This is the girl I think of about 20 times a day. Her name is Prosteline.
Each day I spent a great amount of time playing with Prosteline. For 4 days I spent a considerable amount of time holding her, playing ball with her and doing crafts with her. Never once did she smile. Seriously. I don’t think people understand this. This girl, she was probably 6 years old, never smiled. After holding her, trying to tickle her, there was no reaction. The only way I got her to smile was picking her up and spinning her around really fast. There were maybe 6 other kids in the Children’s Home (basically an orphanage) that were the same as Prosteline in this matter.
Can I even say that a child can be ruined? How else can I say what happened to her?
The first day at the Children’s Home I noticed parts of Prosteline’s scalp that had this yellow puss on it, and in the back of her head in the middle of the puss it was bleeding. An intern next to me told me they noticed that and were sending a doctor to look at the children’s heads tonight. All the other children had white dust in their hair, and apparently they all had a fungus. Prosteline had an advanced level of this, and her scalp was bleeding from this fungus. This fungus came from them not being able to properly bathe themselves. This broke my heart. First off, who gets a fungus from not being able to wash themselves properly? Secondly, if we wouldn’t have came, what would have happened to these kid’s heads? What would have happened to Prosteline? Would her scalp just continue to bleed and the fungus spread the rest of her body? Who is looking out for the health of these children?
The final day, I met Prosteline’s mother. I found out Prosteline has two other siblings in the Children’s Home and her mother is pregnant again. I don’t know how often Prosteline’s mother came to see her, but she came that day to remove some of the yellow puss from Prosteline’s scalp. I knew before that a lot of these kids had parents, and they are in the orphanages because the parents cannot provide for their children, but I immediately was SO mad at her mother. Here is this woman, not able to provide for her 3 children, and is STILL having babies.
Now to give her benefit of the doubt, I don’t think this mother enjoyed giving up her kids. I think she honestly thought it was best for them to be there, because in the orphanage they got “fed” and received an “education”. By quotations, these kids get fed once, maybe twice a day, and it is beans and rice everyday. (Can you imagine eating one meal a day, and that being beans and rice, everyday? This is why the children are so small and malnourished.) And you go to school, but your teacher most likely has the education of a 4th grader, so really, how much can you learn from this person? But this mother had to make a choice, for her children to be fed and not loved, or loved and not fed. This picture is so hard for me to understand, and get over. Children need love to be healthy. But these kids lose love, and in exchange are barely taken care of. Their emotions become as hard as stone, and they are not able to experience happiness, receive or even give love.
My heart weeps for Prosteline, and the thousands of other children who are put in her same situation. Right now, as I think of her, all I can do is pray and have hope that things will either change for her, or she will somehow overcome the broken system she was born into.
The words to this song also run in my mind all day everyday since Haiti.