Her arms and legs are covered with lesions; some nascent, bumps under the skin; some active with pus oozing from their open top; and others healed, living behind a black spot. Her head tilts to the side. But her lips part with a lasting smile. She sits on her mother’s lap, with no care in the world. She’s 13 months old, but has yet to crawl or stand on her own. How long has she had those lesions? I asked her mother. Not to embarrass her, but they were so many. Two weeks, she replied. No, I thought, they’ve been there much longer; four weeks, at least. Another case of delaying seeking care, so frequent among no or low income communities. Or is it a case of neglecting the little girl who can’t walk and play like the others. Don’t think so, Mom looks and acts like a caring type. She may have not been able to get sooner the 50 gourdes ($1.20) needed for the exam. In any case, she was here now, to get proper care for her child.
I saw this little girl today, at the Repheka Clinic at Carrefour Feuilles. God has a way to give his mentally and/or physically-challenged children, particularly those born with their conditions, a sense of wonder, of grace even. You cannot but feel encouraged after spending time with such children. They bring joy to all, though they have countless reasons to be gloomy and frustrated. They laugh louder than anybody else, though they can’t enjoy many of life’s pleasures. They give all they got to friends, families, and caretakers, while they have little. They go through pain, multiple surgeries, and unceasing invasive procedures with grace, and always a word of thanks and appreciation.
She can’t speak words, but she communicates with her eyes, eyes that brighten the dim exam room. I felt happy; no, privileged, to have served her. That’s how we care for God’s angels without knowing.
Time to go. Hoist on her mother’s left shoulder, she raised her head, just enough to glance at me, one last time, before she disappeared behind the closing door. I sat pensive for a little while, a smile sneaking on my face: what a blessing to care for angels.