03 Oct Hermmy: A Young Haitian Girl Comes to Canada
Joan Sider, New Hope UB church, Toronto, Ontario
Our churches in Canada have been working in partnership with our churches in Haiti since 2002. A medical team went to Haiti in October 2011. While working in our clinics with Haitian doctors, we met Hermmy Alexis, a 12-year girl. It was discovered that she had tetrology fallot (hole in the heart). The surgery needed to repair her heart couldn’t happen in Haiti.
As we talked amongst ourselves, a suggestion was made that we try to bring her to Canada and apply to the Herbie Fund through The Hospital for Sick Children. One of our nurses, Margie Blackler, started the application process immediately upon our return.
After months of phones calls, texts, emails, and help from various people, we were able to bring Hermmy to Canada on October 1, 2012, a year after her condition was first discovered. Hermmy received her visa at 9:30 am that morning. I arrived in Haiti at 3 pm with Denis Costello, an Air Canada pilot who made the arrangements. Then, with Hermmy, we flew back to Canada at 4:15.
Hermmy had never been on a plane before. As the time progressed, it was obvious that she was growing tired. She slept a fair amount. She slept on my shoulder/lap for the whole flight between Montreal and Toronto. She had her first elevator ride in Montreal’s airport; she flung herself at me and buried her head into me, obviously frightened by the experience. The second elevator ride was better. And when she came to my home and we travelled up the four floors, she was smiling, understanding that it was okay.
Hermmy will live with me until she returns to Haiti–just call me “mom” now!
My cats Spunky and Maxi were waiting to greet her, and she smiled at them–I even saw her pet one–so that is good. I’m glad cats are okay.
Upon awakening Tuesday morning, Hermmy promptly made her bed. Showing her how the water taps work and the shower, I got the next “wow” reaction. Turning on the shower did it. She has had her first washing and used the shower wand so her hair wouldn’t get wet.
Trying on clothes which people have generously donated was a tiring experience. She had to stop and have a sleep–a very sound one at that.
Watching TV in English is going to be one of her daily activities. She was savvy enough already to use the remote to change the station. I am glad for that spark of confidence in an otherwise pretty shy young lady.
I’m grateful for the assistance from Jinette Cesaire, a Haitian-speaking woman, who recently began attending my church. We’ve been on the speaker phone several times already, beginning upon our arrival late Monday night. Jinette is very willing to allow us to call at any time. She will help translate when we go to the hospital.
I’m grateful for the iPhone app that lets me speak in English and then speaks what I’ve said in creole. Technology is wonderful! I am trying to get an iPad for her–several folk are trying to help make this happen.
Hermmy’s surgery date has changed from October 9 to October 12. We have several appointments, beginning on Wednesday.
Here are a few prayer points for now:
- That Hermmy will remain well–she has a little sniffle this morning I’ve noticed
- That Hermmy will adjust to her new situation–including the food.
- Getting an iPad
- My adjustment to this new role of motherhood–glad to do it, but just different for me.
- I’m not a cook, so pray about this big stretch for her.
October 3 Update: We need you to pray for Hermmy. She is not feeling well–stomach and head–homesick too, I suspect. When I went in and slept in her room, she settled for the night. She has a low grade temperature. I suspect a cold may be coming–sniffling, but no sneezing. Her disturbing night has left her very tired this morning too.
She has appointments today. I called to alert them to her unwellness. The first thing they said, “Well, she has to be well, or there is no point in having these appointments.” Doesn’t that sound sympathetic?! Pray for me to keep my cool with them when we do go in a few minutes.
Thanks for praying. I know God brought her here and He is going to protect and keep her.