps/tents far away from you? Maybe some of the nannies could help there?

nicnacpaddywac said...

Praying that these ladies have a short amount of time to begin rebuilding their lives and homes, and that they are soon back for busy days at GLA.