After living in Haiti all of these years – I still cannot wrap my mind around this. I’m watching my 2 year olds covered in orange from a bag of Cheetos – stains on their shirts from the bowl of rice & beans they just ate. And I can’t help but think about the little girl I saw this morning. Those big brown eyes – that precious little mouth.
I have clinic Monday-Wednesday. I was walking a patient out of my office and letting the next patient know they could come in. I swung my door open and I watched a young mother slap her 2-year-old daughter right in the mouth. The little girl cried and the mom yelled at her. She wasn’t next in line but I told her to come into my office.
Here is our conversation:
What is your baby’s Name?
Her name is Michelet.
What’s going on? Why did you slap this beautiful little girl?
Because she was crying. I can’t listen to her cry anymore.
Why is she crying?
Because she is hungry.
When did she eat last?
Yesterday – Sunday morning.
Tell me about your family?
I am 23 years old. I have 4 children. I have no husband. I have no help. I work in the field making charcoal. Michelet knows it’s not her day. She needs to stop crying.
Why isn’t it her day? What does that mean?
I have 4 children. They are 6, 5, 3, & 2. I don’t have money to feed them every day. My 6 & 5 year old eat today. My 3-year-old and Michlet will eat tomorrow.
I’m sitting there listening to this young mother – watching tears stream down from Michelet’s big brown eyes. It’s 48 hours between meals for these 4 children. Understand what I mean when I say “meal”. I’m talking about a small cup of rice every 48 hours. They eat Sunday morning and then the next time will be Tuesday morning. This little baby is SO HUNGRY and the mom is slapping her because she won’t quit crying. This 2-year-old is somehow supposed to understand that today is not her day! OH.MY.HEART.
My kids act like they’re starving at lunch if they miss breakfast. How do I tell Rosie and Malaya that you can eat a cup of rice Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. And nothing else all week-long. And Gabriel and Asher can eat Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday. How do you make any child at any age understand that “today is not their day”.
The young mother was tired. Overwhelmed. Discouraged. At 23 – her life was already too much for her to bear alone. She was doing what she had to do – clearly just going through the motions. She wasn’t “present”. And she is just one of hundreds of thousands of mothers who are just trying to make it each day. Mothers who listen to their babies cry themselves to sleep – only to wake up and cry all day long. No hope of stopping the tears – they’re mentally spent – no patience left. So they take their frustration out on their babies – or they tune them out and shut down all together.
The last team left some crackers and granola bars. I opened a pack of crackers and the little girl shoved the whole cracker in her mouth nearly biting her little fingers. STARVING. I counted out enough items that all 4 kids could have something each day this week. But that’s just this family…..for just this week.
9 thoughts on “Not Her Day…”
I appreciate you sharing this story. And even more I appreciate your approach in this situation. Your willingness to listen rather than immediately condemn the mother. The power to listen is so underestimated.
I have been INCREDIBLY moved by everyone’s response. When I wrote this afternoon I was simply telling the story. It was in no way a fundraising campaign. But you’re response to act has brought me to tears. It just takes one to make a difference.
Thanks to everyone for sharing this and reposting and telling Michelet’s story. For those of you who want to do more – there are several ways.
1) For .25 cents (quarter) I can provide a nutritional meal per child. So start collecting quarters and see how many meals you can provide.
2) Collect peanut butter, nutritional bars, & healthy snacks. We can send these to the office but we can also ask teams to bring them into Haiti (which is much faster). Once you’ve collected something – let me know. I can give you an address to ship it to. If you do ship it to the warehouse – you must clearly write: MOLE on the box.
3) You can send a check to the mission: NWHCM, 7271 S Mayflower Park Ave, Zionsville, IN 46077. Please mark it: CASTILLO FAMILY/FOOD
4) You can donate online with a credit card. Please mark it CASTILLO FAMILY/FOOD. Here is the link: https://www.denarionline.com/DonorServices/TEMPLATEPAGE.ASPX?COMP_REF=_NWHAITI%20%20&CONTENT=GOSOLG&DS_GO_REF=58EE5F8E11
5) If you would like to talk to me about another idea – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
I’d like to help. How can I somehow sponsor this family? Or give enough money to help his family weekly for a while? Or others in this type of situation. I’ve just spent the last 5 minutes on my knees sobbing, crying out to the Lord that something can be done. Thank you for telling this story. please get back to me!!!
Michelet is one of thousands. The mother showed up “randomly” at my clinic today. I don’t even know where she lives. That’s not to say that she won’t come back – especially since I gave her some snacks. I believe God brought her to me to tell her story.
If you would like to feed a family like this it’s a quarter per meal per person. So 1.25 would feed a family of 5 per day. Or 37.50 per month.
ok. We will probably do a lump sum through the online donation. Thank you.. I too, believe God brought her to you to share her story,
also, does she have the ability to keep coming back to feed her kids? Do they just go through the clinic to get a meal? How does this operation work?
We are currently building a cafeteria that will be used for our nutritional program, orphanage, school, and elderly home. Until the cafeteria is finished – the food is cooked at the church and the children bring their own bowl/spoon and it’s dished out for them there. They can sit on the benches and eat or they can take it home in their own bowl.
That is so sad. I could never imagine having to go through that!! I will be praying and donating!!! After all, prayers aren’t answered unless people act.
Thank you for helping us help the hopeless.