by Aubree Dell, NVM Nurse
Three times today I was asked by mothers to help their children. The first woman was the mother of a three year old child I have been taking care of in the clinic. The mom had been telling me for three or four weeks now that she was having abdominal pain. So, naturally I asked about the pain and told her she should really see the doctor. Well, three weeks go by and today her and her husband come in carrying their sick child and the woman asks for a card to see the doctor!! I was so excited. After seeing the doctor, the mom and dad called me into the room and said she is pregnant. The following sentence is what I always dread to hear and I am still not quite sure what to say… “We do not want to keep the baby, we are not happy, we already have two children and do not want anymore.” They asked me if I could help them get rid of the baby, praying for some kind of well worded profound answer, I simply said no.
Mom number two:
I started walking to Chambrun today, when I was met at the gate by a moto taxi driver, he said I needed to come with him and check on his mom. She had fallen off a donkey hit her head and lost consciousness a couple days ago. So, I jumped onto the moto and road down the bumpy path to a little mud hut and found a woman lying behind the house on a old bag that was once filled with charcoal. She smiled and greeted me and told me she was okay, just not sleeping well.
After chatting for a few moments, I walked to Baby Rose’s house, who by the way is gaining weight and running around everywhere!! She was sleeping on the ground with dirt covering her from head to toe. I sat down and talked with Natasha for a while and then went to visit another home across the road, aka dirt path. I sat down watching the mom make rice and beans and thought about how one week ago, I was sitting in the same house sharing a meal with this same family. (Mom don’t worry, I am sure it was safe to eat :D) I began to ask about the children and get their full names so my dear partner in crime can sponsor the oldest child to go to school.
The more we talked about life she told me she wants to give me her two year old as a gift. This was not the first time she has told me that, but this time it stung a little more. Maybe because earlier that week, when I arrived at the village all the women ran up to me and started talking a mile a minute about a handsome three year old boy, that was left by his mother. The mother earlier that day tried to drop him down into the Latrine, which imagine an old fashion out house that has never been changed or cleaned. A girl saved him, pulled him out, and now they were all standing before me asking me to help? Ah!
Back to the other mom, I looked into her eyes and knew she loved him, she just has no money and cannot afford to keep him. In the United States I would probably look at her and think, how could she say that, but here it is so different. There is a desperate need of hope that is hard to find when you have three hungry mouths to feed and no jobs to make money. I explained to her that I cannot just take her son; it is not that black and white. She smiled and asked if I did not like him. Explaining it is not that at all, I encouraged her to pray and she looked at me and told me she wants to start coming to church.
The third mom came about 10:30 tonight. Four Haitians came running into the tent, flipped on the lights, scared Etienne, and said Madam Eric is having her baby. Etienne then sprinted across campus because I have been staying in the Shultz home with Anna, opened the door and said, Aubree you need to deliver someone’s baby in the clinic now! Excited and nervous, I jumped up and raced to the clinic to find the white pick-up truck sitting in front of the office with Madam Eric, Eric, and her sister inside. I quickly assessed the situation and found out the baby, at 7 months, had just delivered in a hospital!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! I took mom and baby inside and quickly assessed the tiny little girl that could not have been much bigger than my hand. I immediately stuck her under my shirt providing kangaroo care and tried to drip formula into the little ones mouth. Her blood sugar was quite low and mom did not want to breast feed or even hold the baby due to cultural things that are extremely frustrating to process. I tried my best to explain that the baby needs to eat, and that it does not matter if you shower or not you can still feed the child, but it is one of those cultural things you just have to accept and know that there are several Haitian children that have survived and God has this tiny one in his care and arms.
After about a half an hour they just said ok, we need to leave. Thank you. We will see you tomorrow and they were gone as quick as they came. Mom had no attachment with the little girl, which worried me when she left. She did not even want to hold her, let alone feed her.
I woke up after a horrible nights rest to go check on the baby. I walked out of the gate and found Erikson (the big brother) chasing my kitten. I asked him about the baby, and he said, “li mouri”. What? She died. She is gone? What? I walked up to Eric (the dad) and asked if this was true and he smiled big and said yes. Not quite understanding why no one cared about this innocent life, I ran to the Elliots to talk to Shelli. She was not up yet, but all the Haitians stood there and stared as they wondered why tears were pouring down my cheeks.
Shellie, (the babies mom) had no attachment with the little girl. She wanted nothing to do with the baby. She may have even thought of it as a Zombie, because in Haiti when babies are born super little they think they are zombies. Everyone around campus today was so smiley and fine, like one of our brothers and sisters in Christ did not just lose a child. They were all like I know the baby died… yup… huge smile. Move on.
The reactions of everyone does not mix with my culture. I do not get it or understand it. I was more upset than the mom. Life and death is so different here. People/babies die all the time. It is really rare for a mother not to lose at least one of their children. I do not know how to make sense of all this. I do not understand how a dad can just pick up the a baby, walk out back, dig a hole, and then place the child in it, cover it with dirt, and go to work. How is there no emotion there? How does this entire country function like that? Why do the majority of Haitians think that showing emotion is wrong?
I walked down to Chambrun after work and went into Shellie’s house. She was lying on the bed wrapped up in a million blankets, barely breaking a sweat. I was sweating head to toe the second I walked in. She was surrounded by about five women, laughing and joking around. I told her I was sorry to hear about the baby and I would be praying for her. She did not show any emotion, but in her eyes I believe she was sad. I do not think she could show that pain to her closest friends though. I talked with Sandi earlier that day and asked if her mom was sad. She said no. I asked if she was sad and she was, she was fight back tears. I told her it is okay to cry and be sad and the child collapsed in my arms.
Haitians have to be tough from day one. I am not sure if I would have survived growing up in this culture. If I did I am sure I would have “move san” and become hysterical one day from suppressing every deep emotion within me.
Please pray for the staff of Nehemiah Vision Ministry. Please pray for me, I am struggling with this one.