Day 4 - 2/21/12 - eightbyfifteen
I have been in bathrooms that total more square footage than the house to the left. One woman, her three daughters and one son live in an 8 ft. by 15 ft. block cement home. This picture was taken from the front door of the house. At 11 years old, the young girl in the picture might as well be called mom instead of sister. On the days when her mom works across the border she is left in charge of her younger sisters including little Derline which is a four year old with spastic cerebral palsy. And on the days when she has school little Derline is left alone, in front of the house, on the floor for no less than 5 hours. I was looking forward to meeting a lot of people on this trip but none more than Derline.
When we walked up, this is how we found them. Derline was sporting an awesome wheelchair that was donated by someone in the US, her sister was behind holding a feverish six month old from the family next door. I learned about Derline through an amazing woman named Heather Meyer. She visits the home frequently to deliver formula, diapers and clothes that are provided by Derline's sponsors. Two months ago when I first saw a picture of her eyes and her amazing smile I decided to become one of those sponsors myself. Today was exciting because we were able to hand deliver her supplies ourselves including a few dresses for her and her sisters that were made by Anne Biundo from Houston, Tx.
Short Video of Derline, Her Sister and Her Home
We picked her up off of her wheelchair and my mom changed her diaper and put her in her beautiful new dress.
We spent some time with her and then we had to leave. It was hard to do because we realized that this was probably the most attention she would receive all day. Kids with special needs in the country are ignored and the scraps of what little the family may have are often left for them. We were happy to have had a chance to spend a little time with her and we will go back on Thursday to be with her again.
Before visiting Derline we went to the local Ferreteria. My mom had spent Monday working with the cooking staff and she decided that they were in need of some new supplies. My parents purchased knives, ladles, strainers and whatever else they felt the kitchen was in need of.
When we took the supplies back to the kitchen we were so happy to see how the ladies responded, "New knives, new knives!!!" one of them cried out and she jumped up and down clapping her hands.
I just wanted to take one of the ladles and taste the big batch of black beans she was cooking. They looked and smelled great!
Later in the day I had a chance to sit with Heather and talk to her about her plans to move to North Haiti's Miriam center where she will become the director of the Special Needs and Terminally Ill portion of the children's program. She will be taking three of the children from Danita's children's orphanage with her, including Peterson which is in the picture below. Heather gives of herself and her money on a daily basis. We will be donating a portion of the fortybyforty donations to her. While at the Miriam center she will be responsible for all of her own support. If you are interested in helping her through this process please feel free to send money through fortybyforty and mention her name, or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can put you in direct contact with her.
In the afternoon we rushed over to another local orphanage to deliver a special package. The "Lamb of God" girls orphanage has been without water for over 3 months. The girls have been hand pumping water out of a well and into a bucket and then bathing with it by using a cup.
Imagine losing something as basic as water and having to care for over 45 girls. How do you cook, clean, bathe, etc.
Right before I left, Bill Waterman contacted me about a group in the states that was willing to donate an electronic water pump for this orphanage. The problem was the pump was located in Florida. We were able to use fortybyforty donations to ship the 76 pound pump 2nd day air so that it would arrive the day of my flight. We want to thank Redlandsupply in Homestead, Florida for providing us with a portion of the shipping costs. Today we were able to deliver that pump to Pastor Daniel and all of the girls. This facility is opening a boys orphanage by August and will be in need of another pump soon.
Walking around the orphanage the need for help was tremendous. But the staff has done an amazing job to provide a safe, loving and consistant home for these young girls. They make due with whatever God has blessed them with. For example, we walked by a room and noticed that a woman was ironing clothes for the girls, but her iron looked a little different than those back home. We walked up to her and she opened it up for us. It was a charcoal iron. You can even see one of the flaming coals in this picture.
The girls at the orphanage sang to us and we plan to go to the local hardware store and use some of fortybyforty donations to buy this orphanage a set of 12 batteries so that they can run their electricity and provide power for their refrigerator, which is currently not supplied with electricity.
We had to rush out of the orphanage because a staff member from Danita's Children called and said that the border was closing early. We drove to the gate and just as she said it was closed. Our only choice was to cross the shallow river to the Dominican Republic.
We are looking are looking forward to an exciting day tomorrow which involves a young boy that we met last August. Thank you for your prayers.