Diary from Haiti: 2010/02/13 - “Joy and Sorrow are often so close“

by Ruth Bücker/FBA,  2010/02/16

If someone asked me today what my day was like, I could not give a clear answer to that question. Joy and sorrow are often so close, and therefore I have laughed a lot today, but I have also cried.

I had many unbelievably inspiring encounters with patients of our hospital. On the other hand I also lived through difficult and sad situations.

In one of the hospital rooms there are four boys and a girl with severe bone fractures – mostly in their legs. In most of the cases they were hit by parts of collapsing buildings.

But nevertheless these children are cheerful, they wave to those passing by and have fun – at least this seems to be the case when looking at them from outside. I can’t tell what they feel like inside.

Reunited friends. Photo: Ruth Bücker

With Phil accompanying me as interpreter, I spent several hours with these five boys and girls today. They are among those children who luckily were not orphaned during the earthquake. While we spent some time with them and took several photos, their childlike joy reappeared, which had often been subdued by their sorrow over the last few days and weeks.

In the end I even became some kind of a photo star, all of the children wanted a photo showing them with me. I was deeply moved by their contagious liveliness and their open-minded behaviour towards me.

I was particularly sad about the fate of the sisters Christelle and Roseline and their family.

Christelle is seven years old and broke her leg during the earthquake. Her two-year-old sister Roseline seemed to have survived the earthquake physically unharmed, but the images of the disaster were deeply burned into her memory.

Christelle and Roseline. Photo: Ruth Bücker

While she slept, she nestled up to Simone from the humedica team, took hold of her clothes and started crying bitterly in her sleep. It was a heartbreaking moment for me and I could not even try to imagine what kind of experiences she might be reliving in that moment in her dreams.

Her older sister told us that Roseline often cried in her sleep and that she did not eat much. She is so deeply traumatized that she blocks out the terrible experiences and therefore the healing process of her mind cannot yet begin.

In future, their grandmother will care for the two little girls. She told us goodbye with tears in her eyes. It was very sad to sit next to the two girls’ grandmother and to feel her pain.

This situation has moved and affected me so deeply that even now, when writing these lines, I could start crying once more.

It is in particular those families who were struck hard by fate who need our support on a long term and sustainable basis. By means of our support we can help them find their way back into life.

Please help us and support our family sponsorship project.

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