Ricardo made it through the night with his on-site nurses monitoring him closely! We were able to get him some formula and he has a good appetite after not eating for 17 days! Things are looking up for this little guy and he accompanied us to the same village where he was brought to us for our final clinic on Tuesday. Mom & Dad did show up yesterday looking for him after Mom got out of the hospital, but she didn't want to hold him and we're not sure if she even wants him. We've observed a real lack of attachment from parent to child, and our triage and providers all had been asked multiple times by various mothers if they would like to take their children. I think it's just such a miserable life here and that they're barely able to care for themselves, so they want to spare their children their hopeless lot in life by passing them off to someone who could provide a better life for them. We expected to see Mom & Dad on Tuesday, but they didn't come. For now, Ricardo will become one of E.G.O.'s latest additions (though Mom & Dad were told where they could find him). There are a few in our group who would like to take him home right now, but legally they would have to wait for the adoption process which takes at least a year.
One of the patients that came through the clinic on Tuesday was a 17 year old girl who is dying of AIDS, though unaware of her condition. She was skin & bones and so weak that she had to be carried in. She was given some hydration solution and some pain relief and carried back to her home via our 4-leg drive ambulance (see picture). Glenn, who escorted her, said her home was 4 concrete walls with barely a rug. She has a few weeks of life left (at best) and there was no one there to be with her when she arrived.
It is hard to leave as place where there is so much need, because you want to help as many people as you can and there are not enough hours in the day or time in the world to fix the problems or the people of Haiti. Throughout the day and especially at the end, we were just passing out meds to people randomly that we knew 99% of the population needed, which was choloroquin for the rampant malaria, and Albendazole for the parasites that come from their drinking water. EVERYONE is affected by these two conditions which give them fever, lesions, headaches, night-sweats, skin conditions, upset stomachs, etc.
As we left the village, we were seen off with smiles, hugs and well wishes by the villagers who were quite aloof the day before. It takes a while to earn trust here, and the people aren't as warm and welcoming as they were in Africa, though it seems equally as destitute. It's just a hard and miserable life they live and we understand why it's hard to be happy here.
Last evening, we were treated to a show by the E.G.O. kids with songs and skits and laughter and it was pure joy to watch the children having fun and enjoying themselves. There were lots of tears and sad goodbyes on both sides as we left, and the only way we could get through it was to promise that we would return. A few were sent off with letters expressing love and friendship and asking for a home and a family.
It is now Wednesday morning, and we are in the dining hall getting ready to leave for the airport in about 1/2 an hour. Our hearts are heavy as we leave today, for the friendships we made, and the beauty and misery that we saw and experienced. We are thankful for the experience and the opportunity to serve, and are resolved that we will come back, so we will only say "We will see you again". Until next time...thank you for taking this journey with us.