Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Encouraging Week

Two days ago I led chapel for our kiddos at Quisqueya, and my favorite part was playing a game. I had a few students from each age level join me on stage and they had to shout out items from categories like cereals, candies, flowers, colors, etc. If you say "um" or repeat, you're out.Well, it got down to the tiniest, most adorable kid, Gabriel, and an 8th grader. Needless to say, I made sure Gabriel won:)
It is so encouraging to see some friends from home! Adam and Ryan are two guys from Texas who are here doing videography and photography on assignment with an NGO to raise awareness. They are actually sleeping in a tent city this week and forming relationships there, but they're keeping some things at our house and resting there every so often. They came over for dinner, and Adam really enjoyed playing with some finger puppets.
Eating dinner. Fantastic conversations. What amazing guys. I'd love prayers for Ryan's health- they are getting very little sleep in the tent city and Ryan is sick today.
I like the very serious pensive looks coupled with the toy animal finger puppets. These toys were left in our apartment by one of the teachers at the school who is now back in the states (Katie M, thank you!), and today Ryan and Adam shared them with all the kids of the tent city. They said there was a giant mob- the toys were a hit!
Melody, Maika, Steph, Marlee, and Ebony in chapel. I really, really love the kids I'm teaching.
Yesterday Mrs. Jean-Charles said that one of her students would really like to share her "earthquake story", which all of the students at the school have been writing, but to date none have been interested in sharing. This girl asked to read her story in chapel, and she bravely shared what she and her family experienced the day of the quake. After she was bold enough to share, a junior high boy came forward and told me he wanted to share, too- so her boldness is now empowering him to do the same. Good for her!

A second grief counselor has arrived today to stay for four weeks. I'm excited to offer time with him to the students tomorrow.
Chikie!! Yesterday I'm in the middle of going over a recently taken English test with the 7th and 8th graders when Mr. Day, who has been on his R&R time visiting his family in Texas, marches in announcing a "special delivery for Mrs. Kilpatrick". He's come straight from the airport and pulls out a bag of Chik-fil-A! Apparently, my sneaky mother and some collaborators at her office and our newlywed small group hatched and executed a plan to deliver Chik-fil-A to us in Haiti:) Apparently there was recon involved, as they mapped every Chik-fil-A near the Florida airport through which Mr. Day flew back to Haiti. I couldn't be more touched. We're savoring our Chikie Nuggets!
Yum! (PS Linds and El- the drapes are great!!)
Yesterday another friend arrived named Anna. Anna has spent the last 5-plus years overseas, so she is a vet, and it is so refreshing to have her here. She brought more goodies with her, including this PRICELESS gift from Olivia, our dear friend and budding artist. She even drew Ben's glasses:) Plus, behind the beautiful drawings is a blanket from Olivia's mother- we've been just sleeping with a flat sheet and she blessed us with a blanket. The package also included dozens of bottles of children's vitamins that we've already distributed to Heartline clinic- Kim, Steph, and Anna, thank you, thank you!

School is ramping up and I am feeling great today. What encouragement this week has brought. On Tuesday I gave a test and was disappointed with the results, so I told my students I wanted to have a short individual conference with each one to discuss their grades and what they might do differently next time. This prompted really amazing individual time with each student- something I haven't had. While I asked about their study habits, the conversations quickly went in many directions, and we were able to bond. I gave another assignment today and it went MUCH better, and I am so encouraged. One kid even said that one reason he's struggling is that he can't see well in the back- I had no idea! What an easy thing to fix- he'll be switched to the front row tomorrow. I'm so very glad we had those talks.

Another answer to prayer- a team has arrived on campus that specializes in prosthetics. They are using one of our science labs to assemble prosthetics for Haitians with recent amputations- a HUGE need.

Tomorrow we're having a chat with board members from an organization that sponsors Haitian kids' education (tuition, fees, books, uniforms, etc), and Saturday we're going on a food drop for the first time- can't wait, can't wait.

Katie

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

El Raton

We have had a 4-legged problem in our on-campus apartment since we moved in right after the quake. For awhile, he was just a scratching noise in the ceiling, then he was shadow Katie swore she saw. Even one of our roommates, Madame Jules, said she saw it too. El Raton.

He has been everywhere. The kitchen, the bathroom, the living room. We even battled once in my closet. He had the high ground- one of our shelves that is at eye level. I had a broom. He ran, thinking he could live to fight another day.

Luckily my mother-in-law sent chemical weapons- the finest rat poison one can buy in a suburban Dallas Target.

I found his rotting carcass in my closet yesterday, close to where we once had our skirmish. I found him because he was stinking up our closet. He was easily 14 inches nose to tail, his body stiff from rigor mortis. I am pretty sure he kicked the bucket while we were in the DR.

