Thursday, September 14, 2006

How Haitian Mothers Find Out Their Children Have Died

What happens, is that you show up at the hospital in the morning, like you have every morning for the past two months, this being where your baby is a patient. You’re not from Port-au-Prince, so you’ve been spending your nights in a slum nearby. Back in May, when you first came to the capital, trying to figure out what was wrong with your daughter, you had to scrounge the money from some Sisters to pay for the echocardiogram. The echo confirmed the diagnosis of the nice blan doctor; your baby has a hole in her heart and this is why she won’t grow and is sick a lot

You walk up the stairs to the in patient unit, a little preoccupied. Your baby, Ferna, has been having a hard time breathing lately, although no one else seems too concerned. You walk to your baby’s bed: it is empty. You turn slowly, looking for a nurse. “Li mouri,” she says, with a wave of her hand. She died.

The first picture is of Ferna's mom. She returned to Port-au-Prince several weeks after her daughter died. She and her husband did not have the money to bury Ferna. They do not know what happened to her body.

The second picture is of Ferna, a week or so before she died.

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