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8:30 to 4:30 Monday - Friday

323 South Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia  22314-3716
Phone: 703-549-6670

Haiti Reflections 2010

A Story from Haiti

Following the Haiti earthquake, Dr. John Klousia from our congregation was one of many medical professionals who went with the Community Coalition for Haiti to offer care. Although this story actually occurred with a different medical team, John asked that we share this story with you today.

How do you describe a miracle?

Recently, a medical student on our team was headed down the plateau, when he was waved down by the family of 3-month-old Janou, dying from malaria and pneumonia. Clayton didn’t have the medicine, supplies, or pediatric training to be able to do much. But what he did do was call in the cavalry. He phoned back up the mountain to our team pediatrician, marked the turnoff with a big pile of stones, and passed on all the information he could so that we’d be prepared to stop on our way down the mountain the next afternoon to try to save Baby Janou.

The baby hadn’t fed from her mother, Cristal, in 6 days, and she was essentially non-responsive when we arrived. You could tell by her glazed eyes that she was in deep trouble. We needed to get her to the closest real medical facility as soon as possible, and that was another several brutal hours down a very tough road. But we got the OK from grandma to take Cristal and the almost-limp Baby Janou with us in the truck.

We couldn’t leave immediately, though. The stop had turned into a brief roadside clinic because there were others who also urgently needed care. We administered injections and so forth, then gathered close, praying for and laying hands on Cristal and Baby Janou. We prayed for the child and asked God to give her strength to endure the trip down the mountain, which eventually took 7 agonizing hours.

How do you describe a miracle? Was it the providential stop by Clayton, and the family flagging him down, that saved the child? The antibiotics kicking in just in time, that kept her from fading away? All the gentle care and serious concern in those 12 people stuffed into that beat-up truck that made the difference?

We can never know for sure how the miracle occurred that afternoon. What we do know is that an hour later, Baby Janou started feeding for the first time in six days. We know that she made it to the clinic in Cay Jacmel. We know she was immediately placed in a plastic tent to breathe vaporized medicine into her heavily-congested, pneumonia-ridden lungs. And we know that at last report, she was still there at the clinic, eating well and getting stronger every day.

Each Sunday, we hear the miraculous news that God loves us; that our sins are forgiven; and that we are called to repent and live life anew. Each Sunday, as forgiven sinners, we are invited to reach out and speak words of peace to one another. We are also called to be ambassadors of that peace and reconciliation in the world. As we seek to share Christ’s peace, who knows what unexpected blessing that might bring?

Last Published: March 30, 2011 1:03 PM
Old Presbyterian Meeting House 323 South Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-6670