I know I am behind on my updates from Haiti. I had hope to write during my “Spring Break” but it was a very busy time.
I was able to come back to Michigan for 2 weeks for a little break. It was a very busy time getting some things done, meeting with people about Kelby's Kids and catchhing up with friends. I was hoping for some half-way decent weather in Michigan — but it was not meant to be. I guess when you live in the Caribbean and you go to Michigan for spring break you have to expect it. Snow arrived within hours of my arrival and remained until after I left. It even got down to zero one night. I wasn’t happy — but it sounds like the following weekend (after I left) was even worse!.
Just before I left Haiti for break, we had a busy week in clinic.
On Tuesday, we had two babies come into the malnutrition clinic. They were both so very little. When I saw the weight on the slip I thought "can you really be so little?"
The first little one weighed 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds). She was a month old. Mom reports having problems and delivering her at home around seven months into the pregnancy. She said that the baby just wouldn’t grow.
When asked what she feeds her baby, her reply was “well, the same thing I eat!”
Momma is feeding beans and rice, chicken, mango and bananas to a one-month-old, three-pound baby. It’s simply amazing that the baby is still alive. I assumed she was a new mom. So, it was shocking to hear that this baby was her 11th! And only one has died!
We made arrangements for her to go outside of Port-au-Prince to an inpatient malnutrition center for around-the-clock care and education.
Once she arrived she decided that she wasn’t going to do it ... and she left. Sadly, we have not heard from them since.
Our second little one was Samuel. He was the big boy at 1.8 kg (3.9 pounds). Except he was two and a half months old.
He was very cute and seemed to be doing quite well, all things considered.
His story is a little different, but not much.
His mom had actually come to the clinic twice (before we were an official Maternal Health Clinic). She started the program and when she came back for her second visit, And it was obvious that there had been a big change. She was very sick.
She was obviously suffering from Preeclampsia — with very high blood pressure, very swollen feet, many complaints, and even some cardiac issues. We sent her to the Doctors Without Borders Hospital a short distance away, but she was transferred to a second hospital — because they didn't have any beds (the Doctors Without Borders Hospitals in Haiti are all closing this year and that will make it even more difficult to get help for the moms in the program having trouble).
The second hospital would not care for her and she was sent to a third hospital. The third hospital told her to come back later — and then she went home. We lost touch with her and assumed that there was a good chance mom and baby had died. Praise God that was not the case!! She went back 2 days later and they did a C-section. Samuel was also born around 7 months at 1.4 kg and spent 2 months in an isolate of some sort.
During his 8 weeks in the isolate and the next couple weeks at home he has only gained 0.4 kg to his current 1.8 kg (with a diaper) weight. When mom was asked if she was breast feeding him, she said she wasn't. She said he dried up during the 2 months he was in the hospital (hard telling what they were giving him).
When asked what she has been giving him she said "pudding." My first thought was that’s probably even worse than the sweetened condensed milk that most people use. But then she explained that pudding was saltine crackers crushed and mixed with water. So, he has been given virtually no nutrition for who knows how long.
We started him on formula even before he left the clinic. He has been doing well and is slowly gaining weight.
Please remember to pray for Samuel as well as the other little one as they struggle to survive in this difficult culture.
One of my patients the other day was very cute little man and I realized that he was trying to give me a fist bump. After he would give me a fist bump he would tap his chest with his fist. I am sure that he has seen the bigger boys doing this. I think this was his way of showing appreciation for what he has received through the malnutrition program.
It’s such an encouragement to see him growing up big and strong! And because YOU make it possible for me to help him!
You may have seen the posts on Facebook about Ruthchina, the little 10-month-old we sent to inpatient malnutrition on March 21. She was only 9 pounds at 10 months.
She was very sick with Pneumonia and had a high fever, as well as malnourishment. She initially did really well — but has since taken a step back. She is having problems with her lungs again. Please remember to pray for her as she struggles to regain her health.
I am sad to have to report that we have lost track of Guerna (the young lady with the bad burns on her chest, abdomen, and left arm).
She has an appointment this week for reconstructive surgery. We have been trying to get in contact with her to let her know, make sure she was doing well, and get her some extra food and vitamins so she would be healthy for surgery. But she no longer lives in the neighborhood. Nobody knows where to find her but we were told that it’s rumored that she was possible sold as a Restavik again.
Please pray for Guerna that she would be able to get out of this child slavery and find the help she needs.
I am pleased to report that there are already 9 moms in the Maternal Health Clinic. I am excited to see the improved health for these moms and their babies, preventing the need for further medical care in the wake of the hospital closure, and reducing mortality for both the babies and their moms!
I continue to be blessed and humbled by your faithful prayer and financial support of this ministry. I would not be able to do all that I am doing without you! Please consider sharing this ministry you are involved in with others. The more we come together, the more we can accomplish!
Until No Child Dies,