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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Had a great week last week with a medical team from Southeast Church from Louisville Kentucky. Not only was I happy to be back out in the village of Peredo working, I was happy to have a surgical team come to work for the week. We did a mobile clinic as we usually do, still waiting on the clinic in Peredo to be finished with construction. This team was ready to do surgeries from earthquake injuries but they were flexible and so fun to work with. This was a team I was sad to see leave. We did several cyst and lypoma removals from people an once word got out in the area that American surgeons were here, Haitians started coming out of the woodwork! There were lots of people we were not equipped to handle and I sent them to a nearby hospital with a letter of recommendation.

There were several patients we helped tremendously. One is pictured below. Her name is Manuela and she is a 12 yr old girl who had a large cyst on her foot. It didn't cause her any pain but she was unable to wear an shoes except flip flops. This made it impossible for her to go to school the last year. There is a strict uniform and dress code in the schools in Haiti. Because she couldn't wear shoes she had been out of school for almost a year as the cyst got larger.

Dr B, an orthopedic surgeon in Louisville, examined her and decided to take it off and said it would be no proble
m but a painful procedure. We had Manuela lay on a church pew. A folding chair was used to set up an IV and for anesthesia meds. There was an anesthesiologist on the team also. He said he could provide sedation. He placed an IV and gave her Versed and Ketamine (made me a little nervous doing this out in a remote village but he did have a pulse ox) and then he gave her nerve block in her ankle. Dr B then removed the cyst and I translated for the girl and doctors. Her mother said the sight of blood made her sick so she waited outside.

The entire procedure took about 25 minutes. The mom was so grateful and Manuela was still pretty drugged up. We asked her to come back the next day to have it looked at. She came back and didn't have any memory of the procedure the previous day thanks to the Versed!

The surgeon and other doctors from this team shrugged off their work this week in saying they did some "simple procedures." To them they were simple, but to the people like Manuela, it means getting to go back to school, a huge privilege for children in Haiti.

Even though Manuela isn't a victim of the earthquake, she was still helped by a medical team God provided through the earthquake. They helped multiple others last week too. They were a huge encouragement to me and I hope they return to Haiti soon! For more information on coming on a medical trip to Haiti and work with us go to www.haitianchristian.org.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mesi Petit mwen!

There is a little old man who had a block fall on him at his house during the earthquake. He came to out clinic and had an abcess on his side where the block had hit him. The doctors opened it up and put a penrose drain in to let the infection drain. He comes in daily for dressing change and was getting a shot of Ancef everyday to help with the infection. When he would come in he talked to me about what was going on at the clinic that day while I was getting his shot ready. Everyday after I gave him his shot he wold say, "Mesi petit mwen." (translated-thank you my child) I would laugh and tell him he didn't have to thank me for giving him a shot. But the next day it was the same story. The penrose drain finally got taken out and we were packing his wound and everyday. It was healing but really slowly. I started thinking the reasons for this and realized his nutrition was probably not so good. When I asked him when was the last time he ate he said, "2 days ago." I got him my granola bar out of my bag I had brought for lunch and a Boost nutrition drink someone from one of the teams brought to the clinic for malnourished patients. Then I gave him the equivilant to $2 US in Haitian money and told him to buy himself dinner that night. I did this for the next couple days but when he would return he never asked me for anything. Not for food or money. I had to take him in another room away from others to do this b/c I can't give it to everyone. I would guess he is about 70 yrs old and always had the same clothes on everyday. I found myslef looking forward to seeing him in the clinic everyday. His wound is pretty much healed and he doesn't need to come to the clinic for that anymore but I told him to come back and see me if he needed anything. His looked at me and nodded his head and left with saying, "Mesi petit mwen."
Feeling so much better after being sick last week and after 2 days of rest! Came to Jacmel Friday night and went to the beach on Saturday. I almost forgot sitting on the beautiful Caribbean shoreline that I was still in Haiti. But I needed to forget for a little while and relax.

Clinic in Port au Prince has been so busy. We had the Jamaican military there on Thursday and they brought doctors and pharmacy workers and best of all- medicine! We were almost totally out of medicine. Every medical agency in the country are needing the same meds and right now they are difficult to get. We went to US AID to get meds on Thursday morning and they were closed for a training session so no one could get meds from them for the whole day. We emailed them and gave them a list of the meds we are looking for and they only had 2 out of almost 20 requested meds. The Jamaicans said we could use their meds all day long but they had to take what was left with them at the end of the day. We, of course said, "Deal!" They had more supplies than I have seen since I have been here after the earthquake and I have been in several hospitals. The Jamaicans are being very kind to the Haitian people.

There is a team of doctors, nurses and surgeons coming from Kentucky. They will be here this afternoon. They are bringing medicines and supplies with them. We are going to have clinic out in the villages of Peredo and Seguin. So much effort is being put into Port au Prince right now we are going out to serve the people who live in the outlying areas of Haiti too. Please pray for safety and that we listen to God's plan for His people in Haiti.

