Monday, February 21, 2011
He is sleeping on a yoga mat on the floor beside me. He has exhausted himself from screaming all morning. He is, at least temporarily, our newest Espwa Child. He doesn't want to be though. He wants to be with his mommy.
To be honest, though we already love him, we would rather him be with his mommy too.
This is one of the hardest parts about living here- seeing the love in the eyes of families, seeing the suffering from lack of care, seeing the pain in the separation, and knowing there is nothing we can do but take him- at least for now.
Jahson's mother was crying when I carried screaming Jahson away. She is young, though she doesn't know exactly her age. She doesn't know Jahson or his siblings' ages either. She doesn't know when her late husband passed away. She is just trying to survive.
Because she loves Jahson and his brother so much, she is begging us to take him. She is not begging us to take him because she doesn't love him. There are a lot of people that don't understand the suffering that Haitian mothers go through. They mistake handing their children over as lack of love, when really, it is the greatest form of love that they know. It is the love and hope that their child will be happy, healthy, safe, and educated. It is not, I repeat, not because they don't care about their child.
I am positive that if you asked all of the mothers in Haiti that have children living in "orphanages", organizations similar to Espwa, or as restaveks, to choose between caring for their child at home with financial assistance, or giving their child up to someone else's care- nine out of ten would choose the former. Because nine out of ten don't want to be separated from their child. Can you blame them?
It bothers me so much to hear about "orphanages" that say that they are "saving children" by taking them away from their families. The last thing Haiti needs is another orphanage. What Haiti needs is assistance to keep families together- not pull them apart.
Espwa is in the process of working on a strong, effective sponsorship program. One that will assist students in need, children that are truly orphaned, and provide assistance to families that want to stay together but just can't afford to. Our goal is to get this program going in the near future.
After all, our reason for being here is to provide the assistance Haiti truly needs.