Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Day in Haiti

Was I not supposed to notice that you were weak from being up all night with diarrhea when you arrived at the hospital on the back of a motorcycle carrying a chaise lounge because you heard there were no beds in the hospital? Did I get out of the way fast enough when you wanted to pull into the hospital because your wife was ill and tired from all night sitting on a bucket? Did you know she would die when she stepped out your car at the front gate of what you thought was help at last? Did she have time to kiss the children goodbye when you left? Baby-girl, did your wrists and ankles hurt after the nurses poked them trying to find veins to start your IV? Were you too long in pre-admission or did you wait too long at home before you decided to go the hospital? Did you tell them you were only 2 years old? Who gave you the water you had been drinking? Did you notice your Aunt was holding up the IV bag because there were no more stands? What were you thinking about while you were waiting for your Mom to return from carrying in some water to wash your soiled clothes? Was the line long at the spout along the street? I guess you heard the well pump was broken at the hospital. You think the water coming in from the city in contaminated? Most people are saying the same thing. Is it like this in other countries? (That is a good question.) Did you wipe your feet on the mat full of bleach before you walked inside? There is no more bleach left in town? Did it help you to hear the singing of hymns during the night? They sang for a long time didn’t they? I wish I could tell you why roosters start crowing at 2:15am. I’m sorry that we drove past you while you were taking a bath in the middle of the street just because there was water bubbling up from a broken pipe. Maybe you thought that no one would be around at 4:30 in the morning. We were on our way back to the States but you were getting ready for another day in Haiti.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Last Day

The last day is always a hard one. Good bye's don't come easy when you get right down to it. Our team has made such good connections with the kids! But now we are feeling tired and for some on our team who battled stomach discomfort and fever the thought of heading home sounds pretty good. We will start our trip around 5:00am. We will fly out of Port-de-Paix at 6:00am and then we will wait at the airport for 6 hours until our flight out to JFK.
There are more stories to tell than I can or desire to write to you. Many of them to be told by others after our return to our homes.
I will continue to write; for those who follow this small blog I am thankful.
A la pwochen (until next time)

Cholera in La Pointe des Palmistes, Haiti

Yesterday when I posted there were 150 people admitted to the Hospital for the treatment of Cholera. This morning when we returned to the hospital there were 500 people admitted. The death toll at this point stands at 15. In Port-de-Paix hospital they say they death toll is at 38 and climbing. The pictures can't tell this story even my words on their behalf will fall short to describe the suffering.

All the waiting rooms are full of people laying on makeshift beds and cots. The courtyards are also full IV's tied to trees and hanging off the barbed wire fencing. Families stand by to give aid as well as carrying buckets of excrement for disposal. Babies and small children lay near the aged as this disease is not a respecter of persons. I saw a man in his car parked along the wall with the IV bag hanging on the antennae of his car. Mothers hold up the IV's for their children. Nurses and Lab techs attempt to care for those in need. Hearses come and go by the back gate.

To compound the problems the pumps are not working at the hospital so there is no water. It is being carried in by bucket from the spigot along the road. Filtered water is brought in for drinking. There is a man coming today from Florida who is going to fix the pump. Renel makes this trip often so we expect that tonight there may be water available again.

Pray for those who are suffering, as they lay on their beds in inescapable heat. A breeze occasionally comes by but it blows warm here. Pray for those who provide care. Pray for God's safekeeping on the children at HOH and for our little team as we serve them.

We are grateful that our team has returned to full strength. All of us are well and on the job.I will post again later today. Thanks for reading and responding.

God is good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cholera Again

Today we were reminded again of the fragile state of things here in Haiti. I had noticed an uptick yesterday in the number of new cholera patients. This morning as we walked past the cholera section the place was overflowing with people laying everywhere. Cholera has reared its ugly head and returned with a vengeance. IV's everywhere hooked up and running. Not enough hooks to hang the IV bags on, family stands by holding the bags by hand. Staff mopping the floors continually and people carrying buckets back and forth. There are over 150 current patients. Three died overnight and 2 died already this morning. As I walked past the front gate of the Hospital a car pulled up it was in quite a rush to drive into the hospital. I was happy to bypass the commotion and keep moving. When I return 5 minutes later there was wailing everywhere. I was told that the car had pulled up to the hospital gate and that a young woman had got out she took a couple of steps and died right on the spot. People were afraid and wailed for help. The wailing is chilling as women cry out in distress.

This has made us be more vigilant about personal hygiene. We have easy access to filtered water so that is not a problem. Pray for the people of Northwest Haiti and those who care for them. I'm afraid that things will get worse before they get better.

