Monday, March 3, 2008

A new hope

“The best thing you can do for your child is to take them home and let them starve.” This is what a mother and father were told when they walked their sick infant several miles to a clinic for help.

In Haiti, a child with birth defects is treated like garbage, something to toss aside like trash. The country is one of the poorest in the world and many people practice voodoo. Parents either believe there is nothing that can be done for their child, or they believe their child is “cursed”.

Several children are now being saved by an organization that was recently founded called the Medical Advocacy Team under Remember International. Several volunteers arrange life-changing and often life-saving medical treatment to children who live in areas where such medical care is not available. It is our mission to provide these children with the highest possible level of care so that they can return to their home countries healthy and ready to live their lives to the fullest. We work together with many doctors and hospitals that donate medical care. With their help, and with the help of many other volunteers, we are able to change the lives of children around the world!

Last year, we helped host two girls, Helande and Christella from Haiti. Their parents brought them to Lori, a missionary nurse after trying many different hospitals and clinics. She sought the help from my friends and together they obtained medical visas and donated medical care for these girls. They both received care from a doctor in Texas and my friend Sarah and I escorted them back to their families in Haiti when they were healthy.

While we were driving to the airport with nurse Lori, she spoke of how amazed she was that strangers from another country would want to help these babies, the undesirable. She said she was surrounded by so much death and despair that she had almost no hope left. She was so thankful for the help and love that people so willingly gave those girls. Can you imagine how this gratitude spread through their village?

More children are being referred to the Medical Advocacy Team. When Jeremiah and I travel to Haiti in two weeks, we will be meeting Lori with a little 2-month-old boy, Alex. Alex has an encepholecele, a hole in the front of his skull in which his brain protrudes between his eye and nose. He will be coming home with us, and in several months he will be having surgery in Sacramento. Eventually he will be returning to his family in Haiti.

Here is an encouraging email I got from Nurse Lori the other day

I wanted you to know that this is the first child that I have seen with this condition. It's not because it doesn't happen around here. It happens, but the people think that it is a devil child. They think that the thing coming out of it's head is a horn. In our area, they have killed every child that has been born with this condition until now. I think that Alex's parents heard about us through Schnider's parents and just took a chance. It will be a monumental testament to God's Grace if Alex gets surgery and comes back here. If they can see that these children CAN be helped, grow up, and NOT turn into a, my wonderful friends, will save many lives for years to come!

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