By Elizabeth Cohen
CNN Medical Senior Correspondent
Nine-year-old Sende Sancil arrived at this makeshift hospital on the United Nations compound in Port-au-Prince with large gashes on her face, a horribly swollen knee, and green hair clips that matched perfectly with the green checks on her gingham shirt.
I know the clips are sort of a strange thing for me to notice, but they caught my eye immediately. I have four daughters, and so I know it takes effort to get everything to line up just right. Sende’s coordinated outfit tells me that on the morning of the earthquake, her mom or dad took a lot of care with her. I imagine how they lovingly braided her hair and found clips that matched her shirt, which appears to be part of a school uniform. I imagine how her parents said goodbye to her as she left for school on Tuesday.
Sende says when the earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon she was in a car and her parents were at home Maybe the earthquake separated Sende from her parents and they’re still alive somewhere, or maybe they’re dead. No one knows, but for an injured child all alone in a chaotic hospital filled with the sounds of pain and suffering, Sende is an amazing survivor. She’s calm and smiles at me when I come by to say hello (or maybe she’s laughing at my accent when I say “Bon jour!”).
Every day I’ve been here, I’ve prayed that today will be the day Sende’s parents come in, relieved to have finally found her, and they will lovingly take her in their arms, just as they lovingly picked out a matching shirt and hair clips for her to wear on Tuesday morning.