Sweet memory – a remembrance by outgoing Nutrition Fellow Racha Yehia
Racha Yehia was MFK’s Nutrition Fellow for 2 years and ended her tenure on September 7. We asked her to share a favorite memory of her time in Haiti.
When I accepted the nutrition fellow position at MFK in August 2014, I was excited, nervous, and ready for what the future had in store for me. Looking back at my two years working for MFK, I can say it was one of my best experiences to date. I have so many memories and stories, so when asked to share my favorite memory of Haiti, it is not an easy task.
In the malnutrition clinics that I help manage around the Cap-Haïtien area, I meet many families and hear numerous stories. I am surrounded by children half the day, and I am always happy to see them progress in the Medika Mamba program. However, sometimes we encounter cases that are harder than others. In October 2014, I met a 7-month-old little boy named Adley Pierre at the Shada clinic, situated in the slums of Cap-Haïtien. Adley caught my attention because he was severely malnourished and weighed 5.82 kg. Furthermore, he had that look of sadness in his eyes and barely moved because he had no energy to spare. Adley was abandoned by his mother, and his father didn’t want to take care of him so he handed him over to his sister. Adley’s aunt already had 5 kids of her own and did not pay much attention to him. When I admitted Adley into the malnutrition program, he started gaining weight right away.
After I came back from my Christmas vacation, I noticed that Adley had missed 3 weeks of clinic. I immediately asked one of the clinic employees, who knew where Adley lived, to go find him and bring him to clinic. When Adley arrived at clinic he weighed even less than when he was first enrolled in the Medika Mamba program (4.94 kg), had infections all over his body, and looked cachexic. I knew at this time, I had to do more for this child or we would lose him. I contacted Children of the Promise (COTP) and informed them I would be referring a child to their organization. I talked to the neighbor of Adley’s aunt and encouraged her to take him to COTP. After being at COTP for two months, given the proper dosage of Medika Mamba, and being treated for his infections, Adley was discharged with a weight of 8.9 kg. He looked like a different boy, full of joy, energized, and playful.
Sometimes, I have the opportunity to see Adley at Shada, and it brings me joy to see him grow, play, and be happy. I have seen and worked with many children, but Adley will always have a special place in my heart. He is part of my fondest memories and a reminder of why I am passionate about my job. Being part of the MFK team and working on the field, I have the opportunity to see how we are helping treat malnutrition in Haiti. It’s a group effort, and I am proud to have called MFK my workplace for the last two years.