Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Haiti--Picturesque, Poverty, Prayer Power

1. There is no way that I can really begin to express what this trip to Haiti has meant to me. Nor can I put enough pictures on this blog to really give a sense of what Haiti is like. So I selected a few pictures that meant a lot to me, as well as a couple pictures of the scenery and the caribbean.

2. I believe that as I was thinking about this trip initially, I was hoping that I could help teach some of the Haitian nurses and be an encouragement to people there. What really happened is that they taught me, and encouraged my heart.

3. We had a setback when we first arrived. The Sunday evening we got to Cayes, the 6-month old son of Hannes, the German engineer, started having seizures. The American doctor at the hospital evaluated him Monday morning and felt they should go to Port-A-Prince to see a doctor there. The PAP doctor and Hannes decided they needed to go see a specialist in Germany. Hannes' family is there and they would have that support. However, this meant that Lynn and Barry would have to work on the transmitter building without Hannes. They did have the help of 2 haitian techs, which was a blessing. They both spoke and understood a little English.

4. (We later heard that Jeremie, Hannes son, has a very rare neurologic disease; it causes seizures, and can cause muscle weakness on the affected side; it can also cause mental retardation and visual problems. Currently Jeremie is in a very low percentage of those that have this disease that may very well not have some of the worst outcomes. We are certainly praying for the very best for them).

5. The first week in the hospital I helped get some patients ready for surgery--start IV's etc. I also helped with dressing changes. They had several people with wounds, amputations and one patient with a burn on most of her right leg. ( She is the lady pictured with me above) She really liked me and would ask if I was going to do her dressing change. When I left, she said she would remember me and pray for me. She was a very sweet lady.

6. The first day I worked with a nurse named Zamor (on the right I think!) The other nurse is Corrine, the head nurse--she has her arm around Zamor. Zamor told Beth, the missionary nurse practioner, that she really liked working with me. So I basically helped her with her assignments the rest of the time. I also helped her give medicines. From about 2-4 pm every day the first week I worked with the evening nurses. I mostly took blood pressures. They had about 30-35 patients and I took blood pressures on all of them. The Haitian nurse took the temperature--they used the same thermometer for everyone so they took axillary temperatures. Some things like that were a little hard to get used to. Amazingly enough, I don't think they have much problem with infections.

7. The baby pictured above is named Hope (Esperancia in Creole). She was left on the steps of the hospital in a suitcase, abandoned by her mother. I think she was left there several months ago, and they think she is about a year old now. While we were there, they assigned her a birthday, and had a 1 year birthday party for her. The hospital staff take care of her, but they have help from other people who are there helping to take care of their family members. She has Hydrocephalus. They have put a shunt in her, but her head is still very much out of proportion. She is so cute, and smiles a lot. She doesn't talk or walk. They have to support her head when they carry her.

8. On Sunday we went to a Haitian church. Then we had dinner at a restaurant on the beach. The guys had eaten there last year, and said it was really good, but this year it was a disappointment. Judy and I had fish and I didn't really care for it. The guys had lobster, but Lynn said it was very greasy. Sunday afternoon we went to a beach. We were in the water for a little while; the waves were sort of rough, so we basically "jumped" waves. Then we walked along the beach and collected shells. Susanne, the lady in charge of the children's work, took us. Lynn stayed with our chairs while we walked. When we got back these kids, pictured above, were there with him. I told them, in Creole, that I had a gift for them. I gave each of them a wordless book, with an explanation of the book in Creole. They seemed excited to get them. Their ages were 6,9,12, and 14. The 6 year old girl goes to school and could write her name in the sand.

9. The second week I worked in the hospital in the mornings, and helped work on VBS materials with Judy in the afternoon. We did that on the patio at Susanne's house, and we could wear shorts. There was a breeze, so it was very nice. She also always gave us fresh juice--usually a combination of mango, pineapple and lime--which was delicious!

10. There is much more I could add, but must close this epistle for now. Even without Hannes, Lynn and Barry got done what they wanted to accomplish. They wanted to get the Torbek radio station back on the air. The transmitter is working, and was actually on for a little while on Thursday before we came home. There are a few bugs to work out, but basically it's ready to go back on the air. We praise the Lord for that.

11. The people are so poor, but most are really sweet. It was a pleasure to work with them. Another blessing was that I really started to remember my Creole, and by the end of the first week I could at least communicate enough to be understood. That was unexpected and I really enjoyed trying to converse in Creole.

12. The Lord was there with us. We saw his hand in so many ways. I am so thankful that I was able to go. I think I was probably an encouragement to some, but they were a blessing and an encouragement to me.

(I'm a frustrated blogger. I tried to just separate these paragraphs, but it wouldn't let me, so I just numbered them!)