Haiti Trip Part 3 - The Children

Kids tug on my heart strings. They're so innocent. Pure. There's something that feels so wrong about the fact that there are kids all over the world that live in dangerous, unhealthy environments. Many Haitian children don't have advocates. You just don't really see that in the US. Here, if a parent is unwilling to be an advocate there is usually a family member, friend, social worker, or judge that is willing to fill that role. These pictures evoke a few different emotions in me, some conflicting. Sadness, confusion, simple joy, anger. It's ok to feel a mix of emotions - it's a complex situation that is so much bigger than you or I.

Toms shoes sent a TON of shoes to the mission where I was staying. One of the teams that was volunteering there went all over the NW Haiti region to pass out the shoes. It was cool to see the little kiddos running around in their new shoes! Interesting side note: Toms asks that when people hand out the shoes they not speak of Jesus or any particular religion.
There is an infant orphanage on the mission campus. This place was both fun and heartbreaking. I loved holding the sweet little babies, but felt very sad leaving them knowing that their care {though better than many kids in Haiti} would be in inadequate.
Meal time! I tried to figure out what they were eating. It looked like some type of gravy to me. 
One day we traveled to La Baie - about an hour away. It's a more rural area. I'll blog more about that day in another post. 

Christy is on the left below. Oh my goodness she was so sweet! Her dad is a physician in Port au Prince, but they don't have any ophthalmologists there. One of her eyes crosses in, so our pediatric ophthalmologist did a pretty quick surgery and fixed her up. The surgeon was in surgery for quite a while so she hung out with us in clinic for a  few hours. After about 30 minutes she was running the place!

On the right is a picture of a super cool mom and her son, M, whom she and her husband are trying to adopt {along with his sister}. Haiti's adoption laws state that you have to be at least 35 years old to adopt. WHAT?! They're the poorest country in the western hemisphere with a huge overpopulation and orphan problem and they so strongly limit who can adopt?! That's nuts to me. I'll blog about this family's Haitian ministry soon so you can learn more about them.
The girl in the red shirt runs the special needs orphanage and is way cool. She LOVES living in Haiti and taking care of those kiddos. This little boy is in one of her outreach programs and has severe autism. His smile could light up a room, though! He had strabismus surgery (crossed eyes).
Ugh. I just want to eat these kids up. I don't have my flip camera with me today, but tomorrow I'll blog a video that shows these kids in action. It. Will. Melt. Your. Heart.
This girl is only 17 and has been in prostitution for a few years. Prostitution is a big problem in Haiti. Lack of leadership, financial resources and education all contribute to this issue. I heard stories of disabled, blind women in prostitution - just kills me. I mean, can you imagine?? She has some type of tumor, but the surgeons didn't know what kind. They took a biopsy home with them and will hopefully learn more about how to best take care of her for their next trip.
These kiddos are from the St. Louis du Nord community. Due to the high mortality rate for kids under the age of 5 (50%!) many parents don't name their children for a while. The little boys on the right didn't have names yet.

Random fact: there was a Mizzou student and an Arkansas student on this trip. None of us knew the others, but how random to have those type of connections meet up in Haiti. Sean in the picture below is from Mizzou.
This little girl, Miriam, had her second corneal transplant this trip! She had her first last year. This is Dr. Moyes in the photo, someone I work with and is from the Kansas City area.
This image is burned into my mind. Tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. When I walked close to these babies they would all reach for someone to pick them up. I wish I had 5 arms! I tried to rotate holding these babies, but they did not like to be put down. That was really hard for me. It's seems silly for me to write what was hard for me, considering what is hard for these kids every day. I felt like I could never do enough - so overwhelmed by the whole experience.

This little guy is 12 years old, 5 feet tall and 41 pounds. He has been in the special needs orphanage for two years and is dearly loved by the staff and volunteers there. I think he probably has some sort of absorption issue - he's getting the same meals as the other kids who do not look like this, but he just isn't getting the nutrition he needs.
I'll end with this one because it's a happy one. These boys chased me around outside asking me to take their picture. They just giggled so hard when I showed them their picture from my camera. Their life is simple. Their life is much harder than mine. Their life will be full of seemingly insurmountable challenges. But they're happy, smiling and laughing. I learned a hard lesson in humility while in Haiti. Be joyful always.


  1. Very humbling; thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for sharing all this. That picture of the babies on the floor in the orphanage has been in my mind since I saw it when you posted on facebook. It breaks my heart. It is so hard to understand why we live so differently than much of the rest of the world. It makes me sick to think of all the things I want for, when some don't have enough to eat. It seems so easy to not think about it, when we don't see it often. I'm sure after going there you won't be able to easily forget. I'm happy to read about your experience! And those videos are precious.