Total Pageviews

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

food & patients

OK, so I can’t soak my feet in my foot massager cause it’s in someone else’s room; and just when I thought I’d do it, even if I only have about 10 minutes left on generator power. Oh well, I don’t need it to complete my day, do I? But it was something I had just set my heart on after doing one of the worst jobs I can think of – cleaning up vomit in a carpeted truck! I was bringing home a 12 yr old patient I had taken to the hospital today to get his casts changed, and I wasn’t past the hospital gates when it all came out. Swallow. And go on. I think I must have matured some since I was a teenager cause I didn’t yell at anyone. Lol
This morning, I loaded up 4 patients and their families whom I dropped at Pierre Payen hospital for checkups/cast changes, etc, and about 6 of our teenage girls, some staff and Sister Gladys and headed off to St Marc. The girls went to buy shoes; Second hand shoes. And some of them were still asking $26.00 US.
While they did that, SG and I went to the UN base to see how we can get help in putting up our barbed fence for the tents. We didn’t get that, but we felt God opening doors. We met with the person in charge of the World Food Programs, and they’re looking for more NGOs that can help with food distribution in this area. Between SG and pastors, we’ve got to know 80% of the people or more. That’s the kind of people they’re looking for, who know who has needs. They want to work under a big organization’s coverage though. I understand a little better what they’re doing. I kept thinking these distributions aren’t going to everyone. Right now that’s not their goal. The prices for food have been going up and that’s a problem for everyone, so their goal is to flood the market with so much food that it’ll bring the prices down. We told him we’ve ordered $5,000.00 worth of food from the DR and he’s like why did you do that, we’ll give you. We’ll see (and use this for different locations that they don’t cover, like Leogane).
While sitting there, we met the Major of the Argentina military, who are in charge of the security of the St Marc zone we live in (and loved that I speak Spanish), and we also met the chief of the Canadian police (some of whom live at Club Indigo a few minutes from us) (As soon as they heard I was Canadian, they’re like “you gotta meet him). Both of them as well as the Haitian police, patrol the area past us and they’re willing to help with security as far as making 3 or 4 patrol trips by our place every day. It would be a sense of the presence of armed guards at least. It would be good, but we still need someone to provide us with the barbed fence.
The patients weren’t all done so I ended up making another 2 trips to Pierre Payen after we got back. (THANK GOD for the road they’re making. It’s almost ready for asphalt to PP. You guys just don’t KNOW the blessing that is to us. The bumpy 20 minute trip will soon be done in a smooth 5 minutes or so.)
After we got back, I continued training a new girl I’m trying out. Right now, I’m just going to have her work the Convalescence place. It’ll give them more attention, which will be good, and take a load off me a bit. She’s still in nursing school – was suppose to finish her second last year in March and graduate next year, but now, who knows! So she’ll work for 6 months or so, and see if the school will be running again for fall. We’re trying her out this week to see if it’ll work.
I felt blessed this evening as I was returning from bringing the last boy home around 8:30, when one of the patient’s mom said I must be so tired and she just showered me with blessings from God – not in a religious way but just verbally. That was a new thing for me – that the people of Haiti bless me (other than PH and SG). Made it all feel worthwhile. We have some really sweet people recuperating here.
Around supper time, I got some visitors – Henry Reimer and Elisha Byler. Henry ended up being my second cousin – his mom and my dad are cousins. They’re from Mexico. They’ve been preaching in the tent villages, and apparently it’s been quite good. I’ve often wished there was more preaching going on. The people are quite receptive now – everybody is taking life more serious; And especially now that the aftershocks are still coming.
We’ve had a few, though they’re only 4.7, that really rocked the people. It’s kind of like these heavy balls used to break buildings – they don’t have to hit hard but a swinging steady rhythm will bring it down, especially if there’s one that’s a tad stronger. That’s what’s happening to some of these houses. The constant minor aftershocks are just weakening structures. They say in the Leogane area they’ve had aftershocks every week yet. The people are pretty much back in the streets again for nights.
In my last blog I wrote about Migerose and her sister; they both had Typhoid. I don’t know the reason for it, but a couple days after being at the hospital, they took both girls back home. As far as I know, neither had gotten treatment. I’ve been pretty upset about it, and angry at the non-existing health care system, and wondering how to change the ignorance about health in a country. Did they think it was hopeless anyway? Did they not expect me to continue helping them? Did they think the money I gave them for food would hire them a taptap back up the mountains? We’ve tried calling the leaders of the community, but the phone service up there is sporadic.
Ok, time for bed has long gone by. I better follow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


