Hal in Haiti: Finding Scneider

In April 2010 the surgical team from Forward in Health noticed a newborn with a birth defect. It was determined that the protrusion in on the middle of his forehead was filled with cerbrospinal fluid. We promised the mother that we would try to find a way to her son. We have been trying and are getting closer. Now we needed to locate the child who lived in a village outside of Les Cayes. The following is Hal Seifert’s story on how he found Schneider.

Finding Scneider

Last Saturday Evens, Zico, and I drove our motorcycles to an outlying area, towards a very well put together town- Camp Perren. Our goal for the day was to locate a boy (we thought at the time we were looking for a girl) that had been born a year ago, almost to the day. Forward in Health was doing a clinic in Les Ceyes and delivered Schneider, a healthy baby, with the exception of a unicorn type growth between his eyes. It was determined at the time that the growth was in fact spinal fluid.

For most people living in Haiti, disappearing into the slipstream is the norm. We had a number for the family, but in time it was lost. So off we go, dropping into full detective mode. It didn’t take long for the road to go from paved to dirt. This means dirt biking at it’s best-mud, gravel, oncoming dump trucks at warp speed, all a great work out for the adrenal gland. As the road became a trail, we starting inquiring about the whereabouts of our child. It’s funny how our minds work, initially people drew blanks, then the more we talked the brighter the light bulb got.

Eventually we came to a small rustic house in a beautiful setting. The family poured out, bringing all their chairs with them. We had the right family, including Grandma. We called the father in Port Au Prince and made arrangements for us all to meet at Grandma’s the following Saturday. So yesterday we headed back out, except this time Evens was on the back of my bike, and the boy needs to start exercising. Much as I love him, handling those roads was much more challenging. But we got there in one piece, and Schneider was there.

The first thing that struck me about him, wasn’t the fact that, indeed, he had a unicorn growth between his eyes, but how sweet he was. He appeared lethargic, but in fact is shy. He also appeared to have a fever and lung congestion, which he suffers from chronically. The more I held him, the more he wiggled, he could not get over the hair on my arms. The boy and his father were obviously quite close. The father has been trying to resolve this for some time, he had x-rays and reports. We took every scrape of information we could glean, everything. We also took measurements of his head, which was challenging because he really became the wiggle worm then, and lots of photos.

The next step is to try and get Scneider, and hopefully his Mom or Dad medical visas. There is a surgeon from Boston that has agreed to do the surgery. I suspect finding a plastic surgeon won’t be hard.
A great day indeed.