Our last day in Haiti is going by quickly.
A brand new baby came to the abandoned room yesterday. He's nine months old but tiny. Maybe a three or four months developmentally. He came to us from another orphanage malnourished and will likely return when we can get his weight up.
I'm tucking him in my heart in the place I reserve for Haiti. Next to Molly and Ryan and the thousands of people killed in the quake, but also next to those who remain with their loss and ongoing struggles, now magnified by the well-intentioned but also some of the malicious failures of the aid effort. He's in there just to the left of the women getting out of tap-taps at 4:00 AM, carrying their sick and disabled children into our clinics, waiting hours for treatment or medication. Next to my stroke patients and their families, steadfast in their care of their loved ones, now dealing with the disability coupled with the loss of the family's primary bread winner. He's right behind my therapists and friends, so hungry for knowledge and self-improvement, together with the children in our homes who are allowed the freedom to choose what they do with the security and education that we bring them. He's with our Haitian employees, steady in their work as they maneuver through a system that continues to fail them. I put him in there with the aid agencies who can't spend the necessary time to make sustainable and meaningful changes, who take the easy way out for quick but fleeting progress and good photo ops to placate donors, refusing to ask Haitians their vision for their own country and in turn continuing to perpetuate the stereotype that only westerners know best and Haitians aren't capable of directing their own futures. They do all this in meetings with other white people on the terraces of their fancy hotels while sipping Haitian rum.
Maybe this baby next to them in my heart will provide the necessary proximity to allow for true partnerships and accompanyment (to steal a term from Paul Farmer himself). Maybe he'll bring joy to those survivors in there, peace to those suffering with their losses and ongoing despair, and warmth to foreign consultants hardened from too many hot dusty failing states.
Maybe. Nou pral wè.