Lucienne is 14 years old and lives with her parents deep in the mountains of Haiti. It takes them about 3 hours to walk out to the main town where there is a paved road. She is the youngest child in her family. Her parents had 12 children and 5 of those died over the years – some from malnutrition and some from fevers. They live in a 2 room home made of clay, sticks and tin. All of the remaining siblings live down the mountain in the next big town that is closer to the main road. They all have families of their own. Lucienne’s parents are older and her mama cannot get around much. She can just walk some in her yard and home. Her papa still plants his gardens each season. They grow beans and corn. Lucienne helps her parents by cooking, cleaning, and getting water for her family. To get drinking water she has to walk to the nearest source, which is a one hour walk from her home. She carries a 5 gallon bucket of water on her head and 1 gallon in her hand back and forth. She normally makes 2 trips each day. She also helps care for chickens, pigs, and goats that her family raises. She washes everyone’s clothes since her mama’s hands are stiff and weak. To wash the clothes she has to walk 1.5 hours to the nearest river since they are not allowed to wash at the source where they get drinking water. The source water trickles out and so you have to wait your turn to fill your bucket up. They cannot waste it on washing. She carries the clothes in a big basin on her head to the river. Once she gets there she washes with her friends in the river. They then lay the clothes out in the sun to dry. When the clothes are wet, they are too heavy to carry back the 1.5 hours to walk home. So, she must wait til they are dry, fold them, and then walk back home again with them on her head.
She become ill about 2 months ago. She started out with fever, diarrhea, general pain and no appetite to eat anything or even drink. Her parents gave her herbal medication for about a week, but she became worse. The nearest hospital or clinic was in the next big town, 3 hours away. They called for some of her siblings to come and take her to a clinic that was near the siblings home. She went for 10 days and the clinic gave her a shot each day. They did not give her any other medications. She continued to have a fever and got worse. They do not know what the shot was that they were giving her. She was getting worse so they went to another clinic and they gave her a prescription for vitamins and Tylenol. They bought the vitamins and Tylenol and gave it to her, but she continued to get worse. They took her to yet another clinic . This clinic saw how sick she was and put in an IV. After she had a liter of fluids, they sent her to our clinic to see if we could help her. She was very ill when she arrived. She did not want any medicine and said she would rather die than get more shots. She cried and cried and said to just let her die. Her sister had spent all her money at the other clinics and said she could not do anything else for her. She was admitted into inpatient care and we began treatment for her.
It took a lot of convincing for her to let us put an IV back in, but she let decided to let us try. After several days her fever began to go down, and she become hydrated. She felt better and began to eat. She continues to heal and eats well now. She is gaining weight and improving each day. She laughed the other day remembering the first day she came. She said she felt so bad that she did not think she was going to live. We are thankful today that Lucienne decided to stay and get treatment. We will be so happy on the day she gets to return home and see her mama and papa. God is good!