“Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy….” Peter 1:8-9
Some people might never imagine that one of the happiest places to be on Christmas day is here in Kay Christine! Oh how I wish I had the words to express just how happy our home is on Christmas day! What a day! A day of sharing food, sharing gratitude, sharing joy, sharing presents, sharing love! Have a look for yourself at the pictures and get a glimpse of what I am talking about!
The baby Jesus was born in a stable because no one wanted to give his mother and Joseph a room for the night. Most of the children/young adults in these pictures were abandoned because their parents could not find people to help them take care of them. They previously laid in hospital beds, often wet and dirty, often covered in flies because no one bothered to take care of them. No one bothered to think that they were real people! Some were years in the same room of a hospital with no stimulation. Some were abused before they came to us. Some have burn marks on their legs because someone thought they were possessed by evil spirits and tried to burn the devil out of them. Some were malnourished because no one had the patience to spend an hour to feed them.
Thanks to NPH we were able to create a beautiful home for these children. Look closely and Thank God as I do that we have been able to give them a safe loving home. Thanks to NPH we are working very hard to provide services for children and to provide training to mothers and care givers so they can give the best care to children with severe disabilities – children with so many beautiful abilities.
Father William Wasson founded NPH over 60 years ago. We that work in NPH have one very simple thought in our head: ” we are all brothers and sisters and we all have the duty to take of each other.” Those of you supporting us are as much a part of NPH as we are. You should feel very, very happy because thanks to you, we are making miracles every day.
Lots of love to you all!
Special Needs Program Director
Sometimes I wonder why they come. Why do they bother to make that difficult journey every day? I imagine them in their tiny homes, getting their kids ready in the morning and that in itself, no small feat as twisted bodies are not easy to dress. Twisted bodies do not bend and turn with ease as you try and pull on a beautiful dress or snazzy shirt. Most people have no idea how difficult it is to dress a body that is different. How careful you have to be so that the tiny bones do not snap when you try and force that arm into a shirt. Try putting on your shirt without bending your arms or head and you will quickly figure out what I am talking about. Twisted bodies of these beautiful boys and girls and these beautiful children make up our rehab programs in Haiti.
Still I am imagining them in their tiny homes. All dressed up and ready to go. Heave the heavy child in your arms and try and figure out the best way to have you and her comfortable. Gently cover the head so the hot sun does not bother your precious charge. No taxi waiting blowing his horn to take you to the clinic! A crowded Tap Tap – (covered pick up truck) is your taxi and here you must be agile to get in without either of you falling. Now the interrogation begins! What is wrong with your child? Why are you wasting your time with this useless thing? Are you stupid? Can’t you see it will never be any good? What about your life? Are you going to be a slave to this thing? Madam, keep away from me with your handicapped child. Why don’t you just leave it somewhere? It’s not worth your effort to do anything……….Father forgive them for they know not what they are saying. So you sit there with your child and you sit in silence because who will ever understand your love for this child. Let them talk, let them humiliate you and your child, let them! The tap tap has stopped and you must get out. Yippee! You get to repeat this whole experience because you must take another tap tap. In fact you will need three tap taps in all before you get to your destination and even then you will have to walk through the busy market area for about twenty minutes. Then you will have arrived. Imagine all the compliments you will have received before you have reached our door!
So it is you who come to our clinic and so it is that we get to know your stories. Stories of courage and determination! Stories of desperation and desolation! Stories of Love because for sure, only Love could withstand all you have encountered! Your precious children, eyes bright and bubbly, eyes that see far more than people realize. See them in the class room, singing and playing and learning – getting in trouble, fighting, screaming – all the things that children
Good for you! Emily – for years now your mother has struggled and struggled and look at you now! You are so much better. In fact we all thought you would die and how we rejoice in your life. Another will look at you and just see all that you cannot do. But we know different. We know you wanted to live and your mother Dieusimose wanted you to live. We know all her sacrifices – just for you. She calls you Laza (as in Lazarus) because she knows you came back from being almost dead.
Dear God in heaven, these mothers have it tough! This is why I am amazed that they keep coming because for sure the progress is slow. I started by saying that I sometimes wonder why they come. Of course I do know the answer but still I am amazed. No matter how well I try to write, no matter how well I try and tell their stories, I will NEVER be able to do justice to the difficulties of these mothers. I cannot find words to explain the gentle sigh of Mama Christopher when I ask her how things are for her. She will not complain because she knows that her sigh says it all. Or the absolute expression of joy and gratitude that swept the face of Mama Farah when I gave her $200 Haitian (approximately $28US), or the knowing nod of Mama Ricardo’s head when I asked her if she had gone back to the doctor. (She did not go because she had no money – she knew I knew as soon as I asked!)
Still they come and this is what counts. They come and we try very, very hard to help their kids and support them. We do what we can do; they do what they can do. It will never be enough. But we will keep on doing it because we have undertaken this journey and together we will go as far as we can!
Special Needs Director
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Today is the The International Day of the Disabled and today we celebrated in Kay Germaine. Our gift to day is as promised a front row seat to the party of the year. Thanks again for supporting us and enjoy the pictures!
I am sitting here in the sun with James. I asked him what season we are in now and he said “Advent.”
“What does Advent means James?”
“Advent means Sharing, Penance–universal penance.”
“What should we do during Advent James?”
“We should pray, we should pray to God to ask him to give us strength and courage so that the baby does not die in our arms.”
