Leslie Dowell and Mirlande Paul in 2009
She looks like the picture of health. Except for the scars along the entire length of her left forearm and left side of her body, it is hard to imagine she was lying on her death bed less than 12 months ago. She contracted malaria last year and had to be sent to a hospital for treatment in a city about three hours away.
After leaving an orphanage, children become wards of the government and we knew, in all likelihood, we would never see her again. We learned that while she was in the hospital being treated for malaria, she was forced to work in the kitchen. She was on the road to recovery, but while working she suffered third degree burns to her arms and the left side of her torso. The infection that set in almost killed her.
It is a miracle she survived malaria and overcame the infection, but the biggest miracle is that she has found her place back in the OIH orphanage.
Praise the Lord! Our Miracle has a name: It is Mirlande.
Jean and Alvie first met a young boy lingering around the construction on the OIH property during an emergency trip to Bombardopolis after the earthquake in January 2010. He was dressed in rags and was filthy. After asking the other children, Alvie found out that his name is Smith Pierre. He likes getting his photo taken and it was apparent that he had not had any formal education. That has changed! Oh, he still likes getting his picture taken, but he is now enrolled in the OIH school, something before he could only dream of. Though the children in his class are much younger than he is, he loves attending school and socializing with the other children.
Upon returning home, Alvie was featured in her company’s newsletter in New Jersey about the work that OIH is doing in rural Haiti. A coworker stepped forward after the release of the newsletter and said that she would like to sponsor Smith.
During the 2011 mission trip, several of our missionaries witnessed him experiencing a seizure.
Thankfully nurses were on the trip and immediately treated him. They asked him to show them where he lived. Smith was carried by one of our missionaries to his home. When they arrived, they found his paralyzed elderly grandma, who young Smith takes care of. The missionaries returned to the OIH facility and filled boxes with food that they later delivered to Smith’s home.
Smith and Alvie
Jean and Smith
Vonette and Soudine Etienne
Imagine being a single mother, abandoned by her husband with five little mouths to feed. Imagine being that young mother in Haiti where normally even under the best circumstances making a living to support a family is extremely difficult. That is Vonette’s life.
She goes out every day and gathers wood so it can be converted to charcoal. She then carries the charcoal to downtown Bombardopolis to trade or sell in the street market. Unfortunately, this method of providing for her children is also what is contributing to the destruction of her country and she is aware of it. Everyone knows it. But they do what they must in order to survive.
Vonette heard about OIH and approached us about helping with her children. We are thrilled to report that she and her daughter Soudine are sponsored. Soudine started third grade in OIH in 2012. She is quiet and sweet. She enjoys playing with other children her own age. She loves to write and always has a paper and pencil in hand. We imagine that she will become an English teacher or journalist one day.
Jean-Rony Dorlean 2011
These days, Jean-Rony Dorlean cannot stop smiling because of what OIH has done for his life.
At the young age of nine months, Jean-Rony’s mother abandoned him to be cared for by his father. Two years later, his father died. He then went to live with his aunt Foufoune. Learning about OIH, his aunt brought Jean-Rony to the OIH facility in March 2005 to help her care for her young nephew.
Since arriving at OIH, Jean-Rony has grown to be a loving little boy. He is very smart in his studies, has an infectious smile and is always willing to help others. His vision is to become an engineer. He graduated with honors from middle school in 2013.
It’s hard to believe that Yodee is the same boy we first met in 2007. Yodee and his older brother were left in their house by their mother who had abandoned them. The reason why they were left behind could be attributed to the mother’s hopelessness to not being able to take care of her children. It wasn’t until a few days later that the neighbors discovered them in the house on their own with nothing to eat.
Yodee was very shy and he hardly smiled. He wasn’t accustomed to wearing clothes so he was always removing his clothes. His stomach was distended, evidence of parasites. But when we saw him again in March 2011, his transformation blew us all away. We all gave him hugs with happy tears. His cheeks were filled, his stomach was back to normal size, and he kept his clothes on the whole entire time.
He is enjoying being in school and playing with other kids.
Yodee and Raytha
During Love Parcel
Wilgis Justin Aug 2011
Wilgis lives a few yards away from the OIH school where he attends. His mother passed away when he was a toddler so he has been raised solely by his grandmother. Although his father is still in his life, he is often not around, busy looking for work.
Wilgis, a.k.a. Tigis by his friends, is full of life, always ready to make others laugh. He can be seen climbing trees and making funny imitations of anything.
His grandmother approached OIH for assistance as finding the means to provide just the simple necessities for her grandson had been very difficult. She plants her own vegetables to provide food on the table and sells some of them in front of her house to make ends meet.