In 2014, I walked into a cyber cafe…crying, and desperate. I didn’t know what to do. A 14 year old boy, with the most beautiful face and a sweet, gentle voice was in the General Hospital – leaking internal fluids through his bellybutton, and crying out in pain as his stomach turned black and began to puncture from swelling. He was unable to sit in a vehicle ambulance. He had been laying in the General Hospital for a month, yet had not been operated on or given any diagnosis. His stick like arms and legs continued wasting away as he could not eat. His mother, like me, was at a loss of what to do.

Fighting back tears, I paid for an hour of internet time. It was worth a shot. On the phone with Social Services, MAF and Haiti Air Ambulance, while on Facebook… and within that hour, we’d confirmed that the child could be received at the Partners in Health hospital in Mirebalais: one of the best medical facilities I’ve seen in Haiti. As I left the cyber cafe 60 minutes later, Haiti Air Ambulance had a team of paramedics on their way to Les Cayes in a helicopter ambulance! 

I met up with Social Services and their driver accompanied me to the General Hospital. There sat Woodlin: this angel, wincing and whimpering in pain. His beautiful eyes looked into mine as I asked about his pain, and he responded, “It only hurts on my belly button. That’s all.” Bright yellow liquid soaked through the white tank top that stretched over his oversized belly. As Woodlin’s mother lifted his clothes to wipe away the seeping fluids, I could see the fragile skin of his stomach peeling and turning black. A catheter sat on the bed beside this child and IV fluids drizzled into his wrist. 

Neighbouring parents, whose children had also been on hospital beds for weeks without seeing a doctor, gathered around to help this mother assemble her belongings. She’d camped out at Woodlin’s side for a month, draining what little savings she had. “Don’t forget my child,” another mother said to me, pulling on my arm as I held Woodlin’s IV fluids. This woman’s daughter had broken her arm 13 days ago, and the family had given nearly all the money they had as a downpayment for her surgery. However – there were no doctors to be seen. 

The older brother of yet another patient held Woodlin’s legs. I held the child’s beautiful, quiet face by my shoulder and used my other arm to support his painful midsection. His eyes were laced with thick lashes and a kitten-like affection. Yet as we shuffled with this child through the hospital, pain fluttered through those beautiful eyes. 

A group of foreigners entered the pediatric ward as we made our way to the doors, and stood around a premature baby who was hospitalized. Only a few of them noticed as some stranger and I shuffled this critically injured child through the door way.

They moved out of the way as we passed. I lost my sandals somewhere along the way and was barefoot in the hospital parking lot as we loaded Woodlin into Social Services’ vehicle.

The group of foreigners left before we did, moving on to ‘visit’ the maternity ward. 

The social services driver held his IV fluids; I held his head and shoulders; the older brother of another child in the bed next to Woodlin stepped in to carry his feet. He sat, bravely, with his mother holding him up on one side and his older brother on the other. 

I remember gazing into Woodlin’s beautiful angel eyes as he winced, telling him it would be ok. 

Social Services’ driver brought us to the OFATMA hospital, which has a helicopter pad. When we were about 4 minutes away, I got the call that Haiti Air Ambulance had already arrived with their team of paramedics! Once we joined them, they loaded Woodlin into the helicopter and his gorgeous, strong mother sat right beside him. 

Woodlin had a CT scan and required urgent surgery to remove a tumor in his stomach. The surgery cost $1000 USD. A woman I am friends with on Facebook – but never met in person – PAID FOR THE ENTIRE SURGERY. Done.


Months of healing with an open wound…


Months of lying down even after being at home, too weak to stand or walk around…


Woodlin is now completely healed. He is healthy. He is living at the Safe House Sunday- Friday and spends weekends with his aunt in Les Cayes to maintain family connection. He’s attending the special English school, and is thriving. This year, Woodlin is going to school and will be the one doing Outreach in the pediatric ward of the general hospital, along with other LFBS Safe House kids.

Woodlin in PAP
Wodlin after surgery
1 Comment
  • It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of suinensh.

    December 21, 2016 at 10:03 pm