Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Two Haitian Babies on Hunger Strike

Two Haitian Babies on Hunger Strike
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
August 9, 2006

Two Haitian babies from Port-au-Prince are on a hunger strike. Blackson, aged seven months, and Saintvil, aged four months, are the two babies identified. Authorities believe that hundreds of thousands of other Haitian babies are in hiding and doing the same.

Blackson is from Cite Soleil. His main dislike is the continuing violence in his slum that has not allowed his mother to sell crackers and soda on the corner to earn enough to buy him any powdered milk during the last month. Her milk is gone with her own medical problems. Gang violence is the main problem with nearby shootings occurring almost everyday. But Soleil has never been good since it was built on a garbage dump on the edge of the ocean, and most residents have no clean water, enough food, electricity, work, schooling, medical care, or hope. Blackson’s mother is 19 years old and reports that he has a fever, his hair has turned orange and is falling out, and his skin is swollen. He is also refusing the baked mud pies that she makes for him each morning

Saintvil is from downtown Port-au-Prince close to St. Joseph’s Church. Saintvil’s mother is 16 years old and takes him to a free medical clinic run by the Missionaries of Charity sisters on Saturday mornings. He is one of 500 babies that show up. Like Blackson, Saintvil has orange hair and a high fever. He also has sores that have crusted and become bloody scabs over much of his body. Saintvil’s mother reports that he has bloody diarrhea and has a nasty cough. His blood count appears very low with his skin appearing almost white. He refuses to eat for similar reasons as Blackson.

Both babies declined treatment at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince and insisted on being taken to the Missionaries of Charity home for their care. Their mothers report that they are very upset with the shooting of a sister in a city two hours north of Port-au-Prince over the weekend.

Blackson and Saintfil refused to be interviewed for this story.

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