Yesterday I spent the day organizing and rearranging items in the clinic while a team from Indiana did construction work on the camp. There were several Haitians in and out of the clinic for dressing changes, stitches and various requests. Usual day.
Until Manuela walked in. Manuela is 17 and has a 9 month old baby boy. She recently went back to high school and her mom is watching the baby while she is in school. Manuela was in the first Mother/Infant nutrition class I taught in Peredo. Then, the baby was a newborn and Manuela was a hard-headed first time mother who did NOT buy into the "breast-feeding is best" motto. The other moms did a great job encouraging her. Boy did this girl try my patience.
Everytime I see Manuela she is alone or hanging out with friends. Never once have I seen her with her son. Never.
She comes around the clinic now and then and asks for formula, baby bottles, baby clothes, money.
Yesterday was one of those days.
But yesterday she asked for formula, baby bottles, clothes, AND money.
And she needed them quick because her boyfriend was waiting for her outside.
I stood there. Looking at this 17 yr old mother.
I didn't lecture her. I didn't roll my eyes-even though I BADLY wanted to.
I just said, "No."
It came out so easy but, last night, when I was laying in bed, I was running it through my mind again and again.
Did I do the right thing? I came here to help. Churches and individuals support me to help the Haitian people.
But yesterday I said no.
Somehow I think that helped more than a baby bottle or clothes.
But it doesn't feel as good.