Belinda has been coming to our medical clinic since she was 16 months old. At that time she was moderately malnourished not yet severe. She was admitted to our outpatient medika mamba program. She recovered and reached her goal weight within 2 months. She continued to follow in the clinic for 3 months and her weight increased each month. Her mama knew which foods she needed to eat and had changed her diet so that she would continue to maintain her weight. Fast forward 2 years. Below is Belineda. She is severely malnourished and has kwashiorkor.
Her mama knows what foods to feed her but does not have them right now. Prices have been increasing some and the gardens are not producing good crops this season. They do what they can to make ends meet but it is hard. Not just for her but for many families all over Haiti. Her mama came to the clinic last week with her. She failed the appetite test and refused to eat the medika mamba. Her mama and aunt believe that she has a curse that is on her as well. They got into a disagreement with their neighbor and she has been sick since then. We told her mama we would make a place in our inpatient center for her, but her mama wanted to go get the curse removed. Her sister told her she has to get it done or her daughter will die. Her sister is providing food for the kids and that is all she has to live on right now and it is not enough. If she does not follow her instruction she risks not being able to have food at this time for her kids. She left with her on Thursday to go and talk with the voudo- people in her area to try and get this curse removed so she could get better. They told her that she needed to go see someone else in another town. Sunday as I stood at the gate I saw her pass in front on the road on a mule. She was worse and they had tied strings on her wrist and ankles in hopes this would make the swelling go down. As they passed I talked to her mama again. She said I will be back on Tuesday if she is still alive.
We have seen a lot worse than her but she is not well. Her mama returned on Tues and said the voudo- people said it would be best to take her to us to see what we could do. They gave her some things to drink that gave her diarrhea in hopes that would make the swelling go down. She refuses all food, and liquids even water. Her papa died a few years ago in a car accident. This has made life even more difficult for her mama. She has 7 other living siblings at home. Her mom rents a 2 room home for them all to stay in. This is her second time with kwashirokor. The families average monthly income is around $50US.
It is hard to understand what her mama is going through right now. She has lost her husband and now does not have enough food to feed her kids. Belineda is not the only one that is sick. The other kids are not getting enough food as well. They often cry because they are hungry. She does not know what she would do if her sister was not helping her during this difficult time. She is not sure what to believe right now and who to trust. We are thankful that she returned to the clinic for help. The staff has been doing an excellent job in trying to talk with her and understand more of her problems and situation to see if/how we can help. We do all we can to help the sick that come to our door, but many times this is just a tip of the long time relationships we are able to develop with so many families. We are hopeful that Belineda will recover and heal. We are hopeful that each time her mama comes to visit we can share some Jesus love with her and encourage her in some small way. Will you join us in prayer for this family and many others that are struggling during this difficult time with low rainfall in many of the villages around us. God is able.