Please feel free to ask questions about the kids and people that I post about...and please keep them in your prayers.
Read past blog posts here, here, here, and here
Golly...this girl always makes me tear up. I was sitting on the porch of my house late the other night and could hear her and her sister Ti Rose talking and giggling in the tent in the clinic yard. (The tent houses all of the critical kids from the Rescue Center and the burn kids.)
I was here in late December when Claudette first came to the clinic. Her clothes had caught on fire from a kerosene lamp in the home of the old woman she cared for. She had to run to a neighbors house because the woman was too frail to help her. By the time she got there she had been burned raw from the backs of her knees all the way to just below her chest. I spent hours in the dressing room assisting Lori as she peeled off all of the burnt skin from Claudette's little body. She was really really bad...the burns on her thighs were circumferential (went all the way around her whole legs) and most of her burns were severe.
After those hours in the dressing room I went up to my room and bawled. The whole situation was just completely overwhelming.
She faced months of months of extreme pain and we weren't even sure if she would live. There was a very high chance she would get a bad infection and not be able to recover. Lori and Licia decided to keep her here rather than send her to a "hospital" in town. They have sent in burn patients before to get "better" care only to see them die.
This meant that Lori and Licia committed to doing dressing changes every day that sometimes took up to 3 hours. I think I helped the next day after she came in, but after that I just couldn't emotionally handle it. Claudette was on heavy pain meds, but that still did not take away all of the pain her little body was feeling.
Claudette's older half-sister Ti Rose came to stay with her for emotional support and to help care for her. We learned that Claudette's mother had died and her father had multiple other women in his life. One of his women needed someone to care for her bed-ridden mother so Claudette was sent to care for her and do all the house hold chores, fetch water, cook, etc. We are not sure if this was Ti Rose's grandma or not. I'm not sure what kind of relationship these two girls had before Ti Rose came to care for Claudette. There may have been jealousy...Ti Rose got to go to school and Claudette was forced to work for and care for this bedridden woman.
These months have changed their relationship forever. Their hearts have been bonded together through Claudette's pain. Claudette is always following around her big sister and Ti Rose is always looking out for her baby sister. I'm not sure what will happen when they have to go back home, but I know that forever and ever they will have an unbreakable bond.
The scars that remain on Claudette's body are terrible and beautiful. Her thighs are the only part of her body that are still open wounds from her burn. The skin on her stomach is thick and scaly. Her scars will forever be with her and will likely cause her more physical and emotional pain as she grows up. We wonder if her body be able to stretch to hold a baby someday.
She was using a walker to get around as of May...last Friday she went on a 5 mile hike in the mountains with us. Miracle.
I wish I could explain to you the precious personality and heart of Claudette. She seeps joy from the depths of her being despite the pain of losing her mother, being a child servant, suffering through the pain of 3rd degree burns on her body, and now bearing that scars of that.
I don't know what her future holds or if the world will rip away her joy by telling her she's maimed and unlovable, but I pray that she will always remember...how Lori and Licia cared for her day after day for months and months....that she will know deep in her soul that it was Jesus loving her, that in her life of suffering, He was always holding her and near to her and weeping over her. He knows her pain, He bears the scars of rejection and physical suffering too.