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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Current Issues We Are Working On - Can You Help?

Currently we are hard at work on two major problems - and help is always appreciated.
1.) We have been wondering what we could do to help little Hazel in the forwarded message below, that Carol and I have held in our arms during the first couple days of her recovery from malnutrition. This is an experience I recommend to anyone before they leave this planet. To watch one starving infant (I mean a child with food insecurities) come back to life is ______. Fill in the blank with your own descriptive words. I will post a follow up e-mail with a progress report. Let's make the same miracle we did for Nadia happen for this child and her new parents.
2.) I just heard from my contacts at the dental school. I was supposed to visit there the Tuesday after the quake and stay in the Montana Hotel and give a lecture. That in itself tells you how desperate they are for faculty and how lucky I am! Anyway, the building is intact and has been checked out by engineers and declared safe. It is about four blocks from the palace that you see on the news. What they want to do is open the clinic to serve the people of Port au Prince. They need supplies - everything. The current thought is to ship in these supplies from a dental supply house similar to Sullivan-Schein from the Dominican Republic.
In October, 2009, Marijke van Roojen and I went with a group of medical people (http://www.friendsofhaiti-gb.com/) to Thomazeau in Haiti to work in a clinic for a week. Hazel was brought in to the clinic by her paternal aunt. She was severely malnourished (she weighed 11 pounds at nine months of age), dehydrated, and had a high fever. We treated her for pneumonia, gave her fluids and formula, and found out that her mother had died when Hazel was about four months old. Her father has four older children to take care of, and so gave her to his sister. The sister finally admitted that she was leaving Hazel on a bed by herself all day, and feeding maybe a couple of spoonfuls of something to her each day. She hadn't fed Hazel at all for three days before we first saw her.
We finally asked her aunt if she would be willing to let an orphanage care for Hazel, and if Hazel could be adopted. She immediately said yes, and signed her over to a small orphanage in Thomazeau. We kept her with us until we left the country, and Marijke fell in love with her. Marijke started the adoption process as soon as she came home.

Marijke visited Hazel again in December for a week, and had already planned that she would return for another week's visit in early February, when the earthquake hit.

Marijke flew into Santa Domingo on Friday, February 22nd, which was the best American Airlines could do for her, and then hitchhiked her way into Haiti and to the orphanage.

She has been at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince since early Monday morning with Hazel, and they have been sleeping on the floor of the embassy since then. Hazel is now quite sick, with diarrhea and fever.

She heard this morning that her Humanitarian Parole papers are complete, and that all that is needed for her to return to the USA is for the Haitian government to allow them to leave. She is committed to staying at the embassy until she is allowed to leave the country.

We are so anxious that they be allowed to leave Haiti, return to the US, and get medical care for Hazel. No one else wants this child, and Marijke does. Please help us in any way you can.

Sincerely,

Danae Steele, M.D.

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