Mid-Year visit from U.S.
Angela had an issue with bellyache, chest pain, diarrhea and vomiting. On several occasions, her chest hurt her so much that she had to hold it. She was not able to eat, nor was she able to keep food down, even after she was given an anti-diarrheal medication, and ‘serum orale’, an anti-dehydration powder that is mixed with water. She was taken to Grace Children's Hospital (GCH) and was hospitalized upon arrival. After several tests, she diagnosed with H. Pylori, and spent 10 days at the hospital. While at the hospital, she got a visit from her godmother, the woman she lived with until she was diagnosed with HIV, and was transferred to CHOAIDS for greater care. It had been five years since Angela had seen her godmother! Obviously, Angela was not happy to see her.Twelve-year-old Angela asked her godmother if the reason that she stopped by the hospital to see her was to make sure that she saw her before she died? GCH’s Director of Nursing, Mme Arnoux, other hospital staff, and Fanfan sided with Angela, and told the woman that visiting a child while in the care of CHOAIDS is important for the child’s mental health and well-being. Since her return from the hospital, the woman has yet to come by the orphanage to visit Angela. On another note, after the H. Pylori diagnosis, the staff was told that Angela is to be on a blend diet and follow a seven-week treatment that Dr. Ronald Jean-Charles, the CDV/ARV Coordinator at GCH initiated for her.
We had several other children with ailments during the months of May and June. Richardson’s right ear was swollen, and was given an over-the-counter (OVC) allergy medication, paid a visit to the doctor, and was prescribed Flamoxen. He later developed some issues with his appetite, had a bellyache, that caused swelling of his lower belly which, ultimately was diagnosed with a hernia! He still has difficulty eating, and we will keep you informed as to his prognosis. Our newest child, ten-year-old Dieudonne Remonvil’s ARV medications were changed. Wilka, Esther, Joseph, and Jordany had headaches and fevers, that were alleviated with our available OVC medications.
Kervens had a visitor!
On June 12th, Jamie and Ashley Gordon visited Kervens. The mother-daughter pair met Kervens when he lived at another orphanage, before his HIV status became known. They thought they would never see him again, until Ashley reached out to a friend whose husband volunteered at that orphanage a couple of years ago. Crystal Page connected Ashley and I, via Facebook, and I was able to arrange the visit. Both Jamie and Ashley were elated to see Kervens looking so robust for the first time. Seventeen-year-old Ashley is working on a possible return to CHOAIDS, in August, to spend a week working with the children.
Board members visit in June!
On June 12th, Hope Walton and John Hill traveled to Port-au-Prince for a 9-day stay to spend quality time with our children and staff. Their objectives were many… (a) spend time understanding each child better (we are using this loosely, as they range in age from under-2 (Edison) to 24 years-old (Harold). In an effort to do this, they met with each child, having a discussion about their lives at the orphanage - - asking about what they enjoy, don’t enjoy, their favorite food, color, and what they would do, to improve CHOAIDS (if they were in charge). To a child, their responses were thoughtful, insightful, and affirming. (b) They wanted to take a closer look at the orphanage, [i.e., what needs to be done to improve an already comfortable, clean and loving home] (c) Spend some time with the staff. In fact, and, for the second time, we (CHOAIDS) treated all the staff with a lovely lunch at Kokoye Restaurant, sharing ideas to include ways to improve the organization from their perspectives, and laughing. (d) Along with her boyfriend, Mike, Hope purchased a pair of shoes for each kid (you should have seen the looks on their faces, upon putting their new shoes on!) The girls also received new undergarments, that pleased them to no end! (e) Celebrate our good fortune, enjoying ice cream (3 flavors!), popcorn (they love to say “popcorn”!), and two huge cakes! (f) Our good fortune continues, as we also made some new friends (John and Ellison), who should be able to provide us with helpful perspectives on ways to improve our home, and also providing us with a medical liaison between us and GCH, when the kids visit it for their monthly check-ups, and in the event we need interpretation of an emerging medical issue.
As a result of the efforts expended, during this trip, we have received some greatly appreciated generosity from one of our donors. Our critique of the house, and making our needs known, the benefactor will be paying for the following enhancements - - six ceiling fans, a generator, the finances to repair/replace the roof tanks’ water pump, so that we can have running water in the house, and privacy curtains for our bathrooms! We are certainly blessed to have such caring and giving friends! One of our newest two Board members, Dr. Aimee Simpson is considering a trip to CHOAIDS in November. Let the celebration of our good fortune continue! At that time, we will also have a celebration of “World AIDS Day”, which should be really something.
Many thanks for all your love and support of our children, and please let us know if/when you have any questions or suggestions! Blessings, Marie