Sunday, 21 March 2010
Her Name is Mikerline
She arrived filthy, in urine soaked clothes.
She is three months old.
She weighs 4lb 6oz.
She hasn't received a drop of milk since she was a week old.
Eight days after her birth, her father arrived at her home in Kenscoff, a town high in the mountains above Port-au-Prince. He had a grudge to bear against Mikerline's mother. He wanted to hurt her, and what deeper way to wound her, than through the brand new baby, nurisng at her breast?
Mikerline's father removed Mikerline from her Mother's care, and brought her to the home of his new girl friend. Did they have the means to purchase infant formula? We don't know. What is almost certain is that no-one in that house would have had the motivatation to do anything extrordinary to ensure this infants survival. Haitian's are a people ground down by poverty. They are in survival mode most of the time. They are barely able to provide for those they consider their own, and Mikerline was 'the other woman's child'. She was in a very vulnerable position.
'What did they feed the baby?' I asked her Mother, who today, finally found the strength to tell her child's father that their infant was being neglected in his household and that the maltreatment had gone too far. She took the baby home, where neighbours recognized that the child's condition was critical, and directed her mother to God's Littlest Angels.
'Kawosol (sour sop) leaf tea,' Mikerline's Mother answered, in reply to my question about what the baby was fed. As far as she knows, that is all the baby was given.
Tonight, Mikerline is hypothermic. This is a very worrying sign that her body is shutting down. It was difficult to tell her young Mother, that it may be to late, and the baby may not survive.
We all hope and pray that Mikerline will live.
Posted by Susan Westwood at 18:50