Cazale, Haiti: Day 3

Wednesday was fun, hard, emotionally exhausting, and confusing.

Last night, I couldn’t get into a good sleep. So in the middle of the night, I smelled a bad smell, and checked Rose Marie who was sleeping with me. No problem there. So I knew it was Amanda’s little guy with the tremor on his left side, Ojean.

Ojean in Amanda's bed

5:00am When the power turned off at 5am, and the noise of the street was loud, Amanda woke up and picked Ojean up to change him. She underestimated the damage, and got poop all over herself. It was pitchblack, so she had to go to the porch and assess the damage.
She called to me and we quickly (in the complete darkness) got him in a baby bathtub and cleaned. I didn’t know how early it was, so I just started working on breakfast, then Karen said, “Since it’s only 5:20am, I think we should try to sleep some more.” Definitely. But I only slept on and off til 7:45.

Rose-Marie in a dress made by Kaleo ladies

9:00am – Amanda was having a little tummy rumble, so she stayed here, and Karen and I headed to the Rescue Center with Rose Marie. We arrived at the end of the after-breakfast bathing session, so the room was full of half-wet, fully-naked kids, all waiting patiently for diapers and clothes. I hit the ground running, diapering and dressing 6+ kids. I had brought along some Aveeno baby lotion, so I spent awhile one-on-one with kids, rubbing their legs with lotion and massaging their feet. They loved this. I stayed there til 12pm, only coming back to grab some of the stuff we had brought for the Rescue Center. The pillow dresses are awesome – especially since the ribbons are sewn in the middle. Lots of the pillow dresses here have the ribbons pulled out daily.
11:00am – About 11, all the clean kids started having poopy diapers again, and it leaks, and then another kid steps in it. Or a random poopy diaper will appear in someone’s hand and they will try to hand it to another kid. It got kinda overwhelming, because we didn’t really see the nannies jumping in for another big cycle of diapering before lunch, so it just seemed like the mess was growing. We helped for awhile, then came back with Rose Marie & Ojean to eat lunch at our place.
12:00pm – Lunch was really good – beans & rice and chicken & veggies, Haitian-style.
1:00pm – A bunch of unmatched shoes came in and so we all sorted those in the sun for awhile.
3:00pm – To cool off, we walked to the Rescue Center, and got 2 older boys, Jeowel & Denny (6/7yrs). We left Rose Marie, but took Ojean, and went to the river. We just sat on the rocks or played in the shallow water – all around us, women where washing laundry, or coming up to bath (naked except panties) or completely naked children were riding down the rapids. It was relaxing and refreshing.
4:00pm – We grabbed some more clothes for Denny & Jeowel and headed back to our place. Tiredness hit me full force, but we didn’t really have any chance to rest.
5:00pm – We were getting restless & having trouble keeping up with the kids while tired, so we grabbed Rose Marie and took all 4 kids on a walk across the bridge, up the hill/mountain to see what was there. It was beautiful.
6:00pm – We came back to eat dinner with all the kids in tow, but it was a disaster, since we had chicken patties on bread & baked red potatoes. They didn’t know this food at all.
7:00pm – Walked the kids home, and cleaned up after dinner.

One overwhelming thing:
Ojean with a ng-tube, since no matter how much he eats, he is not gaining weight* Sadness – while we are having fun with the kids, their lives and sickness are really overwhelming. Ojean specifically seems to be on the verge of death with no one knows what, and I just hope we make his life okay and that he doesn’t die with us.
Tonight, a 6-month old was admitted weighing 7lbs. He has kwash, so that means his organs are failing from the malnutrition and so his body is filling up with water, which gets so bad that skin cracks. I’m also afraid he will die within the next few days. I sat and tried to feed him right before writing this.

Karen & Amanda are amazing, though, and we seem to be a good team.

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