domingo, 28 de septiembre de 2014

A Summary of this Journey

Small white line next to the fibula is a finger-
nail scratch, not a tibia!
Here is an e-mail I just wrote to Tammie, a volunteer with Project Helping Hands, a medical group that comes here a few times a year. She visited Elisenia when she first came last year and has been supportive of her care ever since. I recently took Elisenia to get a new x-ray of her leg, where she is missing a tibia, and sent it to both Tammie and CURE International where we had consulted her in Santo Domingo in 2012. We now are planning on taking her again this month and they may do a surgery within the next five months or so! 

I am posting this e-mail because I gave a summary of the events with the kids and the mom over these past 3 years and since I mention the kids and the situation so much, I thought it might be good to share a summary.  

Hi Tammie, 

Thank you so much! :) I will talk to Adeline to see when we can take her down. I wish I could go and see the consultation in person but I don't think I can spare a day right now. Just wanted to give you the dates of when we took in Elisenia since you said we found them early last year. It was Nov. 2011 when we first found her being toted around by her sister who was 9, but very sick. She had just turned one. Her sister and other siblings were students in our school but had not attended that year because of family problems. The mom had been gone for three months at that time and the dad had gotten sick. The mom came back but Elisenia was in critical condition with pneumonia and malnutrition... picture attached of her and my daughter. My daughter was 4 mos. and Elisenia was a year.  So we had her in the hospital for weeks, volunteers and one of our staff members taking turns sleeping with her, and then moved her into a missionary house in Cabarete and she spent another month there. The guy holding my daughter is our staff member who was taking turns with volunteers staying with her in the hospital. Then we have had her since then but went through 2 caregivers before we found Adeline who cares well for her, just the facilities are not ideal. 

The mom was back at this time but her husband had just died and the brother, age 12, was refusing to go to school so we took him in since we work with boys from the streets and have special school efforts for them. This was Jan. 2012. We paid the house for them and got food for 3 months, which is what has been the rule of thumb for a woman when her husband dies if they're involved in our schools. The mom asked me for transportation money to go to Santiago and said she would come right back, she couldn't leave the kids. I was reluctant for her to even leave the kids for a day but she promised she would come right back. Then we didn't hear from her until she showed back up July 2014, so 2.5 years she was gone without a word. I had taken her to the AIDS clinic before, she knew she had it, but was embarrassed to get her meds! She said when she came back from Santiago she would start taking them. 

So when she left in Jan. 2012, her three others who were 5, 6, and 9, were alone and going from house to house in the batey. One man in the area who had volunteered some with Elisenia even set up an account for them at a colmado where they could get 100 pesos a day to make food. They finally settled somewhat, and we eventually took in the 5 year old girl. So we have Yenilove who is now 8, Junior who is now 15, and Elisenia is with Adeline and will be 4 on Nov. 2nd. Elideau who is 9 is with a family in Munoz, a Haitian woman who has a Canadian husband, and Alexandra who will be 12 in Dec. was with her godmother but was having a really hard time, her godmother has tons of kids, extremely poor, lives right on the road, and I was getting lots of reports of her being involved in really vulnerable situations. I planned to go take her to child services, who I had talked to about her lots before but I just couldn't take hearing those things anymore. I had made the decision that day that I went to that clinic with Helping Hands (July 8, 2014) that I would take her that same day and then the mom showed back up while we were in the clinic. So since then she has stayed with the mom. Her husband (who passed away)'s aunt is allowing the mom to stay in a room of hers in the batey. The mom at this point can't walk and is very thin. Alexandra goes to our school but she cleans clothes, cooks, and takes care of her mom. :( She is the one that breaks my heart most at this point but we couldn't take her in because we have a little group home with boys from the streets and she is a wanderer and the two wouldn't mix. Plus the godmother was adament that Alexandra wasn't going anywhere and many people began to question her motives... but right before the mom came back, she left her house and went to Haiti for a bit, which is when I had planned to take Alexandra to child services in hopes that they would put her in a home. 

So that's the story! This Nov. it will be 3 years since we've had Elisenia under our care. :) Thank you so much for helping her... early on a few people donated but since then there has been no success in fundraising for her except for you. I think I told you another nursing group that has started doing deworming in our schools every six months got a stroller and a nebulizer for her? The nebulizer has helped a ton. 

Thanks always, Caitlin

P.S. Junior lived in the group home during his first year, which is just down the road from us and from Adeline and Elisenia, and then when Yenilove moved in with us in Feb. 2013, he moved into our house too. I find this funny, but as soon as they both moved in, they started plucking white hairs out of my head! :) 

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