Monday, March 05, 2012

Dominican Republic: a life worth saving

In communities in the Dominican Republic, children find themselves at small grocery stores like the one above, seeking out a candy bar or a soft drink. The question is how do they do it without any money. They beg. I saw these 2 boys doing that and even from far away, I could sense that the shop keeper, himself barely keeping his little store open with few patrons, giving in to them. They both left with a small piece of candy. gifting from one who little to gift. And that set the tone for all that I've seen here in the DR as I've moved from one MoM project to another. MoM staff gifting from their hearts, using personal funds and resources in addition to those from MoM to help a child.

Like this little girl, a MoM child in a small project in the DR. Clothes, food, healthcare and education. Spiritual growth and most of all love. Gifting from those who gift without taking. But here is the story that takes it all to the heart.

She is 12 years old, and a few months ago, she took ill with an unknown infection, became combative, then losing consciousness and quickly passing away. The project leader took her to the hospital and before even asking MoM for help, the project leader put down a sizable amount of money from her own pocket and that of the other MoM project staff to get the care she needed immediately. This little girl spent 2 weeks in the hospital, slowly recovering. I saw her CT scan and her EEG (brain wave recordings). An area of infection was clearly noticeable in her brain, and her EEG was abnormal. The project director and her staff prayed for her continually and also made sure that funds were available for the care that was needed on a daily basis. Little is done in a government hospital unless you pay up front for medications. I saw the bill. Diapers, IV solutions, medications, and more. All paid for by the project staff. This little girl left the hospital with some mild residual neurologic changes (you can perhaps see that the left side of her face is slightly drooping), but she is recovering more and more of her function daily. I examined her and she is bright, happy and thankful for her life. She gave me permission to share her story and her picture to say thank you to all who care for her.

I came to assess the healthcare programs we've put in place in the DR, Honduras and Haiti. I was struck with the fact that the programs were not only working well, they were being built upon by the projects themselves with self direction and efforts. But most of all, I was struck with the kindness of the MoM staff, and this project leader. To gift to a child, to save her life, is a heart driven act that no "program" can ever match. And isn't that what we are all about? To ensure that all children have an opportunity to experience his or her's God given potential. A child's life worth saving.

In all things give thanks,