We met this sad little girl at the orpanage run by Pastor Altiez in Ouanaminthe. The orphanage has lots of needy kids, a kind man running it, and almost nothing else. Pastor Altiez’ wife passed away a few weeks ago, leaving the care of the 47 kids in the orphanage entirely in his hands. In the past, he travelled around Haiti, working as a pastor to provide the support they need. Without his wife to take care of the kids, it is unclear how they will manage now.
The orphange’s kitchen consists of a “stove” created out of tire rims. The only food I saw there was a bowl of beans. The kids sleep in a large room covered with a roof made out of scrap metal. It was blazing hot in there, as you would expect.
The kids there were happy to see us, and thrilled with the shoes we brought them. They clapped and sang, and despite their abject poverty, were filled with joy.
Except for the little girl in the princess gown.
She was wearing a tattered pink Cinderella nightgown. Some American parent probably threw it away years ago. Now it may be the only clothing this little girl has.
The little girl had the same sad look on her face the whole time we were there. It is clear to me that she is not well. I’m pretty sure that, like so many kids in Haiti, she was born with AIDS.
If so, she will almost certainly never receive any treatment. Treatment is available in the Dominican Republic, but it costs money and is five hours away. And because she is Haitian and not in the custody of Americans, she probably wouldn’t be allowed across the border anyway.
This sad story is repeated all over Haiti every day.
Someday soon there will be a medical clinic at the Hope for Haiti Children’s Center, run by Danita’s Children. Maybe then this little girl will have a chance to get treatment.