Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The children of the “Foyer Notre Dame de Lourdes”

I am back in the US but their faces and stories haunt me.
Is Emma going to stop crying her heart out, the way she does now because she is not getting the attention she craves? Will Strung ever get filled up: when a child is abandoned by his mother on a trash heap and no one comes for him for two days, does he ever get over it? Will Joseph and his earnest seeking face find the godmother for his communion that would make him feel he is special to someone? And Stevenson: what are the chances he will get the operation to stop his incontinence? At 21 it must be excruciatingly difficult to accept to wear a diaper and it is so unfair what the earthquake did to him: crushed his lower body so he can’t walk anymore and killed his parents.

These are only a few of the stories of the children of the Foyer, Emma was born in the street from a teenage mother who ran away from her life of enslavement and prefers to be free and live of expedients on the streets of Port au Prince.  She delivered her baby on the pavement surrounded by other women in her same situation.  A few months later she brought her to Maud and said she never wanted to see her baby again!  Emma is somewhere between 2 and 3 and she has the brightest most cheerful smile, she runs to foreigners and grabs their heart… yet, often, she cries… not just the normal tears when something doesn’t go your way and you are about 2 years old, but deep sobs coming from way deep inside …what is this sorrow about?

Maud has said her house is full, and we are pushing to get the funds and pursue the construction  of the complex ( dorms, kitchen, elementary school and vocational center) but she is scarred: the last time she refused to accept a small baby , the mother of the child put a plastic bag over her baby’s head….so how can she turn down the baby of the 15 year old who approached her recently because she got raped by her own uncle?