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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This week sure was hot in Haiti! I know being Haiti you would think it's hot all the time and it is, but this week was miserable! Finally rained last night and cooled things off. I think we all we happy for that. As I was laying in bed at night with my balcony door open and the fan directly on me and still hot, I couldn't help but think of all the people out there trying to sleep in this weather in a hut with no circulation and no electricity for fans. I was settling in last night to sit down and check email and then go to bed when there was a knock at the gate. Our cook had come back around 8pm and asked if I could make a house call. I got dressed and gathered some supplies and set out into the night trusting she would take me to the right place. When it is dark here-it is dark! She at one point asked me if i was scared and in my shaky voice I said, "No, because God can see everything even when I can't." She smiled. We arrived at the little shack to find an old woman sitting nearly naked on her front stoop with about 40 people surrounding her. After convincing her family to send all the people away, I talked with her and checked her Blood Pressure. It was 180/100. Her family told me it couldn't possibly be that high b/c they had a Haitian nurse come by earlier and take her BP and she said it was low. They insisted I take it in the other arm. I tried to convince them I knew how to take a BP and I was absolutely sure it was really high. Boy was that fun in my broken Creole! She was sweating (well we all were) and her Heart rate was 170. She said she hadn't slept and hadn't eaten or drank anything that day except for the water with her blood pressure meds. I asked to see her medicines and found she was taking 3 different kinds of BP meds. She says the same doctor prescribed them all at the same time. I told her family she needed to relax and one of her granddaughters bathed her and I put some Biofreeze gel on her neck and shoulders and had her sipping some cold water we sent someone to buy. All they had was room temp and I knew how hot the room was! She really enjoyed the cold water. I gave her a Dramamine to help her sleep too. After praying with her and making sure she was tucked in (they insisited on a blanket-I almost passed out at the sight of it) I came back home.

I checked on her today and she looked great. Was dressed and sitting up by herself. Told me she ate breakfast and was drinking more. I talked to her about staying hydrated and going back to the doctor regarding blood pressure medicines. Her BP was 150/82 today. High but better. She said she slept great! And I thought well you should have- I gave you a full dose when I usually only take 1/2 dose of Dramanine myself! She thanked me over and over and let me know that she knew how to get ahold of me now if she needed me again! When I was leaving She said she would see me later "si Bondye vle." (if God wants)

Thank you Lord for the Healthcare system in the US. Even though it is far from perfect. And thank you for the opportunity to help a neighbor...

Proverbs 14:21
"It is a sin to hate your neighbor, but being kind to the needy brings happiness."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School days in Peredo

New back pack and flip-flops! I can't believe my eyes!

Look at our new bookbags!

I love my new backpack!

He doesn't know who Spiderman is, but loves the backpack!

Yesterday we passed out 89 backpacks sent from people in Licking Valley Church and Utica Church to the school kids in Peredo. What a fun day at school it was. We should have waited until the end of the day because the kids were so wound up afterwards! The teachers and principal enjoyed helping hand them out and they all received a satchel bag too. Thank you all so much for showing God's love through back packs! 89 kids in Haiti say Mesi (thank you)! To learn more about supporting the school kids in the village of Peredo through the mission Haitian Christian Outreach, go to www.haitianchristian.org.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Being back in Haiti this past week has been like coming back to my second home. I am feeling more and more comfortable here each visit. I am still missing my dog and missed the 1st Ohio State Football game of the season-but my heart is happy to be back in Haiti. Last week I flew in with a short term team from Indiana. We held a mobile medical clinic in the village of Peredo for 2 days with 2 Haitian doctors and then went up to the remote village of Seguin in the mountain area past Peredo. We did some more cleaning of the clinic there and then handed out clothes, shoes and some quilts to the people there. The weather has been nearly or at 100 degrees everyday but Seguin is at such a high altitude that it is cool during the day and actually cold at night. Seems like the wrong thing to say when talking about Haiti but it is actually cold there. I took up some clothes that Churches in Licking County sent like jeans and long sleeve shirts and some long skirts for the women and the team from Indiana brought shoes. One little girl who walked to the clinic by herself named Jenny (pictured above) received a pair of shoes and a warm quilt to sleep in. She was so cute! I couldn't help but scoop her up in my arms and then couldn't hardly put her down. When I asked her where her mom was the only reply I got was, "Li pa la." (She's not here.) We saw her in the distance walking back home with her new pink Croc shoes and new pink quilt bobbing around her neck. Thank you for the support of this mission. There is no way we could fill all the needs of the people of Haiti but I know we made a difference in Jenny's life.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Heading down South

