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Saturday, November 28, 2009


Do we serve an awesome God or what!!!!! Do you really REALLY believe in a God of miracles?

A few days ago I wrote about how tiYoldy can see (maybe it was on facebook, not here). She was scheduled for eye surgery on the 18th. What I didn't know till today was that while getting ready to go to the hospital, she told big Yoldy (who's taking care of her) that she could see. When she held two fingers tightly against her good eye, she could see her fingers. She went in anyway, and the doctors couldn't believe it!!! They said it could only have been a miracle!!! tiYoldy told people "we prayed!" And people there have been asking about Canaan... So yes, she's able to see, but she's not had a surgery yet! I guess God knew we didn't have all the money yet! I don't know the exact story - whether she'll still need the lens change, whether she can see well or not, but this is a miracle!

So today (Friday) was an interesting day. There are pastors in Citi Soleil that have been wanting S. Gladys to come visit them. So today she, P. Henri and I went to see where the churches were and if it's really as bad as they say. Citi Soleil is like a suburb of Port au Prince, considered the most dangerous area, though presently it's not so bad or dangerous. It's a place where the kidnappers would
 hide out, poverty is rampant, and it smells like a pigpen (seriously and literally). There's trash and kids everywhere. I think that place produces children by bulk (hope that's not too crude:) - and they all have huge bellies, but they're so cute even dirty. Imagine a baby just crawling naked in the dust. His whole bottom, front and back and legs, are covered in dust. And the mom is just standing there. The houses are set so close together, and sometimes not bigger than the inside of a truck. They're made of sticks, or wood or blocks (broken and otherwise) and sometimes have a roof, although most of the tin was red from rust and broken, and sometimes the roof was missing. Some place had houses that looked a little better - small houses made by USAID or some group like that. They're concrete, about 6X10 maybe, with two to one building.                                                 
Houses are side by side

There are so many children everywhere!

It smells like the pigs everywhere, even where there are none. 

And flies galore!

The walls were broken out during the 3 year uprising because this is where the bad guys were hiding.

Water is scarce - one church had two bio-sand filters, which are really heavy, but he had to chain them up so they wouldn't steal them. A rare and special commodity!! 
Several of the churches try having schools - some actually had adult chairs for the kids to sit on. Others spread things on the floor for them.
Now my minds racing, wondering how I can manage a clinic there. If nothing else, to give worm medicine to all the kids!!! It's amazing how big some of those bellies were! There's got to be so many diseases! I'll admit I was surprised to not see so many really malnourished kids, but we're finding families will often keep those out of sight because of embarrassment.
From there we stopped in to see P. Henri's mom, and you see the total opposite. She's 'bujwa' (the rich, elite class), not a christian. She has a beautiful house, lots of trees and plants, maids, white leather furniture... OK, something a lot of you probably have, but here it just feels so very elegant! What a difference in lifestyles here!!!!

OK, I better let you go, but here's a few pictures from kids here at Canaan. Internet actually allowed me to upload them!!! 

This fellow below is our Navedson. He's about 18 months, and has been at Canaan since July. He's the little fellow that was left on my clinic steps. What a difference since then!! He was dehydrated and malnourished. Now he's learning it's faster to walk than crawl. With eyes like his, he wins people over with no problem!

Rolancia is 2 months younger than Navedson, but was quicker to walk. She has a peaceful disposition and everybody loves her, even our construction workers!

For Thanksgiving, some of the kids prepared some skits. Here you have King and Queen Nebuchadnezzar

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I've been getting comments that I haven't been writing much, so I'll see if I can write something before the kids come back from devotions.

First, I'm all better. Thanks for praying!! Wether it was a non-falciporum type of malaria or just the Influenza, guess I'll never know. Symptoms are similar. Feels good to have energy again. 
Which I needed today, because I got 73 boxes of medicines and other assortments from CAM. They had some extra stuff, like a standing scale!!!! I am so happy for that one, but now I have the daunting task of teaching my staff to use it (yea, it's not automatic that you know that)

My latest "YUCK" has been lying awake listening to a rat in my wastebasket. I know it's there because I saw it run under my bed yesterday morning. The problem at night is there's no light so I don't want to get off the bed! One of the missionary guys here had one run over his chest twice in one night. So now I'm trying the Rat Zapper. We have one of those here and it's going the rounds of the houses. Do you know those things cost $52.00 on ebay??? And here I had hoped to order me one for my house.

A blessing this sunday was - we had 3 fans set up in church. Only those that have been here can understand that blessing fully. It was connected to an inverter/battery system. YES!

I'm still doing French lessons. Need to start using it more though. It's an interesting language - such a mixture of Creole and Spanish. 

OK, this blog hasn't been sent yet and it's already the 19th. I'm over at Leslie's so am even trying to put up a few photos. (Nope, not working!)

So Yoldy's eye surgery was for today. Hopefully everything is going OK.

God bless you, till next time!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


GOOD NEWS about Yoldy!! 

The doctor says the retina looks intact!! If that's injured, they can't really repair the eye. He has high hopes that her eye can be fixed. She has something like a cataract which has to be removed, and the lens has to be changed. However they have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for her cornea to heal.

Now the bad news!
This is going to cost a pretty penny!!! Doctor estimates at least $10-11,000.00. Are there enough of us out there willing to share some of what we have to give a little girl her vision back? Her other eye isn't too good either, so she needs this one also.

If you can give some money, please send it to Chris Hlavacek and designate it for Yoldy's surgery.
Chris Hlavacek 
1034 Thornrose Way 
Wake Forest, NC 27587 
(417) 263-2240 

 Thank you so much!!!
Praise the Lord!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Just want to share about my meeting in Port on Wed, so you guys can pray about all this, since some people have been asking for an update. I'm excited about it. I'm seeing us branching off into another area. Or rather, expanding the area we already started. That is focusing even more on the malnourished people, and now more than just the under 5 year olds in the Mamba program. I see it as more a complete Nutrition Center. It won't cover every one, but maybe there's other ways of reaching out. I'm doing one at a time.