Roro and Paul Ronk are still working on getting food to the people who need it. Things are still stressful regarding food here. When we were on our way to Jacmel on Friday, we saw a truck with supplies in the back of it. It was mobbed y Haitians. The Haitians pulled it all off the back of the truck onto the streets and people started taking it. We of course did not stop the car and kept going to avoid getting into the same situation. Please pray that the people of Haiti are helped in this regard and they will have peace in knowing God is in control and will provide for them. They have a kind of desperation we Americans do not understand. And I pray we never have to understand.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glimpse of Hope

I sat down here thinking of what story to write that has made an impression on me the last few weeks here in Haiti. While there are so many sad stories, I want to share one that is the opposite and not only happy, but shows hope for a country in despair. Sometimes being on the mission field it is frustrating to not see the fruits of your labor. Not only did I get to see some fruit of the labor of the work of us at Haitian Christian Outreach, I got to eat it too! (you have to read to the end of the story to understand).

I was introduced to Liney in the village of Peredo in January of 2009 by Roro. He is a key figure in the village of Peredo and was always out on the main road in the market. He had a very noticeable limp and Roro told me he had a large hernia but couldn't afford to get it fixed. Lest Spetember we took him to Caye-Jacmel and had a pre-surgery consulation with labs drawn. They set up the date for the surgery. Contributions made to Haitian Christian Outreach paid for his surgery and his care afterwards. In Haiti, when someone is in the hospital a family member has to stay with them and take care of them . They bathe them, change and wash their linens and cook and feed them. The hospitals do NOT provided these services. We gave Liney's wife money to stay there with him and do these things after surgery.
I hadn't seen Liney since his surgery until this past Sunday.And for the 1st time ever I saw him in church! I was so happy. Roro always has the visitors stand up and introduce themsleves. Liney shared with the congregation his appreciation for his surgery. He also told of wanting to become a member of the church and his desire to learn more about getting baptized! That wasn't the last time I saw Liney on Sunday. He left right after church and then was waiting for Roro and I on the main road with a bag of Mangoes!

Long time since my last post but haven't had internet for a long time. Sometimes it works but most of the time...not so much.

Things are still pretty tense here. The Haitian people are upset about not getting relief food. We have had 2 small riots on our church property of people seeing us bring in food on the trucks and taking it into the depot and not seeing us distribute it. We have been bringing it in and having some Haitians who are members of the church in Port au Prince have been helping packing them up for distribution. But unfortunately, there is not enough food in our complex to give to everyone. It is hard to be here and look at the people and know we can not help everyone.

The clinic is still open daily and we are seeing 150-200 patients a day. This week we had 3Haitian doctors, 3 Haitian nurses and myself working in the clinic. We also had one Haitian and one American working in the pharmacy. We have some patients who come for daily dressing changes and a few who come for their daily injection of Ancef b/c of their large wounds. Otherwise the other patients are primary care. We have had several people bring children and babies to the clinic and ask us to take them. We have given the children with families help so they can still take care of them themselves. But the others we have tried to connect with orphanages and a few of the kids are being adopted by people working at the clinic. There are been so many people down here "looking" for kids to adopt that the government is really cracking down on it. I understand the governments point that there has to be a process for adoption and not just anyone can come down here and take a child. They need to be checked out and made sure that the child is going to have a good home. It's hard to see the poverty ad devestation a child has to live in here but I feel if we can help the parents take care of ther own child, that is the best choice.

Took a guy to the hospital last night who was attacked by a dog on the street. Sarah Ronk and I went with the driver and the guy who is 21 yrs old. David, our driver, wanted me to drive at night in Port au Prince and told me I had to learn sooner or later. So here we go with the white girl who could hardly reach the clutch driving, the real driver in the passengers seat yelling directions, and Sarah Ronk in the back seat with the petrified Haitian boy who thought he was going to die of rabies. It was just as good as any episode of Seinfield I have ever seen! We got to the hospital and almost had to drag the patient in b/c he was so scared of getting a shot. We sat in the waiting area and waited for the American medical people to see us. They couldn't speak Creole so we translated for them for our patient. They gave him a tetanus shot but had no rabies shot. We are going to have to look for that today. They started talking to us about what we are doing here. They said they were leaving tomorrow and gave us a bunch of meds to take to our clinic. We were so happy b/c we have run out of almost all the meds we need. We go to buy them daily but the places are closed. The US military won't give us any meds. We have asked several times. The Jamacian military gave us some and US AID gave us some but not a lot at all. It is hard to look at all the palates FULL of relief supplies stacked at the airport and not seeing them getting moved out to the people. It is hard to read about the MILLIONS of dollars organizations like the Red Cross has raised and being here and not seeing things done. I am feeling like the world is starting to forget about Haiti again. When I think of Haiti I don't think of a country and poverty. I think of people and how they work together and all the things they have done for me and the stories and memories I have with them. Back to the hospital story. The Americans there asked us to stay and translate for them
all night. We couldn't stay all night but we stayed and helped them for a little while.

