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I'm Nittai Malchin, a senior at Palo Alto High School in CA and the founder of One Love Advocates. Our mission is to do whatever possible to improve access to education in communities that are struggling with destructive or endemic problems. My immediate focus is helping kids in Haiti gain access to educational opportunities. I recently traveled to Haiti, and I will be documenting my trip on this site. There are 4 sections (see navigation above) to my mini site: (1) my blog where i document my activities, impressions and thoughts from Haiti (2) About One Love where you can read more about the initiative (3) Support One Love where you can learn how to get involved, donate or help (4) contact info. And on the right sidebar you will find more info such as links to other sites, feeds, photos, videos, and ways to contact me or share One Love with others. Also, check out the cool toolbar on the bottom of your screen to see our videos, photos, and Facebook page, for translations, and more. Thank you for visiting and feel free to share your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 3 in Haiti - Delayed


Sorry for the delay with this post, it was tough to find enough time with the shaky internet and all that, but I have some down time now so I can get at you guys.

Yesterday we visited an medical care center (where the kids also live) located in Santo, for orphans and children with physical or mental issues. The center was built by PIH (Partners in Health). We came there with Sharon (from Prodev) and several doctors that were also volunteering with Prodev. Prodev is opening a preschool at the orphanage next week, and our task was to evaluate all of the children and train the caretakers in preparation for the preschool. As the doctors evaluated each child, they took notes and numbered each child so that they would be able to remember them. We, then, photographed each child with his or her respective number next to them for the records, and so that it will be easy to identify the children next time Prodev goes there (you can see the children on Flickr widget on the right sidebar).

The purpose of the evaluation was to check which kids (there were 50 kids at the center) will be able to go to school, and for those who cannot, find out what their problem is so that they can receive help. It was tough to see the children at first, as they were not receiving adequate care from the workers. Almost all of them were simply laying on their backs in their beds without moving at all. This is obviously detrimental to the health (physical and mental) of the children, as they do not interact with the world (leading to mental problems) and they do not exercise their muscles (leading to joint and muscular issues). One of the girls, 2.5 years old, was unable to lift her head because she had not developed any neck muscles. Another boy, 1 year old, was half-blind because all he would ever do was stare at the white ceiling above him.

These children, who are often born without any problems, are developing major health issues because of a lack of simple care. This was obviously difficult to observe and accept, and created a sullen and gloomy mood. However, after a short while, Sharon came took the children out of their beds and let them be free on the ground together. We brought several bouncy balls for them to play with and gave them to the kids. Within 5 minutes, the room was bustling with kids crawling (some with their own creative methods ~ check the videos above), walking, throwing the balls, and yelling with joy. Although these kids are far away and live under extreme circumstances, they are, naturally, just like anyone else. All they need is some support and attention, and they become ecstatic.

Steph, one of the boys, is in the "crawling-era" of his life. However, he has opted not to learn how to crawl - he instead has developed his own special method of transportation. He sits on the ground in a sort of half-pretzel stance, and then scoots his feet towards his hips and uses the traction of his shoes to move forward (in one of my next posts there will be a compilation of the kids at the orphanage). Another boy, Davidson, refused to sit on the ground by himself. Instead, he clung to anybody who would hold him. After holding him for some ten minutes, I began bending down in order to put him down so that I would be able to be with the other children, but he wouldn't allow it (more on Davidson too in future posts.) As soon as I bent down, even the slightest bit, he would look at me, put his hands around my neck, squeeze, and start crying. As soon as I got back up, he stopped crying and returned to eating his biscuit.

These kids are incredibly cute and fun to be with, and after the slightest bit of attention and effort (sitting on the ground with them and giving them a few bouncy balls), they light up and create a great atmosphere. It is reassuring to see that it is so easy to brighten the lives of these children with so little work. Once the day-care is built, the kids will have an opportunity to lead much happier lives than they do now.

Above are a couple videos from the PIH orphanage along with some photographs. Be sure to check the right sidebar for many more great photographs of the children and of the rest of our journey throughout the day.









One Love.

2 comments:

  1. This is such powerful post!

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  2. hahaha nittai get those kids under control

    ReplyDelete