Let me explain a little bit. During mass this morning Father Rick Frechette was telling us about an 18-year old girl that was pregnant. Her father and boyfriend wanted her to abort the child. She did not want to. She was afraid of her father and boyfriend, so she told them she would abort the child and go live in the countryside. But she didn’t, as she didn’t want to get rid of her child, she went somewhere else and hid from her father and boyfriend. She had her baby but had no way to take care of it. The baby was two weeks old and she was desperate. She decided to bring the baby to our hospital and abandon the baby there and then maybe someone would take care of the baby.
But then she realised that once she got inside the hospital she would not be able to abandon the baby because the security would not let her leave without the baby. So she came up with another plan. In the middle of the night she would come and once she got in the first gate she would hide her baby in the grounds. In the night time it would be easy to do this once she got in the main gate. She would leave the baby there and in the morning someone would find the baby.
She stuck to her new plan. However she was too young to consider all the dangers that went with this plan. In the morning, they did indeed find the baby. But the baby was almost dead due to the cold and even though they did their best in the hospital, the baby did indeed die.
Father told us that the reason he found out the details about this mother and this baby is because the next day the young mother came to see how her baby was. Her motivation for leaving her baby was so her baby could have a chance to live. When she found out the baby was dead, she screamed and cried and told her story.
This is the baby James was talking about just now. This is a very sad story to contemplate as we begin our journey to Bethlehem. I asked James, where this baby is now. “Li nan men Bondye”. He is with God.
Our world is filled with sad stories and Mary and Joseph set out on their journey during very difficult times. Take a minute and go back in time and imagine what it was like. Then switch to the reality facing so many pregnant women today all around the world and you will see that sadly in our world today, so many babies are born into very difficult circumstances. I am sure most of you reading this have a ton of worries and stresses. But you know, in order for us to have hope we have to give hope. We have to be the one that reaches out to the one in need. Imagine if that young mother had met just one person that offered to help her with her baby? Imagine how different the story would have been if one person had acted differently! Imagine how many situations we can change just by reaching out to people around us.
James will be 23 on December 6th. For most of his life he has been confined to a wheelchair. James is ALWAYS happy. James is ALWAYS quick to smile and quick to laugh. He is a quiet presence in our home. You rarely hear him say much unless he is laughing at someone or something. He loves to interact with people but he will not seek you out. He loves to sing. When he was small he used to sing along during mass. As he has become older he has become more limited in what he can do. Never once have I heard him complain. Even when he is not feeling well, he will tell you very matter of factly what he feels. He always says thank you when you do something for him or give him something.
“James, what are you thankful to God for?”
“I am thankful to God because he loves me.”
“He loves you? How do you know he loves you James?”
“I know he loves me because he does a lot of things for me.”
“What does he do for you?”
“He plays with me, he plays ball with me, he gives me music on the radio. He gives me presents.”
“Do you love God James? Yes I do.”
“Why? Because he looks at me in my eyes.”
“In your eyes James?”
“Yes he looks at me in my eyes.”
“Do you look at him in his eyes too James?”
“Yes I do.”
“What do the eyes of God look like James?”
Here James laughs, and says… “They are normal!”
Lets make SIGHT our gift for today. Let’s see if we can get everyone to really look at situations around us, to really see how we can help make things better. Let’s move away from feeling powerless and let’s see each person around us as family. Let’s really SEE! Imagine how different would be the story of that mother and baby if someone close to her really looked at her and saw her agony. If someone saw that she was trying to save her baby. If someone had offered to help because in that mother that someone could see herself. Imagine if we could really look at the world and see, really see the many ways we can make a difference.
Most of all, let’s try and be like James. Let’s see God in the everyday activities in our lives. Let’s see Gods eyes as normal. Because if the eyes of God are normal, then we can be sure that the eyes of God are looking at you and me from the normal eyes of every person you meet!
We have stopped looking for God. We are surrounded by God. Let’s start SEEING!
Contributed by Gena Heraty
Special Needs Director
Ryme* has had a great year. He is now able to walk if you hold his hands and he enjoys it a lot. In the last two weeks he has been walking holding just one hand! So little by little he is improving. His language is still very slow though when he is with the other kids he makes more of an effort to say words. He is a very loving little boy and very affectionate. He loves to play and especially enjoys playing with Innocent – probably because Innocent always makes so much noise and Ryme finds this very funny. Rome enjoys school and the teachers say he is doing well. He is a fast learner and is always interested to try something new.
Veronica* was in the abandoned room in the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital with Ryme and Binjanie. Since August she has been with us and she is settling in well. Veronica is very fond of Ryme and Binjanie and Ryme is crazy about her. He watches everything she does and imitates her all the time. When she first came Veronica did not like to talk at all though we knew she could talk perfectly well. Slowly but surely she is talking more and more. Veronica is responding to our love very much like a flower responds to the warmth of the sun on a spring day. We see her change daily as she becomes more used to our home and as she becomes more secure in the love that surrounds her. She has many issues – especially related to discipline- but little by little she is improving and learning. Veronica is another perfect example of how love heals. It is very beautiful to watch her heal and also to watch her become loving. Veronica likes to help and to do chores. She is very smart and will quickly see what you need and get it for you if possible. She enjoys the horseback riding every week (Ryme also goes!) and in general she is a very happy young girl.
Germina (Dieunie/Jennie) is doing well back at home with her mother and siblings. She goes horseback riding with us every week and so she keeps in touch with us. I hope to go visit her this week. Her mother says she is doing fine and so it seems to be a good situation for everyone.
*Names changed due to privacy purposes.