I am sitting in the airport waiting on my long day of travel back to Haiti. I wanted to share with you some of the pictures of the things churches in Licking County are sending with me. Over 70 backpacks were collected, around 8 beautiful, handmade quilts and some awesome handmade dresses (I wish they fit me!). My suitcases and fought for a few hours trying to cram everything into 3 bags with a 50 lb weight limit. (They probably teach that class in missionary college but I went to a state school and took Organic Chemistry instead). I am so thankful to Newark Church of Christ, Utica Church of Christ and Licking Valley Church of Christ for all their generosity in giving/making these NICE gifts. Many people told me how much fun they had shopping and making these things but I have to admit that I think I have the best part of getting to be there and distributing in the name of Jesus-our Lord and Savior.

Thank you, thank you , thank you!

Proverbs 19:17 (NCV) "Being kind to the poor is like lending to the Lord;
He will reward you for what you have done.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The church building in Peredo doesn't look like anything special on the outside. When my dad first saw it, he compared it to a tobacco barn. The walls are open, made with slates of wood. This provides the much needed breeze during the hot church services and during school. When the people sing the neighborhood and people walking by can hear well through these walls. Roro's truck is the only vehicle ever parked out front. The congregation walks to church. None of them have vehicles of their own. The building has multiple purposes and uses. This building is where mobile clinics are held and where school for 57 children is held too.

The building is transformed into a school for 3 grades during the week. Large chalkboards are used to separate the rooms. With all the openness and noise audible from the other classes, i don't know how the students concentrate on their class. But they do! The plan is to build a school on this property in the future. Thank God he provided a church building for the kids to use for now. Haitian Christian Outreach saw the need for a school in this community and they didn't wait for the funds for a building. They opened the church to the kid in the community whose parents couldn't afford to send them to school.

These kids have definitely stolen my heart and are the kids I have gotten to know the best while being in Haiti. They are a constant visual reminder to me of the potential Haiti possesses. Thank you for the support of the schools in Haiti through Haitian Christian Outreach! For more info on supporting the schools please visit www.haitianchristian.org

Saturday, April 25, 2009

N ap cheche pou dlo-We are looking for water!

This week we started drilling for water on the camp property in Peredo. Prayers were said in English and Creole for water to be found. They came Monday and drilled for a couple hours and came back Tuesday morning but unfortunately the drilling rig broke down. The drilling team had to return to Port-au-Prince to search for replacement parts. They are planning on returning Monday to continue drilling. Please continue to pray with us for God to give us water at this site. Right now the school kids have to bring their own water to school and when teams come to work on the camp we have to carry in our own water. The people in the community won't have to walk as far either to carry water back to their homes.

The camp buildings are coming along too. The work is slow but steady. Nothing moves fast in this entire country. It is hard to believe how slow things are sometimes but when you are in the middle of it trying to accomplish something you understand why. There are no Home Depots or Lowes stores to run to when you need something. If the supplier who you get materials from is out you just have to wait until hey get more. That could be days...weeks...even months. The generator at the house I am staying at has been out for about 3 weeks now. The part can not be found needed to fix it so we have public electricity in the evenings but none otherwise. Haiti teaches one patience. But in a positive note I am posting pics of a gazebo that is almost finished and want to show you the process it took to build it. An American team that was down in February helped the Haitians measure out the plans. Everything was done by hand. From mixing and pouring the cement to cutting the wood on the top. Lots of hard work that was started in February and almost complete now. When the camp is open it will be used for a classroom.

