"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The People--Part 1: Parents

I have shown you many pictures of the land and the broken houses in prior posts.
Now I will share pictures that pull at my heart.

Today I will focus on the ones who suffered the most from the poverty, devastation, and lack of basic needs--food, shelter and clean water.

I know this picture is dark, but this is what I mean by tent living.
They often are not real tents at all.
In this doorway sits a mother, baby and toddler.
*****If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you can see her holding and loving her baby.
This is their life.

As a parent, I know all too well how I would take any illness or pain that is inflicting my child. Most parents would. The helplessness of standing by just watching your child cry or hurt tears at the very heart of a mother or father.
When you look at the following pictures, please take time to look into the eyes and expressions on their faces.
Warning: It may haunt you.

This young mother had dressed her sweet babe up in a party dress, the best she had, to come to the clinic of dust and rock with a dirt floor.
Try to imagine washing clothes in big basins on the ground.
Sleeping on mats on that same ground.
Cooking over little coal stoves just outside the front flap of the tent.
Diapers that are thin pieces of cloth with no moisture barrier (Think leak!).
No running water.
No electricity.
Post-partum blues?
Now look again at the white little dress on this clean child and marvel.

And this smiling mama, so very young herself, proudly shows off her precious new baby.
When these littlest of the little people are still being breastfed their health is generally
quite good. The ones who lose nutrients are the mothers, dealing with vitamin deficiencies and anemia. This woman was fairly well and we gave her prenatal vitamins and some medication for other problems. Both are lovely.

I will never forget this man and his son. The scrap of paper that followed him from triage listed the problem as "Screams at night. Can't sleep."
After questioning him through the interpreter, I was filled with sorrow to learn this little 3-year-old had been trapped under debris for hours after the earthquake. He was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The darkness of night terrorized him.
I had no magic pills on our pharmacy table to fix this problem. I offered children's tylenol. My resources were limited but my God is not and I have prayed for this child and his loving dad since that day.

I'm a grandma and this weary and worn grandma with her darling newborn says more than any written words do. She may well be a great-grandma, even.

The sadness and concern on this young father's face does the same.
It speaks volumes beyond the ability of the written word.
Most fathers want to be the family providers and he is having a hard time fulfulling that role.
His shirt was from "Food for the Hungry" and "US Aid".
The USA is a generous and compassionate country and I saw firsthand the recipients of our humanitarian aid. We can argue politics all day long, but reaching out to Haitians during this time of need is the right thing.

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