Today I'm going to share one of these good stories, and, to be right upfront about it, give anybody who feels so moved the opportunity to be part of the story in a big or small way.
As I wrote in the 10/13/14 post, my daughter Claire, an intensive care nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, has been going to Haiti with the Rush University Medical Center team for a week or two every year since 2010, when the earthquake hit that country.
This year Claire's husband Miguel joined the Rush team from October 13 through October 19 in their work in the Jerusalem relocation camp outside Port-Au-Prince.
Claire and Miguel were assigned together to run the clinic pharmacy, which they christened The Liszkay-Jimenez Pharmacy:
But the story is getting happier over time, and from here I'm going to turn it over to Claire, today's guest-blogger:
Madame LeFleur lived in Port au Prince pre-earthquake with her husband and son. She ran a hair salon, and she and her husband took care of some homeless children from the street. They fed them and gave them somewhere to sleep. After the earthquake Madame LeFleur's husband took her son and fled to Miami, leaving her with the homeless kids. She and the kids were "relocated" to Jerusalem, the relocation camp outside of Port au Prince, as her home and business were destroyed. She managed to beg and scrape together some meals for the kids for about a year. After the first year in the camp Madame LeFleur told her friend that she was at the end of what she could do for the kids. She was out of money and out of favors. She was afraid she would have to give them up. Her friend told a friend who told the pastor of a church in Jerusalem, who told Dr. Wang, the leader of Rush's Global Health Program. That year we visited what had become a full orphanage of 20 kids in the middle of the camp. The first time I visited, the orphanage was just a tarp and some tents. The kids all slept and ate under the tarp. Madame LeFleur didn't have enough food to feed them all even a meal a day. Some of the kids where still nursing open wounds, still healing from injuries sustained in the earthquake.
They have a gas stove, so Madame LeFleur doesn't have to find wood to cook. Madame LeFleur's orphanage has grown to 47 kids, since they keep coming to her.
She has two kids under the age of 1, one of whom was left in a box outside her door. She has estimated that it takes about $600 a month to feed each child 2 meals a day. She would also like to send the older kids to high school. Madame LeFleur is currently working with some of our Haitian translators to complete the paperwork for a micro-loan for a small business. She wants to reopen her hair salon, and sell soap and shampoo, which she knows how to make. Her ultimate goal is to become self sufficient.
The kids at the orphanage are adorable. They seem to keep an eye on each other, with the older ones scooping up the younger ones when they cry.
When we visited every child got weighed, height measured, and a treatment for worms.
I don't know how Madame LeFleur manages to keep it all together, but she absolutely does!
The website on the orphanage is: lefleurorphanage.org There is lots of info and a place to donate. The donations are tax deductible, and Rush will send a receipt. Thanks Everyone!
FYI, after reading Claire's post I checked out the LeFleur Orphanage website.
Once at the site, I clicked the "donate" button, which took me to the Rush University Medical Center website and a Rush Global Health online giving form. The LeFleur Orphanage was one of the options to donate to. So I made an online donation and received an online thank-you note from Rush with an itemized receipt for tax purposes.
So, anybody want to help an orphanage?
Have a wonderful weekend! 8)
Miguel outside the orphanage last week.
Donated bunk beds.
A toy shelf.
Painting outside the orphanage. I think this is why LeFleur keeps getting more kids.
These kids loved getting their photo taken. The boy in red had a huge open head wound when I met him a few years ago.