An article in yesterday’s Miami Herald captures one particularly heart-breaking edge of Haiti’s pain: the anguish of parents who feel they have no capacity to care for their own children. Even as the first hints of “compassion fatigue” start to show and news programs flash images of Haiti a bit less frequently with each day, the need–if anything–only grows deeper:
Nearly four weeks after the earthquake, Port-au-Prince remains a place defined by ruin, smoke, dust, stink, chaos, hunger, tears. But the most telling measure of the escalating despair afflicting Haiti comes in three stark words: Take my child.
Herald reporter Kathleen McGrory walks into a sprawling, filthy, stinking survivor camp this past week, not far from the Port-au-Prince airport. In a place where hope has been reduced to a desiccated memory, the sight of a American woman provokes unfathomable requests.
“Take my child away. Take my child to America.” Not the words of one or two parents. Kat’s besieged by a tragic chorus. At first, about 10. “Then I was swamped. Suddenly, there were 40 or 50 people.”
They said: “You’d like my baby.”
“My girl would make a great daughter. She is very obedient.”
Across town. Same day. Another camp. Another place choking on its own filth, where the smell crawls across your flesh and into your hair like a rodent. Kat enters in pursuit of a story about parents begging orphanages to take their children. Instead, she encounters more parents begging her to take their child away from Haiti. “My little boy doesn’t get in trouble,” a father tells Kat. “He works hard.”…