"We want to share the story of a young mother, Bertina, who one afternoon came to our NPH St. Damien Pediatric Hospital with her infant daughter Sabina. Fr Rick found her standing in the hallway holding her small child. He immediately sensed that something was wrong. While seemigly asleep, the child was, to his eye, lifeless. Sabina was dead, and this poor mother could not accept she had not arrived in time to get assistance. For two hours she kept rocking her child refusing to give her to the nurses and return to her other children waiting for her at home. With great wailing she finally accepted that death had taken her little girl, and gave Sabina's body to Fr Rick.
This is an extract from Father Rick Frechette's letter to family and friends:
This is the kind of thing that happens when roads are blocked with violence, when hatred rules the streets, when mothers are afraid to risk the roads with their sick children.
We have had a few calmer days with minimal riots, and Bertina finally could come to the hospital with Sabina, today.
When the nurses asked her why she didn't come early in the morning, she said that morning was her only chance in the past two weeks to refill her buckets, barrels and jars with water. She could not miss the chance. She needed water for the children, for drinking and cooking, to wash and clean and bathe. She planned to bring Sabina to the hospital after she could assure water for her family.
This is the kind of thing that happens when you live in absolute poverty, when in the hierarchy of needs, all basic and essential, the needs must compete with each other, since you can only choose one at a time.
It is important for all of us to see clearly the rotten fruit of poverty, and violence.
Its not just about the smashed storefronts, or the burning cars.
Silently and tragically, at the level of a mother and her child, the consequences are deadly."
Thank you for your help in giving Fr Rick and his team the possiblity reach to mothers and children in need in the streets of Port au Prince.