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5898: Wounded mother on road to recovery (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Published Thursday, November 23, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
 Wounded mother on road to recovery BY JACQUELINE CHARLES 

 Little Louiseth Nazaire runs up and down the living room floor, making
pitter-patter noises with her tiny feet. As the toddler giggles, mom
Marie Thérse Nazaire looks on, her tears stopping only long enough for
her to smile. Moments like this were once wishful thinking for Marie
Nazaire, who was six months pregnant when she was left for dead in the
middle of a road in La Plaine, a suburb outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
 Nazaire, 34, was shot twice in each leg, once in the temple and once in
the mouth. She said she does not know why strangers attacked her and her
fiancé Louis, who was murdered. ``Louis pleaded with them not to shoot
me,'' Nazaire recalls, tears again flowing down her cheeks. ``He pulled
me toward him and said, `Don't shoot her. She's pregnant.' But they did
not listen. After her brief attempt to sprint away, Nazaire said bullets
pierced her right leg, and the force threw her to the ground. One of the
men then placed a gun to her left temple and fired. Another bullet
penetrated her mouth. As she pretended to lie dead, Nazaire prayed for a
miracle. A passing truck driver rescued her and took her to a hospital.
Miraculously, she survived. Despite the insistence of doctors that she
deliver early, she carried her baby to full term. Louiseth Miracle was
born June 8, 1999, weighing just less than 6 pounds. ``God saved my
life, and she is my miracle,'' said Nazaire, who gave birth at
 Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after being brought in an air
ambulance. Nazaire has endured 12 surgeries since her shooting, but her
medical recovery continues. Another surgery is scheduled for next month.
Doctors will finish work on her nose and try to bring her left eye
forward. The eye was repaired with an artificial cornea. Doctors
reconstructed parts of her face and saved her legs. Her teeth are
 removed, and a metal plate sits in her mouth. One day, she hopes to
afford dental implants. But for this holiday season, Nazaire's only wish
is for her daughter to have new clothes. ``I'm here, but I cannot take
care of my baby,'' said Nazaire, who isn't working because of her
ongoing medical problems. Despite regaining the use of her legs,
 she can't stand or walk for very long. She and her daughter live in a
small North Miami apartment with seven other relatives, who sleep on the
floor because there are no beds. Just recently someone helped the family
get a small wooden table for the dining area.  ``It's because of God we
eat,'' said Nazaire's sister Henriette Rivire, 42. Shortly after Nazaire
came to Miami, Rivire also fled Haiti with her husband and children,
 seeking political asylum here. Another sibling, an older brother who
lived in Haiti, also moved to Miami along with his family. Among those
who have come to the family's aid is the Most Sacred Heart Foundation, a
religious organization that assists single pregnant women. The
 foundation often provides the family with food and helps pay their
rent, said Myriam Mézadieu, general director of the foundation. 
 Mézadieu keeps track of Nazaire's medical appointments, works on
restoring her Medicaid, and is trying to get Jackson Memorial to waive
all, or part, of Nazaire's $15,000 hospital bill. ``Life is not easy for
her,'' said Mézadieu, who nominated the Nazaires for The
 Herald's holiday Wish Book. Mézadieu has asked for a Christmas meal for
the family and toys for little Louiseth. ``There are some days when they
go without food.'' Rivire, also unemployed, said the family is trying to
adjust to life in the United States. But it isn't easy, says the former
social worker who spent 14 years in Haiti providing nutritional
information to women and children. And even though Haiti is miles away,
the fear and pain remain real for Nazaire. ``We could have had a good
life together,'' she said, recalling her fiancé. ``The
 person who did this took my dreams.' With old dreams gone, Nazaire
tries for new ones. ``I want to be able to have some place to live, to
study, to work at home maybe; to be able to take care of my daughter,''
Nazaire said. ``I want to heal and to be finished with all the surgeries
and to begin a new life.''