September-October Newsletter

Michelle’s first trip to CHOAIDS

Edison held by a volunteer while Michelle put drops of water in his mouth

The story of how Michelle met baby Edison, to bring attention to his needs, is one that only God could have crafted. Edison lived in a coal shack with his 12-year-old brother Eski, and their mentally ill mother. She is often gone for weeks at a time, leaving Eski to care for himself and Edison. One day, a group of Americans were hosting a mobile clinic nearby. Eski decided to take his very frail dehydrated 9-month-old brother for care. It was then that one of the Americans, Michelle, saw and took Edison into her arm and made sure that the medical team helped in any way they could. Edison was so ill and in such jeopardy that a team member said that it is doubtful that this child will live. To her credit, Michelle persisted, and did all she could to help the child.

Edison was stabilized and referred to a local clinic for other medical evaluation, including an HIV test. It was then confirmed that he was HIV+. Not wanting to send him back to the coal shack, one of the translators took charge of the situation. Even though she could not keep him, she made improve his health status even while Edison was in the care of his brother. She spent several weeks reaching out to orphanages. Unfortunately, every home she called provided no help. She finally reached a friend who remembered a pastor talking about an orphanage that took in an HIV+ child for him in April. After weeks of rejections, the translator reached out to the pastor, who then put her in touch with the CHOAIDS team. Though we had never taken in babies, we decided that if we did not take in Edison, he most certainly would die! Since Edison’s arrival to CHOAIDS last June his health has dramatically improved, particularly once he was placed on ARV medications.

On September 2, Michelle visited the CHOAIDS home for the first time. She brought 18 backpacks, water bottles, and other goodies for our children. Though the visit was brief, she spent time with Edison, and gave Fanfan money to purchase a walking chair for him. Michelle is hoping to return again soon, to spend more time with Edison, as well as his brothers and sisters.

Edison Health Update

Edison’s health status continues to be a challenge to us. On several occasions, he was taken to Grace Children’s Hospital for care, but his health continued to deteriorate. The healthcare team at Grace Children’s ran tests; several of which came back negative. I contacted our Ti Kay Klinik assigned nurse requesting that she visit Edison at her earliest convenience. Upon arrival, she examined him, took an inventory of his medications, and determined that Edison was not on ARV’s, but on Cotrim, a prophylaxis medication that is often given to HIV+ patients on ARVs to prevent infections. The nurse requested that Edison be taken back to the hospital immediately. As you may recall the healthcare system in Haiti is not kind to the poor, especially vulnerable children living with HIV. One of our caregivers took Edison to the hospital and inquired about his HIV test that was taken at the national laboratory two months earlier. She waited all day with him, and later determined that the test results were then available. Edison was placed on ARVs that very day!

This is a challenge that we continually face in Haiti – one of delays, misdiagnoses, improper ‘protocols’, and general apathy toward those children that are HIV+. Regardless, we will continue the fight, striving to help the “least of these” with our available resources, love and devotion!

Kids’ 2017-18 back-to-school

God sent an angel to help us send the kids to school this year. With a most generous gift from Brian and Michelle, we were able to return the children to school this last September. However, Hurricane Irma delayed this process by one week. There have also been many strikes and protests in Haiti, which ended in riots, that also kept our children home from school for several days. We are hoping and praying for stability to soon return, so that the children can attend school without the fear of violence against them, as well as their loved ones. We appreciate your prayers for health and success as they further their education this year.

Our kids’ Health

Gerlitte and U.S. volunteer reading with the younger children

A fever epidemic, in September, affected many of our children for several days: Esther, Dania, Kervens, Guenson, Edison, Alexandra, and Thyerritson. Many of the older children also complained of migraines; this kept them home for a few days. Other ailments that affected our children were belly aches, colds, fevers, and headaches. One of our younger children, Anaika, missed several school days because of allergies. Though we are not sure of the extent of her allergies, each time she was given children’s antihistamine to alleviate her symptoms. That is why it is so important to have these types of over-the-counter medications on hand. On a positive note, Rose-Michelle and Harold remain in good health, and were told to not to return to see their infectious disease doctor for three months! As you can imagine, we rejoice in this news!

Three of our children – Guenson, Gerline, and Valentina may have an undiagnosed learning disability. At this time, we are unsure as to ways to remedy this situation, because there are no particular schools or programs in Haiti that will help them. We request that you pray for God's intervention to this issue.

Family Visit

Many of our children do not receive visits from their family members, including Dania. However, on September 2 her aunt and uncle that she had not seen since 2011 came to visit her. They could not believe how much she has grown and of course, which pleased them greatly!

We rejoice in the many miracles that we witness on a daily basis, especially the love and support received from you, who support CHOAIDS from afar. Thank you for making such a meaningful difference in their lives – and it shows!!! God’s blessings upon you all!

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