When we were last in Haiti, we visited the inpatient ward several times, and each of the times, little 3-year-old Ronaldo cried out from where he lay in his crib, “Papa! Papa!”
One of the interns explained that a lot of fathers are missing from their children’s lives, so the children cry out for a male figure. While I understood this, I noticed there was still something urgent about his cries, as if he knew exactly what he needed.
On our final visit, we saw that Ronaldo had two visitors: his mother and his papa. Ronaldo was quiet and content as his papa stroked his cheek. It was clear that this child was well-loved, and it really was his papa that he was missing. And we were lucky enough to speak to him.
“In 1994 one of my other sons was very sick, and he was hospitalized here and healed. When this son got sick, I knew to bring him here,” said Ronald Joanis, Ronaldo’s father.
Ronaldo was admitted to the hospital with a rapid heart condition and respiratory problems. Before coming to Grace, he was sick for two years, said his mother Marleiene. “I went to other hospitals, but we didn’t get any results.”
She said she was grateful that she only had to pay a small fee for the bed and that everything else was covered for the hospital. This made the excellent services that Grace provides possible for the family.
“I might have lost my son,” she said. “But God provided this hospital.”
Ronaldo is slowly recovering and expected to be fully healed soon. After speaking with them for a few minutes, we let them get back to their visit with their son, especially since every time Ronaldo lost sight of his father’s face, he cried out once more.
Soon, Ronaldo will be lucky enough to return to his family—thanks to you. Through your donations this year, you’ve provided health for this young boy, and comfort for his family as they know their youngest son and sibling will return home soon.
Ronaldo is one of thousands of children the hospital sees each year. Grace Children’s Hospital never turns a child away, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. They are able to do so because of your love and compassion. This holiday season, will you set aside a gift for the children in Haiti? A gift as small as $8 can provide life for a child.