This little boy is a resident of a newly founded orphanage -only 4 days old- set up in a cleared field that was a junk yard by an American Scientologist team headed by Cindy Love who invited me to visit to do medical evaluations. The orphanage is called "Future Orphanage" because it houses some of Haiti's future citizens and leaders. This little boy is one of 84 that had been found wandering the streets of Port au Prince after their previous orphanage had collapsed during the quake. You see, 83 of the 84 were orphans before the quake! Of the 300 in the orphanage before the quake, only 83 are accounted for. The rest are presumed buried in the rubble of their destroyed orphanage. This little boy has a big plate of beans and rice which is the first food he has had in days. I was there on the first day of operation of the makeshift kitchen which is housed in the steel trailer of a truck. Some of the children got belly aches - too much food, too soon. I observed them as energetic and lively despite it all. I saw them willing to share their food with others, even one boy, the 84th orphan named Peterson, taking food from the camp to people he knew on the street.
Peterson is a newly orphaned boy, who used to sell water on the dangerous streets of Port au Prince before the quake. A day or two before the quake, Peterson was struck by a bus that broke his leg. While in the hospital the quake struck killing his mother and father and his sisters and brothers. His whole family was wiped out. He survived because he was away form home in the hospital. Peterson is an awesome young man who is a natural leader among the other children. He looks out for them as best he can. And somehow he continues to smile a bit and even run and play like the child he is.
The 'Future Orphanage' is not a structure. It is one big yellow tent for classes and meetings. I used it for medical examinations of some of the children and for setting up a tetanus inoculation center. The children sleep in 7 Shelter Logic tents that are designed to house 10 people. There is a well for water on the property and a long bench along a cider block wall where they sit to eat their meals. A bond fire is built at night because there are no lights, no electricity, no running water, no bathrooms. Understand that a generator has been donated and that should help with the power problem. Two Scientology Volunteer Ministers are busy constructing picnic tables for them the children to eat at and to begin academic classes. Their ages range from 2 years to 14 years as far as can be determined.
Some may question why I who have been a strong anti-vaccine advocate would organize and conduct an anti-tetanus program for these orphans. When I looked around the yard where they were running and playing, I noticed all kinds of broken glass and pieces of metal everywhere and half of the children had no shoes. Tetanus, or lock-jaw, is epidemic in Haiti and can result in deaths. The risk of the vaccine is small compared to the risk of tetanus under these extreme circumstances. It was an easy decision to make.