In June 2006 I went on my first missions trip to the Dominican Republic. Our first day out we stopped to visit a Haitian batey (bah-TAY). This is basically a slum where legal and illegal immigrants from Haiti live. They cross the border hoping for work. This particular slum was located next to a sugarcane field in the middle of absolutely nowhere, accessible only by a dirt road littered with potholes. No running water. No electricity. No hope. The "homes" were made out of scrap metal, if they can even be called homes.
You see pictures of places like this on TV, but seeing it first-hand is something entirely different. I was in shock. As we walked around on a little tour, two children, probably 9 or 10 years old, silently came up to me, one on each side, and held my hands as I walked. They didn't ask for candy, they didn't speak, they didn't look at me. But they held onto me as if for dear life.
I took the next three pictures of the kids who live in that batey:
No smiles on any of their faces.
Since that day, nothing has ever shocked me in quite the same way. Saddened me, yes, greatly, but shocked me? No, not after seeing the worst of the worst. In March 2007 I went on a missions trip to Camalote (cam-a-LO-tay), Honduras, a rural village in the mountains. I saw great need and children with severe malnutrition. But I was not shocked.
|Picture I took in Camalote, Honduras, of severely malnourished children.|
This morning I saw an image that shocked me.
Meet Carrington:Masha's orphanage. She looks so cute with those chubby cheeks, doesn't she?
Here she is on her "Gotcha Day" earlier this week:
Here's what her new momma found when she went to change her diaper:
Yes, this IS the same little girl.
Since taking her from the orphanage, Carrington has not been able to keep anything down. She has such severe reflux she probably needs a G-tube. She probably needed one four years ago when she was born.
Yes, she is four years old.
Happily, Carrington is now on a plane with her momma back to the U.S.....and headed straight for the emergency room. Doctor's orders. Saved just in time.
Shocking, yes. Real, yes. We cannot ignore this neglect. We cannot. We must go.