One thing I appreciate about working in Haiti, is the community of health care workers and other volunteers that comes and goes but alway supports each other in whatever we have to do. Many times this month, the doctors at Partners for Health have helped with a very sick baby or in this case, with the mother who had been raped and was in desperate need of care.
I had gone to the Mother Terressa House to ask for help and then to the newly formed Child Abuse Office in the new government building. Back and forth on the back of the moto trying to find a way to keep her safe. When I was beginning to give up, the doctors said ,"but there is a mental health team and we can put her in internal medicine until she is evaluated..." It was more than I could have hoped for and so in the morning she put her head on my shoulder and let me hold her. Later we walked her down to a safe, clean bed. We bought her and her sister some food and water and left her sleeping.
In my dreams, she finds a place to live where she can heal and one day be helpful; perhaps an orphanage or a feeding center. I know it seems unlikely today but I believe she is still in there and with safety and time, will come out of the layers she buried herself in and smile once again.
Her baby died at five days of age from starvation and dehydration in a hospital with nurse feet away because they did not believe they could ask for help or where to ask for help, even though it was only a few feet away. The acceptance of a baby's death to a crazy mother were hard to talk about with the students. I cloud see that they had never had a discussion of the effect of abuse on women or mothers and all we can find out when we listen and ask beyond the stethoscope.