When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bugspray, Beef Jerky and ponytail holder

Everyone has been asked the question "If you were on a deserted island, what 3 items would you bring with you?" Well mine are listed above. These items have become my "staples" in Haiti this week. The bugs and ants seem to love the taste of my skin. Let's just say my feet and legs are NOT a pretty site right now. Beef jerky is my source of meat after I went to market the other day and saw where the meat is sold-out in the open, hot sun with flies swarming. (If you're on a diet picture that next time you want to snack). I think the last item is pretty self explanatory.

I have been in Jacmel this week which is on the south/east portion of the island. I am staying with a missionary who has lived here 25 years and the porch overlooks the ocean. When the generator isn't running I can sit on the porch and hear the lull of the waves. If it wasn't 110 degrees outside I would sit out there more often :) All kidding/complaining aside this is a beautiful area of Haiti. It's more "country living" than in the capital. At night it is so dark the stars shine bright. It reminds me of the verse in Philippians 2:14-15, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Looking at these stars I think about the benefits of being a child of God.

We went to the market here in Jacmel the last 2 days and bought things for some hurricane victims. We bought dishes, silverware, toothbrushes, soap, towels, sheets and various cooking utensils to hand out to 24 families in the area. Some of the homes were completely destroyed while others were just washed out- meaning all their possessions are gone. We came back to the house and with the help of a couple Haitians we divided all the goodies up and are planning on delivering them after church tomorrow. I look forward to this opportunity to be a representation of the Christian church. Thank you to everyone who has "sent" me to be this representative!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's all Gourde! (Good)

The currency in Haiti is Gourde (pronounced Good). The exchannge rate changes everyday but it is about 40 Gourdes equals $1. For example-we went to Mac Eppy yesterday to eat (the Haitian play off McDonald's) I had a combo number 3 which was a hamburger, fries and sprite and it cost $110 Gourdes-so about $2.75 US. Cheaper than in the states-the bread is much more stale too :) One of the favorite saying for the mission group this week has been "It's all Gourde!"

Some of my emails are asking about security here. At the guest house here in Port there are 2 armed guards at all times. There are gates around every house, church, building in Port with individually hired guards at most of them. Right now things are pretty safe with the government in Haiti. I don't go out walking around here alone at all. But I can within the gates of a safe property. When I am here my prayers definitely include asking for safety and safe decisions to be made by the mission leaders. We have drivers that drive us wherever we are going. The driving here is crazy! Oneof the drivers, David says he will teach me to drive when I come back in January. The other Haitians laughed b/c not many women drive here. I don't know if they are ready for Ginny in Haiti yet! :) On Monday when we were getting the clinic building set up there were Haitian men sitting around outside watching us work. I thought I would spread the love and took them trash bags as they were sitting in front of a trash pile. They blankly looked at me. Since I can't speak Creole yet, I led the 1st one by the arm over to the pile and pointed to the trash. The rest followed suit and started picking up trash. The American team cheered. I don't know if Haiti is ready for me yet. But I am here and I'm coming back! :) It's all Gourde!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Health Clinic

Here's something I thought I would never type: It's so hot here that my toe nail polish melted off! It really did! I smell good for about 10 minutes after my shower...then...I think did I just take a shower?

Our team was not able to get to Peredo to start on the Health clinic there because the river is still too high to cross. Some Haitians are getting out of Peredo by riding on the shouldes of another person walking through the river that is over their head! Even I thought this was a little too adventurous!

We held clinic Tues-Thurs at Emmanuel Christian Church in Port-au-Prince. We saw 252 patients in those 3 days. There were 3 Cuban trained doctors working with us. We had 4 different language barriers to work with: English, French, Spanish and Creole. It was just a little confusing but it all worked out somehow. There were 2 interpreters for the whole place. The cost for the people was about $0.50 US. This included seeing the doctor and any meds they prescribed. We saw anything from skin infections to upper respiratory infections to a large umbilical hernia on a baby.

The Haitian people really appreciated the clinic. This clinic will now be open one day a week. I am so excited about this because now we can do follow-ups for patients where as before we were prescribing people blood pressure medicine and had no way for them to come back and have it rechecked. We can also keep a close watch on malnourished children, pregnancies and chronic illnesses.

The school that is on the same property at the clinic is not in session yet b/c of the hurricanes. The start date has been pushed back one month. I was excited to hear that I am going to be coming into the school when I return in January to teach English and health education to the kids there. I am secretly hoping the kids will teach me Creole! I learned some this week but have a long way to go.

We are sightseeing in Haiti today (although everyday has been a sight!). The team from Indiana leaves Monday so please pray for travel safety for them. I have had so much fun with them and made many memories that I will never forget. Some of them are considering coming back to Haiti and I hope and pray that they do.

Thank you for your prayers and emails of support.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm here!

I landed in Haiti this morning about 0815. The flight went well -I slept the whole way. I am with a mission team from Kokimo, Indiana this week and we are getting along well and having a great time already. I have laughed a lot. It is good to work with and fellowship with other Christians.

We are at Wall's Guest House in Port-au-Prince getting settled in. The national missionary, Roro is trying to find out exactly where in Haiti we will be working. Here in the capital things are dry and look like they did the last time I was here. It's the outlying areas that are flooded/mudded. Please pray that God will lead us to the areas that are needed and we are supposed to be working in.

There is a ling line for internet usage right now and I am getting eaten alive by bugs so I am going to go get some bugspray! Thanks for all the prayers and please continue to pray for the Haitian people and be sure to thank God for my safe trip here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Getting Ready!

This Saturday is the big day. Leaving for Haiti for 3 weeks. I just heard today from the director of Haitian Christian Outreach (HCO) of the loss in our areas we are planning on working in. I can not imagine what the pictures I have seen in the papers and on TV will look like in real life. The people I worked with in Seguin on my February trip can not get down the mountain due to mudslides and no one is able to get up to them either. The word from Haiti is they are starving. The only way to get food to them is by helicopter. Missions in Haiti are trying to get the United Nations to deliver the food to Segiun. Please pray for these people. I have many memories of the children I met in Segiun and I am very worried about them. They did not have enough food to eat before the hurricanes-so this is a very desperate time for them.

Our mission, HCO has received word that a lot of supplies were lost in Peredo. 200 bags of cement bought for the construction of church camp, school supplies, tools for construction and medicines were lost in the flooding. While these are are replaceable items some in Peredo lost their lives. So far they have found 7 bodies in Peredo alone and expecting to find more as the waters go down. I keep hearing different counts of loss of lives on the news. It would be hard for a country like Haiti to know exactly how many people have died due to lack of communication issues.

The Haitian missionary, Roro is in Haiti now and he says there is much devastation. If you would like to help with relief efforts please visit www.haitianchristian.org.

I am hoping to keep in contact through this website and through email but I have heard that electricity is going to be very hard to come by in most of the areas we will be working. Please pray for our efforts and for God to lead us on our trip.