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From Haiti: the world of discovering self by Dr. Jane Aronson

Jan 29, 2011

Dr. Jane Aronson, a renowned pediatric infectious disease and adoption medicine specialist.  World Wide Orphan Foundation, the organization she started with the vision to transform the lives of orphaned children around the world, has been making a difference with children in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Serbia and Vietnam. To donate to WWO click here.

I’m writing this journal on early Friday and I get to go home soon to the two feet of snow in Maplewood, New Jersey. My children, whom I miss, are for sure sleeping and dreaming of the fun that they had in the snow on Wednesday. I just popped up at 4:25 am thinking about the fact that the children I met this week in Haiti have no music in their lives… nothing creative in their lives. There were no mirrors in the orphanages so they can’t see themselves and if someone takes a photo of them, they see it perhaps for a moment, and then it isn’t for them. It is for us so we can show people how much they need and want, how cute they are, how sad they are, and how tragic their lives are. But we steal the photo and take it away with us and they don’t see themselves. They can’t watch themselves grow up. We touch them and love them for a moment and that is fine, but then we leave. We ask them questions and find out about their deepest feelings of loss and we know that they have these feelings. We film them because they need to tell their stories. So they tell me their stories and I see them, really see them, and they are real for me. I know their names and I take away their memories of dead mamas and papas. I think about how WWO can help kids have better mental health. I begin to dream about how we can use music, art, dance, theater, and soccer to help kids express themselves and feel better and feel stronger. We do this in other countries…no brainer. I am going away and I am leaving them now; I will be back, but they don’t know this. I feel badly and I am sorry that I opened their wounds without healing with them. I am so sorry Djempsy, Fryzhelly, Watson, Jean, Christophe — all of you. They are “paper thin”…and so am I.

One of the best moments this week was when I filmed the kids singing a song about the history of Haiti (something about Haiti being mountains surrounded by water) on my iPhone and then showed them the film of themselves. They couldn’t get close enough to the little screen on my iPhone and they laughed at themselves. Their big smiles, white teeth and velvety black skin were so close to me. I was loving their joy so much that I almost fell off a cement platform that had been poured the week before as part of the construction of a new bathroom. There I was seated in a child’s straw chair an inch away from the edge and the kids were laughing and pointing to themselves as they watched the film. I didn’t fall off, but if I had, I would have laughed and had the satisfaction of the power of their excursion into a new world…the world of discovery of self. (read the whole article @ Journal #3)