Today was (another) big day. An orthopedic surgeon from the US was in Haiti and agreed to stop at the village to look at four children with varying deformities. It is a huge blessing to have a US doctor come, examine some of our children with needs and give us a prognosis for some of their ailments. They are all conditions that would have been corrected in the US a few months after birth but in Haiti we find these children much older without having received any treatment.
There are four stories here but for now, I’m going to share one. It’s the story of a thirteen year old young lady named Fedeline. She has been unable to walk since birth. She gets around by putting shoes on her hands and dragging her legs behind her. As is typical in this culture, she has been put aside, she has no friends and has never been to school. She says that she likes dolls but has never had one.
We found Fedeline in a tent, not far from the village, living with her very old and feeble grandfather, whose name is Jean and his new wife. Her mother died in the earthquake and Jean has been caring for her ever since. Although he is not a Christian, he has taken very good care of her. She says that she would like to go to church but she can’t walk.
A director from a nearby orphanage came by to say that they would like to take her there but Jean refused. That was a good answer as I’d be concerned they would use her for fundraising purposes and not care for her very well. She is certainly better cared for by her grandfather.
Normally we put larger families in the village homes but it appeared to me that Jean might pass away soon and I have no confidence that the unrelated grandmother will continue to care for her. If Fedeline is in the village, we can watch over her and make sure she is treated well. We try to bring her up to our team house daily so that the village children can befriend her and so our team members can teach her new games and socialize with her. Yesterday we were able to take her to the ocean for the first time. She and our team were amazing. Everyone wanted to carry her into the water and hold her while she donned a facemask and put her face in the water for the first time. She was so awed that she was forgetting to come up for air! She is a sweetheart!
Today, after the orthopedic surgeon examined her, he took me aside and told me that with proper surgery and care he thought she could learn to walk! I never imagined that would be his conclusion. This will mean a multi-year process of passports and visas and finding families, doctors and hospitals willing to give her pro bono care. If it is in the Lord’s will, one day I hope to show you a picture of Fedeline walking into church. Right now that sounds like an impossible reality. Only the Lord knows. Keep posted and pray for our friend, Fedeline.