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.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Erline: Compassion's Face

Seven week old Erline was born prematurely. She arrived this afternoon,  weighing 1.14 kg (2lb 8.5 oz). Erline's suffering began the day she was born. That was the day that her twin brother died. It was the day that her own battle began.

Her mother tells us that the baby was discharged from hospital two days ago. She had beat an infection in the Paediatric ward there, and was sucking expressed breast milk from a bottle. I learnt that the overcrowded hospital had sent Erline's mother home when the baby was a week old. Separated from her baby, Erline's mother did not produce enough milk to keep her hydrated, so the baby was given intravenous fluids for several weeks. Today, seeing the loose skin hanging from the infant's stick-thin legs, I struggled to understand why she had been discharged. At just over a kilogramme and suffering from malnutrition, it was unlikely she would survive. The head Haitian nurse explained to me that overstretched hospitals in this country routinely discharge the least critical cases, to make space for sicker children. Erline was one of their less critical cases. 

The baby was mildly hypothermic and slightly dehydrated, when she arrived at God's Littlest Angels today.

Over the next 48 hours, she will be constantly monitored and will need regular blood draws to ensure that her glucose and electrolyte levels stabilise. 

occasionally I receive comments from people who consider the Erline's of Haiti, hopeless causes. I am not sure that I have always answered these people well. If she were yours, wouldn't she be worth it?

We make all kinds of distinctions in this world, creating political and geographical borders; logical reasons not to extend charity and compassion outside of those limits. 

But when it comes down to it, compassion is utterly illogical. Not something we are duty bound to do, but something we can do out of love. Because of people all over the world, I  able to provide care to this extremely vulnerable baby. The compassion of all these people is utterly illogical and because it is freely given and not extracted from them, it is magnificent. 

Today is good Friday. Today I saw Jesus in Erline and I was reminded that if compassion has a lovely face, it also has a suffering face and that for us, the sacrifice involved in extending compassion is a very small thing.


Marie said...

These little ones are worth fighting for! Thank you for always fighting for the least of these. I can not imagine why anyone would argue otherwise, especially if Jesus is our example. I think sometimes our human minds fail to understand God's love and as a result we fail to love others in the proper manner.

Katie said...

It is always worth it. Even if it ends in heartache. It is always worth it. You give up only when you hear HIM tell you to give up, OK? I know you know this, & that makes my heart so happy on this Easter morning. Happy Easter my friend, & to sweet Erline too. X

lalalulapilula said...

Espero que Erline esté mejor. roguemos a Dios para que así sea.
bendiciones para ella y para quienes la cuidan.