Two weeks ago the boys' home gained four new little boys into its home and the girls’ home welcomed two new girls into it. One of the little boys, Schneider, with the approximate age of 7, had apparently been living on his own for at least a year in a nearby tent city. The other three boys and the two girls lived in a tent outside of a nearby house. Their grandma was taking care of them over the last year as their parents died during the earthquake.
A few days after they moved in, Ashley, who is back working with us, de-wormed the new boys. The day after that a couple of our little boys exclaimed to me, “Schneider is pooping worms!” “Oh,” I said. “Well, at least he’s getting rid of them!” Later that day I passed out worm pills at the girls’ home. Here’s a few of their reactions: “I am not taking that! I don’t want worms coming out of my nose or mouth or butt!...Years ago I took that medicine and I pooped worms at school. I was so scared that I ran out of the bathroom and forgot to pull my skirt up. Everyone made fun of me!...I’m not skinny like (insert name), so I don’t have worms.” After some coercion and punishment doled out by a nanny for one girl, all the girls had chewed or swallowed the dreaded pill. I took one myself to convince a few to take it.. It tastes like dirt and you could probably use it to write on a chalkboard. Estaline and Dave, whose mom works at the girls’ home, both begged me for pills when they saw me giving them to the girls, thinking it was candy.
On Friday morning, Ashley and I decided Adniaka, the two-year-old newest girl, needed an IV because she had been vomiting and having diarrhea over night and refused to drink liquids. After a few unsuccessful attempts, we stopped trying and she began to drink a bit. We let her sleep for a bit then she woke up to vomit. Ashley grabbed for a cup and held it in front of Adniaka’s mouth. I was about to run for a towel when I was stopped short by Ashley. “What the…?” she exclaimed, with a horrified look on her face. She held up the cup, where a very long worm was curled around the bottom of it. We looked at each other in horror, made gagging sounds, laughed, and then I called for Bill, who was in his kitchen, to show him the evidence. His first words: “You need to save that for Susette. She’ll want to see it!” We obliged and kept the cup on the coffee table until she returned. I left for awhile to check on some of our other kids and when I came back Susette declared that she’d measured the worm and it was 10-inches long!
Throughout the afternoon and evening she began to drink more and ate a bit. That night though, she slept on a cot in mine and Ashley’s room so we could keep an eye on her. Early in the morning she began to cough and she coughed for most of the next hour. Each time she coughed Ashley or I grabbed a flash light and knelt down at the cot to see WHAT she was coughing up. Neither of us wanted to wake up to see a worm lying next to Adniaka or one lying in bed next to either one of us. Thankfully God spared us from that nastiness.
The next day Susette found me to tell me that Adniaka had coughed up another worm at the girls’ home. I accidentally left my phone over there so Chabine, one of girls, grabbed it and took a picture. Thanks, Chabine, so kind of you!
During church on Sunday one of the girls looked for me and said that Adniaka was throwing up. I found her outside with Ariana. Thoroughly grossed out, Ariana told me that Adniaka had coughed up another worm IN THE AISLE OF THE CHURCH. Fritz was so kind to offer to pick it up and I did too, but Ariana mustered the courage. I gathered myself together (holding the laughter inside- I admit, I might be sick thinking this is funny) and walked in with her because she asked for the moral support and to guard her so no one could see what she was doing in the middle of the church.
The following day I heard from Katrina, one of our younger girls, that Oline, slightly older than her, was changing Adniaka’s diaper and saw a worm crawling out. She freaked out and Katrina grabbed some toilet paper to pull it the rest of the way out. Since then no other worms have been seen.
Katrina, I am proud of your ability to deal with grossness. You are on your way to being a good mom or medical professional! Oh Haiti, you never leave me with a shortage of stories to tell!