TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
I’ve had a very exciting find this month! I am always searching for ways to explain life in Haiti to those to whom I speak to in the USA. I especially like to bring items to show children, perhaps a Sunday School class, about what life is like here. While sitting at the beach one hot and humid evening, trying to catch a brisk breeze at the ocean’s shore, I noticed a man that I had seen one time before. He was riding a bicycle near the wharf. Next to his bike he was pushing a homemade toy that had a long handle on it, making it easy to run the toy along the ground right next to him and his bicycle. The first time that I saw this young man I could tell that he had a unique item at his side, but I had not had the opportunity to speak to him. I was so excited to see him again! As he came closer to us, I asked Léon to ask him how much he would sell the toy for. I really did not expect that he had made it to sell, but to my surprise that is exactly what he had done. He explained that he used his imagination to make the toy and with the money that he received from selling the various items, he purchased more parts for another toy and he paid his school tuition. He dreamed that one day he could teach children to make toys like he makes. What interested me most in his toy was that it was made from bits of this and bits of that. This man is a true recycler, whether he realizes it or not! Ingenuity was clearly evident as this particular toy had a finely-dressed man with moving legs that made two wheels turn on a devise similar to a bicycle. The artist went into great detail about how he made every part and he explained that the flag flying from the handlebars could be interchanged with a flag of one’s choice. In no way was the man boasting of his creativity, but he was simply taking pleasure in what he had been able to create. What a treasure his creation is to me! I cannot wait to see what his next invention will be. He told us he makes airplanes and a variety of other moveable toys. Now that we have his telephone number, we are sure to cross paths again. I have found a secure way to package the fragile item for transport to the USA for display at my next set of speaking engagements. I often bring Haitian art items to sell at my speaking engagements, but I most forewarn you, I do not think this particular one will be for sale!
Part of the work that I do here in Haiti is assisting families to find proper medical care for their critically ill children. The cases that come to me are ones that typically cannot be treated in Haiti as there is a lack of proper medical equipment and/or a lack of expertise for complex or delicate conditions.
There had been a long period of time where no new cases were coming my way. I did not really understand why, until it dawned on me that people no longer knew if I even lived in Haiti anymore. All they knew was that after the earthquake I was no longer living where they were accustomed to finding me. Apparently, word-of-mouth is now spreading the news that indeed I still do live in Haiti. People now seem to be beginning to know where it is that I live. I have seen several cases in the last few weeks.
Over the years, it seemed that the number of children with hydrocephalic conditions was on the decline, but alas, I have seen two new cases in just the last few weeks. I am encouraged that the children with this condition are being brought to me at a younger age (rather than being two or three years old) as their chances of survival improve the earlier the cases are treated. While talking with the families, I find it interesting to see what old wives’ tales are passed from person-to-person. Here, most babies with hydrocephalus can be seen with a tightly wrapped head covering, as it is believed that if the head is wrapped tightly enough it will not grow any larger. One of the children came with a gauze padding over his soft-spot. The family had been afraid the skin was too thin and the area would start to bleed, so gauze was their way of protecting this area of the head.
Each new medical case presents its challenges. Will a doctor be found to help? Will there be donations to cover the cost of the care? Will this child’s life be saved at a time when the parents come with such hope for getting help in time? How will the family react when the desired outcome is just not going to take place? For these concerns and others, I ask for your prayers for these children and their extended families. Only our mighty Healer has each child’s future all figured out! I am humbled that He has seen fit to choose me to be an advocate for these precious little ones! May He open hearts! May He open the doors for the care of these special children!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time, God willing …………