HAITI: KEVINSON’S STORY (PART 1)
I’ll never forget March 14, 2014.
Hundreds of desperate people lined up in a queue that snaked across the village’s dusty courtyard before disappearing behind one of the permanent shelters we’d built.
Malnourished children with distended stomachs wailed in the heat as their sickly mothers tried to comfort them. Men with untreated wounds fixed their exhausted gazes to the ground and hobbled toward us, the sun beating down on their slumped shoulders.
The line moved slowly then stopped. We heard shouts in the distance.
A Hotes Foundation medical assistant was rushing toward us with a mother in tow. She carried a tiny bundle in her arms. Through heaving breaths, the volunteer explained how she found the bundle on the dirt floor of a hut near the village’s edge.
At that time I’d worked for the Hotes Foundation for a decade and had responded to almost every major natural disaster that occurred in that timeframe.
I had walked over dead bodies to hand a hurricane victim a bag of rice. I had seen desperate refugees drag themselves onto the rear ends of moving aid vehicles for a chance at bottled water.
None of those experiences prepared me for the depth of pain we would discover in the hearts of the villagers or the rude awakening waiting for us when we saw the obstacles the people living in this mud-hut village would have to overcome.
We’d just opened our first Hotes Foundation medical clinic in a mud-hut village an hour outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. March 14, 2014 was the day we found baby Kevinson. I’ve thought of him and the effect he’s had on our mission in Haiti on every day that’s followed. As I stared into Kevinson’s big brown eyes I noticed something strange as he stared back at me. He looked like he’d already witnessed three decades of life and tragedy.
He was about to tell us about it.