How do I describe a day like today? Remember reading about people that go way into the boondocks to do some kind of medical mission or something? Well, that felt like me today, just instead of doing it by foot or donkey, I drove a pickup truck that's new. But for some reason that didn't really bother me more than if it hadn't been new. Yes the road was awful, and I probably scraped the bottom a few times, and branches might have left some marks on it, but that's what we got the truck for. I even got to use the 4H. But wow, the road was bad. Took one hour to go 11 km.(about 6 miles). 1st gear was the norm. Parts had been washed away, probably from the 2008 hurricanes. Other parts looked like the bottom rocks of the ocean. It was a puzzle finding spots to not scrape on. I was really glad to get there, which wasn't Font Baptiste like I had thought, but a village only half way there.
I had quite a few hitchhikers too. I mean, think about starting a climb straight up the mountain, walking who knows how long, with a big load on top of your head? The first two I picked up were 2 older women, and I think I was almost as glad as they were, to be able to give them a ride. I kept thinking how grateful I would be if it were me.
This was the good spot

The scenery was beautiful and the closer we got the greener it became. They can grow a lot more up there. And the weather is nice too. I imagine it gets quite cold sometimes. It really felt like we were at the top of the mountains, though they said it keeps going up. Not sure where, since I couldn't really see more mountains.

I met 3 of the leaders of that community/organizations and they seemed very nice - intelligent and caring. I was impressed. Of course the usual - more sick people than malnourished ones. In fact, other than the girl in our program already, there were none. However, they didn't expect me to be checking them today, thought I just came to find the place (on that road??), so I spent some time just seeing the sick that were there, though I hadn't brought a lot of meds. The kids all needed worm meds. The leaders figured they could find more than 20-30 really malnourished kids there.
This 16 yr old seemed really sick. I'm pretty sure he had malaria. That's what I treated him for anyway. I was glad I had taken that medicine a long.
There was one 2 month old baby that came for milk. When asked why the mom wasn't feeding her, I got the common "she's sick". So asking further, I found she'd been sick since last Thursday (1 week) and she couldn't talk. It seemed strange. The biggest complaint was she couldn't talk. I asked them to bring her and they said "no, she's too sick, but if you could go see her, we'd show you". So we went (I had taken Joran, my mamba nurse, and Stephanson with me). I wasn't quite prepared to find her so sick, and VERY dehydrated. That was probably her main and biggest problem. She hadn't eaten since Thurs. and drank very little since Sunday, when she became non-responsive. She'd move around restlessly, and look around, but with unseeing eyes, and not responding. Her name is MigeRose.

Walking up to MigeRose's house

She is 18 yrs old, no husband, with a two month old. She lives with her mom, who is the typical older woman taking care of everyone. Beside her on the bed lay her 11 yr old sister with a high fever. They said she got sick the same day but she wasn't as bad. I invited the mom to drive down with me with her daughters and the baby and I'd take her to the hospital. She said no. I found out it was because she had no money. (They're a sweet, proud people) I told her she really needed to go, or she would die here, and when I told her she would get seen even if she had no money (after all there's enough foreign doctors here now giving free care) she finally agreed. So we packed up the sick 2 sisters, the mother, the baby, and another family member to take care of the baby and I brought them down to the hospital. They'll do tests tomorrow, but meanwhile they both got IVs in and are being hydrated. I hope MigeRose hasn't got something serious.

