Veronica* (Contributed by Gena) – I met Veronica in the abandoned room in St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in March 2013. She had been admitted suffering from severe malnutrition, epilepsy and she was in a coma. After a few weeks of good medical care, she recovered but no one ever came back for her so she stayed in that room. My first impression was that she was a smart girl that had suffered a lot and was not trusting of many. She seemed to understand everything but seemed to be indifferent. I noticed that she listened very well and that she observed very well. I asked her if she wanted to come and live with me and the other kids- with Jerry* and Ryme (I knew she knew them because last year she was there in the hospital when I brought them to Kay Christine). At no time did she give any sign that she wanted to come with me, but I felt that she was very aware what I was saying her! So anyway I kept going for little visits weekly so she would know who I was and I kept telling her she would be coming to live with us. The social workers were preparing the legal papers and in Kay Christine everyone was waiting excitedly for the new arrival. Arrival day finally arrived and flowers and toys were placed on the bed awaiting Veronica. It was August 14th 2014.
Since August she has been with us and she is settling in well. Veronica is very fond of Ryme and Binjanie and Ryme is crazy about her. He watches everything she does and imitates her all the time. When she first came Veronica did not like to talk at all though we knew she could talk perfectly well. Slowly but surely she is talking more and more. Veronica is responding to our love very much like a flower responds to the warmth of the sun on a spring day. We see her change daily as she becomes more used to our home and as she becomes more secure in the love that surrounds her. She has many issues – especially related to discipline- but little by little she is improving and learning. Veronica is another perfect example of how love heals. It is very beautiful to watch her heal and also to watch her become loving. Veronica likes to help and to do chores. She is very smart and will quickly see what you need and get it for you if possible. She enjoys the horseback riding every week (Ryme also goes!) and in general she is a very happy young girl.
Close your eyes for a second and put yourself in Kenscoff at Kay St. Helene. For many of you, you’ve never been before but imagine you are driving into the NPH property, tons of trees surrounding you, you pass the school, you see children every where and the car parks at Kay Christine, the special needs house. The air is crisp, you’re relaxed and very happy to be there and then, before your feet even hit the pavement, you are bear hugged by Eva!…and it is the most genuine, caring and lovable hug you’ve ever received.
Another day I will continue to explain the amazingness that is Kay Christine, because it is actually one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been, if you couldn’t already see that from past posts. It starts with Eva’s hugs and then the love continues from there. It is a family, the best kind of families and Gena should be so proud for everything she has accomplished and how she has raised her family with pure unconditional love and for them to be the best people they can be!
But, today is about Eva. And Eva is fabulous.
Eva has been with NPH since before I was born. I’m not kidding. This woman had a rough upbringing, we assume, but really we don’t know much about her before NPH. Long story short, a woman found her wandering in the city and knew about NPH and brought to us and the rest is history. Eva is about 35 years old and she only becomes more incredible with age. She lives in Kay Christine and has for the majority of her life. She is the queen of the house.
Other than her hugs, which, I must warn you, can take the breath right out of you if she squeezes with all her strength, Eva is truly a caring person and loves to love. When I met Eva on my first trip to Haiti I was taken back by one of her famous hugs but from that moment on, I knew I had just met someone extremely special in my life. She makes you feel like the most important person in the world! How many people can do that? Honestly.
Over the years Eva has become very delicate about her appearance, especially her clothes and accessories and she is always dresses to impress. However, sometimes, on the rare occasion, she wants to put her nightdress on at noon. Nothing wrong with that.
Eva also goes nowhere without her handbag. Whether she is working on making peanut butter, watching a movie, getting her hair done, eating lunch, you name is, chances are the handbag is being held tightly. I’m sure you’re wondering, what does Eva keep in her handbag? Better question: what DOESN’T Eva keep in her handbag? I’ve ventured this before and the times Eva has allowed me to look inside you’ll find hair accessories, sweets, gloves, a hat, and sometimes on the rare occasion you’ll find her nightdress in there too! Always a surprise and always a joy.
I really could go on and on about Miss Eva and let’s be real, I could write on and on about all of the Kay Christine family! I hope you get the chance to meet Eva one day, experience her hugs and her loving demeanour. Watch out though, it could change your life or just take the wind out of you.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Contributed by Avriel Burlot
Communication Specialist, NPH Haiti
Ryme came to Kay Christine in February 2013. At just three-years-old, he was unable to walk or talk and also suffered from convulsive seizures which have subsided due in part to proper medical care and lots of love and nurture. Like some of the other Children in Kay Christine Ryme too was abandoned in the St. Damien Emergency Room. He was severely malnourished and in critical condition. However with specialized and continuous therapy, he has made tremendous progress. In Kay Christine he now also has a home to call his own with a large loving family.
Since his arrival at the house he can now walk if you hold his hands and he enjoys it a lot. Since November he has been walking holding just one hand! So little by little he is improving. His language is still very slow though and when he is with the other kids he makes more of an effort to say words. He is a very loving little boy and very affectionate. He loves to play and especially enjoys playing with Innocent – probably because Innocent always makes so much noise and Ryme finds this very funny. Ryme also enjoys school and the teachers say he is doing well. He is a fast learner and is always interested to try something new.
Bringing Ryme to Kay Christine
Thankfully the process to bring Ryme into NPH was not very long and painful one. First, the St. Damien Social Office contacted the Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherches “IBESR” Haïti or the Office of the Social Welfare and Research to file the paperwork. One document is an official declaration of abandonment and the second is a document requesting placement in our orphanage. The children are then given complete physical exams, which include blood tests, x-rays, eye/ear/nose/throat exams, and after these a physician’s letter for each child is drafted stating their medical status and diagnosis. They are then given the permission to release the children to the orphanage. Finally, their hospital files are closed and new files opened in St. Helene.
Contributed by Peggy Parker and Gena