I just want to start this blog post by confessing something: I am the worst vacationer ever. The Dominican is the only country I have ever gone to for vacation and I think I am thoroughly failing in this area. I am currently attempting to cure my "workaholism" in the Dominican Republic for Christmas with the in-laws. Just to give a bit of background, my husband's parents live there running a school to train pastors and missionaries.
Moving on, a few weeks before we came, my in-laws met a little boy named Carlos in a village near them. He is a 7 year old Haitian boy living in the Dominican. Carlos is covered in sores, malnourished, sharing a one-room home with about 8 other kids and grown-ups, one of which is his "guardian", a lady who uses Carlos' condition to ask foreigners for money to get him the medical care he needs. Of course all the money goes straight into her pocket, and Carlos' condition continues to worsen.
My husband's parents have become good friends with Carlos' uncle, Roosevelt, and he told them that Carlos has a father back in Haiti who would like to have him back. As they heard Carlos' story, a plan formed. We would go to the house where Carlos lives and his uncle would tell the guardian that Carlos will come and live with us for a few weeks. My in-laws would take him to the doctor, get him medicine for his skin, feed him and get him healthy, and then send him back to live with his father in Haiti. That was the plan.
All went according to the the plan, until we got a call from the doctor the next day saying that they needed more blood samples. A few hours later, we got the news.
Carlos is HIV positive.
In our rich, western world, we have worked hard to kill the stigma that is associated with AIDS. Here, it is a death sentence.
His father will probably not take him now.
There is no treatment center for HIV patients in Haiti.
My in-laws are now praying about what the best option is for Carlos. When we first met him, you got the idea that no one had ever taken the time to talk to him, enjoy him, ask him questions, and just love him. In the few days he has been here, his skin has cleared up a ton, he eats like he's never seen food, and he finally TALKS and LAUGHS all the time. Seriously, ALL the time.
Why? Because he knows that his is loved.
I have done a lot of missions trips, seen a lot of beggars, and seen many underprivileged children. I have the same response everyone does: Compassion and frustration.
Compassion because I know what it is to be loved and I long to see them experience it, and frustration because I cannot save them all. Thankfully, I was never asked to save the world; that's already been done.
I am simply asked to love the ones in front of me.
|Taking Carlos to the doctor|
|The day after we took him to the doctor- looking and feeling so much better :)|
|Getting creative with communication :)|