A church in St Albans, WV sent down supplies for the ladies who work in the kitchens at Haitian Christian Outreaches schools. When I met them working they were using old hospital gowns as aprons and old towels and blankets to clean up after lunch. The ladies group at Gateway Church of Christ asked for a project they could do for the people here. They sent down aprons, towels and washclothes for the workers. They sent enough for all 3 of our schools! The cooks really appreciated it. Thank you Gateway!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Random pictures

Ok-I know it's time for another update but I don't have a specific topic to talk to you about so I'm going to put up "random pictures" and tell you about them. Some about the culture, the church and I am working with down here and whatever else I find that looks interesting.

This is Dr Rony and Dr Gregory. They are 2 of the Haitian doctors I work with in the clinic in Port-au-Prince and the various mobile clinics. They grew up and live in Haiti but went to medical school in Cuba. It's a lot different working with them than it is working with American doctors. We work hard at the clinics and are usually very busy but we work well together. Well-I think we do-they might have a different story!

This is me and "Doctor RoRo" working in a "pharmacy" at a mobile clinic. We took the communion table out of the church and brought boxes of meds in and set up shop. This building we used only had a floor rocks to stand on all day. But the concrete building was a great shield from the sun-it was nice and cool in there. Once the patients have seen the docs, they bring a script to the pharmacy and get it filled. I have learned how to tell people to take medicines in Creole very quickly. It's good practice. We give out hygiene items too as we receive them from groups and churches.

This 1st pic is the view from the missionary house I am staying at. Yes-it's the ocean! ONe of the many perks to missionary life. The ocean is off my balcony. The 2nd pic is one of some of the flowers and trees. There are some beautiful landscapes here. The pictures below are the fresh seafood dinners we eat on the beach about 10 minutes from where I live. The fish is caught fresh that day and they grill it right there on the beach and bring it to y ou to eat at a tabke about 30 feet from the ocean. In my opinion it is the ultimate way to dine in Haiti.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

(triage at mobile clinic)

This past week a team from Illinois was in Haiti. We had a team of guys wiring some of the camp dorm room for electricity, a veterinarian, a dental team and nurse. The 2 Haitian doctors that I usually work with, Dr Gregory and Dr Rony, worked with us also. I never made it out of the mobile clinics in 4 days to see the vet working or the construction team. The clinic was so busy! I worked in the pharmacy, gave out numbers to people coming to be seen and ran around trying to find needed supplies. I think we all worked really well together, especially considering the amount of work we did. We saw some burns, from people always cooking over open fire. We saw a lot of older people with high blood pressure. And there were plenty of skin infections to go around. The biggest problem was scabies. We gave out treatment and taught the families how to rid their household of scabies. I have been trying to stress the importance of good hygiene to the people in the village of Peredo. But hygiene isn’t as easy in their life as it is in mine. I can take a shower, launder clothes in a washing machine and do all this with clean water. Out in the villages, the women in the families have to carry water back to the house. Some people take a public bath in the river, the same river that animals are standing in and people are washing their clothes in and taking back to the house. So telling a family to wash their clothes, bedding and all the fabric in the house in boiling water is not an easy task. Also the treatment available involves “painting” the skin with an anti-scabies medication twice a day for 3 days and then repeat in 7 days. They have large number of people living in one household so this makes the task very time consuming. The time that the parent spends on this clean up is time that they are not working. They have to work to survive. So for example, the time mom is spending on scabies treatment is time she is not in the market making money or not walking to get water or not cooking for the family. Compliance is a difficult issue. When the clinic is built in Peredo these types of issues can be addressed more thoroughly. The clinic workers can do follow-up and make sure the prescribed treatment is being followed. We can also have health education classes on these common healthcare issues.

