Sarah was found in Gressier, near Neply in Southwestern Haiti, along Highway 2. She was being chased by a group of children and adults with rocks and sticks. They believed Sarah was possessed and they wanted to kill her. Fortunately, she ran into the arms of an American from the mission Respire Haiti and she was taken to their campus. The Respire staff learned quickly why people would have been treating Sarah the way they were.
Sarah is emotionally impaired and developed some very maladaptive behaviors to protect herself. She could be manic and violent. She also has epilepsy. Seizures are widely misunderstood in Haiti, most people do not know the science or biology behind a seizure and why they happen. What people here do know is that they’ve seen similar behaviors (people falling down, trembling, eyes rolling back) in Vou-Dou ceremonies. So, it’s believed that someone having a seizure is being overcome by evil spirits.
Sarah had been previously taken by the police to a psychiatric hospital in Port Au Prince where she was improperly bound and beaten. Once she arrived at myLIFEspeaks, Sarah just needed to rest and stabilize. We believe that Sara survived a lot of abuse in her lifetime; things that we will never fully know because she is minimally verbal.
Sarah stayed in her room on a mattress on the floor for about the first three weeks of living at myLIFEspeaks. She ate meals, listened to music, played with toys, and slept. It took time for her to learn that she was safe and loved. After that, she needed to learn that she could not behave the way she had been behaving.
Sarah joined a loving, forever, family home supported financially, spiritually, and physically by myLIFEspeaks. She has made tremendous progress over the years, growing both emotionally, mentally, and physically.
She goes to church with her family and is embraced by a village community that understands and accepts her. It’s taking a lot of love and patience but Sarah is learning how to behave and interact with her environment in a healthy, safe way.
Sarah attends LIFE Academy as part of a special education class. She is eager to help her classmates and is very intelligent, understanding things we may not have thought she would. She loves smiling and participating in school activities.
When she is at home she likes to clean the courtyard of her family’s home; brooming is her favorite part. She also loves playing with her adopted siblings Olivier, Darbens, Tygrid, Atyms, and Alex. Sarah also had a very special bond with her brother Frantzky who passed away in 2018 after being neglected at a hospital when he was sick with a virus.
Today, Sarah is a key member of our village commUNITY and everyone knows and loves her and treats her with kindness and patience. She doesn’t have to worry about running from people wanting to hurt her anymore. Sarah knows she is safe and loved by her family, friends, teachers, and the entire village commUNITY. Sarah continues to grow, heal, and develop healthy skills to interact with a world that previously was so harsh to her. She has truly been healed by love.