By the time I got home it was past 6 pm, another long day, that didn't end there, since I had to go do the dressing changes for the patients in our dorm. I've been wishing a lot lately that I had a nurse to help me here these days. Some days aren't bad but 2 long ones in a row is a bit much. So finally at 9:30 I was ready to start my evening, which of course to me means checking my emails. HA! You guys are important to me! Actually what I'm really doing is using you as my journal. lol

It's been a good day. I feel humbled. Awhile ago some of us "blancs" were talking about how being here in Haiti separates us from the distraction that life in North America is. It's a little easier to focus on God - we don't have quite as many "desires" that we need to be busy fulfilling. Today I was thinking living up there in the mountains would be another level of separation. How often would you walk to the next town if it took 3 hours walking, coming back all uphill? For me it wouldn't be very often. And yet, God felt close there. It was greener, and beautiful. The people were beautiful.

Please say a prayer for MigeRose, that she'll become responsive again, and her sister, who's a bit scared to be in the hospital. I feel like I should have stayed with them, at least a little longer, and made sure they were settled, but I was so tired by then, and hungry, having had only like a cup of water since morning. It wasn't bad all day, but when I get tired, I just want to stop. It's those times when I don't feel like it that I need more wisdom, and joy. This is a great teaching time for me from God. How important are my physical needs? (I'm not ignoring them, don't worry anyone. Ha!) And having said that, I better listen cause it's already 11:30 - bedtime!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Well, this week is going full speed again. This month is flying. I thought January was the longest month ever; I'm just as busy this month, but we're already half through!

This last weekend was relaxing - Sat. I took Allen, Jonathan, and Naomi to St Marc. They don't get out much and it was time! Why, the guys hadn't even been to St Marc and they've been here 5 weeks! (Those that have been here understand that comment). So we went to Epidore (Haiti's version of fast foods), where we met 3 of my missionary lady friends and joined them. Then we walked around the park a bit. They were having a meeting there all day, since it was the fasting and prayer weekend for them. Hundreds have become Christians this last weekend, if not thousands.
St Marc park

Yesterday I went in to get my truck serviced. Wasn't the best day for me. The two hours waiting turned to almost 4 (ok, so I was able to spend the first two at a Dominoes Pizza across the road :) Then the "I though" free service came up with a bill of $77 US! Gosh, I don't even pay that in Canada!
Traffic was bad and we didn't get the passports for Gaelle - AGAIN.
We were able to load up the truck with Mackerel cans again.
Then I came home and in the even went to pick up three more patients. Getting back to the dorm with them, I found some unwanted excitement there. One of the patients (he's the most well one, only has an infection on his foot) was yelling and saying things, like God will give him a revelation about everyone, and a lot of other unpleasant stuff. His cousin that's here too was actually a little scared of him - didn't want to sleep beside him. And some of the others were afraid too. I gave him some calming medicine; I hope it worked. My conclusion was that he was drunk; He went out yesterday. That or he went berserk (which has been known to happen since the earthquake). I guess I'll see how he is this morning.
This morning it's back to Port. We're going to the Jamaican Military base; they said they'd give us more cots and clothes and medicine.
OK, breakfast time.
Thanks for continuing to keep us in your prayers!

Friday, February 12, 2010

One month

One month since THE earthquake! Wow! It feels like much longer than that. What a full, busy month!

Today the country of Haiti is remembering! They are taking today, Saturday, and Sunday to remember, to mourn, and to fast; to pray to God and ask for forgiveness. Oh, that more nations would do this as a nation! They are doing 3 days of a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. fast.

There are places where the pastors are together, praying and fasting. Here at Canaan they are getting together at 6 a.m., 12 noon, and at 6 p.m. to pray, sing, confess, whatever. But it’s not limited to those hours. There’s been a sense of prayer and worship all day.

