When you live in an impoverished community, it’s a blurry line to determine who your neighbor is and when the Good Samaritan parable comes into play. But when emergencies are at our doorstep, there is nothing fuzzy about it. We have the means to help and there is someone in dire need of help with no other option.
When Pastor Odmy brought a woman to us who came all the way down from the mountains and who had not stopped bleeding since giving birth two days ago, we couldn’t turn her away. Our clinic is not set up for surgeries and she had no money for the nearest hospital in Saint Marc. Pastor could help her pay for a ride to the hospital but not for the hospital visit or medications… so we took her to the hospital and pay for her bills. A week later she was well and came to thank us. She was glowing with health and her baby was well also. She was unable to nurse because of the medication she had to be on so we provide her with formula. We told her when she runs out, try to buy goats milk from neighbors. There is more goats milk in the mountains than formula.
Most of you have heard the story of Baby David (Dabbins Wadley) who was 3 months, 2 lbs. His mother died in childbirth and his grandma was giving him water and flour and mashed food. When he came to us, looking almost dead, we could not look away but felt compelled to help. After a two week stay at the hospital, Baby David is a miracle growing healthier and stronger every day. The hospital we took him to is the only free children’s hospital in Haiti but the family member staying there has to pay for transportation and food during their stay. His grandma was grateful for the help which allowed her to spend everyday with Baby David at the hospital. It is a joy to see him often and help the family with his formula and diapers. But we are always low on money for these kinds of unexpected expenses. It is so hard to say no in these situations when you know they have no other option.
|Jean Fritz and Baby David both orphans rescued from starvation|
I could tell you more stories like the woman sitting next to me in church in obvious pain, wasting away with an unknown illness because she had no money to pay for the expensive tests she needs and ashamed to ask for it from her family members. By the time she came to us, the doctor feared it may be too late. Some of our friends have lost family members even after we paid for them to go to the hospital, buy medication or tests because it was too late, they waited too long. And there is one young girl, only 15 with bad kidneys who takes 10 pills a day for all of her symptoms. If we don’t buy her medication, she doesn’t take it and if we don’t take her to her appointments with her specialist, she doesn’t go. It’s not that her family doesn’t care, it’s that she only has her mother, sick herself from neglecting herself to care for her daughter. They have lost everything from medical costs and now live on the floor of Pastor Louisainte’s church. Sometimes we don’t have the finances to send them to the hospital but have to wait until we’re taking a trip into town and can bring her with us.
|Girl with failing kidneys|
|Woman from our church suffering from an unknown illness|
Last week we were able to take our bread cook to the eye doctor and get her eye medications, if we hadn’t she may have lost her sight. We also took the baby of our housekeeper, Madam Lumen, to our clinic for her cold and bought her medicine. She is only two weeks old and not strong enough to battle the cold on her own. Some of our employees, although they get a salary from us, have up to seven children and may care for others. They are not always able to take care of their medical needs and we see them as our family we need to care for. What kind of mission would we be if our own employees and their families were ill?
|Madam Lumen and Fritline|
Thankfully our clinic is running well with Dr. Carmel and we have plans to expand it so that we can do tests and eventually minor surgeries. But as for now, anything requiring testing, surgery or a specialist costs a lot with transportation, hospital stay and medicine. Please help us to meet the emergency needs that come to us. A hospital visit, roundtrip tap-tap and medicine can cost as much as 1000 gourdes ($25US) which is more than most here make in a month.