Friday, July 03, 2009

A Working Mom in Soleil and Pope Benedict (Revised)


This mom and her baby showed up in clinic the other day.

Both have orange hair and the baby has the typical malnourished "look".

I asked the mother if she would like me to admit her baby to our Nutrition Clinic. Mother politely replied "no".

She and her baby plus the baby's two young siblings live in Soleil. Mom explained to me that she has a "factory job" ironing clothes. She works in a factory on "airport road" and makes 30 Haitian dollars per day. This is equivalent to about $3.75 US per day. And mom cannot give up this job.

To admit her child into our Nutrition Clinic Mom would need to bring the child to the clinic each morning (M-F) at 7 AM. For the next six hours the baby would be given two hot meals, vitamins and iron, a bath, and a nap. And mother would be given some crackers, and be put in a sewing class or reading class.

However, this mother had to weigh out the pros and cons of this situation, and so she decided the way she did. She has a "godmother" watching her children during the day when she is at work, but as mentioned above, mother did not think that she could give up her job for the Nutrition Clinic for her baby.

I sent the baby home on some fortified powdered milk, additional vitamins and iron, worm medicine, and asked mom to return with the baby in one week.

Pope Benedict came out with this statement about poverty in Haiti.

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ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Pontiff Asks Haiti for More Support of Families

Urges Getting to Roots of Poverty

VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is asking Haitian authorities to give more support to poor families who find themselves forced to emigrate in search of better situations.The Pope made this appeal today in his French-language address to the new Haitian ambassador to the Holy See, Carl-Henry Guiteau.

The Holy Father lamented how recent natural disasters in Haiti have "worsened the already difficult situation for many families." This has caused "many Haitians to leave their country in search of other sources of support to maintain their families."

The Pontiff called for "quick solutions to allow these families to reunite," though he acknowledged "sometimes problematic administrative situations." Renewed support from the international community, is key in this regard, he added.

On the other hand, the Pontiff insisted that it is necessary to "get to the roots of the poverty problem." He affirmed that "the education of youth is a priority for the future of the nation."

"This task is important and urgent to better the quality of life, as much at the individual level as the social one," Benedict XVI declared. "In this context, the Catholic Church offers a significant contribution, both through its numerous educational institutions with its presence in remote and rural regions, and in the quality of the education and formation given in Catholic schools.

"I am happy to note that these institutions are valued both by the authorities and the people."

The Holy Father also considered the issue of protecting the planet, observing that the natural disasters in Haiti have brought attention to this problem.

"There is a type of kinship between man and creation, which should lead to respecting both realities," he said. "The protection of the environment is a challenge for everyone, because it is a matter of the defense and promotion of a collective good, designed for everyone, a responsibility that should move current generations to watch out for future ones."

"Imprudent exploitation of creation's resources and its consequences, which tends to seriously affect the life of the poorest, cannot be effectively confronted without political and economic decisions conforming with human dignity, as well as effective international cooperation," he added.

Looking up

Benedict XVI affirmed that there are also signs of hope in Haiti, despite its extreme poverty: Hope "founded particularly in the human and Christian values in Haitian society, such as respect for life, close-knit families, a sense of responsibility, and above all, faith in God, who does not abandon those who trust in him."

"Commitment to these values enables avoiding the evils that threaten social and family life," he continued. "Thus, I heartily encourage the efforts of all those who in your country contribute to bringing forward the protection of life and returning importance to the institution of the family."

In this sense, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of the testimony offered by the Catholic community: "I encourage you to continue your service to Haitian society, being attentive to the needs of the poor and seeking the unity of the nation in fraternity and solidarity. In this way you will be an authentic sign of hope for all Haitians."


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