Pray for 2 of our team who had a fever in the night. They stayed back to rest today. Pray.

2 days remain until we will turn ourselves around and head for home. Today is field trip day. The whole staff of HOH will head over for an afternoon at the beach. Our team will tag along for the ride. I will try and post pictures tomorrow.

Fo m'ale (gotta go)

No water but lots of work

The past 2 days have been filled with caring for the kids. The team really gets into afternoon bath time. Everyone works together drying, diapering and helping the kids get dressed. It is quite an operation getting 25 kids cleaned up. When we ourselves are done for the day we look forward to some down time back at our rooms. Last night we found out that we had no water because the well pump had broken. The showerhead produced about the same volume as a small squirt gun but nowhere as much force as the squirt gun produces. In the morning there was some water but we were not sure if the well had been fixed.

Despite the heat the team is holding up quite well. All are well; Tuesday night was a good sleeping night. The have been several spiders squished among them two large banana spiders. Banana spiders are really big fuzzy things with crazy long legs; they are harmless but nonetheless they are dispatched on the spot. We have had 2 stray peacocks in the yard they make quite a raquet when they get provoked. The yard dogs try to get them for dinner as of yet the peafowl haveeluded the licked chops of the underfed canines. If I had to bet sooner or later the dogs will have some pretty feathers on their chins. Here is shot of one on the roof of our house:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Team Update

We arrived in Haiti without any trouble. It was a long day for us all. After our plane ride which was very comfortable we loaded ourselves into our vehicle for the 6 ½ hour ride to the House of Hope. The first half of the ride was very smooth since the main road has been repaired since the earthquake. The second half was much more difficult. The roads were very hard as we wound our way up and down the mountainscapes of Haiti. The actual distance is about 150 miles that took us 6 ½ hrs to cover. Thankfully the car had air conditioning so we didn’t have to have all the road dust blowing in the window.

Our Sunday was quiet as usual in Haiti. After church we took a rest and then went out for a walk through town. It was good for the team to see the area and meet some people.

Today was our first day on the job. The team has come together really well and they are interacting well with the kids and each other. It is great to see that language is not barrier when it comes to loving up on the kids. All of our bags arrived today so we will spend the better part of the afternoon getting everything out and sorted out.

The team is all healthy and energetic. We feel the prayers of our faithful friends. We do. We all have stories to tell when we get home. Right now this team is telling it’s story to the kids at the House of Hope, a story of love as we are loved by the Father we are loving our neighbors in return.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July Missions Trip

Many of you reading this post are very familiar with our work in Haiti. Many of you reading this have and do pray regularly for the work in Haiti and particularly the work at the House of Hope in La Pointe in the Haiti’s Northwest Department. Many of you reading this have given generously to the mission God has given us. Many of you reading this are very aware of my deep gratitude for your faithfulness, generosity and prayer support. However, it is possible that you are unaware or have forgotten just how deeply grateful I truly am. No go-er who goes in Jesus’ name representing our Savior and those who make his going possible can forget those givers who give because of that same Savior who are joined together in such a significant work with such an eternal value. How can I declare this to you without a deep gush of emotion and gratitude?

Let me tell you about this fast approaching trip that I will be leading:

The Missions Committee of the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Lancaster, PA asked me to lead a trip this summer. As providence has directed it worked out that there are 3 people from WPC are teaming up with 3 people from the Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, PA. Six of us will spend 8 days at the HOH helping to provide care for the children while the staff gets a short vacation from their work. We will work side by side with the older “kids” to make this week possible for the regular staff. We did this 2 years ago and it was great! Along with providing care for the little ones which means diaper changing, feeding and playing with them, we do crafts and games too. It is one of the best weeks of the whole summer for everyone meaning us and them! I wish you could feel the energy at the HOH during this week. The days are long and hot but rewarding. Haiti has two seasons, hot and hotter. July is in the “hotter” category.

Why I go to Haiti: (this is not an exhaustive list of reasons)

  • I go because the people who live there are my neighbors.
  • I go because God has given me gifts that are useful there.
  • I go because when I am there I feel the Lord’s pleasure.
  • I go because time and distance refuse to erase the depth of need I see in the eyes of the people there particularly the children.
  • I go so that when I come back I will be able “to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
  • I go because the Bible speaks powerfully about the poor and my response to them.
  • I go because I want to be a light in a dark place.
  • I go because I like being there.
  • I go because I have relationships worth continuing with people I have grown to love.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

I’m sorry there are so many miles between my posts; konsa bagay la ye (that’s the way things are).