We visited Yahve Shamma today, which is an orphanage and school run by an amazing man named Pastor Gaetan. And, when I say “amazing”, I really mean it. Only six weeks ago, there was no school. It was only the bare side of a hill. Now, there is a school with over 120 students divided up into 5 classes.
Before January’s earthquake, he was taking care of 14 orphans, as well as his own 2 children. He now has 32 children in his care. The real tragedy here is that only a few of the children are “double orphans”, meaning both parents are gone. Most of the children have been dropped off because the parents could not care for the child any more. Sometimes, the parent will return, but for most of the children, the Gaetan’s will be the only parents they will have from now on.
As mentioned last night, our team was split into two. The orphan care team spent the day helping the children write letters to their sponsors, doing some arts and crafts, and just getting to know the kids. It took a little while for them to get over their timidity — and the language barrier did not help — but once they did, the kids were full of smiles and pulling us in every which direction. They played ball, jumped ropes, tried on the costumes we brought, and generally found a way to grab hold of our hearts in their tiny little hands.
The medical team had a much less fun of a time, although their work was incredibly important. All of the students, as well as a few parents and adults from the neighborhood were able to be seen by our family doctors, as well as our eye doctor and our dentist. Our team handed out countless bags of medicine, along with eyeglasses, toothpaste and the most important thing — candy!
Tomorrow, we will be back in the same place serving the surrounding community. Pastor Gaetan estimates that at least 350 people will be in line to try to see our medical team. Most of these people have not seen a doctor in over a year, and there are sure to be many with severe needs. Please pray for our team, and specifically for our dental team. They were far and above the hardest working pair today, pulling over 40 teeth today — tomorrow will certainly be much worse. Also, please pray that we have enough medicine and manpower to see as many of these people as possible.
Just before we left today, we were able to get all of the orphans together with Pastor Gaetan. We thanked him for what he was doing, and through the interpreter, he thanked us. He said, “I keep you all deep within my heart for what you’re doing for my country.” May we all keep the Haitian people deep within our own hearts, knowing that the Father already has them deep with His.
(by Ken Nussbaum)