Saturday, August 6, 2011

Visiting Day

Happy kids at Sonia's house
A relatively mellow day today - only three stops.

In the morning, Margarette and I went to visit our friend Sonia Andre's orphanage.  Sonia primarily places children with German families (as she can no longer work with the French families).  She's our partner on a number of cases, providing child care for a few cases Margarette is working, and checking up on all of our cases in IBESR regularly whenever Margarette is out of town.  Margarette helps Sonia with processing tricky cases.  It's an excellent arrangement for everyone.  This is still a fabulous house.  Truly exceptional child care!  It would be very difficult to find any American day care center that was cleaner, better supplied, or better staffed than Sonia's place.

It always makes me laugh to come here because of the reception I get.  Sonia has quite a few babies and small toddlers at the moment.  One look at me, and there is a huge chorus of wailing from at least ten frightened babies!  Separation anxiety in kids this age is a sign of healthy attachment, and there is no question that these little guys know who their caretakers are.  All I have to do is look at them and I set them off again.  It was quite challenging to get a happy photo for one of my adoptive families of a baby boy who was not at all pleased to see me.  At least the older kids were very pleased to see me again.  They had a few new dance moves to show me.

Sonia has asked me to find families for two of her children in particular: a little boy to whom she is so attached after his long residence that she just wants him closer to Haiti, and a little girl who was recently abandoned.

Chistina and me
The girl's story is probably a common one, except for the ending.  Christina was living with just her mother in one of the tent camps.  Last January, her mother died of cholera.  There was absolutely no one else in the world to care for this child.  Someone in the camp was aware that the mother died, and Christina was brought to the community leaders of the camp.  Someone called IBESR, and luckily for Christina, IBESR chose to call Sonia and Sonia had space for her at the moment.  She is one of the lucky ones.  I can still see the immense grief in her eyes, but she will have a family and an opportunity that so many never will have.

Next we went to Giant Market.  It's a bit higher up the hill in Petionville than our old market, the Caribbean Market.  That building was entirely destroyed in the earthquake, killing many in the collapse.  There was a remarkable story of a survivor pulled from the rubble days and days later.  It's amazing Giant Market didn't collapse too: it's built up on stilts over a parking garage.

Haitian food prices are much like they were before.  They are comparable to what they might be in a Manhattan market for most foods, and higher for certain things that must be shipped in, such as baby formula.

We stopped by BRESMA again on our way back to the guesthouse and office.  The boy and girl twins who arrived the day before I did seem to have settled in completely.  They are amazingly resilient children!  One of our little guys was at the dentist when we arrived.  He has the worst teeth I've ever seen.  I'm a bit anxious as to the quality of dental care, although I might just be prejudiced.  I have no reason to think a Haitian dentist would be any less competent than an American dentist.  Our little boy came back with a few abscessed teeth removed and instructions to only eat liquids for a few days.  I suspect the damage was from a very poor diet combined with a great fondness for sugar cane!  I know that his birth father has good teeth.  Wislande was already hovering over him trying to plan a lunch he could eat.  He's in good hands.

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