So the lady I met was from the UN's World Food Program. They have 3 different programs: 
#1 Children under 5 that have graduated from the Medika Mamba program, Malnourished and anemic pregnant women, and lactating women up to 6 months so the babies will be able to only breastfeed.  
#2 Patients with HIV and TB
#3 Families that meet the criteria

It'll take awhile to get the proposal in and approved but hopefully by the first couple months of the new year we should be able to sign a contract. 
I can see a lot of potential in all this, so please join me to pray for God's will in this. I think it is His will because He's taking it further almost faster than I can follow. 

Thank you all for your interest and support!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Hope this finds you all well. I am also, and busy as always. I thought I would have more time now that I'm not seeing patients so much anymore, but I'm still always busy. Yesterday Bobi and I cleaned out our medicine storage place. It's tends to get filled up with boxes and boxes and you end up not even knowing what you have. That and being gone for almost 3 months, it was good to catch up on what we have there. Even found some much needed treasures (meds)for the clinic. That took a big chunk of the day.

Today we had another blessing. Lori, a lady that comes to Haiti 3-4 times a year, came to Canaan this year and is giving two days to check everybody's teeth! Thankfully most of the kids have good teeth, but she pulled 3 and there's about 5 fillings, plus cleaning and polishing a bunch. She's offered to come like twice a year, so I'm glad to have them get regular checkups. That's one thing I'm not very interested in doing, though I was given a quick hands on course in it. It was also good personal timing because I just had a filling fall out this last weekend.

Tomorrow I'm going to Port to meet with a lady from the UN - W0rld Food Program to see if they have a program that could help us help the people. I'm looking for something that we can help poor families with, or families that have kids in the MM program, or kids that are malnourished but too old for our program or older people, etc. You get the picture! There's a lot of need. I want to learn who/what I can tap into in local aids already in the country.

I've been so busy I haven't even started on the other project I was going to do as soon as I got my 3 new people trained - and that's attacking the Creole and French languages. Also setting up the new filing system hasn't gotten off the ground yet.

For those interested in Yoldy, the girl that hurt her eye - She's still in the States. They did an ultrasound but there's so much blood inside the eye that they haven't been able to do anything nor know the extent of injuries. Prognosis is not good, but nothing is impossible with God.

Bobi is leaving tomorrow, "going to get married". Marcus is accompanying her but returning next week. The wedding is Dec.12, in Missouri, and they're returning to Haiti in Jan. She's asked me to stand up with her, so I'm planning to go to the wedding too. I'm excited - it'll be a fun trip. Our friend Leslie here is also going.

Yes, our internet's on again. And the battery/inverter system is on so supposedly we have internet all day. We're so not used to that, we forget to take advantage of it! 

Thanks for your support of Canaan! God bless your life!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving - Canadian

Hello, everyone

Life here really never is the same. This has been quite the eventful week (ok, by now it I'm talking about last week).

Thursday I was sick most of the day. 
Friday I felt better and Bobi and I were able to go spend the day at Club Indigo as planned. Bobi took me there for the day for a birthday gift. Then we stayed over with our friend Lorraine there (she's part of the management there) for the night. Had a "girls night out", which was fun. 
Sat. we celebrated the Canadian Thanksgiving. Friends that are renting a house from another resort had all of us over, and side benefit is that we could all go enjoy the beach and pools for the morning, before heading back to the house for the usual awesome Thanksgiving meal with all it's trimmings. Got to know more fellow Canadian missionaries here, which was awesome!

Canadians in Haiti!

The not so awesome thing that happened was what I mentioned in my former blog. Yoldy had surgery in her left eye on Friday. Her cornea is torn. The result wasn't good, and she has now been taken to the US to see if more can be done. She is a brave girl!! Please keep praying for this!

Big Yoldy took her to the States, since Gladys and Henri were both there already. That leaves Canaan a bit short on administrative staff. It sure is felt, though people are trying well.

Clinic's going quite well - numbers are down to in the 30s and 40s so it's quite manageable. My new staff is also doing quite well, mostly. The nurse has more education that many, and I just have to start saying something in my broken creole and she can take over and explain it in a language they understand, and I know enough to be happy with what she's saying. That makes training much easier!!! We're really happy with the other nurse too, who's doing the Medika Mamba. We didn't even have to teach her how to convert pounds to kilos!! And she takes initiatives. It's restful to have people like that to work with.

Friday Bobi and I are planning to head to Port. We're meeting with a lady from an organization that we're hoping can help us with food for people. There are many out here - we just need to learn who to ask. Another one of my "jobs' here.

The filing system is the next big project for me to attack (besides French and Creole lessons).

 Thanks for all your prayers for Yoldy. I haven't heard this week how she's doing, since she's in the States, but.....

God bless all of you!!
Elsie, in hot Haiti :(

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hello there,

Just a quickie tonight because I'm sending out a prayer request. One of our little girls, Yoldy, who's about 7, and already handicapped because she was born without kneecaps got hit in the left eye tonight by a piece of a CD cover. Nobody quite knows or says how it happened. I don't like the looks of it. The bleeding has pretty well stopped but the eye is cloudy, can't see the pupil at all. She's on the way to the hospital, (which will cost tons!) so please pray that she won't lose her vision in it.

Our God is powerful, and I want us to take this beyond the usual prayer for her. Let's pray in faith!!! Yesterday Sister Gladys felt God telling her to put all the CDs into our Container. Of course, that caused an uproar (fringing on people's rights??), but was disobeying worth losing an eye? Are we sensitive to God? And obedient? 

The Spirit is in this, so let's pray!!!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009



I have anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hr and 15 minutes before the generator goes off so I'll see how far I get with this.

I've been back almost 2 weeks and things don't look quite the same, which is good. I've been thinking of changing things, so the first week, I hardly saw any patients. I've realized my own sense of responsibility and fairness, mixed with my nurses' way of being causes them to slow down and not work as efficiently as when I'm not there and they can't depend on me. So I determined to set a different pace from the start. The first day I only went there for about an hour. The next day (Monday) I sat and didn't do much else but look around, see what could be changed, watch how they work, and check their work. That's actually harder than it sounds. I've got to see how I can make the place better. - putting up standing room dividers instead of dirty, ripped and pinned together curtains would be a great place to start - if I can find them in Haiti. 


