Today I was reminded of my mission down here in Haiti... I struggled a bit knowing that I was going to have to miss out on one of my favorite activities here in Haiti--the water truck day in Cite Soleil. I absolutely LOVE going to the slum to see the kids, especially my zamni (Patrick) who I met this summer. For people that are just starting to follow this blog, I met Patrick (he first introduced himself as Jameson to me) last January when I was on my first mission trip to Haiti. I saw him again several times this summer and had become friends with him.. he was one kid in Cite Soleil that stood out to me. He is a 13 year old boy that always is dancing and singing with me.. a little performer. I wish I could do more for him.. he is so thin. Well anyways, today the group went into Cite Soleil and I knew they would see my buddy, so I felt a little bummed that I had to miss out. When the group had arrived back home after their adventures, one of the team members told me that my buddy asked if I was with them!! It touched my heart knowing that he wanted to see me too... I hope to see him sometime before I leave Haiti this week.
None-the-less, this day was such a wonderful day. When I stepped out of the truck this morning, I had little kids run up to me and hold my hand and hug me. Some shouted my name from across the playground. They were so welcoming... so loving. And I realized just how much affection these kids wanted.. I almost felt like their mother as I walked with three boys clinging on to me and I was rubbing each of their heads trying not to make one feel left out.
Missy, Jen and I set up our clinic in the front of the feeding center. I put together my make-shift clinic; a measuring tape on the wall and a scale on the ground. I used a book to assist in height measuring.. but the book eventually wondered off as the kids were enjoying looking at the pictures (it was the book I had made about my trip to Haiti this summer... the kids were amused), so I had to use a crayon box to help with getting accurate heights. One by one the kids would line up in alphabetical order and we got started with our assessments.. I took weights, heights and mid-arm circumferences of all 40 kids, and examined the skin, hair, eyes, nails, and mouth to look for signs of deficiencies. After about 20 kids, I was feeling hot and exhausted.. but some how managed to carry on! It was a lot of work.. a lot of kids!!
One of my favorite little clients was the 11 month old baby that I was trying to teach to walk the other day. While examining her face and mouth, the baby would grab my face and with the biggest smile--she would start "examining" mine too. It was absolutely adorable and made me realize just how much I love little kids.. and how fun it is to watch them become healthy and strong!
My work didn't end there...upon returning home, I had to collaborate all of the sheets from todays' assessment and start plotting heights and weights on the growth charts, as well as analyze some of the patterns of concern. About 10 charts in, and I decided to call it quiets for the night. Tomorrow will be another busy day... 40 more orphans to assess at the other orphanage sponsored by Healing Haiti.