Dillickson and Mylin

We are back in the U.S. now, tired and emotionally wrung out. Going to a place like Haiti, which is so different from our home here, cannot help but affect you emotionally. But what is more, I cannot help but give my heart to the kids and leaders of the MDL orphanage, and it is really tough to leave them.

I didn't get a chance to blog the last two days we were in Haiti because we were too busy winding down the trip. But I want to tell about a couple of things that stood out in those last few days.

This post is about little Dillickson and his sister Mylin. On Saturday, we went down to this slummy area called The Ravine and did a feeding for the kids there. I have been told that the average Haitian eats one meal a day. Those kids aren't living up to the standard of the average Haitian. If the Manasseros weren't feeding the kids, many of them would be badly malnourished. Some still are. We hold the feeding in a ramshackle hut used for a church. It has four walls made of cinder block and corrugated tin. The roof is a patchwork of tin with many openings. I'm not sure what they do when it rains. The space is about 30x40 feet. In one corner of the church we had cooked two large pots of rice and one pot of broth with slices of sausage (I don't think meat is served often at the feeding program). When we welcomed the kids in, about 70 or so of them crammed into little church. No adults are allowed in for the feeding, because they will eat the kids' food. So the rule is, no adults inside, and no food goes outside. Once the feeding starts, it is necessary to post a crew of larger boys and men near the door because the women will start pushing and doing whatever they can to coax a bowl of rice and beans outside for them. It is a crazy scene marked by young children trying to give their food to their mothers who have coached them to bring it outside.

The first thing we do at a Ravine feeding is sing some worship songs. Worshiping with Haitians is always uplifting, because they put their hearts into singing to God. Next we say a few brief words to the kids. I said something about how in God's family, everyone is equal, no matter how old they are, where they are from, or how much money they have. Then Alicia talked about salvation in Jesus. After that we feed the kids.

On Saturday just after the worship and gospel exhortation ended, I was standing in front of all the kids, looking at their faces. They sit on benches or the floor and pass their bowls when they are invited to do so. When their bowls come back, they can eat. As I was looking down, I saw one particularly small boy on a bench right in front of me. He was scrawny and spindly. His arms and hands looked like a collection of twigs. I watched him nod off and start to slump over. Feeling my heart stirring for him and fearing that he might fall off the bench, I reached down and picked him up. Susette leaned over and said, "This is Dillickson. He's four years old. He's falling asleep because he hasn't eaten." He laid his head on my shoulder and went fast asleep. He weighed nothing. No more than 15 pounds. That's right, a 4-year-old who weighs 15 pounds. I held him for ten minutes, and then he woke up.

Dillickson was there with his three older siblings. The oldest, Mylin, was just getting food for them when Dillickson woke up. I handed him to her and continued to watch them. Mylin is about 10 or 11. She's skinny as a rail, but she has a strong, determined look on her face. Her life revolves around taking care of her younger siblings. Rather than simply devouring her own bowl of food, which is what most kids do, Mylin ate while also making sure her brothers and sister had something to eat. The kids at the Ravine feeding sometimes scrap with each other over their bowls of food. The protection of an older sibling is a good thing.

It was hard to take my eyes off Dillickson and Mylin. After the gut-wrenching and somewhat wild feeding had ended and all the rice and beans had been handed out, the women left the doorway and the kids filtered out. Mylin and her siblings were some of the last kids left in the room. One of the younger ones was still finishing. I walked over to her and asked in Creole if I could pray for her. She smile up at me, nodded, and quietly replied, "Mesi" (thank you). I took her right hand in both of mine and prayed in English over her. She has many concerns. I hope God's love will somehow find its way deep into her heart.

I left Haiti with Mylin's and Dillickson's faces in my mind. Will you pray with me for them?

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