Monday, March 29, 2010


This child is starving.

He presented to our clinic at 10pm two nights ago, a floppy, dehydrated, malnourished skeleton of a boy. Carried in by an apathetic, apparently disinterested mother. Is she disenchanted with her lethargic child? Uncaring? Exhausted? Cruel? Unkind? Or just overwhelmed, and disengaged? Filled with her own stressers and poverty too overwhelming to communicate, so she instead stares blankly across the room with an air of dispirited disinterest? He whimpers as his head flops backward, his neck too weak to lift it. She ignores him. She does not watch him, hold him, soothe him, make any eye contact. He lies in her arms like a wet, unloved rag doll. He appears to be an irritant. But, yet, she walked in with him, sought help for him, at 10 o'clock at night. He has not eaten a thing in 14 days, per mom. How is it possible he is still alive? What inspired her to finally come, on the 14th day?


A young girl is carried on her brother's back to our truck in the slums. She is 12 years old, sweating and semi-conscious. She was standing in a food line in the blazing noon heat, and slumped to the ground, unconscious. We lay her on the floor of our truck. Likely dehydrated and hypoglycemic. I take honey that we carry for wound care and rub a thick layer into the mucous membranes inside of her cheeks and gums. She gradually returns to full consciousness. We feed her granola bars we carry for ourselves, and sips of water, until she revives. I explain that she needs to go home and rest out of the sun, and eat something.

"Do you have any food at home?" I ask, realizing that she had been standing in a food line when this all began.

"No," her brother responds for her, meeting my eyes solemnly. "We have nothing."

"No," she mirrors, shakily, and starts to sob hopelessly. "We have nothing. Nothing..."


Have you ever met a truly starving human being? They surround us.


  1. Wonderfully protrade, beautifully written, praying it touches hearts and spurs action!

  2. No I haven't and I don't know if I ever will. Life here is full of wasted food and parties with too much. It makes me so sad that here we have all we want and need and waste it and there, they have nothing. I don't think I can imagine it. As a child my parents always said to finish my food because there were starving kids in the world and I say the same to my kids but I don't think it means the same thing to us as it does to you or to my Grandma who went through the Great Depression. You have seen it, felt it and it means something so different to you and to my Grandma, which is why she always said it to us. I have volunteered at the food banks here, the soup kitchen and other various organizations but no one comes in starving, hungry maybe but not starving. I am at a loss for words....

  3. I know, Barbie, I know. I have seen this before in other places. Mothers that stop breastfeeding and feed the infant rice water as instructed by the witch doctor. So sad. Well, if anyone can help them, you ladies can. I know you will give it your all to love them back to health, if it can be done. Heavenly Father, be with Barbie and the Heartline team, and every person they touch. Flood Haiti with your unending, immeasurable grace. From the corriders of power, to the humble bed sheet shelters, protect the innocent and bring real hope...raise up a Moses for Haitian people who will lead them through this terrible time. May we all turn to you for strength. Terri Urban

  4. Lov to read your work ! You are quite talented!