Well I am heading out to work at the clinic this morning. I have a ton of stories to post and pictures and hope to do that tonight. God is working through this disaster but the Haitian people are still terrified another earthquake is coming. Pray for peace of mind for them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Living conditions

There are many refugee camps in Haiti right now. Thousands of familes are living in them. They have sheets seperating the different "houses" ans are sleeping on the ground. People without these sites sleep in the streets at night. Literally in the street.
The pics are of a small refugee camp we found and took tents to to try to help people sleep off the ground. People here are really afraid of that is going to happen when it starts raining. There will be widespread disease. The rainy season here is nothing like I have ever seen in the states and with all these people sleeping in these camps, they will be drenched. There are no bathrooms at these camps either. This particular small camp we went to had about 50 families living in it. We had tents and food for them. We set up 3 tents and the people started arguing about who hwas going to get the other ones. THings started getting out of control and we told the people we were going to leave it they didn't calm down. Roro told them they were cutting off the hand that was helping them. We did end up having to leave there b/c it was getting out of control. It was sad though b/c there were families there who weren't causing problems but b/c of the unsafeness we had to leave.

I don't even know where to start. I have been in Haiti for a week now and trying to come up with the descriptive words is hard for me. Haiti, as most of you know, was not a stable country before but now it is just devestated.

I flew in last Tuesday with a Medical team from Michigan on a private plane that had leather seats, polished wood and a flight attendant who
(people waiting at clinic)
acted more like a waiter. There were 12 of us on the plane and it was packed full of medical supplies in the aisles. We were served Panera for lunch and I thought I was living high flying in a private plane. I never would have thought as a missionary I would have the chance to do that. I was about to leave luxury and go to a place on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

When we landed at the airport in Port au Prince it didn't look like the airport I knew in Haiti at all anymore. The actualy building was closed and there were US military people everywhere. They had set up a military base at the airport. There were army vehicles, large tents, and huge palates of stuff wrapped in heavy plastic that I found out was relief food being shipped in. There were rows and rows of food. The airport employees took our passports and didn't even look at them before stamping and then handing them back. No one's passport photo was checked. There was a long line of people waiting on the side of the airport and a military guy said they were Americans waiting to board a military plane and go home. I asked how much that cost and he said you sign a paper that you will pay whatever they bill you when you get home. They would take any America to a military base in the US and then you are responsible for getting home from there. I thought,"yeah that's about how our government works."

The traffic is so bad right now in Port too. I sat in amazement at all the fallen buildings. I would have guess they would have tumbled sideways from the earth shaking, but they fell straight down. The buildinggs that used to have 3-5 stories are flattened to the height if 1-2 stories. Some buildings fell on to the sidewalk and crushed the people walking. The roof caved in on Pastor Gerard's (Roro's brother) house. He was not home but on his way to church-thank the Lord. Some of you will remember "One Stop". That entire strip mall collapsed. Carribean market is unrecognizable. They said there were 100 people in there and none survived. I could go on and on about the devestation.

Thousands of familes lost their homes. Some headed out to the countryside to staywith family but the others are sleeping on the streets in Port or in refugee camps. I am sleeping outside in Port too. I have no seen a building still standing that does not have LARGE cracks in it. We are afraid if a large aftershock comes other buildings will fall. People are not scared to go in the buildings standing but they won't sleep in them. The Haitians are talking about how now everyone in Haiti is the same. Rich and poor sleeping outside.

We had our clinic open all week and the team from Michigan worked there. There was an Ortho surgeon, 2 ER docs, one Gen doc and 2 nurses and a pharmacist. They treated who they could and sent other to the hospital. I went to the children's hospital down by the American Embassy with Paul Ronk and his daughter (they used to be missionaries in Haiti), We took a woman with a broken leg who was showing signs of compartment syndrome in her foot. She said a Doctor had casted her on the street after the earthquake-without any xray or anything like that. Her foot was swollen 3 times the size of her other one. Someone then brought her baby over to her and he looked terrible. He was 16 months old and to me looked like a 6 month old. We took him with us. We arrived at the hospital and Paul and Sarah went with the mother and I took the baby to the Pediatric wing to be see. He was barley opening his eyes and had zero muscle mass. When I undressed him to be weighed I almost cried. He weighed an even 10 lbs. He is 16 months old! He had teeth and appeared to have no birth defects. Mom said he never breast fed and all she had been feeding him his whole life was soup and bean sauce. I dressed him again and was holding him thinking he was dehysdrated until he peed all over me. I mean all over me. I asked someone for a diaper. I was sitting in the waiting area with all the Haitian women and their children and I was their entertainment I think. There were so many American doctors and nurses working at the Hospital they were literally tripping over each other. They decided they need to recast mom's leg after looking at an xray b/c it was displaced still. They also put an IV in the baby after many, many attempts and kept him as an inpatient to help with his nutrition. The American doctors could not believe he was 16 months old. But the Haitian doctors had no problem believing it saying they see it all the time. Even though this baby is not a victim of the earthquake, he was helped by people coming to help. God always has a plan!

People here are still feeling trembles. I have seen things swaying after a tremble but never felt it myself I felt my first one last night. I was laying down reading and defintely felt it shake. Very strange.