Tuesday I worked with MM most of the day, since Bobi and Leslie were both gone. Our friend Leslie down the road has started helping out on Tuesday. It gives her a chance to get away, and work with us on something that's so cool. It's so encouraging to see the changes in kids and being able to admit new ones that need it. We have some pretty sick kiddos in the program! Especially 2 - one is so swollen in the legs and today with a high fever and looks so ill. The other one is gaining a kilo a week, but it's not fat - it's swelling, which is strange because with Mamba it usually does the opposite. I think he has another medical problem. 

I would take pictures but my nice camera got stolen in Romania and I haven't been able to buy another one. Hopefully before too long (in Haiti??? Thank God for internet purchasing capabilities). 

Wednesday, I hired three more ladies - one is a clerk who'll work with our mess of files, and also learn to check in people eventually. She used to be a school administrator. She may even get the job of teaching me French and Creole. The other two are both RNs and I can tell a little more educated than those I've gotten before, so hopefully will work out better. The one has no work experience though and is hesitant to see patients though she wants to learn. We have started her with the MM program and I tell you, she is EXCELLENT. I'm so happy to find a Haitian that I think will do good in the program. We needed on (us North Americans like to take our 'vacations' :) ) We're also looking at sending her to Port to a Doctor who has offered to teach us to do more Lab (blood work) and she's interested in that. The other one I've spent 2 days with training to see patients, and I think she'll do well. Thank you Lord!


Thursday I went to the MM program that they started in St Marc while I was gone. Nice set up. Barb is a missionary friend of ours who has lived in the poorest section for years and started a school for the poor that can't afford other schooling. She saw a lot of need in this community, so felt it in her heart to open a place and get the program going there. They've done free radio advertising there too. It's great.


Marcus and Bobi came home on Sunday, all excited and planning their wedding for December. And I plan to go for it - she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. That'll be fun!! They do plan to come back in Jan. so I'm happy. Lol! Marcus is teaching school here at Canaan. He came in July, after I left, so the whole thing went a bit fast. But when God says 'this is it', why wait, eh?


Tonight, Marcus, Bobi, Chris and Leslie and me were invited to Lauren's place. Lauren is part manager of the resort down the road and we've become friends. Not wanting to cook, we had a nice buffet dinner at the resort, after which we retired to her "air-conditioned' little apartment. 


Here's a prayer request: pray for Nickenson. He's about 20 months, his mom died in Jan, and he has HIV. He wait about 3.4 kg when we first saw him, so thin. We got him in the program as soon as he was old enough and he was gaining well, but now all of a sudden, he’s starting to lose weight again. He lost a whole kg in 2-3 weeks, and if he continues, he’ll be down to his original weight next week. His dad, who has been trying hard to take care of him, can get medicines free for him, but it’s an effort taking care of him. Wed. we plan to see if we can pick up 3 months of medicine and taking him to an American run clinic, who have offered to take care of him for a few months and get him better. That will be such a relief. He’ll get good care and the father will get a break and be able to get a job for awhile. Now he has to spend all of his time taking care of his son, because he doesn’t trust anyone else.  We’re going to try to take him Wed. but unless we can take his meds, which they want to give only on Tuesdays, we’ll have to wait another week. I don’t know how long he’d make it. With HIV, any sickness can complicate him.


September 30, 2009

OK, the letter didn’t get off last night since I had less than half hour so I get to tell you about my day today. I’ve been pleased at the way different things have been falling into place with me stepping down from seeing patients at the clinic. I’m sure that “sense” came from God.


So we were able to take Nickenson to this clinic at least an hour from here, up the mountains a bit. I had met the nurse Lori before and always wanted to go see her clinic. I was impressed. Besides seeing outpatients, they have a program where they keep patients. Out of the 60 +/- , probably 50 were age 3 and younger. Some of these are malnourished kids. They are also using the Medika Mamba (them coming to see how ours works is how I first met them). They’ll keep these kids till they’re well. Then they go back – if someone wants them and comes for them. They have quite a few little ones that have been abandoned. Some have medical issues like burns that they’re taking care of, or other diseases. But many are just unwanted. It wrenched my heart. Such a strange feeling to be in a room with SO MANY little needy ones. Anyway, they’ll keep Nickenson till he’s well, if he recovers. Bless the dad – he’s spent so much time and care taking care of the little one.

After we got him settled, Lori showed me their filing system. That’s a challenging thing here in Haiti, where a last name can change from visit to visit, or they don’t know birthdates, or when they were here before, or they’ll say it’s their first time but it’s not – you get the picture.


So….on that note, I have a question for anyone out there – does anyone know someone who’s able and willing to make a computer program for our clinic? I need a program where you can just type in either their first or last name, or their file number and all their info will pop up. Anybody out there that would know how to program such a project? If you do, please let me know! And if you don’t, could you maybe ask around a little? Thanks!!!


Thanks for supporting me as a friend, or in prayer, or in whatever way you are a part of my life!!



Saturday, September 19, 2009

Summer break

Hello there
I know it's been awhile. I've covered a lot of miles since I wrote last, and now I'm back in Haiti. Please pray as I settle back in. I came back with a bit of a different mentality than the first time. I'm hoping to do a little more training, making sure the nurses are doing good, and hopefully focus more on community teaching. Still haven't figured out the best way to do this. 

My time away was awesome in many ways, but also struggled a lot. Health wise I wasn't too good - had a lot of unexplained headaches, and respiratory issues. Most of that has gone now, though I'm still dealing with a 5 week  cough. 

I've included some pictures of our 1 month trip to Eastern Europe. Difficult to pick which ones, and also since I'm limited here in Canaan. So there MAY be more, if possible. 

So more later....

