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Haitian Motherhood....

On any one day at the HHA volunteer village, you will see mother hens strutting along, closely followed by 2 or 3 chicks, doing their best to keep up with their mother. Periodically, the mother hen will stop and scratch the earth, disturbing the soil so that the chicks can peck up any bugs that they find. For the very young new born chicks, the mother hen will literally sit on top of them, keeping them warm and safe from predators.

On any one day at the HCBH hospital you will see many pregnant ladies at the hospital visiting the outpatients and coming to be admitted into the maternity ward. During February, last month, 62 women had natural birth deliveries and 38 women had C sections. As soon as they are able to, most of these women will be seen walking towards the hospital gates holding umbrellas over their little precious bundles, protecting their babies from the bright sun.

On any one day in the week at the Maison de Benediction, you will see about 15 or so kids of all ages being loved and cared for by their surrogate mums. The Maison is a respite home for kids with disabilities. But despite their disabilities these wonderful kids are full of life as well as mischief. Their “Mums” work hard day and night to encourage the kids to development physically, mentally and emotionally. Most of the kids return to their homes at the weekend to be with their families. Some of the kids however are looked after by their surrogate foster mums during the weekends when the Maison is closed. This is because they have either been abandoned by their families or there is no one to take care of them.

This is what happened to little Sergeline Etienne. Last November, Sergeline, aged 6yrs, was left by her mother on the patio of the Maison de Benediction. Her mother never returned for her – perhaps she was too poor to care for her child or other pressures had caused her to make this decision - we will never know. However, this mother cared enough about her daughter because Sergeline arrived clean, dressed and with her hair combed. She had with her a bag containing a birth certificate, some clothes, shoes, hair bands and other small things…

Sergeline is a pretty little girl. She was not able to speak or walk. She was very withdrawn, weak and could not support herself. Miss Nancy Francois – Manageress of the Maison de Benediction decided to offer Sergeline a home with herself and her husband – to be become a mother for Sergeline. 6 months later, Sergeline is a still a pretty little girl, but with a lovely smile. Through better nourishment and physical exercise, Sergeline is much stronger and able to support herself. She is still unable to walk or talk but now interacts with other kids and is emotionally more settled.

There are many expressions of Motherhood – whether it is a mother hen looking after and providing for her little chicks, or a mother carefully and protectively carrying her new born home, or a respite care home, where the female carers love and nurture the kids like their very own. These are but a few, and every expression is necessary and vital.

Life for kids in Haiti is tough. But life for kids in Haiti who have disabilities is another factor of toughness. Kids with disabilities are often rejected, ridiculed, disowned, hidden away, abandoned and worse. Some of the lucky ones come to the Maison de Benediction. The Maison at the moment is at full capacity due to limited facilities and resources. The need to provide care and loving mums for kids with disabilities just continues to grow. For Miss Nancie and Sergeline, the bond between mother and child is very clear and strong. Love, affection and a good home is making all the difference in the world to little Sergeline.

On this Mothering Sunday, your generosity and support for the work of the Maison de Benediction can make a world of difference to a disabled child in Haiti. We have launched a campaign to provide new equipment, which is desperately needed to ensure these precious kids can thrive. Items that are required include: an oven, a fridge freezer, a water cooler to dispense safe drinking water, mattresses and wheelchairs.

Please help make a difference this Mothering Sunday and donate to this campaign, to allow more children like Sergeline to flourish.

To find out more and to make a donation click here.