(Fluoride treatment of our school kids)

One thing I learned recently about the Creole language is the way they do not take blame for actions. For example, say I had a glass of water and I dropped it. In English we say, “I dropped the glass.” In Creole we say, “The glass fell.” One real life example of this is last Friday the team that was here in Haiti, Pastor Gerard and I were going to a famous waterfall in southern Haiti called Basin Blu (Blue Basin). (see http://www.haitiantips.com/haiti-video.php/1103 for a video of this natural waterfall). We were driving down a steep road/alleyway and a big dump truck full of rocks was coming up the hill. It was a close call whether the trucks were going to hit each other as they passed b/c they were so close. The Trucks did not hit but the side view mirror on the big truck nearly knocked the American Veterinarian, Dr Mike, out of the truck. As those of us sitting in the back of the truck scrambled to grab onto his legs and feet (which were the only body parts still in the truck) the dump truck started sliding backwards and when the rocks in the back shifted, the truck fell over. Pastor Gerard was driving and saw what was happening from his rear-view mirror and got out truck out of the way just in time. God was truly with us that day, I know he is with us every day but He showed it last Friday. It was such a close call. The Haitian driver of the dump truck was uninjured too. After this happened there was a crowd of people all around saying, “The truck fell.” I had to laugh. At that point there was no blame being placed. (From my view from the back of the truck, I don’t think it was anyone’s fault this time. Just an accident) Would have been a different story in the US. It got a little chaotic as Haitians were crowding around our truck. I didn’t speak to any of them in Creole as I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I only begin speaking in Creole to the police when they showed up. We went to the police station in Jacmel, what an adventure for the team of Americans!

The vast majority of Haitians do not have a vehicle. One form public transportation in Haiti is “taxis”, which are motorcycles. They usually put 2-3 people on a regular size motorcycle. I have seen up to 5 on one! The other form is what they call a “tap-tap.” A tap-tap is a small truck with benches built into the bed of the truck and some kind of covering over the bed of the truck. Sometimes the covering is a tarp, sometimes a sheet of metal or plastic and sometimes a truck topper jacked up high enough to be able to sit under. They pack people into these vehicles and put goods and belongings on top of the truck. Sometimes people even have their chickens and goats on the tap-tap too. There are thousands of these trucks in the city of Port-au-Prince. They get the name tap-tap because when someone is ready to get off they tap the side of the truck and the driver stops.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In the afternoons I have been "following" a different kid from school home. The kids are starting to come up to me after school and ask if I will come to their house! Most of the kids in Peredo live fairly close to the school. At HCO's (Haitian Christian Outreach) school in Seguin, some of the kids walk 4 miles to school. While we are walking I talk to the child and usually our number increases in size as we walk through the village as other kids want to walk with us. When we get to the house I meet the mother or mother figure if she is home. Sometimes she is out doing laundry, sometimes at the market working, and sometimes she is at home cooking, cleaning or talking with her friends. I practice my Creole with the family and am always given a seat. The Haitian people are very hospitable. They get a chair (even if they only have one) and insist that I sit. They usually offer something to eat or drink but being as I don't want to get sick I usually tell them that I just got done eating. It amazes me that these people who have very little-offer a guest everything. I lose track of time sitting and talking with these families. I am trying to collect information for myself on how the kids in our school live. We have done some health teaching with them already and I hope this continues in the future. I want to see the resources they have at home so we can see what types of health promotion teaching would improve their health. For example, one of the teams that came down last month gave every child in the school a toothbrush and toothpaste and we did teaching on how to brush your teeth and how often. So when I visit their house, I ask the child to go get me their toothbrush and toothpaste. I can see where they keep it, if they still have it at all, and if it looks like it's being used. One house was using the toothbrush as a dish scrubber! So if I would have asked the child in school if they were using their toothbrush, that student could have said yes (technically it was being used to wash dishes!). One of the things I am learning about the Haitian culture is that I have to very specific when asking questions!

I also ask to see where the family how far they walk to get their water, how do they store it, where they go to the bathroom, where they store their rice/food among other things. This is giving me a better picture of where the school kids are coming from and what health teaching is important for this specific community in Peredo. I am also getting to know the families in this community. I am praying this helps establish a bond of trust.

