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

Monday, August 16, 2010

This is a family I met in the mountains of Peredo while looking for babies and mothers for the nutrition program. I was passing a hut when a man asked me to come and look at his mother who was sick. I did and noticed this little girl sitting propped up by blankets. One of her eyes are crossed and I started asking about her. Her dad said she is year old but doesn't sit or stand or walk yet. Her name is Fondla. I went over and started playing with her and she had the brightest smile. I couldn't help but think that if she was in the states she would have been put in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy to help her. I could tell she had the potential to learn if helped. I could also see the love this family has for their little girl. I told her family I was going to look into getting her help. I had no idea how-I don't know any Physical or Occupational Therapists in this entire country. But at Nationwide Children's Hospital at home they are everywhere! Sometimes we don't realize how blessed we are to have so many resources in the United States.

I was down at the Texaco gas station in town one morning and saw some people from other mission in town. They were so excited about the new missionary who came to Haiti and promised to work here for 6 years. I asked what she does and they said she is an Occupational Therapist! Wow! Exactly the person Fondla needed. God's perfect timing. I am sure God brought me as the connecting piece for these 2 people. I set up an appointment with Jen, the Occupational Therapist and then told the parents.

Last Wednesday I made the hour drive out to Peredo. Fondla and her parents were waiting at the church for their ride. We made the hour drive back and entered the hospital for Fondla's appointment. A lot of buildings fell or were damaged at the hospital in Jacmel so the Therapists are set up outside in a tent. Jen came out and greeted us and met Fondla and her parents. She was excited at the potential Fondla has and spent an entire hour teaching the parents how to do therapy with her at home to help her meet developmental milestones she has already missed. Jen was confident Fondla will catch up and her parents were encouraged to hear that she has the capibility of walking one day.

I sent the parents with money for a tap tap (taxi to ride home) and a little food. They were so grateful for everything and kept saying, "Mesi Miss Ginny." I reminded them that God provided the means for me to meet them and the Occupational Therapist and He provided Haitian Christian Outreach with a vehicle for me to use to help people in the
community. I told them Miss Ginny could not do this on her own. I asked them to thank God and tell others what the Lord has done for their family. Thank you too for being a part of helping the people here. Without your prayers and financial support, we would not be able to help kids like Fondla.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Class Runneth Over

I am so excited to give an update on the mother/infant nutrition class in the village of Peredo. Last Monday I had to go through tap-taps and high water to get there. But it was so worth it. The mission truck was still broke down last Monday. I had prayed about canceling the class as I didn't have transportation and only one mother showed up the week before. But I knew I had made a commitment to them to help them with infant nutrition and I decided to go. I left the house at 11am and struck out to find a motorcycle taxi to take me to town. That went very easy. Then got to town and the tap tap was pulling out to leave so I flagged it down and they of course stopped for the white lady :) This tap tap only broke down once on the way and we were making good time. Or so I thought. I must have been enjoying the ride b/c an hour and a half had passed. When I drive I can get from my door to the church in Peredo in 50-60 minutes total. We pulled up to the river and everyone started getting off the truck. Normally it crosses the river and takes you into town. they said the water was too high that day. There were men waiting to be paid to carry us across the river. I had a quick conversation with God. It went something like this:

Me: "Lord-you've got to be kidding me."
Him: "Don't be a sissy."
Me: "Sissy?!? I just came all this way in a 3rd world country by myself!"
Him: "You were never by yourself. You give yourself too much credit. Now hang onto your skirt, climb up on that man's back and enjoy your journey."

(This pic is of the river when it is low enough to cross by truck)

So I did. I have to admit I stomped my feet all the way over to a man. He was getting teased by the other men that it was his lucky day getting to carry a white lady across the river. I climbed on and held on tight and soon all I could hear was the rushing river water and instead it making me more scared it calmed me instantly. I looked up at the mountains and their beauty-The beauty of God's creation. I had seem those mountains a hundred times but never from the view of a Haitian's back in the middle of the river. I learned that day to not to forget to enjoy the journey God has planned out for me.

Sooooooo....I took another motorcycle into town and he was driving like a maniac and giving me a huge headache on all the bumps and pot holes. I told him he could stop, I paid him and checked the time. 7 minutes until class. I held onto my skirt and started running down the path to the church. I made it there on time and to my delight all 7 mothers were there for class! They all even got there before me! I took a deep breath remembering how discouraged I was the week before when One mother showed up alone. I had prayed and asked God if this is not what He wanted to see me do in the village to please close this door and open another wide so i wouldn't miss it.

All the moms were dressed in their nicest clothes and they all brought their infants with them. I checked all the babies and they all looked good. We held our first class on the importance of Breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the 1rst 6 months. We talked about the risks of them feeding their babies unclean water and introducing them to solids way too early. The mothers were telling me they start giving them food after the baby is a month old. Food like rice, smashed bananas and mangoes. All the research doen by the World Health Organization in 3rd world countries states these babies she be exclusively breastfed for the 1rst 6 months. We discussed the advantages to this and the importance of compliance. THe mothers participated in the discussion. I had a "test" session at the end of the class to see if they really understood what we were talking about that day and they answered them wonderfully! I was so proud! Now getting them to put it into practice is another blog...

That was last Monday. This Monday the truck was finally fixed after 14 days. Thank the Lord! I went out to Peredo for class and there were 11 mothers there. Some others in the village heard about the class and wanted to join. I felt bad but had to turn them away. I don't have a big budget for this class and want to be able to "micromanage" this first class. I had already evaluated all of them and their home situations. These extra mothers begged me to start another class with their babies. I told them they could sit in on the class that day and I would see their babies after class. I checked the 4 babies and they looked OK.

I thought back 2 weeks before when I felt like I was begging mothers to come to this week where I was turning them away. My class runneth over. Praise the Lord!

I am posting a picture of one of the moms in the nutrition class. Her name is Elenal. She is 31 yrs old. Her first husband died and her current husband went to the Domincan Republic to work. She told me he has been gone for months and hasn't sent any money yet. Elenal has 5 children. theyoungest pictured here is 3 months old. She is having a hard time raising her kids alone. When i visited her house she told me she is borrowing food from neighbors and has to repay them. I went to the market that day and bought them food for 3-4 days. One of her daughter attends our school in Peredo. She has a son who looked to be about 10 yrs old and has never been to school. He was cutting weeds in the yard with a machete when I was there. She is very interested in the class and you an see her love fo rher children.

Please pray for Elenal specifically in the nutrition class. Her family can greatly benefit from this program.