Mar's Hill


Patmos Island

Spa in Hungary

The travelers - me and Yolanda

Macedonia - A statue of Mother Theresa

Ohrid, Kososvo

Pristina, Kosovo - the newest country in the world

Leaving Dubrovnik, Croatia

Mountains were surprisingly dry

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



One of the reasons you haven't heard from me for awhile is because I'm not in Haiti right now - I'm in Canada! So if your interest is Canaan, please wait till middle of September, and Canaan should reappear again. Meanwhile, if you want to hear about my trip, keep checking every so often.
I've spent a busy week here, getting rid of a lot of my stuff, as well as seeing quite a few friends. And now tomorrow, I'm off to Eastern Europe (flight's to Frankfurt, then I'm taking the train) to meet my sister and travel with her for a bit.
God's been good - answering two specific problems for me this week. One was my headaches - They were almost constant for about a week, then one day different people prayed, and next day they were almost all gone. The other answer was the arrival of my eurail tickets. They were suppose to come today but when I called at noon to see if it would, (since I needed to leave early) they said it wouldn't arrive till tomorrow. I almost panicked. After 3 or 4 calls I gave up. Half an hour later a lady from Fedex called back and I realized they were actually trying to help me, to see if the carrier could meet me some place special to deliver it tonight. As I came around to find the cell number of my friend that I'd be with, the guy was at the door!! Today after all!! What a relief.

So blessings to all and till later!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Canaanites

This is kind of an exciting week for me because it’s my last in a while. Next Wednesday I’m heading for the North – I guess it still exists? Sometimes you wonder here – it tends to feel kind of isolated, and narrow focused. The other night we went to Club Indigo for internet, and their’s was down too, so we sat and watched TV for a bit. It felt so strange! Guess it’s not a bad vice to not have here.
Canaan news:
We have 5 new children here. They’re siblings. The dad died a little over a year ago in a gravel pit accident. Years ago he worked at Canaan, and S. Gladys really felt called to take the children. The mom died more or less in January. The oldest two are boys, and then 3 girls. So Canaan finally has a baby. That child will have problems learning to walk. Everybody wants to hold her. Actually, they’re doing very well; she even gets to crawl sometimes.
Rolancia (11 months)
Mackenson (13) Diuner (10)
Jolette (8) Lina (4)

An interesting challenge for me this week has been Louinel. He is 4 months old and weighs 2.5 kg (about 5 pounds). I’ve had him come for about 2 weeks, giving the mom milk to take. His little feet are all swollen from malnutrition and he was barely peeing all day. Well, he just wasn’t gaining. So Tuesday, when I saw he would gag every time he drank something, I decided something else had to be done. I put an NG tube into his stomach and now we’re feeding him by tube. The mom comes and spends all day. WE NEED A HOSPITAL! He actually gained weight today. One of the girls on the nutrition team is a huge help with that. The mom isn’t feeling comfortable doing it, so I think this is going to be a working weekend! When clinic is closed, we bring her up to Canaan. Please pray he’ll do OK. Little ones like that you have to be careful of not overfeeding him, and I’m not too sure where the balance is (Stephanie???). At least now he’s peeing ok finally. Amazing how much better that makes me feel!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

St Mark MM

Why am “I” in Haiti?
I often ask that question. First, I know there are so many people that could do the job better, sometimes it frightens me. Sometimes I feel the reason He has me here is because He loves me so much - there are so many blessings. Then at other times I feel like God has me here for punishment – it’s not an easy life. At other times, I think it’s because there are so many lessons that I still need to learn about life that He plunked me down where I’d have to learn or else...
Whatever the reason, I am often (usually) grateful. After all, those are all valid reasons. In knowing others could do things better, it keeps me humble. In experiencing God’s love, it’s worth it all. In punishment, it’s probably needed then. In other lessons, well that’s the purpose of life, right? Learn what you need to learn. For me, relationships is probably the top of the list there. It’s what you can pray for me personally the most if you want to pray for me. Living here, you can’t avoid it. It’s always around you – the Canaan kids, the Canaan staff, the clinic staff, patients, teams coming through – short or longer term, friends; And then the people of Haiti...
I often pray that God would give me a passion for the people – after all, that’s who I work with. After a day like today, I feel a bit lost in that area. I’m not sure where my place is, or what I’m to do, because I feel so helpless. There is such a big need, and I have to turn my head the other way. Is that really God’s way, or do I not see something I need to be doing?
We went to St Marc, where a pastor said he had a village of 60 malnourished kids. A team of 9 of us (incl. translators) went. It was an interesting place, seeing how to get to the place we basically walked up a mountain of rocks. About the width of a narrow road, it was solid rock – probably 200 feet or more steeply up, with houses all around. Pictures don’t show depth very well.
The walk up

Starting down

Pastor Galile

Almost down

Something close to a fight broke out over tracts.
It was a wonderful view, since the ocean is right there. When we got there, they handed us a list of 120 people waiting. What makes that difficult is that the majority of those don’t qualify for our program – either they don’t fall into the age bracket that we have, or they’re not malnourished enough to admit.
Getting ready to weigh and measure

I had the difficult job of initial screening.
It didn’t take them long to notice one of the first things I do is check their upper arm circumference. I had a dozen moms shove the arms of their little ones to me – some even grabbing my hand and putting it on their child’s arms. Honestly, that hurts because I can at a glance see that their child is too old for the program. Then they say, I’ll give my child to you. One actually pushed her thin 10 yr old to me and stepped back, begging for me to take her; many of them saying ‘this one has no dad, or no mom and dad’. And all I can do is look at them and be sorry. Is that really all I can do????
In two weeks (July 1) I’m taking a break and going back to Canada, and some other traveling for 2 ½ months. I’m hoping the time away will renew my energy, and give me some wisdom to see what my place here is.
Till next time!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A day for me.

This has been an intereting day! My first patient was our friend Chris, who cut his finger and needed 5 stitches. Maybe after a little bit I'll actually become good at this! Then while getting ready to see another patient, I hear a commotion outside and a 4 yr old boy is having a seizure. I brought him in. I must admit, I'm not too comfortable with seizure patients yet. I did a malaria test and it was positive, but I still sent him to a hospital. His fever went from 101 to 104.5 F in about half and hour. I kept thinking "cerebral malaria", so better safe than sorry. I gave them money and sent them off. Then I got a little 4 month old baby boy - heartwrenching. He weighs 2.6 kilos (about 5 pounds). His poor feet were SO swollen, and I think his face too, though mom said that was normal for him. So we're starting him on a milk routine. He's too young for our Medika Mamba. He's from the mountains so hopefully mom will bring him every week. Made me want to just take him home with me! So cute and small! A75 yr old lady came in - had a stroke on Thursday; left side is paralyzed. Don't thing this is it for her! A lady I had once was in church 2 months after her stroke. Pray this one will recover. Thankfully I had a wheelchair given to me by Christian Aid Ministries, which will make this easier for the family. And then of course, others: teaching them to take blood pressure meds correctly, etc etc.
Well, I thought I had more time to finish this but I have to stop - go home. I'm at Club Indigo, since our internet wasn't working. Probably due to the nice storm we had tonight.
Thanks for praying! Please continue.....

