Today we visited an orphanage that Pastor Bataille (our host) started. There were about 24 boys at this orphanage. When I got out of the vehicle I was immediately drawn to one little boy with a dusty button down shirt that was missing the middle button. I went over and knelt down to get eye to eye with him. In the best French I could muster I told him my name was David.
My heart broke when he finally looked me directly in the eye. There was nothing there – no spark….no light. Just a hollow stare that communicated he was emotionally lost. I’ve been around lots of young kids but this little fellow was unlike any I’d ever met. I found out that he was about to turn four years old & was a double orphan (i.e. lost both parents) & had been brought to the orphanage a couple of months before the quake.
I sat with this little fella in my lap for 45 minutes. I tried every way I knew to coax a smile out of him – including handing over my iPhone so he could play with the doodle app (which he seemed to enjoy). But he just sat in my lap – no energy in his body, no light in his eyes & no smile on his face. He looked lost, detached & mostly sad. I hated to have to put him down…I would have loved to have spent the rest of the day with him.
Highlights from the rest of the day included:
- Visiting with Pastor Fritz at his church to try & determine if they would be a good match for our church to church partnerships. You may remember that Pastor Fritz also oversees the HCRM orphanage – see post from a couple of days ago. We stopped by and saw his house which had been destroyed by the quake.
- We visited the pile of rubble that had been Rood’s house. Rood was the young boy I mentioned the other day that lost his family & his arm.
- While at Rood’s house I spoke to a woman who had lost her niece in the quake. We stood on the rubble & she showed me, just feet away, where her house used to be (which happen to be on the second floor – right above Rood’s house). She managed to escape, as did her two children, but her niece was killed.
- Our car broke down for the second & third time. First was a flat tire. Today’s two incidents included a battery issue & an overheated radiator. I think we’ll be getting a new vehicle.
Here are some pictures from the day: