The school was an open air building; literally. It was basically a roof over 4 poles with hard benches and a blackboard. And the children didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact they seemed thrilled to be at school and eager to learn how to read and write. The girls had green bows in their hair and both the boys and girls wore uniforms. They carried book bags just like the school children at home except of course, they each had their own bowls for lunch.
Our tour ended at the toddler nutrition clinic on Lifeline’s compound. The parents brought their toddlers to the pavilion and listen to a devotion. Peggy, the only African American with the group, was a beautiful woman who spoke to the Haitians about God’s love. She used John 3:16 and Wanda and Glenda did the hand signals they taught our children. The children sat so still and listened. Then the awaited moment came when the parents took their empty buckets and stood in line for what looked like porridge. It was a thick soup filled with nutrients. Before the mother could take her child and leave the sight of the missionaries two things would happen. First, the child had to eat a good portion of the soup; it was for their benefit. As soon as they left the pavilion they joined the rest of the families and sat underneath the tree sharing the food.
Second, they were prayed over. It didn’t matter that they did not know what we were saying for they understood "in the name of Jesus". I had to hold back the tears. There were times I didn’t know what to pray or say. I felt incapable of knowing what their needs were. I prayed they would know the love of Christ. Now I know why Paul prayed for us to know the love of Christ…some earthly needs may never get met. Some will go hungry night after night. Some will die from malnutrition. Malnutrition, when there is a food surplus in the United States. WHY!!?? Maybe this will get me fired up to do something about it.
A young mother stopped me and wanted me to take a picture of her two little boys. They each had on white sock caps, which surprised me because it was so hot. Then she pulled off her youngest son’s hat and his air was orange. I really didn’t know until later that the little guy was malnourished and that is why is hair had turned orange.
After the toddlers were fed their parents had to attend a class where a local nutritionist taught them about the feeding their children. Most do not know their children need food regularly or if they nurse them the child rarely gets the nutrients because the mother’s can’t produce enough milk because of their own malnourished bodies. There was a very young mother who brought her twin infants to the clinic. The nurses were teaching her how to feed them. She looked young but so did the nurse and she was thirty three and just getting married. Diane picked up one of the twins. It was so awesome to see Diane’s heart.
At lunch, I felt bad eating so much food. It just doesn’t seem fair that I should have plenty, while those around me have so little. I have some extra weight because of eating too much and moving too little. I noticed the other missionaries were in the same boat. There were a few ladies that were thin, but not many. In Haiti if someone comments on how thin you are, it is not a compliment. If you are heavy, you are blessed.