During my first week in Haiti, I met a precious little girl named Rosaline. We rode into this little village and about 40 vibrant kids chased after our tap-tap and started cheering, "The whities are here, the whities are here!" It was quite the scene that unfolded. We sat in the back of this pick-up truck and witnessed how riled up people could get just by our presence. I was laughing with them, smiling at them, and waving to them. Their happiness was infectious. But then I saw these eyes staring at me. Rosaline's eyes. They were the biggest, saddest, eyes I've ever seen. I was hoping that she'd snap out of this glare she was giving me, and soon be as happy as the rest of the children. This was not the case.
When we got out of the tap-tap, we made our way into a building where school is held, and where some of the orphan children sleep. While we were talking to the people in charge of this makeshift orphanage, I looked over to the corner of the room. There was Rosaline sitting all alone. She was perched on a bench, just staring at us with those cold eyes again that rarely blink. While all the other kids were outside playing and laughing, Rosaline secluded herself and just sat and stared. I couldn't help myself, so I went over and held her. I painted her nails and made silly faces at her. I tickled her, sang her songs, bounced her on my knee, gave her toys, etc. I did anything and everything to make her smile and get that incredibly heartbreaking expression off of her face. I just wanted to make her happy and then go out and play with her and the rest of the kids. But Rosaline isn't like the rest of the kids.
|Seeing Rosaline (center) for the second time|
So what's the answer? Education about how to prevent these parasites is important. But more importantly - medicine. There is medication that combats worms from somebody's system for 6 whole months. Each dose of medication is around $10. I've started a fundraiser at http://www.crowdrise.com/ParasitesSuck/fundraiser/taylorallis if anyone wants to check out how they can directly bring life back into a child.
|Rosaline asleep on my lap|
|Purpose 1: school walls|
Purpose 2: the kids' beds
By looking at Rosaline's size, we can probably guess that she was born right before the earthquake. We may never know what trauma this little girl endured, but we can make some assumptions based on what she's like today. It's our understanding that Rosaline probably has some kind of mental disability on top of everything else.
|"Grandpa" is a good man|
Michael said that he would like to give her a safe and secure place to sleep each night. Grandpa wishes to build a dormitory to house about 100 boys and girls on his land. With some good shelter, we'd not only be helping Rosaline, but we'd be impacting the lives of multiple kids. Michael also said that he'd want to give her some good and consistent medical care. I felt so naive thinking that a meal and a dose of medication would be of much help in the long run. Michael saw how hard of time I was having with all of this, and gave me a sheet of paper he had scribbled something on. That something said, "Quiz! List 5 things you'd like to do for Rosaline?" I was still a mess from crying, and trying to put all my thoughts into a list of 5 made me cry even more.
When I finally put the pen to the paper, here's what I came up with:
1) Provide her with a decent place to live where it's safe and secure every night
2) See to it that she receives a variety of nutritious meals every day
3) Make the parasite medication accessible to her every 6 months
4) Give her a good, quality education
5) Make sure she is always cared for and loved