Everyone grapples with the insurmountable obstacles Haiti faces in recovery. There is no way to spend time in the country, with its people, without somehow feeling overwhelmed by the hard hand this country has been dealt. But we all came to Haiti with hearts full of hope that somewhere, someday, this country will be healed.
Within four days of my return from Haiti, no fewer than five people had Stephanie featured in their facebook profile pictures. It is no surprise that this little one became the unofficial mascot of our time with Project Medishare and a facebook phenom.
She was at the hospital when we arrived on Christmas day. Tiny, gorgeous, spunky and getting better after a nasty infection. She needed wound care and some antibiotics, but mostly, she just needed attention. Her mom was always at her side - also gorgeous, small boned, fragile appearing, somewhat tired. After spending time with feisty and non-stop Stephanie, one quickly understood the source of her fatigue. Stephanie’s laughter would fill the whole courtyard. And her smile was a megawatt, bright lights, big city, heartbreaker, movie star smile. Unforgettable.
I was the one who okayed her discharge – I made enemies that day – but I craftily required that she return to wound care clinic for dressing changes – ensuring we would see her strutting around the campus up until our final day in Haiti. Stephanie was the energy we all needed in the middle of draining days. She was our sunshine.
In that small child, with her torn jean skirt and her dirty knees we wished for the future of this vibrant people. Her childish determination and spunk seemed enough to buoy our spirits and give us hope that all that Haiti has suffered, can be overcome. In Stephanie, we saw the courage, and tenacity of the Haitian people. We saw a spirit that knows great, unbridled joy in the face of so many unknowns.
To me, Stephanie represents our hope for Haiti – that it becomes a place worthy of this strong child’s future. Our hope that Stephanie can find happiness, and joy in her beautiful but injured country. Our hope for Haiti, laughing out loud and filling our hearts with so much joy.