Of course when I am walking back I have to stop at my friend Kait-la's house. I talked about her in one of the other blogs. She's the spit fire 5 yr old that I absolutely love! The other day I took her a couple of shirts and a few toys and gave her grandmother some soap and lotion. Kait-la was so excited about the clothes that she stripped down in the front yard and tried them on. Her grandmother told me that Kait-la looks for me everyday. What I didn't say was that I look for her everyday too!

note-I haven't taken pictures when I go out to meet these families. I am trying to be sensitive and think of how I would feel if someone came to my house in the US (who couldn't speak English that well) and asked to take pictures. More pics to come soon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cleft lip update

The father of the boy we helped get seen for his Cleft lip called yesterday and reported they they are back home and the surgery went fine! He said the surgery site is healing well and the little boy is running around and eating more than ever!

The Lord is good!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everyday Stuff

People are finally telling me that my Creole (the language spoken here) is good. I have been studying hard to be able to communicate here. People in the church are being very patient with me and the some kids learned yesterday that I am picking up the art of breaking up fights in Creole. There were 4-5 kids playing here yesterday outside and I was cleaning inside the walls so I couldn’t see them but could hear them. One started screaming and crying and I think the mother hen in me came out and I went out to get the story. In my limited Creole I asked the kid who hit if he wanted me to hit him and he laughed and said no. I then asked if he wanted me to go tell his mom. He said that I didn’t know where he lived! (Sounds like a response from a kid in the US!)Then I gave a lecture on how we don’t hit each other. I walked away not proud for breaking up a fight but proud that I could yell in Creole. Finally!

The weather has been nice during the day here with some hard rains at night. Last Friday evening there was a hard rain and storm in Port-au-Prince and we drove to Jacmel the next day. There is a place called Ka Fou that we drive through coming out of the capital. Because of the rain the night before it was a sludge of mud and trash. Plastic pop bottles and other trash were in the street, on the sidewalks, basically everywhere . The road was littered with trash and mud that had washed down the hill. I saw guys carrying people (mostly women) on their backs crossing the street. I was told that people were paying those men to carry them across the dirty street on their backs. It truly was a mess. People walking through that dirty, disease infested mud. In a city with so many people crowded into one place trash is a huge problem. There are few dumpsters around and those are usually full anyway. So there are big trash piles on the side of the road and once they get really big they are burnt. Kids play around these and dogs, pigs and goats walk around in the piles and eat. Here is a picture of one on the way to the church in Port-au-Prince. No matter how many times I wash my hands while I’m in Port I still don’t feel clean. You can see what kind of a challenge the medical personnel in Haiti are working against.

trash along side the road in Port-au-prince

But the beaches in Jacmel (southern Haiti) are amazing. Light beige sand and blue/turquoise water. Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic. The DR is known for it’s vacation spots and resorts. Haiti has the same beautiful areas but they are undeveloped. I guess people are still afraid to travel to this country and because of that there is not much invested in tourism. I admit there have been a few times here that I felt nervous. I can honestly say I was more scared of being in Mexico when I was there than I have ever been here. There are some hotels here and I went to one to eat for my Birthday. The food is good and most of the views are oceanfront. I ordered a chicken sandwich which would be on a sub bun with chicken and cheese and sauce. The waitress came out and told me they didn’t have any chicken sandwiches today (which is not uncommon for restaurants here not to have multiple things on the menu on a given day). So I ordered a ham and cheese sub. They brought us out our food including my sub and another guy at the table ordered grilled chicken breast. So they had chicken and they had bread and cheese but they didn’t have chicken sandwiches! So is life in Haiti!

(Cap Lamandu-hotel/restaurant for my B-day dinner)

(view from restaurant/hotel)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Language barriers

Just thought I would update on my lastest good news this morning...I got a hot shower! This is BIG news for me considering I have been taking cold showers for over month. I just don't think you get as clean with cold water. As a matter of fact I know you don't.

