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, 19 June 2011

Praying For Strength and Character

This has been an emotionally draining week at the main house.

On Tuesday, two of our oldest children were transferred to GLA's toddler house. There was a brief transition period, that we hoped would make the impending move less of a shock to the girls. These transfers are always hard. The children become very attached to us, and we become very attached to them. We pray that our little ones will adjust quickly to their new environment, so that they can continue to thrive there.

The day that the girls left, 6 month old Rosena was diagnosed with Malaria. This is a serious infection, caused by a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Although GLA is not in a malarial zone, Rosena came to us from an area that is affected by Malaria. I was extremely anxious for this tiny girl. Malaria can be life-threatening for babies. Their bodies can not tolerate the anemia and inflammation that the disease causes. Thankfully, with medication, Rosena beat the infection. It has left her anemic, and therefore tired and vulnerable to infections. She has to be strong, to have survived so many serious threats to her health in such a short time. She has a vibrant streak to her personality.

On Wednesday, we discharged Kervens. It was wonderful to see his mother walk out of our gate with a fat, healthy, beautiful baby boy in her arms, but our joy was short lived. Two days later, we received a call from Kervens' mother: he has a high fever and he was vomiting and 'shrinking' in front of her. I was reluctant to re-admit him, at a time when Cholera is raging though the slum area in which Kervens lives. Couldn't his Mother take him to a local clinic instead? Unfortunately, she all ready had. The staff there had given medications for fever, and had sent the baby home, but Kervens was becoming sicker

8pm: He arrived at GLA with laboured breathing, severe dehydration, and a high fever. His heart rate was dangerously high. Looking down at the sunken, unfocused eyes of the baby, lying limp on his Mothers lap, my mind was numbed by a sense of shock. How could it be that this was the same baby I had sent home 2 days ago

It quickly became apparent that Kervens was suffering from pneumonia. It took three hours to stabilize him.

This morning, when I went into the isolation room to review him, Kervens was bright, alert and cooing up at me from his crib. My emotions were mixed. I was glad of course, and feeling triumphant that I had been a part of two victories this week, against diseases that kill so many Haitian infants. At the same time, I couldn't help despairing that the babies families had not been able to access medical care for them in their home areas. The Kervens and Rosenas of Haiti deserve this, and so much more.

I can't impact the glaring injustices I see, but for Kervens and Rosena, and for all of my babies, I pray that the profound and repeated traumas they have endured will give them strength and character, instead of disabling scars: beauty for ashes.

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