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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The People--Part 2: Children

Children are children the world over.
Their resilient spirits blessed me again and again.
As nurses we treated them mostly for worms, parasites, fevers, ringworm, coughs, scabies, dehydration, diarrhea, infections and rotten teeth.

But, even when sick, they usually smiled--sometimes shyly.
And oh, so loving! So responsive to our caring.
They gave us far more than we ever gave them!

Standing by the pool.
Doesn't that sound divine as a reward for sweltering while we worked--?

Well, look again--this time a little closer.
Rather than clear, chlorinated water (is that REALLY what you were expecting???),
this was a malaria pit breeding infected mosquitos, I am sure!
Hillary is dreaming of cool, filtered water glistening behind her.

Back to the children...
Often older siblings (and NOT very old, at that!) were responsible for the care of the younger while the tired mothers washed, cooked and tended the babies.
This little one is covered with dust (and dust only!) from playing on the ground.

Cameras were the best ice-breakers and the children squealed and screeched with delight to see their images on the little screen. I wonder if any had mirrors in the tents?

Hillary goofs around with some of the children at the end of the day.
They must be wondering, "Who and what is this crazy white lady!?"
In the background the older kids are performing a march/drill routine that had all of us applauding and admiring. We couldn't understand the French lyrics but appreciated the coordinated movements.

This gang joined us on the bittersweet last day as we packed up our gear to leave the clinic.
Kendrick kindly handed his Rutgers cap to the one child and the others accosted the rest of us for a "souvenir" as well. I emptied my pockets that had nothing but alcohol pads and they battled for even those. Did they even know what the pads were????

Their lives are tough. I'm sure these older children remember the years before the earthquake when, though still poor, they had more than now. This is their classroom.

And this is the garbage-filled yard behind the school. No place for recess here.

These special boys "adopted" Andre, Sylvie and Angel
who, in turn, feed them, love them and found sponsors for them.
They are friendly, helpful and fun. They love to run and jump onto the back of the truck while it is moving, much to our chagrin as we jostled about in the truckbed.
On Sunday afternoon we took a walk to their neighborhood across from "our" house. The boys were thoughful guides, holding our arms as we slid on the rocky slopes and encouraging us to walk further. They pointed out relatives and friends.

This happy fellow was so excited to show us his home.
He lives in the door to his left with a large family--very little room for them all.

Water was delivered to a central location quite a ways from some of the homes.
It seemed mostly a child's job to haul the water the distance to their house.
Knowing the weight of a gallon of water (8 lbs)-this isn't an easy task.

This girl was most likely about 8 or 9 years old and the tub on her head leaked badly.
How we laughed to see her soaked with the water dripping down over her whole body.
It actually looked appealing in the hot sun and dusty day, though.
She was wearing broken plastic flip-flops and just after passing us she slipped on a rock--
down she went with all of her water spilling on the road. Some boys sitting nearby laughed at her and she was so mad that she hauled off and punched them!

This little girl made me cry as I watched her carefully tread along the drought-dried river bed, avoiding the polluted water and piles of trash in her way. Notice the way she holds the edge of her dress away in an effort to stay clean and pure despite the filth surrounding her.

Julie was a great puppeteer and song leader. Theo helped teach lessons of Truth. The children listened attentively without any disruptions.

This is a favorite picture...
Isn't it our worst nightmare to be out in public in our underwear?
Wearing nothing but a pair of briefs and Crocs, this little guy relaxed in his chair, engrossed in the puppet show that Julie and Angel performed so well, oblivious to his fashion faux-pas.
In reviewing pics, I noted that 2 other pairs of Crocs are worn here. Undoubtedly some group came and distributed pairs and pairs of these colorful shoes. Neat, huh?

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