Monday, June 14, 2010

N.C. relief worker tells of pain and inspiration in Haiti

"I have been told not to care so much…But the day I ignore blatant child neglect and abuse I will know that I have failed as a human being."

Lauren Falduti, 23, joined a Charlotte relief team on their latest trip to Haiti to help with earthquake relief.

Members of the Haitian Heritage & Friends of Haiti will be in northern Haiti for two weeks. They delivered an ambulance and more than 41,000 pounds of supplies to the devastated nation still reeling from the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Falduti emailed me this weekend about working in the pediatrics unit at the Justinien Hospital in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. She and another relief worker from Atlanta have worked together to try and save the life of an abandoned little boy who they believe has cerebral palsy. He was receiving very little care until Falduti took it upon herself to help him.

Here are excerpts from her message:
"There is one patient in particular who has stolen my heart. He was abandoned in the street and brought to Justinien where he has been laying in a crib for 2 weeks. We think he has cerebral palsy and are guessing he is between 6-10 years old. Because he was abandoned and is unable to speak, we have no idea what his name is, so I named him Michael after the archangel.

…When I met him I truly believe he had given up all hope of survival- he was catatonic and unresponsive. I thought he was in a vegetative state. Imagine having no one love you or hold you as a child- it is utterly heartbreaking.”

... For the past couple of days I have been feeding my sweet Michael and have told the head of pediatrics about him. Luckily the head Dr. ordered the nurses to feed him, but they still only seem to feed and diaper him when I am there to make pressure them to do so. It is still a daily struggle to get them to change his sheets and the other day after I left the hospital he had diarrhea and was forced to sleep on his soiled sheets all night.

Two days ago I was at the end of my rope! I was told Michael had begun to run a fever and immediately began to cry. I wanted to scream… I felt so hopeless. I felt God's righteous anger at the abuse of His precious child welling up inside of me.

… I have been told not to care so much. I have been told to separate myself from Michael. But the day I ignore blatant child neglect and abuse I will know that I have failed as a human being. Ignoring Michael would be enabling the abuse, and I refuse to do such a thing.

… I am attaching a photo of Michael and I listening to my Ipod yesterday. I held him and rocked him while I sang him the song "For Good" from the soundtrack of the Broadway play, WICKED. At the very moment when I sang the words "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good," my darling Michael looked me in the eyes and smiled! I love this child SO MUCH!"


Spacegrass said...

That is a truly touching story. Brought tears to my eyes.

LA said...

@Spacegrass this is Lauren - thank you so much for reading! I visited Michael at his new home on Thursday. He is living at an incredible orphanage that is filled to the brim with LOVE. The woman who runs the orphanage is an American nurse practitioner and former grad student of Emory University, Cheron Hardy. She is an inspiration and she takes such wonderful care of Michael and his new brothers and sisters. Michael is adjusting well. His lab work came back and he is HIV negative and his lung scans look good. He is adjusting to his new home well! Such a happy ending!