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Getteline’s Story of Hope

Twice a year, Helping Haitian Angels (HHA) has an American pediatrician host a clinic in the small village of Dekle outside of Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Three years ago, during one of these clinics, a terrified young mother ran through the doors carrying two small babies. At first, they seemed like newborns as they didn’t weigh more than six pounds. However, after talking with mom, HHA soon learned that these two babies were 14-month-old twin girls named Getteline and Gertline. Getteline, though severely malnourished, was the healthier of the two babies as Gertline was seizing every five minutes. HHA rushed these two babies and their mom to a malnourishment clinic half an hour away. The next day, HHA called the clinic to check on the girls. However, they soon learned that the mom had removed the two babies from the clinic.

The twin’s mom removed the two girls from the clinic because she believed that sacrificing a goat was the only way to save her babies. HHA could not force this mom to keep her babies in the clinic, but they did provide the mom with nutritionally enhanced peanut butter for the girls and continued to offer to take the girls to the hospital. Within a couple of weeks, Gertline died from the near constant seizures. Her mom was devastated. She loved both of her babies, but she simply lacked education on child needs and development. HHA stepped in and provided parental education classes for the mom and continued to supply her with the malnourishment peanut butter for Getteline who was still alive.

Three years later, Getteline is now in HHA’s preschool class and doing extremely well. She is not lagging behind her peers as is the case with most malnourished children. Though the first year of her life she was deprived of necessary nutrition, for the next two years HHA helped mom take care of Gettline. HHA has continued to work with her mom to make sure that Getteline has every advantage possible to live a happy and healthy life. Looking at Getteline now, it would be hard to guess that she was once severely malnourished and on the brink of death. She is now such a happy little girl!

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