It is not uncommon in Haiti to have children being raised by grandparents or other relatives. Sometimes their parents are living, but are unable to provide for the child. Sometimes, the parents are no longer living together and one of the grandparents assumes care of the child so the parents can be free to work and make a life for themselves. And, sometimes, the parents have died, leaving the child in the care of extended family members. In most situations, it is only when an extended family member or grandparent is unable to care for the child that they may be put into an orphanage.
In our medical clinic in Gatineau, we see many little children who are basically orphans, in situations such as the ones described above. I’d like to have you meet a few of them. They are some of our most precious patients and we make sure to give them extra love and affection when we see them. We often take money from our Poor Fund to pay for their medications so they won’t be a burden to their grandparents and caregivers.
You’ve already met Lucson and his brother Elie. When they first came to us, we didn’t know their names. Their mother had died and their father was in Port-au-Prince and unable to care for them, so their grandmother brought them home with her after her daughter’s (their mother’s) funeral. Lucson and Elie are full of life and energy and they keep their elderly grandmother busy.
Brothers Lucson and Elie after a recent consultation in the clinic.
Then, there’s Nouislene, the little girl who lost both of her parents and is being cared for by her great aunt. She had come to us with a facial laceration a few months ago after she fell off her porch and we sutured the laceration for her. Here’s a photo of her from last month. Her face has healed well and we love her smile (in spite of her bad teeth)!
Nouislene showing her healed facial laceration.
Nouislene’s big smile and rotten teeth.
Tamara Cejour is four years old and always has a sad face when she comes to the clinic. Her mother died recently and she is being cared for by her grandmother. We’ve given her a beanie baby to brighten her day and are praying that in time, her grief will lessen.
Tamara recently lost her mother and is still very sad.
Little Charlesive Daniel is a two and a half year old bundle of energy, almost more than his grandmother can handle. His long hair is as wild as his personality, but he sat quietly during my examination and listened intently to what I had to say. He got a toy car as he left the clinic – a gift from children in my home church in New Jersey. He’s been in the care of his grandmother since he was an infant, abandoned by his young mother. One has to wonder what his future will hold?
Charlesive sits quietly on his grandmother’s lap in clinic during his consultation.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A HAIRCUT AND A FEW MONTHS MAKE!
One of our favorite patients is this little boy name Roodjumy (how’s that for a mouthful?), who came to the clinic with his mother in February of this year. He was all smiles and full of mischief.
Long hair and toothy smile.
Here is Roodjumy at the end of May with a new haircut and a more mature look (at the age of 14 months). We love these little boys and girls who brighten our days and soften our hearts.
Don’t we look handsome?!
Steady progress continues on the second floor residence quarters, which is now nearly finished. The masons have now finished up the cupolas on the roof of the building – putting up blocks and doing the stucco work. As they finish work on the second floor, we’ve been painting it, taking advantage of the scaffolding that’s in place. Once the scaffold is taken down, there’s no good way to access the high walls and ceilings! We’re being helped in the painting process by the three young men who work with us – Gemi, Adrien and Guy-Johns.
Stucco work being done on the cupolas on the roof of the pharmacy and residence building.
Our three helpers using the scaffold to paint the outside ceilings.
We’ve also started building a small workshop area attached to the back of the storage depot. A door will be cut into the wall of the depot leading out to the workshop, which will have a half wall with the rest of the wall being iron grille work. This will give security for the tools and equipment, but allow for good ventilation for carpenters to work on our wood projects.
Foundation for the outside workshop area behind the storage depot.
Also behind the depot will be a concrete slab and small building to house the backup generator. It will also have a half wall and iron grille work to allow for ventilation for the generator.
Foundation being dug for the generator enclosure behind the storage depot.
Inside the residence area and the “charcoal” outside kitchen, counters are being poured out of concrete, after which ceramic tile will be placed. Here is a photo of the kitchen counter in the outside kitchen, which is just outside the entrance to the residence, next to the stairwell leading downstairs to the pharmacy.
Frame work in place for kitchen counters.
We are getting ready for two major events this weekend and would appreciate your prayers for us. First, we anticipate installing our solar panels, inverters and batteries for our electrical system, thanks to the help of a missionary from Port-au-Prince named David Farquharson. David will be working with our Haitian electrician and his crew in getting the whole system up and running. This is a huge step for us, since it means we will have not only electricity, but also running, filtered water in the clinic. Please pray!
In addition, we anticipate the arrival of the workmen who will be putting down the ceramic tile in the residence quarters and pharmacy/x-ray/lab building. They’ll be living up at the site and will be here for several weeks doing the ceramic installation. This represents tremendous progress for us in our construction and we thank you for your faithful prayers.