Today I'm going to introduce you to the people that I got to work with all last week. They are beautiful. Their stories are filled with so much sadness and pain, but they are beginning to live life with joy again. I wish each of you could experience this with me, as you would fall in love with my new friends, too. They have changed my life.
Meet Fabienne. Fabienne was a professional dancer before the earthquake. During the earthquake, she was stuck under rubble, and had to have her leg amputated. She had her surgery at Mission of Hope, but because the prosthetics lab was not open yet at the time, she got her leg from another relief group. Then, she came back and got physical therapy at Mission of Hope with her new leg. She came back to visit us this past Friday, and here she is... dancing again! It puts tears in my eyes. She is precious. And you cannot even tell she has a prosthetic limb. She dances with such ease and grace. I wish I got to spend more time with her, but it was just a quick visit. After about five minutes of being with her though, I realized that it was HER that I had seen on a PBS news clip that featured a Haitian dancer amputee!
Here she is again... teaching me to dance! :)
Meet Douly. This is the second week Douly is with us, and I've had the privilege of seeing him open up and laugh a lot over this past week, which has been amazing! The first week he didn't smile at all. After a few days, I learned that during the earthquake, Douly was in his house with his 4 siblings, and all of them died that day when his house collapsed. There were no adults there, and I'm not sure how long Douly was there alone, with his crushed siblings around him. Another sad thing is that Douly's mom left when he was 4 years old, as did his dad. He lives with his 25 year old aunt, Nadege, who was also taking care of the other 4 before they died. I got to connect with her a lot this week, and it was really special. I couldn't help but compare myself to her... as we are the same age and nearly have the same birthday too. How vastly different my life is from hers... becoming the mom at age 20 when her sister leaves. Then, dealing with the loss of all but one, and spending 6 months wondering if he will ever walk again after losing a leg. She has no job, and hasn't been able to finish school because she can barely get enough money each week to feed her family. However, she is SO full of joy and life, and I felt so blessed to be around her. She braided my hair while all the other amputees watched so intently, and we danced and made braided hairbands. Back to Douly. After his week of physical therapy (I am the PT when we have no one else!), Douly was walking SO WELL! From Monday to Friday he was drastically better. Now he's walking with a cane that I cut for him that's about 2 feet tall with star stickers all over it. He loves it.
Meet Geraldine! She is one of my favorites! She's 11. My favorite thing about her is how shy she is. So many times throughout the day, she will try to hold back a smile, and then I just say, "Geeeeraldine.......!" and she bursts out with laughter. She was back this week for her second leg, as she outgrew her old one. She was so so happy with her new one! Here she is dancing, after watching Fabienne (above) dancing. It is so neat how amputees encourage each other and show each other that they really can do all the things they used to do! :) :)