“I really did not think she would live, but she did.”
Berline, born January 2018, was a patient at Real Hope for Haiti for 20 weeks. Licia Betor, director of the rescue center at the nonprofit, said the toddler was “very ill” when admitted to their center.
“She had a lot of open wounds due to the malnutrition that were very painful,” Licia said. Berline weighed 18 pounds when admitted; at her lowest weight, Berline dropped to just 13 pounds.
Berline’s mother died just weeks after she was born; her mother and father were not together at the time of the child’s birth. Berline’s mother’s family was upset that she was pregnant young and then died, and inevitably took Berline to her dad when she was just a few months old for him to care for her.
Berline had started at Real Hope for Haiti when she was just one month old, Licia said. Her father would come each month to get infant formula and she maintained a healthy weight for some time. When she was 8 months old, Berline’s father brought her to his parents house to be raised; but, he stopped returning for the monthly formula.
Berline began losing weight and started showing signs of kwashiorkor, a form of severe malnutrition which caused edema in her body.
“It is a very difficult form of malnutrition to heal from,” Licia said. “She did not smile for a long time. She was in lots of pain and suffered much. When she began to heal, she enjoyed playing with the toys hanging in her bed. Then she began to let the nannies hold her more. … It took her weeks to even be able to sit up again on her own. Then she was able to stand with assistance. Next, she was walking on her own. I think that was a very happy time for her to know she could walk again and begin to play.”
Real Hope for Haiti is one of Jake’s Diapers Diaper Drop partners, and our support allowed RHFH to better care for Berline.
“During her stay here, she was able to wear the diapers that were provided to us from Jakes diapers. These were helpful when she was sick to be able to contain her diarrhea for the staff,” Licia said. “ Having a nice clean diaper for the children is important for the nannies and the child as well. Most children do not wear diapers in the village unless going to church, the doctor or someplace else besides their home.”
Berline regained her health and weight, clocking 22 pounds at the end of her stay in the rescue center.