At Hospital St. Damien, and in Haiti in general, it is easy to feel as though we are fighting an uphill battle; that there are many more defeats than victories. Which is why for us to be able to continue, and believe in our work, we must focus on the individual success stories. For one, I remember Duvert.
Duvert came to St. Damien in early 2007 and was diagnosed with scleroderma. His health degraded rapidly and he was eventually confined to a wheelchair as the pain was too unbearable to walk or even been held. Every caretaker around him did not believe he would make it past Christmas of that year. Miraculously, however, the physicians discovered that the child was actually suffering from an autoimmune disorder. After a change in treatment in the beginning of 2008, Duvert came back to life.
And what a beautiful life to have saved! The child is small for his 5 years, but his personality more than makes up for his physical stature. He is quick to hug, smile, and will make up song and dance routines to praise such treats as chocolate cake with icing. He lives with the sort of inhibition that only children who have been so close to death can and charms any person he meets. Most importantly, however, his mother is still able to hug and kiss goodnight at the end of every day.
After spending a year of his short life in a hospital bed, Duvert is now attending school and spending summer weeks visiting his relatives in the south of Haiti. Luckily for us, Jolene, his mother now works for the hospital as a nurse’s aid so we get weekly updates on his progress and the occasional visit from our old friend. I am so happy that this little boy will be able to live a healthy life and continue to bring joy to every person he meets.