In early 2021 the whole world felt like it had been turned upside down. Our minds were flooded with thoughts of viruses, quarantine, and vaccinations. Meanwhile, in rural Haiti Marie-Josue and her 4 children were facing an epidemic of a different type.

Marie-Josue lives with her family in a rural village far in the mountains of south-eastern Haiti called Berly. She is a single mother. The family stays in a 2 room house and eats from the garden that Marie-Josue keeps. Their diet consists mostly of beans, with some rice. Every once in a while they have a few vegetables. Sometimes their neighbors or friends from church share eggs or milk with Marie-Josue for her babies.

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Red Hair and Swollen Feet

For 6 weeks Marie-Josue had watched helplessly as her 2 little boys 4-year-old Kesnelson and 19-month-old Guyvenson got sicker and sicker. It started with a fever and cough, soon diarrhea followed. By early May swelling began to set in, starting in their feet and creeping up their legs and into their faces. Their once black hair turned orange and brittle. These 2 little boys were critically malnourished.

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At the same time that Kesnelson and Guyvenson fell ill, the pastor of their small village church was contacted by a friend of his who was working as a nurse at Middle Ground. Miss Rosita shared with him some information about how to screen for malnutrition among the children in his congregation. Within days the pastor had approached Marie-Josue, and several other women whose little ones were also showing the symptoms that Miss Rosita had told him about. The group of women agreed to come to Middle Ground to have their children examined by our medical staff, they set out from their home at 4 am on May 6th and after a journey by foot, motorcycle and taptap they arrived at our gates 6 hours later.

Upon admission, both Kesnelson and Guyvenson were diagnosed with severe kwashiorkor malnutrition. 4-year-old Kesnelson weighed 26lbs 12oz and 19-month-old Guyvenson weighed 23lbs. Both boys held nearly one pound of water weight from the swelling in their bodies.

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Kesnelson and Guyvenson started their recovery in rough shape. They were placed along with their mama in our isolation unit where they spent 10 days being treated with F75 milk (milk that is made specifically for the treatment of severe malnutrition) before they were strong enough to graduate to the medika mamba program. In their first few days of treatment, Guyvenson lost 15oz of water weight, and Kesnelson lost 11oz.

Finally, on days 11 and 12 we watched in wonder as both of these little boys turned a corner and changed dramatically. Gone was the somber duo who hid behind their mama’s legs afraid of everyone. In their place, we got spunky, playful (albeit a bit naughty) Kesnelson - never afraid to speak his mind or demand attention, and shy, sweet mama-adoring Guyvenson who can light up the room with one of his genuine smiles.

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By the time Kesnelson and Guyvenson were ready to return home Kesnelson weighed 33lbs 4oz and Guyvenson weighed 25lbs 2oz

Life in Haiti is fragile, especially for young children. It is not lost on anyone how closely these two brothers came to growing up without the other. After getting to know Marie-Josue and her family It’s impossible to imagine them without those 2 vital pieces of their puzzle. They are best when they are together.

Today, thanks to the generosity of our partners around the world, Marie-Josue has her two boys, and Kesnelson and Guyvenson get to grow up with their built-in best friend by their side.

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The healing that happens at Middle Ground is possible because ordinary people, just like you have given generously to support our programs in Haiti. When you make a donation in any amount to Middle Ground you are joining us as we declare healing and miracles and LIFE.

Will you give a gift today to save the life of the next little one who walks through our gates?


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