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Hello everyone,
So not all that much has happened this week but I want to remind you I’m here, so here’s a little note. Ha!
Thursday afternoon, Bobi and I took Sister Gladys to the airport (after being here two days after a 2 week absence), along with two of the older guys. We barely made it, we had such a hard time getting sister Gladys away from everyone here, and then ran into the worst traffic jam close to the airport I’ve seen). They’re on their way to Convention. The boys are training to become leaders in the ACE school, have worked hard this year, so it was good they were able to go. This is the first year in many that none of the students went. It seemed time to make the kids realize going to the States every year isn’t something they can take for granted. It is a privilege for working hard in school, and since very few seemed to make that effort it was decided to not take the kids this year.
Friday Bobi and I went to Port again. With Jamil traving, I sat in the driver’s seat of a car being towed to Port. Now that was a challenge for me, but it went very well, I must say. I kept having these visions of ramming into the back of the truck, so my breaks got a good workout, as well as my leg muscles. Since we had to wait till 4 p.m. to pick up Lydia (a girl that was here for 2 months last fall), we were able to use Jamil to drive us around Port. We went to different car dealers. Yes, we’re still looking for a vehicle and feel (in faith) the money will be there when we find the right one. Man, but they’re expensive! We want to try getting it before I leave end of June. Pray the money will be there, and we’ll find the right one. It takes time, so we have to go back again, but we covered quite a few places. Then we also looked around for some patio furniture/plants. Shopping is definitely more challenging here. Don’t for a minute envision yourself shopping in North America for these things. This took from 10 to 4 p.m., rushing it.
The guys of the team got a huge blessing today. You should see how they work! One of their projects they’ve been given this week is levelling the ground in front of the new boy’s dorm, across from the cafeteria. It’s the closest to discouraged I’ve seen them. They’re dealing with TOUGH ground – the normal rocky, then also where they’ve done a lot of cementing, so it’s also got concrete in the ground. Well, after church they were watching the ESTRELLA road construction people drop off one of their huge machines (sorry don’t know the name of it, but it has the thing that goes into the ground to break it up and can lift out dirt). They’re like “wouldn’t it be cool to use that thing!”. One of them’s like, “would it be okay to go ask them if we can?”. I said they speak Spanish, if you can and want to, all they can do is say No. So off they go. About two minutes later they come back saying, Yea! They just went up and asked and the guy said yes, he’ll be back in 20 minutes, they can have it that long. Tyler, one of the guys, knows how to drive it, so they quickly started working; saved them at least half a week’s worth of HARD labour for the three, if not more. The road is becoming SO nice. Those of you who have been here, you’d be amazed. They are almost to Canaan with building it up, which alone smoothes it tremendously. The pavement is almost to the detour already. They’re going through Montrouis, even if the bridge isn’t fixed, but they’ve also smoothed and tarred the detour, so it’s more bearable. Now’s the time to pray!!! We want to ask them to fix, possibly pave our whole entrance too. God can do it, right? I think He loves to do special things for us, if we ask Him. Just look at my little story of the rain! So please pray for that this week!!!!
God bless you all!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009


Sat. May 15
Hello from Canaan
I realize I haven’t caught you all up on what’s happening at Canaan in awhile so here’s some stuff.

# 1 Sister Gladys has been gone for over 2 weeks. Her mom was having surgery and she went to be with her. This round here without her has gone surprisingly well.

#2 Canaan’s internet is down and who knows for how long. So if you’re trying to get a hold of us by email, be patient. We will go out every so often to a nearby resort or friends’ place, but it doesn’t happen every day. Apparently the dish is bad, which means the guys here don’t do anything till Sister Gladys gets back, and then some of them are planning to go to the States.... This will mean dishing out a bunch of money again I imagine.

#3 We have a team of 6 college students here since Monday. 4 are staying for two weeks, 2 for a month. They are a huge blessing, and such hard workers. We weren’t able to put them to ‘mending’ a concrete wall for lack of materials, so they’re working on making a “patio/garden’ for Bobi and me. Sounds a bit decadent, eh? But we need a place where we can hang out, relax, entertain, etc. So adjoining our house, they have rechanneled a water ditch, and levelled the ground (don’t think this is an easy job – the ground is more rocks than dirt almost!). They made a tier with rocks. We want to put a concrete floor on part of it to put out a table/chairs/hammock and have a place for laundry, and then another part with plants and flowers. They also knocked down the big concrete outhouse/shower room standing in the middle of everything and have spent hours hauling it all away. Yesterday they took the day off and went into Port and while deciding to do that, one of them asked “but we get to work on Saturday then, right?” What an attitude!! Thanks so much, guys!!

#4 Thursday, Joel Busby and two friends of his came for a week; Mandy’s coming on Sunday. Joel and Mandy were here most of last summer, so it’s good to have them back.

#5 Last night we went to Club Indigo and joined Chris and Leslie there, hanging out most of the evening. They’re doing well but have gone through a rough time. Safety here hasn’t really been a problem but they’re going through some issues. Somebody set fire to their van, and left some nasty notes – death threats. The police, together with the UN have been working hard and made an arrest this week (There are more involved). That’s left some unhappy family members, who also are starting to threaten them. Please pray for them. They work with “Clean water for Haiti.

#6 Bonnie left this week. She leaves a big gaping hole here, especially for the children. They’ve been a bit subdued these days. She plans to come back in the fall, with maybe an additional short visit with some of her family in August.

#7 We continued to have rain this week, almost every day, which has been awesome! Maybe rainy season has arrived!

