Today we travelled back into the city area of Cap-Haitien to visit a Compassion centre running a Child Survival Program. This is where mothers and babies are cared for to help the baby thrive and to help the mother gain skills.
It’s a great program as it teaches much-needed parenting skills and important hygiene skills. The program covers aspects such as the need for proper nutrition for the baby, breastfeeding, immunisation, family planning. Along with this, each centre teaches different life skills to the mothers to help them earn an income. Also, they teach literacy, often these mothers had never been to school.
We had a great time with the mothers, the staff and the babies. In Haitian culture, it is very acceptable to hand around your baby to others and we all got to hold many babies.
We also had the opportunity to visit the clinic where they do the baby checks. I was really impressed with how well the clinic was stock with medications that could be given to the babies in the program if they were sick. No need for these poor mothers to struggle to find enough money to purchase the needed medicines, they are given the medication as needed. This is amazing work Compassion and the local church are doing. Also, the clinic has food formula and other supplements if a baby is malnourished. Each of the children is charted to make certain that they are thriving.
After lunch, we then visited one of the mums and her family in her home. She lived a short walk through the narrow streets. Her home which she rented, had two rooms and an entrance way. She lived there with her 3 children, her mother, her sister and her child. The two rooms had enough room for a bed each and those that didn’t fit on the bed had to sleep in the entrance way on mats on the floor. About 90-95% of the mum’s income was used to pay the rent on the house. Not leaving much for anything else. The support the local church and Compassion gives means that when her son was sick recently he was able to go to the hospital. We need to remember that we live in a very privileged society, and the energy and effort that we put into things that are supposedly important just pale into insignificance compared to the daily life of the majority of the world.