Sep 3, 2010

Clermond & Pierre

What does the face of injustice look like? What does it look like when injustice manifests itself in the flesh, in your face?

Meet 21 year old Clermond.

Clermond came to the clinic 3 weeks ago with what was thought to be an abscess. The first set of doctors to see him said they thought he had a sarcoma. The second set of doctors said it definitely wasn't cancer, just a cyst. The third doctor performed a biopsy - and the news came back yesterday.

Clermond indeed has cancer - a stage II osteosarcoma. Today I sat with him for an hour, told him the news, and told him that his only real option for treatment was an above-knee amputation. I was also the one to inform him that there was a hospital willing to do the surgery for him on Sunday. After a long conversation about what cancer is and what treatment looks like, we took a trip to see his father and told him the news.

How wretched for your only feasible option to be an amputation. Clermond said he would consent to the surgery but that his life as he knew it was over. I did my best to speak hope into his world. But in that instant I saw injustice in the flesh, in the tumor that protruded out from below his knee.

Later on that day I transferred a patient to a hospital in Port-au-Prince and got a call on my way back to the mission that there had been a baby abandoned at the clinic. The young mother had gotten news that her 2 year old baby boy likely had muscular dystrophy and would not make much of a recovery. She agreed to return with him on Monday, left him under a bench, and walked away. He became the responsibility of the government today. After trying to transfer him to three different hospitals in Port-au-Prince, the officials left him at the mayor's home tonight.

Injustice in the flesh: a boy in a country with no resources to help his teenage mother care for him. An environment that can be so unforgiving. Muscles that are not developed. A prognosis that is grim for a boy even well-nourished.

With no medical care at the mayor's home and a very malnourished, dehydrated, underdeveloped baby with a possible lung infection, several nurses and myself decided to try and get him back to the mission. With the approval of our Haitian director, I made my way to the mayor's house in the little ambulance and asked to take care of the baby's medical needs. Permission granted.

So, where do we go from here? When injustice is so in your face, what do you do?

As for me, I would seek God,
and to God would I commit my cause,
who does great things and unsearchable,
marvelous things without number:
he gives rain to the earth
and sends water to the fields;
he sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth
and from the hand of the mighty.
So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts her mouth.

Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.
-From Job 5

As for tonight little Pierre sleeps on our living room floor on our mattress. I will accompany Clermond to and from the hospital this week. And I will join in the groanings of this world and wait in anticipation for the day when He makes all things new.

Until then, may God show us ways to shut the mouth of injustice.


  1. This is amazing. You are amazing. I can't believe you went to the mayor of Port-au-Prince's HOUSE and he GAVE YOU A BABY.

    Whose life are you in?

    Oh. Yours. And when I stop and think, "Who has things like this happen to her?" I think, "My little sister Sarah." And then it makes a lot of sense.

    Pictures of Pierre, please!

  2. You are beautiful. And you being where is the healing presence of the Lord in the flesh. Praying for you, girl!

  3. you are totally amazing, sarah.

  4. sarah parsons. this was beautifully written and overall convicting. i want so badly to meet this little boy and for him to be well and for joseph's leg to be saved. i want a lot of things, but what i want doesn't always happen, but i have to trust that what God wants makes sense in and of itself and that He is on the forefront of the battle against injustice. i get angry if i don't remind myself of these things. may peace abundantly permeate through the lives of those mentioned.

    miss you lots, sarah.