A Father’s Journey to Find Care after the Earthquake

Djubens is a 7-year-old boy from L’Asile, a town very close to the epicenter of the August 14 earthquake in southern Haiti. Djubens sustained two broken legs in the disaster, requiring specialized orthopedic surgery. He has been receiving care at SBH for over two weeks, and will likely need additional surgeries and extensive physical therapy to heal. He will receive all of the services he needs at SBH. Below, Djubens’s father, Chanel, recounts the earthquake and his journey to find his son care.

My name is Chanel, I’m from L’Asile, and I am Djubens’s father.

Djubens is one of my favorite children because he is always tender with me. That day [of the eathquake], I was heading to my fields. When the earth shook, my thoughts immediately went to Djubens. I ran back home and found both Djubens’ legs broken. I asked, “What happened?” and [the family] told me the house fell on him. I had to take him to the [local healthcare clinic]. At the hospital, they bandaged his legs, and then they told me they couldn’t do anything else for him and I should take him to another hospital.

I had to return home with Djubens. I took him to see a medsen fèy (a traditional medicine practitioner), but that also didn’t work and his legs were starting to go bad. Everyone said to take him to the hospital but I didn’t have the means for that. It hurt me a lot that my only son who I love so much was suffering and I could not help him.

A yong boy lays in a hospital bed. He has two broken legs wrapped in white bandages. A doctor leans over and touches the boy's head.

Dr. Pierre, Director General of St. Boniface Hospital, comforts Djubens.

I… came across family members who said there was a vehicle for St. Boniface Hospital that had come to pick up people so they could give them care. So I went with my family to where they were, and I talked with a doctor who agreed to take Djubens for me. I told him, “I don’t have any money,” and he replied, “Don’t worry about it. You will get free care, and the hospital will help you too.” I was so happy! 

I got ready to go to the hospital with him, but [the clinicians from St. Boniface Hospital] started to give Djubens first aid right in L’Asile. When I arrived at St. Boniface Hospital they welcomed me, and they cared for Djubens and brought him into an operating room. I was anxious because Djubens was crying since he didn’t want to leave me. But I had to wait for him, and I was unable to eat anything until he was back from the operating room. Now Djubens is with me, and I am happy he did not lose his legs. I can’t thank St. Boniface Hospital enough for what they did for Djubens.