June 12th, 2013, Port Au Prince, Haiti
After a thunderstorm cleansed the air the night before we began our Wednesday morning with a big breakfast! Oatmeal, pancakes, fresh and dried mango, white pineapple, scrambled eggs and plenty of hot sauce. After breakfast, I went with 8 other people to an orphanage for sick and dying children. Our job for the morning? Care for as many or as few children as we wanted. To simply show love for these children was all we were asked to do.
The child I primarily cared for was a girl, about 2 years old in a green corduroy dress with little Christmas bears on it. She was a little malnourished and had a cold, her teeth were rotten and she didn’t speak any Creole but she was a little bucket of fun. We played around the compound, riding the swing and going down the slide, and just chilling in the shade. This morning was a taste of fatherhood for me, and I can see how much joy a child can bring into someone’s life. I had to set her back in her crib for lunch and I never saw her after that, but I hope for the best and am praying for you, little girl.
After the orphanage we went back to the guesthouse for snacks and water, and prepped for our trip to the general hospital about 30 minutes away. Driving through Downtown Port Au Prince was exhilarating. All the foot traffic and vehicle traffic, the congestion, and the shortcuts we had to take to get to and from the hospital made the ride to and from very intense and interesting.
The hospital, though, was a different story. We pulled in and I saw a fairly large 3-story hospital building but we didn’t go in. Later I was told that most of that structure was completely trashed on the inside because of the earthquake. But as we walked through the compound we arrived at these two long, one-story buildings that I only know to describe to you as someplace we would keep our livestock in back in America.
What we found on the inside was two wings; on the left side were children, from 2 to 13 years old, with varying levels of injury and sickness. On the right side were newborn babies. When I walked into those rooms I knew that I was powerless to intervene, to help these kids in any tangible way. And it hit me so much harder because I knew that I had at least been able to impact the orphan’s lives for just a few hours earlier that day!
But after a bit myself and Brian began to sing worship songs to the kids and the parents and just seeing their smiles was enough for me to know that I had helped bring change and a little sunshine to what had become a cloudy, rainy day.