#8 I’m planning to take a couple months off, more or less, in July and August. If anyone knows of nurses or doctors that could and would want to come work here for any length of time, that is a need we have for those two months. I do have two Haitian nurses to keep the clinic open, but they still need a lot of supervision and help too. We don’t have any French medical books (except ‘Where there is no Doctor’) so it’s a bit difficult for them to learn everything.

#9 Our Medika Mamba vehicle fund is still growing. We now have $16,000.00 ready. Looking at vehicles here, I think we’ll need at least $22,000.00. It’s a bit difficult for me to think of buying a new vehicle here, especially since I would never do it in North America, but things are different here. You can’t trust the second hand vehicles. Anybody could have taken any part out of it. So unless God provides a used one from a reliable source, we’re still looking at new vehicles, most of which cost at least $25,000.00. (Anybody interested in participating, please go to and contact Chris Hlavacek in Missouri. Thanks!) The vehicle will come in handy for a lot of other things as well, I’m sure. Right now the only vehicle we can drive off the property is our big clunky truck.

#10 Medika Mamba is still doing good. Yesterday we graduated our last patients in Archaia. Because of the transportation problems, I don’t think we’ll attempt another distant location till we have the vehicle. I can see us attempting to cover all the surrounding areas. I think if we went to a town, and did some extensive recruiting, we could work in one town for about 10-12 weeks and then move to another area (it takes about 8 weeks to graduate). It’s exciting to think of covering a broader area. Also, what it would do is put the word out that there is help for malnourished children.

Thanks for thinking and praying for us!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a blessing straight from God


and she spoke and it was so…..

I want to share a really, really cool thing God did for me today. The whole earth (at least what’s Canaan and the surrounding areas) is benefiting but I feel this is for me personally.

We’d had a long, hot day at the clinic. It was 4 p.m. and Bobi and I were walking back up the hill. We’d had a protein shake that kept us going over lunch. I told Bobi: “If God would want to give me a blessing today, He’d let it rain today.” Now understand: I LOVE rain! It’s soothing and cozy (and cool). Mind you, I grew up in a place where it rained 9 months out of the year. It’s drizzled here a few times already this year. Not once what I’d call a rain. Well, we came to our house, rested for about 45 minutes and got ready for supper. As we walked out the door, it started drizzling. By the time we were at the cafeteria, we were almost wet. It started coming down hard and strong while eating and it’s still going strong. Almost reminds me of the hurricane season…. (hopefully nobody will get flooded out!).

Also, we were out of drinking water. We’ve got a container under almost every rain spout and in about an hour must have collected close to 50-70 gallons if not more.

Thank you God! I LOVE YOU TOO!

Monday, April 27, 2009


There are days when I think this place is just one of many. I get used to things, and the days go by. Then you have days like today when you realize I’m in a foreign country. Nothing much different, except the people....
Had a long clinic day today, the whole day just had a different atmosphere – 50-60 patients but I’ll just mention a few people that made me realize – I’m not in my own country.

While seeing a patient, I started hearing this racket outside, people yelling, some laughing, some running... I look out the window and I see a woman half trying to run, held back by another one and a younger man running after them with a stick, and actually hitting her with it. Needless to say, I was shocked to be seeing that – a man actually hitting a woman in public. I went out to calm down the situation and to give the man a talking to! I got there and told him “pa fe sa!” (don’t do that), than turned to see the situation. They kept saying she’s trying to run away, she doesn’t want to be there. They showed me her very swollen left foot and I knew she really needed to be seen. I talked to her calmly and she actually looked up at me and calmed down – for a second. I realized we’d have to by-pass our usual check-in routine. I told one of the family to go make her file and said as soon as I finished the patient I was in the middle of seeing, I would see her. I went back with calm behind me, which lasted about 2-3 minutes. I finally asked my patient if she’d wait so I could see the woman outside. Bringing her in by force, I finally had her sitting on my exam table, calmly looking at me. By then I realized she had some mental problems, and that gentleness brought the best results. Putting my arm around her and talking to her seemed to calm her. I asked her what the problem was and when her mother started showing me, she actually helped, pulling down the appropriate clothes and showing me her foot. It was rewarding to calm someone that honestly, seemed like a wild animal, and yet could calm down and look you in the face, and thank you very politely for a glass of water. For some reason, she really touched my heart. Her mother said she hasn’t been normal since she had a seizure at age one, and yet at times she’d look at you so ‘clear-minded’. What is in a person’s mind when she can’t express her own will, but has one, and others take that right to make the decision away from her? How do we react when we don’t get to do what we want to? How much do we allow others to make their own decisions – especially the more helpless that we may think don’t know how to make it? Do we give them dignity, or beat them with a stick, and confuse them even more?
Another sad situation, and some people you can pray for if you remember is the Julien family. A mother came with a 7 yr old son a week or two ago that is sick and malnourished. She had another 9 yr old along but didn’t consult. Well, she brought that one today, with herself. She just struck me all of a sudden as the poorest of the poor here. The father died when the youngest was small. Have you ever watched a movie where the mother is dying from poverty? She’s trying her best but just can’t quite make it? That was this mother’s demeanor, sick herself, but trying to keep her boys well – and her son raging with a fever. She said she lives with her sister, but when her sister gives the boys food, her husband gets mad and yells at them. They are heavy on my heart today – what am I going to do with them? I can just see the mother dying and leaving the boys orphaned. I sent her for some tests but she’ll need food to survive too and get some strength back. But if I give her rice, will she and her boys get it or will others eat it? Thankfully I have some rice given by another mission that I was able to give to her, as well as some protein shakes for the 3 of them, and energy drinks; But long term??
On a happier note, I finally had a small 5-6 lb 3 month baby come back having gained an appropriate amount of weight with milk. She’s too young for the Mamba program so I’m giving her milk. She did great.
We finished at 4:30, happy ourselves that we had some protein shakes at the clinic to keep us going. After supper, I (apparently the only truck driver at Canaan today) was asked to drive to Montrouis to get some gas for our generator. Interesting drive, as at one point I was forced to stop while 6-10 vehicles decided to follow the first one and use my side of the road to avoid a huge pothole or ditch that reached onto the road. So I sat hoping none of the semis and buses would hit my mirror or truck, culminating in one small vehicle at the end of the train who was polite enough to stay on his side of the road and got a major jolt as he hit the ditch, almost getting hung up cause it took about 2/3 of his right tire. And all this observed and guided by a bunch of teenage guys looking and trying to make SOME of them stop for me. No luck, but a nice little show.
It's felt a little bit like playing out a movie today.
Now I have to stop cause my battery is about dead.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Haitian Wedding

You want to know what a Haitian wedding is like? If not, you can save some time and not read this blog, cause I tend to go into too much detail. This will be only about the wedding, so don’t worry about missing other stuff.

