Friday, February 26, 2010

The children: Sad and inspiring

The young victims of this horrific natural disaster have been the most painful, yet inspiring part of this experience in Haiti.

Kids, as young as two, must now face an uncertain future without a leg or arm.

Yet they’ve maintained their curiosity. They even flirt strangers.

More than 45 children are being treated at the Sacre Coeur Hospital in Milot.

When asked to describe her job, Sabrina Joline told me: “We’re medical clowns….

“We do undercover PT.”

It’s been fascinating watching Joline and Ashlyn Armistead do their work inside the pediatric tent.

Both Charlotte relief workers are younger, perhaps helping the children relate. Joline, 21, whose family is from Cap-Haitien, speaks Creole allowing easy communication. And Armistead, 26, is the “bubble girl.” She’s the one with all the toys, including bubbles, which has fascinated the Haiti children.

While standing outside the pediatric tent, I asked Joline what was the hardest part of working with such young victims.

“My heart is broken,” she said. . It’s hard enough to live in Haiti with both legs and arms. Now these kids have to figure out with just one.”

This boy, Jackie Delva, lost bones in his forehead after doctors stitched back his skull, which had been partially crushed in the earthquake. He needs reconstructive surgery, but

Charlotte team members don’t know if he’ll be able to get it in Haiti.

But Joline said she’s learning more from the kids than she could ever teach them.

“We think we go through things, but these kids have lost an arm or leg or their family and their still fighting. They’re still smiling.”

Armistead said the children, despite their losses, “are still kids.”

“It’s the saddest place, but the happiest,” she said.

Armistead has been teaching several of the children with amputated legs songs that they can dance to. They sing and dance together. The children concentrate on the singing and dancing while Armistead makes sure they’re working out important muscles they’ll need to get by with only one leg.


Anonymous said...

I think Franco is like a "grave robber". He isn't actually helping, instead he knows this is the stuff that sells newspapers. What good is he doing? This is called "tearjerking". I hope a building falls on the bum.He's a typical "Vendeto".

julie said...

Franco you've been doing a wonderful job. When the earthquake happened every morning I would look for your stories and read them first. Your writing is compassionate and factual and I can't say it enough, great job.