A Health and Hygiene Nightmare

I’ve spent a lot of time at the health clinic this past week, this time for me. What the doctors think must have been dengue caused a lot of pain and discomfort and a seemingly never-ending series of blood tests (hopefully today’s was the last!), but its finally clearing up. Despite the doctor’s recommendation of bed rest all weekend, I made a quick detour to the children’s shelter on Saturday because I didn’t want to break the routine. I’ve been visiting every Saturday for nearly a year, and the week doesn’t seem complete without a weekend check-in and a whole bunch of hugs!

The children’s shelter has always been a health and hygiene nightmare. 24 children living together without clean water, adequate staff, a functioning bathroom, supervision, diapers – you can imagine. The place reeks constantly of human sewage, and you can’t pick up a baby without the inevitable poop all over your shirt. The hygiene doesn’t seem to bother the kids; they sit down in piles of other kids’ urine and play, or pick up a cup swarming with flies and fill it up in the pila outside for a drink of unpurified water. But the effects of poor hygiene can have drastic effects.

When I went to visit on Saturday, I noticed that Josue’s skin infection – which started out as little pimple like spots on his forehead – had grown and now he had giant pus-filled bumps all over his face. This infection of “granos” normally affects the scalp, and had started nearly a month ago with another girl. Unfortunately the infection spread like wildfire, and at last 5 other kids contracted “granos” on their scalp and Josue got it on his face. The owner of the shelter is a registered nurse, but she doesn’t seem to care about this epidemic. She won’t allow the children to go to the doctor because she insists that a doctor comes once a month to visit them. So, the infection continues to spread.

We took Josue to the doctor so he could get the medicine he needed to treat his infection. Josue is one of the lucky ones because he has a mom. He is unlucky however because he spends 12 hours every day in the local shelter. We are working on getting Josue out of there so he can grow up without the risk of constant infection. Josue will be one of the first students in our new daycare – a program designed to help moms who are working their way out of poverty by providing a safe and educational place for moms to leave their kids. You can help us bring this dream to life by making a donation today. Please check out the video to find out more about this project!