Markendy is the little five year old boy who came to our clinic very malnourished. His mom had died and his aunt rescued him from an uncle who was not caring for him and brought him to our clinic. I asked her to bring him back after feeding him for a week to see if he would actually be fed by his aunt.
The aunt returned on schedule but Markendy did not look any better. Pastor Etienne and I decided to take them back in our Land Cruiser to see what the conditions were in his village. We traveled straight toward the mountains inland from the clinic on some really bad roads, even by Haitian standards! Eventually we came to a plateau high in the mountains where the road ended, so we started down a foot path toward the village not too far away. We passed a cemetery where the aunt pointed out Markendy’s mother’s grave. It looked pretty new, to my surprise.
We passed a Voo Doo temple and noticed the villagers wearing Voo Doo apparel. There was no sign of a church, we were clearly in a Voo Doo village. We gathered Markendy’s aunts, uncles and grandparents and asked what they thought would be best for him. Should we try to bring food to Markendy’s home monthly or take him to an orphanage where he will get care? Unexpectedly, the grandfather, who was clearly a leader in the village, told us that Markendy would be far better off in an orphanage as the aunts and uncles would just eat any food we brought for themselves. Wow, I didn’t expect such a straight forward response. We agreed and told them that we would research the possibilities for Markedy and get back to them.
Seeing that he lived in a Voo Doo village certainly made it clear to us that he needed to get out of there as concern and care for one another isn’t a priority in that culture. The villagers looked downtrodden, malnourished and without hope. As I left, I was looking for a place where we might set up for a showing of the “Jesus” film. These people certainly need the good news that our Lord and Savior brings.
John H Leininger