I want to tell you about a little girl named Jiji.
Jiji is 3 years old. About 8 months ago, while living in Cite Soleil, she was struck with a “fever” After being examined by a doctor he is fairly sure that Jiji had suffered from meningitis that had gone untreated. As a result this little girl is now severely brain damaged. I don’t think there are words to use to describe how I felt sitting there while that doctor told me, with tears in his eyes, that had Jiji not been in Cite Soleli when she became sick her life would be much different right now. He went on to tell me just how many children like Jiji become sick in slums and tent cities and die, or are permanently damaged because of a lack of proper medication to treat their illnesses. Jiji is a little girl who fell victim to the injustice of a family who could not afford for their sick baby to see a doctor.
When Jiji’s mother brought her too use she was heartbroken. She told us how she had lost 2 other children at birth. Jiji had lived and she was so thankful that she finally had a daughter. She said that up until her “fever” Jiji was a happy little girl. She didn’t always have enough to eat but she did her best. Jiji was just beginning to stand on her own when she got sick. After 5 days of fevers and “sleeping” Jiji woke up much different than she had been. Her mother was heartbroken that she had once again “lost” a baby. She explained to me that it was hard for her to take care of Jiji before, now it would be impossible. She had no means to care for her and so she brought her to us. She hoped that there was a family in the United States who would take her and give her everything she wanted to. She prayed that one day Jiji would smile like she used to. On that day Jiji’s mother signed papers to give her daughter for adoption and left. She hasn’t been back since and I’m not surprised, when she left she said it would be much to difficult to visit and see her and have to leave again, she said her goodbye.
Since I have known Jiji she has always sat in the same chair. When I arrived she had sores covering her entire lower back from never being moved. She ate, slept and sat in the same place day after day.
When I arrived I sought out and hired a nanny just for Jiji. She takes care of her round the clock and she has b lossomed! From their interactions you can see that Rachelle loves this little girl! When food is offered from Rachelle Jiji eats it. When she cried Rachelle is the one who can always make her smile. I am so thankful for staff to take care of these kids, ladies who truly love these little ones!
When I left in late October one of my goals was to find a solution that might help Jiji be a little more comfortable. On my first afternoon home I stumbled across this beauty…
The answer I knew we needed for Jiji. This stroller has a 5 point harness and head support that helps Jiji say upright. It allows her to be moved easily from one room to another so that now when the big kids go to school, Jiji goes too. When they watch a movie she is right there beside them. When they are enjoying a moment Jiji is experiencing the joy too.
This small investment has enabled Jiji to go from this…
I see the huge change that this small thing has made in Jiji’s life and I can see that the dreams her Mama had for her are still possible. Jiji can be a part of a family, she can learn, she can give and receive love and she can live. One day Jiji will have a story that goes far beyond a tent in Port Au Prince or an orphanage in a simple stroller. One day she will surpass everyone’s expectations of her and show us all what miracles exist!