NPH youth helps save a life
Alfredo, an Hermano Mayor (“Older Brother”) raised at NPH Haiti, recently found a four-month-old baby abandoned in an empty field.
August 20, 2017
For over 60, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) has served vulnerable children in Latin America and the Caribbean, empowering children and youths to develop their unique potential and become productive members of society by serving their communities.
At NPH Haiti, when youths complete their primary education, they graduate from the NPH home to continue high school while living with their family, extended family or some may live on their own or in NPH housing with fellow students. One young man named Alfredo, who spent his childhood growing up in our NPH family, recently found a little four-month-old girl named Bijou* abandoned in an empty field. It was early in the morning, and Bijou was well dressed, but was crying out of fear.
Soon a group of students from the nearby NPH Haiti school, heard her cries and formed a circle around the little girl. The students began to say, “We can’t leave the child on the ground, the animals might come eat her!” According to Alfredo, seeing this young girl touched his heart, as he remembered when his mother abandoned him and his sister at a young age. Their mother found a place to sleep one night, and then the next day Alfredo and his sister woke up with no mother, who they never saw again. Alfredo decided he need to act quickly, and he immediately thought that he needed to protect this little girl.
Alfredo called Kenson Kaas, the NPH Haiti National Director of Childcare Programs to inform him about what was happening. Kenson, who also grew up at NPH, was touched by the story, and he instructed Alfredo to bring her to NPH Haiti’s St. Damien Pediatric Hospital for an assessment.
When Alfredo arrived at St. Damien’s with Bijou, the nurses realized that the child had hydrocephaly, which St. Damien is not equipped to care for. Bijou was also diagnosed with severe epilepsy. The St. Damien staff quickly referred her to a partner healthcare provider, Bernard Mevs Hospital, that has visiting physicians who specialize in these conditions. Children with hydrocephalus have seizures and this could have been the reason that brought Bijou’s mother to abandon her child. In Haiti, when a child has a disability, he or she has a high chance of being humiliated by the public and abandoned by the mother or the family, since the cost to raise a child with a handicap is very high. These children need more specialized attention than the family feels they can offer.
After Bijou’s hospital stay at Bernard Mevs, she returned to our St. Anne Baby home where she is cared for by our loving staff and onsite nurse, who monitors her seizure medication and all her daily health needs. Bijou also receives fortified milk to help her gain weight. Bijou has additional specialist follow-up appointments at Bernard Mevs, and we are grateful for this collaboration among facilities here in Haiti. Future surgery is a possibility for Bijou to help with her hydrocephalus.
We are thankful for Alfredo and his compassion to help a desperate child in need. As Fr. Wasson, the NPH Founder said, “My children have to be caring people. They have to be able to share with others and to care for people outside who need their help – to develop them humanly and that means to develop them as both as good Christians and also as productive people who will be successful in their own countries.” Alfredo certainly lives the example that Fr. Wasson taught our children and that NPH continues to pass on to others. We are grateful for being able to care for the sick and needy on a daily basis in Haiti and in all our NPH countries.
*Name changed to protect the child’s privacy.
Photos above: Bijou with Alfredo who found her in the field, and receiving her daily healthcare check-up at St. Anne’s clinic by Nurse Boisrond. Photos below: Bijou at her new home in the St. Simon “program de vie” program of life in St. Anne Baby House; being fed by her caregiver at St. Simon