Things are quiet today. We did continue with school, though the hours changed. I asked the nurses to go down to the clinic, but strangely (maybe not so strangely) there were no patients, so I let them go home. They’ve been working hard. I kept busy for a few hours with my patients in the dorm. Had to take one to the hospital for follow up. She has external fixators on her ankle and we wanted to make sure they weren’t infecting. While I’m on the subject, please pray for Rosemartine – she’s having a tough time of it. She’s 50 yrs old, had a femur fracture. She cries every time I go there. I think a lot of it is emotional, more than pain. She’s by herself, and can’t get around on her own. It’s easier for me taking care of the physical wounds than the emotional ones. It’s kind of wearing on me today. Or maybe it’s just the whole emotional affect. Fasting can bring that out in one too.

Next Monday and Tuesday are national holidays, normally Carnival. That is not happening this year, but my nurses think they should have the days off anyway. Not sure if this will be nationwide but we’ll be closed. I hope not too many patients will come if nobody’s there!

I need to take my truck in for the first “check-up” on Monday. In two weeks, I have put more than 1,100 km on it. I don’t know what I would have done without it. Thanks again to all who gave for it. I’m not about to forget it! (Do you know that now they’re making the Nissan trucks with only one back light? Took awhile for me to believe that.)

We’re also trying to get passports for 1 yr old Gaelle and her mom. They were almost ready for pickup on Jan 12. They’re suppose to be ready but they couldn’t (wouldn’t) give them yesterday – they said because the electricity was off. I think it was more a matter of didn’t want to. Pray that it’ll work on Monday. I want to get that little one to the US for heart surgery. We’ve worked at it for months!

Please continue to pray for this country. As the initial emergencies have been dealt with, the country is trying to find a way to survive. It’s not easy. The refugee camps are overflowing – 10-12 people in a 4-6 person tent sometimes. There are so many things happening that we don’t think about at a glance. For example, what about prostitution? As hunger and needs increase, that too increases. Not having their own house/tents, in some places it becomes public, even around children. Or girls put in tents with strangers, including men.

Or cleanliness issues – not enough toilets (sometimes people go close to where they sleep), or hygiene products and cleanliness, especially for women, etc.

These are issues that are being dealt with, and hopefully a resolution can be found soon.

“God, Have mercy on Haiti! Restore the nation to a God-fearing nation. And may other nations take note, and bend their knees to an almighty, jealous God, who does not slumber, and who does not take idolatry and sin lightly.”

Monday, February 8, 2010


I should know by now not to make plans!

I had planned to go to St Marc to see the patients that might come here. Then someone had to go Port to take Dr Ric and A.J. (and later Pastor Marvin too) and since I needed to go one of these days anyway, I figured I might as well go now especially since Ric needed to get to the Embassy early to keep bugging them to do Orlancia's papers. I figured I'd get everything done.

But then.... a patient needed a blood transfusion and Ric being O- and them not being able to test anyone, he was the only one to do it. But... How do you give blood without a blood bank? No blood bags, no tubing,.... They called the people they work with in the States, but they got all flustered because none of the things they use are available. So they made do with what they had - emptying IV bags, etc. But it took long, so we weren't ready to leave till 2 p.m.!
Getting close, the embassy called saying the papers were done. Now to just get him and Orlancia to the Embassy on time! (They made it and Orlancia should be in the States by now!) I had dropped P. Marvin off at the airport - he was hoping to get a flight out. By then it was almost 4 p.m. so I went to the Health Cluster at the United Nations. These groups are formed in order to try coordinating the needs of everyone. Good but kind of a long hour to wait through, just to speak to one person. My goal was to find someone to help us with a security fence. Now to see if anything will come of it.

