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

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.