Met ElFabre got married on Sat. He’s one of the guys here at Canaan that’s in the local administrative position. He’s been engaged since before I came (over a year ago) but he kept saying a woman wants a guy to be able to give her a nice home, and things, before he can marry her. He’s been building his house over this year.

So the wedding was set for 3 o’clock. One of my questions was, knowing that punctuality, or rather the lack of it, is a sure thing, at what time this wedding would actually begin. Knowing it would be late, I didn’t even plan to be ready before 3:30. Even then, I’d see everybody still walking around in work clothes. And if asked if they were going to the wedding, it was either a “sure” or “I don’t know”. This continued till after 4 p.m. and still, if asked what time the wedding will start, they’d still say 3 o’clock.

So about 4:15, with most of Canaan still not dressed, Bobi and I went to the chapel. Inside we found the 5 bridesmaids in blue waiting, as well as Rosemay (Canaan girl) and the bride (all decked out in her bridal dress and veil). We thought ‘how strange that Rosemay is also dressed in a white bridal dress, though with a tiara instead of a veil’. We debated about that while we kept waiting till 5ish. I told Bobi that the bride looks different. I hadn’t met Adeline (the bride) more than a couple times in the last year but this just didn’t ring a bell. I even told Bobi ‘what if they switched with someone else’. I said this just doesn’t look like her and I don‘t believe it‘s her. It was weird. Then the party went out. People were actually starting to fill up the chairs.

Then Stephanson (from Canaan) comes in and stands waiting till Rosemay comes in dancing, and there started the elaborate wedding dance. It was really fun to see. I may never again be satisfied to see bridesmaids walking demurely down the isle!!! Apparently this wasn’t the longest or most elaborate wedding dance ever, but it was interesting to watch - all a story. The ladies would drop the single flower they carried and the guy would stoop to pick it up and stay down looking up, all in a continual dance. There was even a “fight” among two of the guys over the ‘bride’ and her choosing one over the other. I thought it strange that she went and said down without anybody, behind Rosemay, who I figured was the maid of honor but thought ‘oh well, this is Haiti - who knows how they do it’.

Stepanson and Rosemay, the first in the wedding dance

Then the tempo changed, and lo and behold, the real bride walked in. Sister Gladys came in with her and the wedding proceeded with less minor differences. They stayed sitting, even for the vows, and only knelt for the prayer and rings. It was kind of cool, when they answered “yes, Pastor” for the vows, afterward the pastor asked the congregation what they had said, and everybody answered “yes Pastor”. It seemed more like the witness that everybody is.

The danced was performed again with the exit of the bridal party, but not as extensive.

So here’s the custom regarding the bridal party and the white dresses:
You have the godmother, which was Sister Gladys (and the male counterparts). She sits with the bride through it all. Some people’s opinion is they like to pick people with money, rather than someone close to the bride, which could be why they had a problem finding someone to fill the spot. They even asked me to do it, but that was a firm ‘no’ from me. I don’t even know the bride.
Then you have a queen, which was Rosemay, and the reason she was wearing a white dress with a tiara. The other girl in white dress and veil is the princess and the rest of the girls are bridesmaids. Apparently this is the custom for every real wedding. They have their guys of course, who are the king and prince. By dress you couldn’t tell who was the bride.

They served a plate of food prepared in a take-out plate, so serving went fast. They had over 100 people there, I’m sure. There wasn’t much of a dance afterwards that I know of, though that is usual. No gifts that I saw.

Bride and groom, queen, princess and bridesmaids

Godparents with bride and groom

And now, what do Haitians do for a honeymoon?

Some go straight to their houses without a honeymoon trip, but if possible their parents will bring them food for a week. Others do go on some sort of trip. I don’t know what this couple did, since what they really wanted and asked for was denied. Can you guess what that was? Probably not, so I’ll tell you.

They wanted to come stay in the guest room here at Canaan that is on top of the girls’ dorm and be served by the people of Canaan for a week. That brought an emphatic “NO” from Sister Gladys, but I’ll admit I feel a little bit like chuckling about it, trying to imagine that. There’s been a “honeymoon couple” here at Canaan once in the past and some of the little kids couldn’t figure out why they slept till noon, and some other little kids tried to enlighten them -“You know what they do..”

Not conducive atmosphere at all here at Canaan.

And now, hopefully they will live “happily ever after”.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Here we've had our busy weeks, as usual . It never ends. I guess that's a good thing.

Last week, we had a team of 4 here that we really enjoyed. Except they weren't really a team - more like friends returning, since 3 of them had been here last fall. Mark was here for a few months, and Travis and Amy had come to visit him during that time. They brought Paul this time, who grew up in Turkey, and that was an interesting subject of conversation for a lot of us here. He even sang a chorus in Turkish on Sunday.

Sat. was Canaan's 18th birthday, and it's a day they take to celebrate what God has and is doing here. True to form, there was a lot of work prior to it. A lot of the buildings got a facelift - the chapel inside and out (for those that know it, it's no longer pink!), the Shikoon, the kitchens, admin building, etc. In the morning, EVERYBODY went down to the road, and everyone got to meditate on why they're here, whether they really want to be here and why. So everybody had to say something, if they wanted to go up to Canaan again. It was a good reminder.
Then in the afternoon/evening, we had a service where a lot of other people were invited. It's suppose to be a time of celebration, and they had like different singing competitions, and solos, etc. (I got to be a music judge for the first time in my life!) Throughout the weekend there were other competitions, like sports, etc.