P. Marvin didn't make it on the flight, so I picked him up again and dropped off A.J. After that, it was late and I went home. A.J. was here overnight - he's from "A Leg to Stand On". They're here to establish a prosthetic base - short term but also long term. They're looking at possibly doing it here at Canaan. That would be an incredible addition to what we're doing. Especially with out Convalescence center, it would fit right in. So please pray about that. He's going home this week, and they'll decide where to do it.

So that was my day. Normal? Don't know anymore what that is. Doesn't feel productive enough because I didn't get my truck license plates, didn't pick up my truck insurance, didn't clean up my medicines, didn't help my BUSY nurse at the clinic (she had close to 50 patients today), didn't... Ok, I'll stop.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jamaican military

Ok, after an electric water foot massage (that I found in my storage room today) and several hours soaking my swollen dirty feet, a movie, a fan, a coke, and friends, I’m relaxed again after very probably the most tired day in Haiti yet!

This day turned out nothing like I originally thought it would. I must admit, I can’t say my life is boring.

This morning, after checking in at the clinic, I decided it was time to organize my medicines again. Yes, I think I did that on one of my last blogs too, but a medical team left and I probably got at least 7 or 8 tubs of stuff. It’s useless if I don’t know what’s there, so I started that. It’s hot, it’s full, and full of dirt, so first I had to make room. About halfway through, I get a call, asking me to take Nerivadson to Port – he’s being adopted. So drop my stuff and get him ready. I was just about ready to go when I got the call that it was canceled – he’ll go tomorrow. Just in time: I went down to let them know, when I hear someone saying they need like 9 tables and 20 chairs at the clinic. My antennae went up – WHY?

The Jamaican military showed up with 4 big UN trucks loaded with food and bottled water and medicine and doctors and soldiers (no idea how many); 5 doctors, plus some nurses. What a scrounging around, finding the best place to work out of and a method. I let them take over our patients, especially since I only had 1 nurse working today and almost 50 patients. I must admit, I would rather not repeat the confusion of patients and dispensation of medicines again – next time I’d know what to avoid. But by the end of the day, they saw 120 patients.

Then of course here it doesn’t take long for news to travel and people to arrive. Within a very short time, I’m sure we had close to a 1000 people there. (got some pictures up on facebook already.) The noise was tremendous – the chattering and talking and bustling and everything. I just decided to tune it out – let the military control it. That was what they were there for. On a whole, it went very well, especially after hearing how in Port, at one distribution, the people actually turned over one of those big UN trucks. Ok, so if I would run these food distributions, it would be done differently, but they were given orders not to return with food so they let the people go back in line, some up to 4 times!!

Of course, they brought for Canaan too, so I went up and got my truck (what would we have done without it? All other vehicles were out) and I made two ‘loaded’ trips with boxes of ‘Mackerel in Tomato Sauce’ cans and one loaded with bottled water.

After they were ready to head back, after 5 p.m., 10 guys, DR workers of neighbors of Chris and Leslie came for 2 vaccine shots each.

Oh, and another thing the Jamaican army did was build 2 latrines – don’t know if they’re done. That won’t be enough for the amount of patients we expect, so hopefully they will be back on Monday to make more. A security fence, and we’re set to get started with our field convalescence center. Oops – I still need a nurse. Any takers?

The Jamaicans, together with the Canadian military have been great in helping us. Pray they will continue.

I think I deserved my foot massage tonight!! Just needed a shoulder massage yet. Anyone wanting to come give me one? Lol

Tomorrow, Navedson is scheduled to leave for the US to his new parents. We will miss him. Everyone’s attached to him. He’s full of life in his toddler ways. If the papers get finished, Orlancia is going too, but as of today, she still needed to get the Prime Minister’s signature. They’re hoping he’ll give it tomorrow. Please pray! Also remember her siblings here, especially her oldest brother Mackenson. He’s a great 13 yr old brother who loves his baby sister so much, but he also knows the opportunity this is for her.

Ok, it’s late enough, I should be in bed. But then tomorrow is Saturday (what does that mean here though?)

Thanks for remembering us and praying!!