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.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

New Arrivals From Cazale

Late this morning, I traveled out to Cazale, to collect two children from a mission, situated at the foot of some rocky hills. Their buildings have been damaged, they are operating under tarps, and they are overwhelmed by earthquake trauma cases.
We travelled along a dry and dusty road that wound through a wilderness of scrub land, reaching Real Hope For Haiti around mid-day. On route, we passed dozens of make-shift dwellings: sheets and tarpaulins, draped over sticks, hastily thrown up along the road-side by families whose homes were destroyed by last months earthquake.

A week ago, we received baby Valentina from Real Hope for Haiti, and I shared with you that hers was the most severe case of malnutrition I have ever seen. At a month old, she weighed 3lb 12 ounces. Today, I received 12 month old Clercineau. He was admitted to Real hope for Haiti when he was 4 months old. He weighed 3.17 pounds then. Today, he weighs 5lb 7oz, and newborn clothing swamps his skeletal frame.
Nurse Lori, who heads up the mission Clinic in Cazale, explained that Clercineau's sister had been admitted to their malnutrition clinic four times during infancy and early childhood. Today, Clercineau's sister is 10 years old and the size of the average European two three old. Lori suspects that the children in this family have a genetic condition that stunts their growth.

When I arrived at GLA with Clercineau this afternoon, our nannies were reduced to tears at the sight of his twig-limbs and the parchment-thin skin covering his bones. The staff at Real Hope for Haiti sited a feeding tube - Clercineau has not been feeding from a bottle during the 2 weeks of his re-admitted to their malnutrition centre. Clercineau drank three ounces in his first hour in the Kenscoff mountains. He sucks well and seems hungry. These are promising signs.

I have asked Miss Vicky, a retired American nurse, to care for Clercineau one-on-one. It will be interesting to see whether he begins to thrive with consistent, loving care.

Our second medical admission from Real Hope for Haiti is three day old Donley. His mother died shortly after delivering this beautiful but petite 4lb boy. Developmentally, Donley behaves like a full-term baby.We believe that his growth was retarded in the womb. It was my pleasure to feed Donley his first bottle of milk today. With good nutrition, he should begin to grow and gain weight. He will then return home, into the care of an Aunt.

Update: Clercineau's recovery from his malnutrition was uneventful and he returned to Cazale, aged 2. His 10 year old sister was diagnosed with HIV in 2012. She died of AIDS a few months later. Both the children's parents tested negative for the virus. That means that in all likelihood, Clercineau's sister was raped by a man from her community. To the best of my knowledge,  she never spoke of being sexually assaulted. She did speak of ritualistic abuse - in an attempt to heal her, her parents engaged the services of a voodoo priest. I continue to pray for Clercineau's safety


Cathy said...

Please keep us posted about the progress of sweet Clercineau, i so will be praying for him to thrive. His little face is so worn and tired, I pray for Miss Vicky and all of you there.

Twinsplusthree said...

Praying that these two new children will bring joy to your heart and you will see God's hand in your daily work. Keep it up!

Wendy said...

Hi Susan, Was thinking about Clercineau and his sister, and watched a program tonight on primordial dwarfism. - this below is from Wikipedia -
Primordial dwarfism is a rare form of dwarfism that results in a smaller body size in all stages of life beginning from before birth. More specifically, primordial dwarfism is a diagnostic category including specific types of profoundly proportionate dwarfism, in which individuals are extremely small for their age, even as a fetus. Most individuals with primordial dwarfism are not diagnosed until they are about 3 years of age.
Medical professionals typically diagnose the fetus as being small for the gestational age, or as having intrauterine growth disability when an ultrasound is conducted. Typically, people with primoridal dwarfism are born with very low birth weights. After birth, growth continues at a stunted rate, leaving individuals with primordial dwarfism perpetually years behind their peers in stature and in weight.

If it is not Failure to thrive, maybe this??

Cheryl said...

Please let Miss Vicki know I am praying for her as she cares for Clercineau. I also have a photo for her of Soraya before she left GLA.

Praying for all of you there as you minister to these precious children needing so much love, care and prayers.