Dear everyone--this is a
Dear Larry and Larry,
I am assuming you are still reflecting and speaking
about your recent trip to Gaspard. I just wanted to
give you a little follow-up on one of your experiences.
Do you remember the little boy that the nurse called us
to see at the clinic after the wedding? The boy had a
very large abdomen, swollen legs and ankles, and was
very weak. He appeared to be suffering from a type of
malnutrition called kwasiorkor. The mom was very weak,
too---and confused. The mom said his name was Libonson,
but she wasn't sure how old he was. The nurse opened
his mouth and looked at his teeth and estimated he was 4
or 5 years old. With the nurse, we decided that it
would be best to send him to the clinic at Bonneau,
where the Daughters of Wisdom sisters have a better
facility After that, Larry Hurm carried him to a nearby
house, where the mom decided to wait for the dad before
going to Bonneau.
Last Friday, Sr. Marie Levie, one of the nurses from
Bonneau, was in PdPaix, and I asked her about the boy.
She said that the mom and dad had brought him, along
with their baby, to the Bonneau clinic. The nurses fed
him (along with the mom, dad, and baby) for about 2
weeks. When there was no improvement, they decided
there must be another problem. So they sent them to the
hospital in PdPaix.
We decided to go the hospital that morning to see if
they had arrived...and there they were, mom, dad, baby,
and the young boy with the swollen abdomen. It turns
out that his name is Lixson----and he was in worse shape
than when we saw them in Gaspard. They had no food, no
good drinking water, no medicine, and no money. They
had been at the hospital for 3 days. Sr. Marie was
surprised he was still alive. After we left, Sr. Marie
and I talked about his options. It was decided that I
should try to talk to the Cuban doctor.
Saturday afternoon, I brought some water and some rice,
beans, and meat (left over from lunch at the convent)
for them. The dad had left with the baby to return to
Gaspard. The mom thought he might come back to PdPaix
on Monday. I was able to find the young Cuban doctor to
ask her if she had any idea what the problem might be.
She said it was not just malnutrition, because his arms
were not swollen; in fact, they were extremely thin.
She had tried to extract fluid from his belly, and she
got a mixture of water and blood. She figured that he
might have some type of tumor. There was nothing she
could do for him. I gave the mom a little money, and
told her to buy food with some of it, and to save the
rest for the tap-tap ride they might need later.
Sunday, I was out of town for an ordination. I returned
to the hospital on Monday afternoon--again with meat,
yams, and water left over from lunch. Lixson had made
it very clear that he did not want peanut butter, bread,
soup, vegetables, oatmeal, or rice. Only meat and
Tampico, a kind of fruit punch. I was surprised at how
alert his eyes were, and I was surprised that he had the
energy to eat. His breathing was very labored. The
doctor was not there, and the mother was even more
confused than before.
On Tuesday afternoon, I arrived about 2 PM. Lixson's
bed was empty. The nurse said that the dad had arrived
about 10 AM that morning, and that they had packed up
their few belongings to return to Gaspard. I have
written to Fr. Phechner to see if they arrived and to
see if Lixson is still alive. No response yet. I will
let you know if I receive any news.