That night another team came in - our second biggest ever - 28 people (I think). I didn't know it before but they had a doctor and some nurses in the group so I had help at the clinic today. That was great because we broke the record again today (probably third Monday in a row) with 62 patients.

This week we're doing camp!! A lot of kids are here from neighboring churches, etc, (probably 30 -40) and the Canaan kids are doing wonderful taking care of them. This is a new thing for Canaan, but we wanted to do more to teach the kids to reach out to other people too. The team from the US is also helping with activities. They're a great team for that, since they have a camp for kids themselves (Bear Lake Camp).

This week we've gone over to Chris and Leslie several times. They both came down with fever. Friday afternoon we went and I did a malaria test, and that's what it was! Both of them at the same time! So to give them a free night to be sick together, Bobi and I brought Olivia (14 months) home with us for the night. She's such an easy child to babysit. Went to sleep with no problem. Was sitting and chattering at 5 a.m. though, but I ignored it and next thing I knew I awoke and she was sleeping soundly. I think she needs to come over more often. She didn't want to go with us when we said we were going home. And once there, she didn't want anything of mommy and daddy, and cried when we left. Maybe she needs a bigger social life too. :)

Tomorrow we're doing a little special for our Medika Mamba people - we're serving them a lunch, and with it we want to take a little time to share the gospel. Please pray that things will go well. It's a bit hard to organize something like that here.

OK, and if any of you are still skeptical of our Medika Mamba, look at these pictures of the same child. Guess how many weeks different??? 2 WEEKS! Yes, this difference is after two weeks of Medika Mamba, and loving care. Note the difference in his arms and chest! A missionary couple that just started a small orphanage took him in.

OK, I have other things to do yet online tonight. We came to Club Indigo, and it's getting late. I haven't been able to get online for several days, so it's catch up time right now.
God bless!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 2009

Hello, hello
This has been quite an interesting couple weeks... I feel so much happened that I won't recall it all. When will I start journaling again?

The Medical team went well and we saw lots of patients. We had 4 doctors and 3 PA students/Nursing Assistants. We did a new venture this time since we had a big group, and half of us went to do a clinic in Arcahaie. Talking to the pastor in whose church building we saw everyone, on the phone in the morning, he said there were over 200 people waiting (we had told him 50) so he had to send some away. All in all, it went well.
These are cute triplets that came for a checkup.

"Our pharmacists"

It seems everytime the team comes, I get to learn one more "doctor skill". This time it was dental. Dr Ric's father is a retired dentist and before coming he gave Dr Ric a quick dental lesson and some materials. Then he in turn taught me. So if need be, I can now fill a tooth! Of course it's just temporary filling but it can last up to a year or two.

Filling the first tooth ever with Dr Ric's help.

We've had a really good Mamba week this week. It started last week with Peterson coming. He is from St Marc and our missionary friends there brought him. They had no idea he was like that, living in their own neighborhood because the family was ashamed to bring him out so they kept him strictly at home. He is two years old. He has since been taken in by our friends there who have this year opened an orphanage. Thankfully he is being taken good care of now. He came back this week and had gained a whole kilo more than the expected, which is 5 grams per child's kilo per day. Yea for Peterson!!
Then this monday this little 10 month child came to see us at the clinic. Note her swollen feet, hands and face. Her cheeks are bulging. But her chest and arms are skin and bones. This is a serious stage of kwashiokor. Thank God, there's hope for her. She also came with what sounded like croup and asthma.
Little Jufta also came on Monday. We were told she's over a year. Later her mom remembered she's not a year yet, she doesn't remember her age (very common here). No matter... you can tell right away she's very thin. Her arms and legs were so small. She actually looks better on the picture than in real life.

Another child in the initial stages of kwash.

We have over 40 children in our program right now. Somehow lately the word has spread, which we are real glad for. Some need it so bad. We had one child in Arcahaie this Friday (still haven't uploaded the picture) who is 2 years old and weighed only 6.25 kg (about 13 pounds). That's the weight of some newborns!!

Another special occasion last week was a visit from Karen from Victoria, BC. She's been coming every year. Made me feel like an old timer to have people come back for the second year since I've been here! (Karen's in the middle)

Bonnie, Bobi, and I took her to the airport last Sunday. After dropping her off, we headed to the grocery store (a must every time we go to Port). On the way we decided to stop at a restaurant we'd always wanted to check out. We stopped, got a layout and prices of the place and decided to come back later for lunch if we felt like it. Well, as we put the key in the lock to open the door, it broke on us. Imagine how that left us feeling!! Now what do we do, in Port, just us three girls??
There were a couple guys from the restaurant that came and started taking the door apart. Not comfortable with that, we called Steve (owner of the truck) but couldn't get him on. We then called Chris, at Clean Water for Haiti, who gave us 3 phone numbers of people in Port. One of them was for a man named Kurt. I have a huge respect for this man now. He and his wife have lived here in Haiti for 10 years. He has a mechanic shop and does mechanic work for missionaries. He has an amazing heart. Even on a sunday after noon, he came where we were and helped us out. And this is a man that when he wanted to come to Haiti, no mission would take him because he was never able to learn to read and write because of a hearing problem. So they came and are working on their own now. (Don't ever limit what God can do through your own limitations!) He was able to get the key out, but we decided not to try to find a shop to make a new key, since there would be the risk of it not fitting anyway, so after getting hold of Steve, we messed up his afternoon too, by his bringing a second key to us.

So while waiting for him, we had lunch at this place. And a good leizure lunch it was and as we were paying for the bill, Steve drove up. No waiting time afterwards at all! (that tells you either how good the roads are or how long it took to eat :)

Today, Bonnie, Bobi, and I took the day off and went to our "lighthouse beach" again. That is one amazing beach! Totally isolated and the clearest aqua blue water anywhere.
OK, this is getting long and it's getting late. Generator will go off soon. Such is life here. Please continue to pray for us. There are so many needs, and blessings here - with the people from the community, all the kids and staff here at Canaan, and also among us "Americans" who serve here. Pray that we can bless the people here always, and not be a hindrance to the work.
God bless!