Hit and Run
Our sweet Gueldine Paulo is 10 years old, currently in 4th grade.
She has 4 siblings. Her older brother is called Edison, a very smart, kind, and dependable young man. Her younger brothers are Davidson (aka, Mesi) and Ashi, we also call them ‘makak’ (monkeys) for fun. They, in turn, call me ‘Mama Makak’ (Mama Monkey) and they are ’Ti-Makak’ (Baby Monkeys). The newest addition to their family is an adorable baby girl, Detherline. This family has the most contagious smile and the sweetest personalities. They care for each other so well, which is such a rare and refreshing sight in our world today. Because of the lack of opportunities in the rural parts of Haiti, her father must go to the capital, Port-au-Prince for work and her mother takes care of the whole clan of ‘makak’ in our small village, Fond Doux.
Often times, you will see Gueldine taking care of the younger siblings because mom has her hands full with washing clothes, cooking, and taking care of the household. Gueldine always walks around with the house key tied on a string and hung around her neck. She is the responsible one. Every day, you will see her taking the little ones to our water well to bathe them or walk them home at night. She is such a great older sister.
Once in a while, you may spot her having fun and being a child as well! I love those moments when she can giggle, run around, and play with not a single care in the world. Those moments don’t last very long. Reality kicks in. She checks the time (or more like the sun). And its time to get the little ones back home.
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One morning, I received a dreadful message from Haiti, “Please keep Gueldine in your prayer, she just got hit by a motorcycle and I just brought her to the hospital and she doesn’t look good. So please keep her in your prayer.”
She went to buy something for her mom from the local street vendor and as she was walking back home, she got hit by a motorcycle. The motorcycle took off without stopping. She was alone, in pain, and laying in the middle of the street. Very quickly, the villagers started gathering. Her mom could hear the commotion in the distance but still didn’t know something happened to her own daughter. One of the villagers gave a call to Daniel (our operations assistant and translator) right away.
Immediately, he brought two other young adults from our children’s home with him and drove her to the closest hospital in Miragoane. All they could do was give her pain relief medicine. ‘What kind of hospital is that?!’ you may wonder. That’s the kind of medical system available for the rural parts of Haiti. They did not have any access to an ambulance. There were no other options. Daniel, with the two young adults, starting rushing and weaving down Highway 2 through all the traffic from Miragoane to the capital, Port-au-Prince over three hours away. They were the ambulance for Gueldine.
The first hospital they sent her to didn’t accept her and transferred her once more to a “better” hospital. I can’t even imagine what Gueldine must be feeling in the midst of all of this. She must be so scared and in so much pain.
They finally made it to a hospital that has an X-ray machine! Victory! No one knew exactly how badly she was hurt. “She broke both her arms” and “she needs surgery in her skull” were some of the mix reports we were hearing. The X-rays couldn’t come soon enough. The results showed that one of her arms is broken in two places. It could have been a lot worst. But then I saw the X-ray. This is NOT just a normal broken arm.
After sending this X-ray to a few doctors we knew in the states, the consensus was that she needed surgery. If they cast it right away and it heals improperly, they will have to break her arm again to put it back in its right place. I can’t even think about it. But how much is the surgery going to cost? She was already raking up the hospital bills.
Her family has no extra money for the unexpected, like this medical expense. They barely have enough to survive. So I asked Daniel, “what happens if they don’t have the money for surgery?”
“She just lives with it like that.”
To imagine the rest of Gueldine’s life living in disability is just a tragedy.
She has so much potential and so much life ahead of her.
I can’t let this happen.
I told Daniel, “Let’s do it.”
Not knowing where the money will come from, I said yes to taking care of a child in need. Because if I don’t do something about it, then who will?
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Today, I share her story because this is a real life and this is a real need in the world right now. I share because I would like to ask for your prayers as the doctors perform her surgery next week. I share because we need your help. We need to raise $1200 to cover her surgery cost and rehab. The doctors will not administer the surgery until they receive the money. This is Haiti.
If not you, then who? Let’s come together to make a difference in Gueldine’s life.
“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.” Beautifully said by Sydney Smith.
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Donate here. 100% of your donations will go towards Gueldine’s Surgery Cost.