In Haiti, Heroes Come in All Sizes

by Anne Edgerton
ChildFund Disaster Management Team Leader

You only have to sit with someone long enough to learn of the extraordinary heroics undertaken when the earthquake struck — some by the smallest of children.

At the Child Centered Space ChildFund helped open, we asked a few children to come with their parents and talk to a media team visiting from CBM Canada.

Lorenzo tells the story of saving his sister, but losing his foot in the earthquake.

One very well-dressed young lad, Lorenzo, told me he was eight as we sat down to explore his story with his mother. She then told us that even as the ground was moving, Lorenzo had run back into their house to save his 3-year-old sister. In doing so, he lost his right foot.

Lorenzo was not smiling when he arrived at the center earlier that morning. When we asked him what was wrong, he sadly told us that he would never play football again. His mother told us he used to play every day with the neighborhood boys, and even would play ball by himself if there was no one to play with.

It’s difficult to tell a child who has lost his foot that a prosthetic will allow him to play again.

Instead, I asked him if he wanted to draw. A smile broke across his face — the first I’d seen. He played with the children for hours, then wanted to be interviewed for the cameras with his mother.

Later, as they departed, Lorenzo’s mother said they’d be back every day we were open. Lorenzo grabbed my hand, “Thank you,” he said in English.

Lorenzo’s family lives in a car on the edge of the largest camp in Port-au-Prince. I met the sister he saved and his grandmother. They all share the car — for sleeping, shade from the sun and mealtimes.

Yet, the family is grateful not to have lost a single member, thanks to the life-saving intervention of Lorenzo, a hero at age eight.

To support ChildFund’s efforts in Haiti, click here. Contributions made no later than Feb. 28, 2010, can be deducted from 2009 tax returns.

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