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

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)