Lu Lu The bravest 4 year old I know!
On Wednesday when I was playing kick the can, there was a little boy who was lingering around the field with a few of his friends. The older kids didn’t let the little kids play, it turned out to be a pretty rough game at times. Lu Lu and Lisa, one of our team members were playing a game of copy cat, he would move and Lisa would strike the same pose.
As Lu Lu and Lisa were playing I noticed something on the palm of his right hand. It didn’t take much to know that it was badly infected. He had a splinter a few weeks ago and was not able to get it out. In Haiti going to the doctor is not a favorite thing. Growing up I never wanted to go to the doctor either, it usually meant a shot or some kind of gross tasting medicine, but my mom always made me go.
I talked to the principal at Lu Lu’s school and told him I would come for Lu Lu on Thursday to take him to Lejune Clinic, one of the local clinics in Bohoc. It was the same Clinic our previous team donated medicine to and worked at on their trip. I called up the manager of the clinic who told me I could bring Lu Lu in.
Thursday most of the team went to work on Lu Lu’s principals pit latrine. I took three of the girls with me to get Lu Lu and take him to the clinic. With my broken Kreole and the help of Lu Lu’s cousin we were able to find his house. It is a typical Haitian house, two rooms, an outdoor kitchen, a sheet in front of the one long bed that Lu Lu shares with his parents and siblings. I was able to tell his grandmother what we were doing and we were on our way; unaware of what the visit to the doctor would bring.
As I held Lu Lu on my lap on the bus heading down the bumpy dirt road from his house to the clinic, I didn’t know what to expect; I thought maybe they would poke it with a pin and squeeze the pus out, find the splinter, add some anti-biotic and we would be on our way. I was wrong.
The doctor who manages the clinic called ahead to let his staff know we were on our way. Doctor Philip examined Lu Lu’s hand for a minute or so before leading us into another room. The doctor instructed Lu Lu to get up on the examining table and lie down. I sat down with him and he put his head in my lap. He looked up at me with his beautiful Haitian eyes and I knew he didn’t know what to expect either, he was scared. I placed his hand in mine and told him to squeeze when it hurt.
I tried my best to not let Lu Lu watch what the Doctor was doing. The iodine was red and looked like a bloody mess before anything began. The Doctor took a large needle and injected in several points what I hope and pray to have been Novocain. The tears and the screams came immediately. As fast as it was injected it shot out from another point in Lu Lu’s tiny palm.
The girls from the team had been practicing a song in Kreole they sang for the kids at Lu Lu’s school; as he screamed in the pain I asked the girls to sing. I know they continued the entire time the Doctor was working, I heard nothing but the painful cries of pain from the child I clutched in my arms. Lu Lu cried out for his mommy and for the doctor to stop, as my heart cried out for his little body I prayed for it to be over soon.
As the tears streamed down his face I pleaded with myself to keep my own tears from falling, I knew I needed to stay strong for him. The Doctor made a slice down the middle of Lu Lu’s palm, the pus and blood overflowed onto the floor. As much as I was hurting inside I knew this little boy was hurting more, but as I saw the milky blood flow out, I knew I had done the right thing.
My gut clenched at the size of the needle, Lu Lu’s screams continued as the Doctor stitched up Lu Lu’s little hand with a needle that reminded me of large fish hook. As the Doctor cleaned and bandaged the wound, I rocked Lu Lu in my arms as the girls continued to sing calming us all. Of all the things going through my mind, I kept thinking ‘this little boy is NEVER going to smile at me again.’ As traumatized as I was by the experience I knew what he went though was far more.
He was the bravest toughest little four year old I have ever met. We got his medication and brought him back to the site where the rest of the team was working on a pit latrine. I asked his grandmother if Lu Lu could spend the afternoon with us. After his traumatizing experience the girls and I wanted to get him lunch and hang out for a little. We were able to give him lunch and his exhausted little body fell fast asleep in the arms of Lisa, the same girl who played copy cat with Lu Lu the day before. It was easy to see Lu Lu had a special place in her heart as he did in us all.
It was an emotional day for everyone in which I will remember and carry in my heart always. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve here in Haiti. Every day something happens in which I think to myself “OK if I were called to leave Haiti tomorrow, it’s ok because God really, truly used me today.” At the end of today, this went through my head. I can’t say enough how blessed I am to be serving in Haiti. It is a country full of strength and faith; I find myself continually in a state of awe.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:1-2