Despite any bravado portrayed in my writing I was a big sissy about this. I had a grown-up temper tantrum before I went in to get him out. Captured below by Katie:

Here lies my enemy vanquished.
And this is his last know resting place- our trash bag. Which was promptly thrown into another dumpster.
I do not know if he had any family, friends or acquaintances who will miss him, but should they want to avenge his death I am ready.
 Ben

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bus Journalism

I was absolutely riveted by the view from my bus seat as we traveled from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo last week. I set my camera on the mode that guards against blur and tried to capture the multiple universes on this one little island of Hispanola.
Market
On the top right, notice the hillside covered in slums.
This is an example of a small tent city, just cropping up in the empty space between two buildings.
This is an unedited photo- I left it this way to show the crazy amount of dust in the air all the time. It's like a layer of white over the photo.
I'm guessing this was the cows' home first.
Tell me, how well are these homes going to hold up in the rainy season, or, God forbid, a hurricane?
The American Embassy. A little piece of home. Notice those pavers, that landscaping, those antennae...
Church on the Haitian Day of Prayer.
A tent city a little outside the city.
This is a tap-tap, the Haitian public taxis. You jump on (along with about 20 other people at a time) and then "tap" on the sides to let the driver know you want off. They are all very colorful and are everywhere. Such fascinating images on this one...
Rural Haiti, near the DR border where the mountains are high.
Beautiful, alien rock formations just before the DR border.
The first home I saw on the DR side of the border. No gate, no barbed wire, nice car, big trees.
The DR isn't all wealth, though, by any means.
Home in the Dominican Republic

Starting with this photo above, the rest were taken back on the Haiti side of the border when we were returning to Port-au-Prince.
Gas station in Port-au-Prince, full of tap-taps.
Cemetery at sunset. 

Katie

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stirred, not shaken.

We're home from our time of R and R in Santo Domingo. I do feel rested. I also feel more stirred-up than ever. There are a few causes:

Before I begin, let me say: I've been resisting writing about this. I think I've identified the reason- I'm afraid to tell the truth, because you might not like it. For the entire history of this blog, my topics have been safe. Who's going to disagree with teaching Haitian kids, or post-earthquake relief work? Even when we share our inner reflections and feelings, we know we have a sympathetic audience. Well, if it's going to be real, then it's going to be real- the whole package, good, bad, and ugly. Here goes. Why I'm more stirred-up than ever:

1) Going to the DR was extremely painful as we watched (literally- we were on a bus) the transition from poorest-of-the-poor to comfort and wealth. I acclimate to things very quickly. Haiti isn't shocking to me now, it's normal. As we crossed the border into the DR, it was like a different planet. Immediate changes I noticed: paved roads, homes without barbed wire, painted houses (even paint and color are a luxury), printed billboards/posters for elections (Haiti's political ads are in graffiti), bridges, overpasses for pedestrians, sidewalks, ads for expensive items (computers), a car dealership, non-stinky air, ground not covered in trash, small dogs (pets, as opposed to stays/guard dogs), landscaping, fully-grown palm trees, stores with window displays (no stores have glass window displays here, all are covered up behind walls and barbed wire), a public park, street lights, stoplights, homes without clotheslines (indicates washer/dryer). All of these indicate order, beauty, structure, infrastructure, and wealth. Why? WHY is one side of the same island in misery while the other side gets ready to celebrate the grand opening of its new Ikea?

2) We stayed with one of the absolute loveliest couples on the planet. Lindsay and Elliott are missionaries in Santo Domingo with their 8-month-old, Avery. Lindsay and I met briefly at Baylor, where we had mutual friends, and she reached out to us via email following the quake (typical- I'm telling you, LOVELY). They picked us up at the bus station and took us to eat Mexican food. I found myself recoiling in shock at the beauty I saw. Their car was clean, had a beautiful baby in it, had not visibly been in any accidents, had an intact windshield, and had working air conditioning. This was so shocking to me at the time that I commented on it. Lindsay is beautiful, and Elliot is beautiful, and their baby is straight off the Gerber label. They took us to dinner at a restaurant with glass in its windows. And a tablecloth. And metal silverware in a roll. I was shocked, and kept babbling about things like the clean floor. We stayed in their home- again, shockingly beautiful to me. I walked around, mouth open, in awe, as if I were in the Oval Office, babbling about how they had framed photos hanging on the wall, and Real Simple magazine, and tile flooring. No rats in sight. They listened to B and I monologue for what must have been eight hours as we word-vomited everything we've been through in Haiti. I lay down to sleep and literally cried because it was so quiet- I have been aching for sleep not disrupted by car backfiring, dogs barking, gates rattling, and confused roosters. In the morning we had strawberries- STRAWBERRIES- with sugar out of the most adorable toile china sugar bowl you've ever seen. I had cheerios with milk. It was like caviar and Dom Perignon to me. Avery had on a precious baby outfit and played in her colorful bouncer. It hurt, it was so beautiful.