I forgot to put a funny story in yesterday's blog. I have been speaking mostly Creole to try ot learn the language. And I know I have made lots of mistakes but this one takes the cake! Last week I was tired and I told some Haitians that I was going to go lay down (or so I thought). In creole the way you say I'm going to lay down is "M ap kouche." But instead I said "M ap akouche." They were looking at me funny and laughing. I had no idea about what. I found out later that evening that "M ap akouche" means I am going to go give birth! Funny how one little letter changes everything. There have been other times that people are laughing at what I have said. But the Haitians are helping me learn the language when I am not in school and teaching me a ton. They are often surprised that a "blan" (white person) is speaking Creole.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

House Calls

Another week finished in Peredo. Peredo is the place in southeast Haiti where Haitian Christian Outreach has a church and school and is building a church camp and a medical clinic inthe future. There was a team of Americans down to do construction work on the camp this week. They were a lot of fun and hard workers. While they worked I took pics, went to the school and talked/played with the kids, and walked around the area meeting people. I did some "house calls" to a couple of the families in the area. There is a little girl who is 4 years old that goes to the school in Peredo. He name is Kaitla. She is adorable and deep down became my favorite quickly. Talk about a spunky, stronged willed 4 yr old! I have a feeling I was somewhat like that when I was 4. She asked me to come to her house after school and after nearly falling over b/c I actually understood her (my creole lessons are starting to pay off), I told her I would. I walked to her house my myself after school that day. I was surprised to find her in her underwear outside the house eating a little fish. I hope it was cooked! She said it was a sardine. I was invited in to the yard by her grandmother and soon found out that Kaitla's mother works in the Domincan Republic and comes home every once in a while and sends money home, but Kaitla lives with her Grandmother. After I asked Kaitla where her clothes were her grandmother jumped up and snatched her inside the house. I didn't know what was going on and wondered if I said something wrong in Creole. But a few minutes later they both came back out dressed in their Sunday best. Grandma started giving her a wipe down with the only water they had there at the house in a 5 gallon bucket. Then she steered Kaitla over to me and I told Kaitla how nice she looked. We talked for a while with as little Creole as I know how to say and then I left-only to see that Kaitla was coming with me. I figured I kinda asked for it so I let me tag along. Then I went to the next house. It is the house of Genio who is one fo the guys that drives the big dump truck and other trucks for the mission. I knew he was working with the others at the work site so I took the oppurtunity to go talk with Madanm Genio. She is the sweetest lady, kinda quiet and was surpised at my visit. I sat with her while she cooked. She was cooking rice and potatoes over a charcoal fire. The chickens were running around, the dogs kept trying to get in the food and then her 9 month old started crying as he woke up from his nap. We were talking in Creole-well I was talking and she was usually laughing at my mispronounciations! I was sitting there looking at the food she was cooking wondering what my mom was cooking back home and I got a little homesick but then I thought about the awesome experience I was having. I was sitting in a 3rd worled country watching how a woman is cooking and providing for her family first hand. I said back and took it all in. I wish I could fully describe it to you but I can't. I was going to ask her if I could take a picture but I felt like that would ruin it. I was really seeing into her daily life. I couldn't help but wonder if she would sit and stare at me cooking at my house. I saw Madanm Genio 2 days later and she responded to me differently than she did before I spent some time with her at her house. She was warm and inviting and probably waiting for me to say something else wrong in Creole!

Here are some pics of the progress of the work in Peredo-those of you who have been here working on it should know that it is going well. And I want you to be able to see the progress.

(the gazebo they are building)

(the new depot-the other was destroyed in the hurricanes)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I had the opportunity to teach Sunday School last Sunday to the Kids at church. There were about 50 kids there and most were in the age range of 4-8 yrs old. I did the lesson of Jesus walking on the water and Peter stepping out and then doubting and starting to sink until Jesus reached out and got him.

Matthew 14 (NCV) says
Immediately Jesus told his followers to get into the boat and go ahead of him across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home.23 After he had sent them away, he went by himself up into the hills to pray. It was late, and Jesus was there alone.24 By this time, the boat was already far away from land. It was being hit by waves, because the wind was blowing against it.

25 Between three and six o'clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water.26 When his followers saw him walking on the water, they were afraid. They said, "It's a ghost!" and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus quickly spoke to them, "Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid."

28 Peter said, "Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water."

29 Jesus said, "Come."

And Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, "Lord, save me!"

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, "Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?"

32 After they got into the boat, the wind became calm.33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, "Truly you are the Son of God!"

