It’s been a desire of my heart since we moved to the Baie to develop some kind of nutrition program like the one that is established and flourishing so well in St. Louis. Being a nurse of course, I want to be able to have it function more like a clinic, so we can have an avenue of reaching the truly malnourished in the Baie- focusing on children.
This past summer we were blessed to be able to form a uniquely personal relationship with two churches CCC, and Mosaic from the Baltimore area in MD. They since then have become our “neighbors project” churches meaning they partner with the Baie in many different facets including providing resources to help meet the needs of the people here in the Baie. A great resource and huge blessing to us is a lovely woman named Laura Matt. Laura is a registered Dietician and a genius when it comes to all things nutrition! During the time she was here with us this summer it seemed the Lord had spoken to both our hearts regarding malnutrition. We spoke about it more when Grant and I had the opportunity to go and speak at these two churches. She then wrote (no exaggeration) a TEXTBOOK on malnutrition and ways to combat this, combining resources from the US, WHO, and Haiti…I was blown away by this.
In January this year, Laura and our friend Heart (who also came on that same mission trip) came down to stay with us and “kick off” the malnutrition clinic we’d been praying over, preparing for and talking about. Earlier in the month we had held a small clinic and surveyed about 75 children under the age of 5 and recorded their heights, weights and other measurements. When Laura and Heart came we had the children come back along with children we hadn’t seen before, and we reevaluated them and Laura categorized them into severe, moderate, and mildly malnourished. Out of all the children we saw we were able to select 50 of the most severely malnourished and provide some rice and beans. The Lord had provided a group here serving at the same time that was donating rice, and beans to 50 families here in the Baie. It was a great way to meet the needs of these 50 children!
It was a HUGE eye opener, even to me, who have been living with this community for 7 months about how many children fell in one of the three malnutrition categories. I knew they were hungry. They all are. I I knew they were small. They all are. I knew their red hair was alarming. All of it is.
What I didn’t know was how severe their numbers lined up when evaluated and when explained by Laura about how close a lot of these children were to “protein starvation” it brought me back to a reality that the joy and peace in their faces can sometimes mask.
After they left, Laura and I’s heart again we spoken to on yet another topic- prenatal nutrition. The “clinic” or idea of that, is nothing official yet, but we are praying for avenues, resources and finances to soon make this hope more tangible to these families. We would love to target pregnant women and all children under 5, keep records of nutritional status and monitor them as they grow, giving resources along the way to those who are in need and who can not support themselves- which will be many of them.
My heart is really excited for this and how God is going to use this to feed the thousands here in La Baie, Haiti who are so hungry for His love.