The trip itself couldn't have gone smoother (despite a four hour delay getting out of Miami due to an engine issue with the plane). Travel was easy and I felt incredibly safe the whole time - our drivers were amazing. They got us out of Port Au Prince quickly and without incident. For those who have been to Haiti, I don't need to describe PAP. For those who have not - - it's just really hard to put into words but imagine people, cars, animals, and trash everywhere. No street signs, no traffic signals, no infrastructure... it's chaos.
Our orphanage is in the country - it's about 40-60 minutes outside of the city. Again, the poverty is palpable but the scenery is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The vegetation was lush and the mountains were majestic. I fell in love as soon as we started down the (narrow, unpaved and very rocky) road. The orphanage sits on a beautiful piece of land behind a high wall with a massive metal gate. There is 24 hour armed security. The gate opened and it was like an oasis filled with fruit trees & flowers.
Since the orphanage is so far from the city, the foundation has a house in PAP where administrative/social work is done. It also has a fully staffed nursery upstairs for new children. They screen them for illness before bringing them out to the orphanage and also take children there when they have mandatory doctor visits (for immigration). Children who are sick will sometimes stay there, as well, so they'll be closer to a doctor. This was the case with Asa. He was being treated for the lingering effects of malnutrition and had gone there a week or two before, so the doctor could see him more frequently. They would have brought him to the orphanage the day we arrived, but the cars were tied up waiting to get us at the airport (due to our flight delay). On the second day, we went to the city to meet our social worker & to file papers at the immigration office. And I finally met Asa.
I was so blessed that an ER doctor and his wife (who were meeting their two gorgeous children for the first time) were also on the trip. He confirmed that Asa was very anemic and protien deficient. Asa's little ankles and feet were puffy with fluid and he was so very sleepy. I have to say that this does not speak at all to the care he's received in the orphanage. The care the children receive there is wonderful. They are doing the absolute best they can for him but the best in a third world country isn't anywhere close to America's standards. Please pray for Asa. His condition seems cyclical in that the anemia makes him lethargic, he's too tired to eat well, he's not getting the proper nutrition and thus staying anemic. He rebounded from the malnutrition upon entering the orphanage in May but may be backsliding a bit because he had been pretty sick.