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Communiqué #054


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

October 25, 2008

I try not to judge people by first impressions, but recently in the little airport in Port-au-Prince, I caught myself doing so. I was waiting for my return flight to Les Cayes, after traveling with five hydrocephalic children and their moms to see an American doctor in Port-au-Prince. There are only two flights each day to Les Cayes and usually lots of “people watching” time while waiting for those flights. On this particular day, I saw a man with an odd hat on. He had dreadlocks and looked disheveled. I watched as the man seemed to stand out in the crowd, not quite fitting in with the rest of the waiting travelers. All kinds of thoughts were

running through my mind as I watched the man meander through the airport. The time came for me and the children and their

parents to board the plane. We had an uneventful trip back to Les Cayes. Once inside the airport, I got all the children and mothers together to have a photo taken with them. Little did I realize, the strange man had been on the flight with us and he had been watching us. He motioned to me. Taking me aside, he started rapidly talking to me in Creole. I understood very little of what he was saying and explained that to him. I told him that I worked with sick children. He acknowledged that he knew that and


started rummaging through his backpack. At first, I had thought he was approaching me as a beggar. But as I watched him, I was amazed that he wanted to GIVE me money. Wow! That is an unusual sight in Haiti – especially coming from a man that looked like he needed a handout. The man looked through several envelopes until he found what he wanted. He handed me 20 Euro (the equivalent of about $23 US – which is a lot of money for most Haitians) and thanked me for helping the children that he had seen me with. I was instantly silenced in my thoughts about this man! I had misjudged him! Forgive me God for the thoughts that had run through my head! He was actually an exception in more than one way. Not only had he given me money, but he also had a true sense of compassion that I had not seen evident in many people as I traveled with these children. Most others openly stared and pointed at the babies “with the big heads.” Or, they looked at the mothers and laughed at them and their “ugly” babies. It was now I who was ashamed for acting much the same way with this man that I knew nothing about, until he opened his wallet and his heart to these precious children. God bless him for his compassion and his example!

I must admit that I myself used to barely be able to look at hydrocephalic children. They actually kind of scared me. I remember seeing one such baby when I was less than five years old. That memory stuck with me and from then on I avoided actually looking at children like this. God had a way of changing that in my life. Now, I actually take joy in looking at these kids. I now rejoice when I see some potential in them, when they respond to my voice or laugh when I laugh. I praise them when they wave “bye bye”. I try to offer encouragement to their distressed parents. What a joy it has been when a doctor and/or hospital notify me that they can help one of these children. The chance for a real future for them is the best gift that I can present to the parents. To date, that gift has been given to two of “my kids” and a promise of surgery for three others is close at hand!

I have witnessed the children following surgery. I have seen them be able to sit up, to start talking, to play jokes on me and to shine! That’s what my work is all about. Being God’s instrument to make a difference in the lives of children – one at a time!

Thank you for making this possible through financial donations to our “medical” mission. Thank you helping me to find people willing to treat the children! Thank you for being that doctor or nurse who played a vital role in the child’s treatment! Thank you for being a caregiver during the child’s recovery!  Thank you for praying for the children and their families. Thank you for remembering the families of the little ones who die before help becomes available. Your petitions to God are vital to the work!

Nora Léon

Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….

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