Part of why it's been so hard for me to return home after being in Haiti is because I have to leave kids that I love. When I was at GLA, I cared for Berlancia the whole 9 months I was there. Every day, all day for 9 months. She was failure to thrive and had full blown AIDS when I met her. She was weak and behind developmentally. I loved her more than I have loved anyone in my life and when I left it was h.a.r.d. Then, about 2 months after I left, she died. I can't even describe how difficult that was for me. The guilt I felt for leaving was tearing at me and I hated myself for leaving when I didn't even want to. Everyone and their mother said they were sorry and that it wasn't my fault. That made it worse. If it's not my fault, who's was it? No one's? If I would have stayed, would she have lived? Who knows. If she was meant to die anyway then I just prolonged her suffering. She didn't have a mother to fight for her. I had the privilege of getting to fill that role for 9 months... then I left. I know that it wasn't my fault in the sense that i didn't cause her death or give her HIV or anything. But I did leave. Berlancia had a family waiting. An amazing, loving family. She would have had brothers and sisters and parents who would have taught her to walk with God. She was healthy- walking, laughing, starting to talk.
That family since has adopted another beautiful girl from GLA, who I also worked with. I don't have a single doubt in my mind that God planned for that girl to be in this family- they are a perfect match; but I can't help myself from thinking... what if. What if I had stayed and Berlancia hadn't died, and she had made it to the states and gotten the best medical care available. It kills me. So if there's that chance that I could have prevented that outcome by staying until she got home, then why isn't it my fault for leaving? I don't blame myself. But I think too many of us brought up with no doubt that we will have access to anything and everything we will ever need look at others who don't have that luxury, and overwhelmed by the needs, we justify not going above and beyond in helping and truly giving our lives and hearts and money, and whatever we can away because it really isn't our faults. We didn't choose for these kids/people to be suffering. But we CAN help. And when there is a need presented, if we get scared and turn away and say, well is not like we caused it, right?.... but what if we don't prevent something from happening that didn't have to.
When I left RHFH for Christmas, Nickenson (the little boy I had been caring for for 4 months) had a surgery for an abscess. He died on Christmas day. I wasn't there. I could not have done anything to prevent his death, but the person who he recognized and who loved him the most at that time in his life was not there.
I left Haiti yesterday. A little girl who had been living with me for the past couple weeks, Marie-Rose, died this morning. I don't blame myself but I also know that there was a small chance that if I had stayed she might have lived. Even if that chance was .00000000000000000001 percent, I wasn't there.
I have struggled with leaving Haiti every time and I know that me being there doesn't change the big picture. I am not solving the core of Haiti's problems. I am getting more out of my time there than anyone I am working with. But when I leave, and the kid that had been doing so well dies shortly after, how can I not wonder- what if...
Every time I have talked to anyone about trying to decide whether or not I should finish school, there is always the "you will have so much more to give" comment made. I get that. If I become a doctor I will be able to save people that would have for sure died without my expertise. If I became a Physical Therapist I could enrich the lives of people who otherwise might not reach half the potential they could have. But I have a passion for malnourished kids, and when I have lived with them and seen how much a place like RHFH can do for those kids, and that I can be a part of it, school just doesn't seem that important. Tomorrow, 16,000 children will die from hunger. There is plenty of resources to save their lives, but still, they will die. 90% of those kids would get better if someone fed them 3 meals a day and loved on them. There are the kids who need IVs, and more intense care... but malnutrition, despite the epidemic it is in third world countries, has such an easy solution: food. The work of caring for malnourished kids is never ending in Haiti. With all the amazing organizations and causes in the world working to save malnourished kids, how are there still 16,000 kids dying EVERY DAY.
I don't foresee in my lifetime all of Haiti's children having 3 balanced meals a day. Maybe I have lost hope, I think I am just realistic. I feel like God wants me home this year- I don't regret my decision to come back because if I had stayed, even if Marie-Rose had lived I wouldn't have felt like I was following God's plan for me. But imagine how weird that is for me- could it be that if I hadn't followed God's plan for me that Marie-Rose might have lived? It just doesn't seem right. But thats just it- this world is SO wrong, so full of sin and so unfair that there are people suffering as a result of how others live. I want to give God my all- that may include going to school even if it's not the first place I'd rather be. I don't know why, but I am going to give it a shot. I figure if I am home anyways I might as well go to school. I am hoping God gives me either a passion for a major that will allow me to give more of myself or give me peace in not finishing college. I feel like the world sees school as this enriching, enabling thing, and i just can't get on that bandwagon. I think knowledge is necessary to grow, but if we don't learn through Christ with a passion there's no point. Just like giving to others is something that makes us grow, but there is no point if it's not through Christ.