Friday, January 30, 2009

Tayasha and Betneyflor

I grip Jaydens’ hand firmly in mine as we make our way across the dusty, rock filled path to the river. As usual the trail is busy, but today my attention is drawn to a little girl carefully cradling her doll. I pick up Jayden and balance him on my right hip as I walk a little faster to catch up to her. “Kijan ou rele?” (What is your name?) I ask her. “Tayasha,” she responds and smiles shyly at me. “Mwen remen pope ou,” ( I like your doll) I say, and smile back. “Eske mwen kapab kinbe li?” (May I hold her?) I ask. She looks at me intently for a moment and then deciding she can trust me she carefully hands over her treasure. “Kijan rele pope ou?” (What is the name of your doll?) I ask. “Betneyflor”, she says.” As I hold Betneyflor, I take a moment and examine her a little closer. Betneyflor is missing most of her hair, and both of her wrists. She has no clothes, but instead has a piece of cloth tied around her waist. She is dirty and the wisps of blonde hair she has left are rather matted. But although she is in a sorry state, I can tell she’s well loved. Tayasha doesn’t take her eyes off her the whole time I’m holding her.
A few minute later we arrive at the river and Tayasha gently takes Benteyflor back. I watch as she carefully unwraps the cloth around the dolls waist and washes it in the river. She then does her best to wash Betneyflor, but she can’t get the knots out of her hair. Sharing Tayasha’s love for dolls, and now babies, I desperately try to think of something I can do for her.
Suddenly, I remember I still have a piece of material in my suitcase. I had bought it a year ago, but had never done anything with it. It would be perfect to make a dress for Betneyflor, I thought to myself, already imagining in my mind what it would look like. “Esk ou vle mwen koud yon rob pou Betneyflor?” (Would you like me to make a dress for Betneyflor?)I ask. Her dark eyes widen and she smiles! “Wi,”(yes) she says excitedly. “Vini avec mwen” (Come with me) I say. She walks back to the camp where we live and then lets me take her doll. I take off the piece of cloth, wash Betneyflor with soap and water and then using shampoo and conditioner get to work on her hair. She soon looks a lot cleaner and I manage to get all the knots out of her hair too. Then I get to work measuring, pining, cutting out, and stitching a little dress for Betneyflor. Once the dress is done I cut out a square piece of material and make a little hat to cover Benteyflors’ baldness. Betneyflor looks very pretty all dressed up and Tayasha is thrilled when she sees her. She hugs Betneyflor close and then allows her friend Katie to hold and admire Betneyflor. Then shyly she looks up at me and says “Eske ou koud menm pou mwe?” (Can you make the same for me?) I don’t have enough material to make a dress, but I do have enough to make matching little hats for her and her friend. When I finish them, they put them on and dance around excitedly. It’s heart warming to watch how happy they are over something so small. Like I said earlier, they may not have much, but they treasure what they have.


  1. Will - You are an amazing person. You have an incredible gift to reach to these children. We pray that God uses these little acts of kindness for His Kingdom

  2. Wow, that is a neat story. I recognize that material. If I remember correctly, I helped you pick it out. Little did we know what it would really be used for. :)

  3. Tahasha and her friend, and Betneyflor look great! I think you're having a lot of fun - and you're learning the language!
    Good job.

  4. Will... It has been a while since I posted a comment, but don't worry, I'm still reading your posts and looking at your pictures regularly. Last week I’ve been running an experiment fulltime and at some point I got very annoyed and tired. I decided to check your blog, and found your story on the Haitian kids being happy with the few things they have. It reminds us again how grateful we should be with all the things we have and the opportunities we get. I love your stories very much!
    I tried to imagine you treating infected wounds. So funny even writing about it grosses you out! I guess you shouldn’t see what all I’ve used my scalpel for, as I look at (brain)anatomy. I can imagine what an infected leg looks like, and what it can smell like. Just this one thing… I know you can’t stop, but you certainly have to stop when running out of surgical gloves! And as all kids (your 'patients' :-)) have open wounds, you should be very careful not to spread deceases amongst them. So, if you can’t use new gloves for every child, you should at least try to wash you gloved hands all the time.
    I’m sorry to say I can’t come visit soon. The fares in summer are too high for me right now. I would have to fly to Paris first, then to Chicago, and from there to Port au Prince… a 25 hour travel, or so. It would cost me more money than I can save in a whole year. That’s one of the few less nice things about studying two university programs… it doesn’t leave me much time for a job. I can’t work that much anyway, as I’ve been suffering from an Achilles heel inflammation for three months now. I can’t walk as well and as fast as I’d like to, as that’s rather painful. Until then I never noticed how much you walk on one single day!
    Did I tell you yet that we gave Opa and Oma a digital picture frame? I put a hundred pictures of the three of you on it too. They liked it very much! The whole Ter Haar family is giving me their digital pics, so I can put them in the picture frame. When I have them all, I’ll upload them to a web album, so you can have a look at them too. Gloria promised to send us a disk with pics from Canada too, so it really will be complete! I just love pictures!
    I am to hand in a paper in a couple hours. I’d better get going…
    Take care! Love, Mary