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Mission in Haiti: Meet the Darius Family

Choosing which family to introduce you to first was difficult so I decided to introduce them in the order I met these moms. In our world, moms are almost always the first family member we meet. In this case however, one of their children, Belinda, was the first I met. When I came to Haiti in January 2012, Pastor Firmin had a 10 month old at his home. He explained to me that her parents attended his church but at 6 months of age she was so malnourished she was unable to bear weight on her legs! She became the 20th child the Louis family took into their home, including their 6 biological children.

I met Belinda’s mother at church in March, 2012 and she came and visited Belinda at home on a couple of occasions when I was there.  I was blessed to see this baby turn one year old the day I left at the end of March. Her recovery was remarkable considering she had been headed for severe malnourishment and probable permanent physical and mental deficiencies in an uninterrupted future. Firmin and Magalie may have saved her life by taking her in.

When Liz and I returned in June, we saw Belinda’s mother again in church and found her hard to recognize. Her face was gaunt, her eyes dark and sunk in, her general demeanor defeated. When we asked what was going on, we learned that she was pregnant again. Oh, dear. Birth control is out of the financial reach of most of these families, and when asked about her pregnancy she began to cry. She knew she could not care for another child.

We watched her closely when we returned in September and she looked better. It appeared the baby was growing normally,

though she was a small pregnant woman by American standards. During Hurricane Sandy in late October (no surprise to those of us who know what low pressure systems do), baby Neftali came into the world. We saw her only a few days later. What I beautiful baby! Unfortunately, my phone battery was dead (hurricane = no power) so I did not get a picture. We did not have opportunity to see her until three weeks later, when her parents brought her to church. In the interim weeks we had been very busy launching the Medika Mamba clinic after the October medical clinic. Liz was asked to be Neftali’s godmother and held the baby through the 3 hour church service. What a treat but the baby slept the entire time, never cried and barely moved. I became somewhat concerned and began taking her clothes off to see what was going on. She looked too thin and was much too quiet. We asked her mom to bring her to clinic the next day so we could look her over better and weigh her. I had estimated at birth that she was probably 5 or 5 ½ pounds, which is not bad for Haiti.

In those days, we would often see 50 kids in a day so by the time we saw Neftali and her mom Edna, it was about 1:00 in the afternoon. It was probably at least 100° in the church that day. Neither mom or child looked good and the baby, at a month, only weighed 6 pounds. We weighed mom and baby then sat down to chat. She said the baby had diarrhea and she didn’t have any milk to nurse her. I asked what she had eaten that day. Nothing. I asked what she had to drink that day. Nothing! Holy cow! There is no way you can produce milk for a baby without nourishing the mom! I gave her a liter of cold water and she chugged the whole thing!

Instead of giving her formula to replace the breast milk as we had first thought, we sent someone out for food for the family for a week (cost about $25). We instructed her to eat and drink a LOT and to come back in a week. The end result was a well-fed mom and family, and lots of breast milk for the baby! To make a long story short, we ended up feeding a whole family for a week for the amount of money we could have spent buying formula for the baby! That family included Edna, Josef (dad), brother Martelly, sister Virginia and Neftali.

We have continued to work with this family, assisting financially at times, educating, encouraging and planning. Both parents are committed believers, both parents strongly desire to be able to provide for their family and improve the future for their children.

Before the cholera outbreak that followed the earthquake in 2010, Josef sold ‘fresco’ a shaved ice treat with sweetened flavored syrup much like sno-cones. He made a very modest income and obviously not enough to support his small family. Since the cholera outbreak that business has been very slow and sometimes non-existent due to people’s lack of trust in the safety of the ice.

We are currently planning, educating and praying with Josef and Edna on choosing, running and growing a small business in the hope that we will be able to provide a small ‘loan’ to get them started with a cottage business that can truly support their family. Possibilities: buy and sell young goats, small store in their home, raise rabbits and small birds for food, grow the fresco business. We are all praying for God’s guidance on how to best empower this family to become all He intends them to be! And to ensure the next generation becomes educated productive members of the future Haiti and followers of Jesus Christ!


And Belinda? She is now nearly 2 ½ years old. She talks like a two year old, we have watched her learn to walk and run, go through her ‘NO’ streak and graduate from toddler to pre-schooler! She loves to dance and pose for picture so we will treat you to a few.


Here are a few photos of the Darius home:

Walk up to the house (at top)


Pigeon/rabbit enclosure


House interior


Cooking area


How can you help? Become a Generation Builder through Bread to the Nations! Your monthly electronic support commitment will allow us to make long term plans to help many more families that God has already chosen and shown to us!

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