Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Feeding Program - By Esther Krul

I sit down on the cement steps and wrap my arms around a small boy. No one knows his age, but by his height I assume he’s at least three. The heat of his body overwhelms me as he weakly clings to me. I try to help him stand but he’s too weak and malnourished. Giving up, I simply hold him. With him in my arms I instantly feel my body temperature begin to climb. It’s my fifth day in Haiti, and I’m still trying to adjust to the 40 degree Celsius weather.

The sounds of children singing momentarily distracts me and I look up to see see about one hundred and forty children sitting on benches in front of me. Many are barefoot and their clothes are worn and tattered.

When the singing stops the Haitian man leading the feeding program announces in Creole that it is time to eat. Immediately all one hundred and forty children straighten up and stop talking. An older boy nudges me and then motions for me to pass him the child I’m holding. Without his warm little body snuggled against me, I instantly feel a little cooler which is welcome relief.

Empty handed now, I get up and head to the outdoor kitchen to collect plates of rice and beans to distribute. After handing out a dozen or so plates with the other volunteers I stop at a table where a little boy is lying with his head on the table, fast asleep. His plate of rice and beans sits untouched in front of him. I walk up to him and tap him on the back.

“You need to wake up and eat,” I tell him, but there is no reply. I pick him up and gently touch his hands. Opening his large brown eyes he looks at me and offers a weak smile. “Come on, you need to eat,” I urge him again. I pick up his spoon, fill it with rice and beans and bring it to his mouth. He opens his mouth and starts to eat it, but seconds later his head falls down into his arms again and he’s once again asleep.

I tap him again and once again he’s only awake long enough to take a bite before he dozes off. With this slow process it seems to take forever for me to help him finish his plate but finally we’re done. After helping him drink his water he slowly sits up and offers me a grateful smile. Then being one of the last to leave, he slowly shuffles to the gate.

As I look around at the court yard that was once full of children, my heart breaks. Many of these children are still living in make-shift tents and most of them don’t know if they’ll get any other meals besides the three time a week feeding program meals they get here. It's hard to see children suffer.

Trying to stay positive I think about the small difference I made here today. Even if it was only holding one child and helping another eat. I know it made a difference to those two boys.


  1. Our children(and us) don't realize how good we have it. As much food and as often as we want. We find it all so normal. Good that you fed that little boy, otherwise he might have had to wait a few days before he gets another meal. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hey girlfriend.. that's amazing and wonderful that u could help those two little boys. It must be hard to see them so hungry and poor. It makes me want to help out to.. and I am sure many others!

  3. Every litte bit helps, Esther. Keep up the good work. God bless you.

  4. Esther? Who is Esther? Oh.... her.... she used to live here in Chwk! Yeah... we don't see her around much anymore.

    Always busy with Mr. Garold...


    Love us all!

    Wait till you see SarahLynn crawling around... she is FAST!