The Story of Michou

Thursday morning, Michou, a fragile-looking 17 year old girl found our makeshift clinic in
Fond Paul village, several miles away from Eden Garden. She presented herself for treatment to nurse
Elizabeth who sadly determined that there was not much we could do for Michou except make
her more comfortable, ease her pain and rehydrate her.

Unfortunately, Michou was suffering from end-stage H.I.V., and told Elizabeth that her parents and
family had abandoned her. From the unmistakable look of pain and desperation in her face and
eyes, it was clear to us that Michou was enduring the last days of her disease alone and in the worst environment.
Elizabeth began an IV line of rehydration fluids, and Misael laid a mattress on the floor for her
and cared for her during the day giving Michou water, and when she could eat, some nuts and
granola bar. At the end of the day, Elizabeth determined that she did not want Michou to go
home by herself because she was so weak.

Charles, nurse Erin, interpreter TiTi, and Arden volunteered to walk her to her village up the mountain a mile or so away. And although Charles and Arden walked on each side of her, Michou stumbled and fell hard on the ground, scratching her elbows and knees. She sobbed quietly on the ground, tears flowing, as she could not get up.

Charles and Arden helped her up and took turns carrying Michou home. Sensing that she was a burden on Charles and Arden (whose huffing and puffing indicated that they were struggling with the uphill walk), Michou whispered that she would try to walk. They got to her village, found her two room home, and
placed her on a mat. After praying with her, they left her bottles of water and protein bars, and
later sent some supplies for her wounds and skin with another person. Michou was silent, and
could not even wave goodbye. Her eyes were full of sadness.

On Saturday afternoon, a group led by Elizabeth, and including Glenn, Sean, Kurt, Stacey, Ron and Arden decided to visit Michou at her home to give her more supplies and food. Unfortunatley, Michou was not there, so they left the supplies with her family, who we couldn't even be sure that they would give them to Michou.

Shortly after our group got back to Eden Garden, they were surprised to see Michou and her sister who walked at least three miles in the hot sun to Eden Garden to see us. They heard that we had visited Michou’s home. Michou told her sister that she knew “the Americans would never leave her.” After some refreshments, we were able to put take her home with a bag of medicines, clothes, towels, water, food and some money.

When we said goodbye, Michou hugged and kissed Arden on the cheek, as did her sister. We saw a smile on her face for the first time. And this time, she was able to wave goodbye.