Student News of Skutt Catholic High School

The Flightline

  • 5/10 : Spring Choir Concert in the Skutt Catholic Commons @ 7

  • 5/4 : Hawk Walk!

How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

The story of a life changing service trip to Haiti.

A+rare+photo+of+Cindy+sitting+still.
A rare photo of Cindy sitting still.

A rare photo of Cindy sitting still.

Photo by Connor Augustyn

Photo by Connor Augustyn

A rare photo of Cindy sitting still.

Kayley Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






We live in a land of privilege. Now I’m not saying that to be preachy or to negate the fact that there are those in our country who struggle with poverty on a daily basis. I’m saying it because we, as students of a private school, all live in houses with sturdy roofs and we are pretty much guaranteed not only three meals a day but also several snacks.

Sometimes poverty can feel far away. That’s why the annual Skutt Catholic service trip to Port au Prince, Haiti is for many people a life altering event, myself included.  We arrived in Port au Prince late and initially it was hard to adjust to the way the city was set up.

All of Port au Prince is set up in a series of compounds, so picture high cement walls and big metal gates topped with barb wire. It might seem a little intimidating, but surprisingly enough, I didn’t feel unsafe at all. If anything, I was excited to be in a new place.

Our guest house was a lot nicer than I expected, though my six other roommates and I had several instances in which we were terrified by lizards on the walls. The power would occasionally go out, but other than that, we had hot water to shower (though we couldn’t drink it) and air conditioning at night.

Four of the six days were spent at a Sister’s of Charity compound, which houses a school, a malnutrition clinic as well as a ward for kids with tuberculosis. This might seem strange, however in Haiti, you are required to bring all materials, including medicine, needed to treat yourself. Many people in Haiti do not have the capability to do this, so the Sisters provide a chance at life for many of these families.

I’m not exactly sure I can describe how walking into the clinic on that first day made me feel. Two rooms filled with rows of toddlers and infants, most them sobbing, waiting to be held, and all of them dangerously sick. Safe to say it was fairly overwhelming. At first, I really doubted if I would be able to handle four days of doing this. But then I picked up one of the kids and my life was changed forever.

Now I’m aware that that sounds painfully cliché, but before you judge, let me tell you about the two year old I picked up on that first day. She was at the end of first room sitting quietly, unlike the majority of the other kids around her.

When I reached down to pick her up, she merely let me and sat quietly with me for two days without so much as a smile. This was concerning, mostly because it’s a sign that the children may be suffering from what the Haitians call “lack of love,” which essentially means that without care and attention children lose the will to live.

I couldn’t read her name band and so took to calling her Cindy, so that I could at least address her by a name when I spoke to her. At first I was envious of the other volunteers who had rambunctious kids who would laugh and play with them, but boy was I in for a shock.  On the third day we were there I handed Cindy a flower and suddenly she began to smile.

From then on Cindy was a firecracker, ripping leaves off of trees and running away from me to attempt to climb into toilets. She would occasionally refuse to be held and instead would cackle with delight whenever she would escape from my grasp. But Cindy always came back, running into my arms and laughing delightedly whenever she got to throw a handful of leaves on my head.

She loved eating suckers and at meal times she would snatch the spoon from my hand and feed herself, eventually resulting in me having to find her a new dress to wear for the rest of the day. Cindy also enjoyed ripping off her diaper and running amok without it. She once even relieved herself on the ground, laughing hysterically when she had to be led away by a nurse.

But as much joy as Cindy brought me and the other volunteers, the sad fact was that she was still very sick. Many of the children had families who would come visit them in the afternoons, but Cindy’s family never came and that made putting her down at the end of each day so much harder.

Walking away from her the last time was honestly one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do, and I’m not ashamed to say I cried hard and sometimes still get upset when I think about how I will never know how her life will play out.

A lot of things in Haiti were like that; happiness mixed with sadness, especially when we paid a visit to the Home for the Dying. I spent the day playing with kids who I assumed probably just had family members who were sick with AIDS or tuberculosis or some other terminal illness and had nowhere else to go.

I was wrong. The kids themselves were so sick that they had been taken here to live out whatever life they had left. Here I sat making pipe cleaner crowns and glasses for kids who were my little sister’s age that probably wouldn’t live past the month.

When I say it broke my heart, I mean I had to excuse myself to try and process what exactly was going on because it seemed so surreal. They had so much joy it practically radiated off of them, it was quite honestly infectious. It made any problem I faced in my own life seem small and insignificant, but it also made me realize how beautiful life is no matter how long.

That was just one of the many things I learned in Haiti, the most important being that love can be shared with everyone. You don’t have to know someone to show them love; you can show it by treating them with respect or even just by giving someone a smile. I know we can’t all fly out to Haiti and see this in action, but I do know that if we love the way they love, our world would be a much better place.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever”

  1. Gib on August 18th, 2016 11:06 pm

    Well-written. I could really picture every part of the trip. AWESOME!!!

    [Reply]

  2. G ma on August 23rd, 2016 9:51 pm

    What a wonderful recap of your trip. I can picture GD 3 reaching out to her “Cindy” with love and friendship. Well done!

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    15,600 Words Later…

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    Yiayia Olymbia: Cooking Memories With My Greek Grandmother

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    Before We Say Goodbye

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    Boats: Are They Just Water Cars?

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    How Music Has Changed My Life

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    Looking Back Before Moving Forward

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    Addressing the Unaddressed

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    Turns Out, You Really Should Study for Those AP Exams

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    This Cat Obtained Immortality, and So Can You!

  • How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever

    Column

    How I Failed College Before Even Graduating High School

Student News of Skutt Catholic High School
How One Little Kid Changed My Life Forever