I used a blue sheet for the kids to get around and sit on the ground holding a piece of it and shaking it to make it seem like stormy water. Then the kids took turns "walking on the water" like Jesus. I think it went well but I could tell that the kids aren't used to object lessons here. But I know how much easier it is to remember something that you saw than to remember something that you heard. I am going to try to come up with more lessons and find some on the internet to do in future weeks. I taught Sunday school back home and finding materials and resources is so much easier in the states. But the kids here are attentive and they take everything you say in and absorb it like a sponge. I was so happy to be called Miss Ginny today instead of "blan."

It's nice to see relationships developing with the people and myself. I am missing all you back home but I am excited about the new people I am meeting and new friends I am making from a totally different culture.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last week in Haiti has been quite the variety of situations. I worked with an American team (well I took pics they worked) putting on 1.5 roofs on dorms at the church camp HCO is building in Peredo. It was hot, but Americans and Haitians alike were eager to work. They did a great job improvising and using available tools and equipment. Sometimes the generator didn’t work for the power tools, sometimes the measurements were off, but the whole time 2 groups of people from very different cultures worked together. I love watching people work together, trying to accomplish the same goal using different languages and different methods. Somehow it works out.

I met the kids at the school in Peredo this week. There are 57 students who meet in the church building for school. Right now there is preschool, kindergarten and 1st grade. I played with them, helped serve lunch and by the end of the week I wasn’t just the “blan” (white person) but “Miss Ginny.” I think I was their entertainment as I practiced my Creole with them. By the sounds of their laughter I am sure I was. The kids all meet in the same one room building. The chalkboards separate the classes. They sit in folding metal chairs all day. Lunch time is a treat for them. They each get a bowl of rice and beans or rice with a soy, protein supplement. They scraped the bowls clean! Then it is rest time-some fall asleep sitting up in their folding chairs.

On Saturday there were some people who came to the HCO clinic in Port-au Prince to start planning a surgical center for children there. They have some big plans! Please pray for this project as it would help hundreds of kids with Hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) and cleft lips/palates. The Project also would provide a neurosurgical residency for Haitian doctors which is much needed here! Exciting things are happening in Haiti.

Saturday night I went with the Short term group to see a dance/theatre put on by former Haitian Street Boys. There is a mission here that started that program over 20 yrs ago and they take in orphaned street boys and raise and educate them. They also teach them dance and do a show for visitors to raise money. It was a great time. They have danced in New York, Chicago, Canada and other places outside of Haiti. Listening to some of their life stories I was reminded how God loves each of us and never forgets us! Some of the boys had been slaves as children here in Haiti. I could see the thankfulness for opportunity in the boys dance. Psalm 149:3 says, “They should praise Him with dancing. They should sing praises to Him with tambourines and harps.”-NCV. And praise Him they did! I can’t imagine a life where people would avoid eye contact with me, cross to the other side of the street to avoid me and then to have people coming to pay to watch me perform. The boys talked about how it improved their self esteem. So there are some of the random events from last week. I need to go study my Creole more-those are instructions straight from my teacher-so that’ll tell you how school is going.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Practicing Creole

I worked in the clinic here in Port-au-Prince on Saturday morning. I worked with a Haitian lady (who speaks about 20 english words ) in the Pharmacy. I had a good time. I got to practice my Creole, and learn some new medicines. For example, Cloroquine is a medicine given to treat malaria. We don’t have malaria in the US so I didn’t know the correct dosages or side effects. I found out that most of the other meds are pretty much the same except the names or pronounciations are different. So it’s just taking some adjustment to what I am used to. I worked with 2 of the same Haitian doctors that I worked with when I was here in September. They remembered me-I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing.

I’ve met some interesting people staying here at the guest house. I have become friends with am American Doctor and her husband who is a pastor. They are my age and have been here about 2 months already so it’s been nice to have people who know what the culture shock is like to talk to.

I caught some kind of "crud" here and I have been sick with a cold the past couple days. This is also day 3 of having no voice. Some Haitians have tried to makes me some "teas" so help it but it doesn't really so I broke down yesterday and started medication. Kinda hard to practice Creole with no voice :)

Well this is a short one but I am working with an American construction team this week and still don't feel good so I'll write more soon!