We are just finishing up our Wednesday here in Haiti. It was a really special day at the home for the sick and dying children. Their buildings were severely damaged in the earth quake and had just moved out of tents into one of there smaller buildings with the sickest of the babies.
In the morning, I decided to love up just one little boy. The saying is to love one deeply rather than spreading it too thin. His name was Volandra and he was 8 months old, but looked more like about 3 months. He was too weak to hold himself up, but boy was he inquisitive. He wanted to see everything around him and used his little hands to examine my face, my hair and my beaded cross. We sat out in the court yard hoping for a small breeze as the rooms were extraordinarily hot. The demand was so great for care that the babies were doubled up in their cribs which are about half the size of an American sized crib. I also helped feed him lunch. I had thought that with his size he would be famished for the stew that they served, but the little guy was just like feeding a little bird. It took three or more attempts to get one spoonful down. He only ate a quarter of what was served, but he knew when he had had enough. It was hard to put him down when it was time to leave. With his arms out stretched, it was the first time that I heard him cry.
When we came back in the afternoon, I had saw that one of the staff members was feeding Volandra, so I decided to help another young volunteer with another group feed a little girl. She was more interested in getting affection than she was in the food. So I help the young man hold the little girl and take her outside. I then noticed that her crib mate was laying limp and burning with fever. She was so weak that she could not even get out a cry, she just gave out a sad little squeak. I was asked to feed her some bean broth which she willingly took until she noticed a man giving another little girl a drink of liquid, she reached for the cup asking for some. At this point drink had become more important than substance. As it turns out the little girl whom looked to be no more that 5 months was 14 months old. I picked her up and carried her out to the court yard to again wait for a cooling breeze. Her limp little body could do nothing more than cuddle. Her fever continued to worry me as I hugged her close on a very hot and muggy day. Her name was Roselanda. Finally I asked the staff if I could give her more liquids to help cool her fever. Instead they said it was time for an IV. I held her close and helped the staff as the inserted the IV and put a cold compress on her belly. Afterwards they asked me to hold her and for the first time in over an hour, she fell comfortably asleep in my arms and her fever started to subside. When it was time to go, I had a hard time putting her back in her shared crib. She instantly knew what was happening and reached her tiny little arms up and began her sad little squeak. I loved her up as much as I could and said my good-byes - hoping she will be better when we go back on Saturday.
Her crib mate had quite the personality - they had the closest crib to the screen door and the little one stood at the end of the crib and held the door open reaching her free had out to anyone willing to give her a little hug. At that point, we were asked to come pray over a little boy that had just been put on oxygen. He has been suffering from phnemonia for several months and had taken a turn for the worse. I said a few prayers as I laid my hands on his face and kissed him leaving him in God's devine grace.
I know saying good-bye has always been hard for me whether I am off on a business trip a vacation or other, but today's good-byes felt so much more final knowing that many of these babies may not even be there when we come back on Saturday.
I do know the babies have been blessed with such a caring staff. They carefully made sure that all of the children had what they needed and were constantly in motion, fixing food, changing diapers, cleaning the floor and making sure the babies and their cribs were always clean. They took pride in their work, serving these poor children and providing them with the utmost dignity!
My two little babies for the day were the most beautiful children with large sole full eyes, long dark lashes and little sweet heart lips. Their faces were like little cherubs. I just wish I had more room in my bag to put them in and take them home!! They were precious!