It made me realize, for once and for all, that God made us in his image. I am made to crave beauty and order. I often pervert this into materialism and control-freak-ness, but at its origin these desire are from my Maker- his kingdom is orderly and beautiful, and I am made to want them. And because I have lived in the land of chaos and crumbling, this sweet couple's candlelight was like a bonfire to me, and I couldn't stop squinting as I realized how much the darkness has hurt.


3) My feelings towards people at the hotel. I'm truly ashamed to admit this. I spent most of my time at the hotel secretly mentally criticizing everyone around me. This is something I do often, and it's my most self-despised trait. It comes out especially in public places where (gasp!) I meet poor, less educated individuals- Walmart, theme parks, and, apparently, Eurocentric hotels in Santo Domingo. See that 60 year old man with the 30 year old woman? Judge. See that large French lady in a bikini? Judge. See that family letting their kids act obnoxious in the restaurant? Judge. What is she drinking? What is he eating? What is she wearing? What is that tattoo? Judge, judge, judge. I HATE this part of myself. It's pure, unapologetic, ugly pride.  It's straight from the devil. I beg God to sanctify me faster. Yet I keep letting my mind go there. What's worse? I'm supposed to be the type of person who loves others, MOST of all the poor. Why does my heart bleed for the orphan, but shrink to cold stone against the obnoxious pack of teenagers hogging the beach chairs? So, add "feeling wretched about convictions that I'm judgmental and hateful" to my confusion this week.

4) Reading about Haiti. Elliott gave me and Ben An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President while we were staying with them in Santo Domingo. This book, in short, works to answer the question "why is Haiti so much worse off than all the rest of the Caribbean, Latin America, etc"? The author's answer is that it all began when the slave revolt that resulted in kicking out the French colonialists in 1804 so horrified America, still sixty years before we were to free our slaves, that America tried to destroy Haiti's survival. One of the most damning pieces of evidence described how in 1915, 100+ years after Haitian independence from France, Haiti was still paying 80% of its annual budget to debt repayment to French and American banks (because, for the first time in history, the losing nation in a war- France- imposed reparations on the winner- Haiti- to repay the French for the loss of the slave labor). The reparations imposed on Haiti by France in 1804 was the equivalent of $21 billion today. To give you an idea of its exorbitance, this was over 70 times what the US paid for the Louisiana Purchase- an area of land over 80 times Haiti's size- just a few years later. Another source of blame: the Vatican. The Vatican refused to recognize Haiti's independence for many decades, denying Haiti the Catholic missionaries (and, essentially, the schools they always brought). In 1915 the US invaded Haiti and occupied it for many years, stealing every penny of its customs income for an entire generation. The US Marines crucified the leader of the Haitian army who resisted this occupation and nailed him to the front door of a house to discourage dissent. There were many other examples of technical details of treaties, trade agreements, and military maneuvers in which the US has done evil to Haiti.

Listen, I have no Ph.D. in Haitian history, or even a good ol' B.A. in any kind of history. And, this book was written by a personal friend of Aristide (who, for better or for worse, was in fact a democratically-elected president who was kidnapped and removed from Haiti by the US military in 2004).... clearly, he has an axe to grind. But I can't explain away this heavily-footnoted, detailed account just by that alone. I'm horrified. I'm ashamed. I don't want any of it to be true. I could only read small bits of it at a time because it was so upsetting. I came here to serve, to love, to heal, to bind up.... only to discover as I learn more that it was my people who are partly to blame for why Haiti is still so far behind, still playing catch-up, still suffering? I was, and continue to be, very, very upset by this news.

5) The slog. Lastly, we've reached the long, slow, grind in the middle. The sprint is over. The adrenaline is wearing off. Now we're in the middle, with the first few miles under our belts but many, many miles to go before the finish line. By finish line, I mean summer break- we'll be home in Dallas for our few weeks of summer break starting June 1. But there's March, and April, and May to go. It's like when Welcome Week is over, and Christmas break is so far away, and the midterms are looming.... We have to break it up into small chunks here as we begin our years in Haiti.

And I do mean years- I may be all stirred up, but we ain't skeered off yet.

Katie

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

not even sure where to start.

how about this... i cant figure out how to capitalize or punctuate on this keyboard.

our three days in santo domingo have been.... everything.

you know that story about the frog? apparently, if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will immediately leap out. but, if you put a frog in water and steadily heat it until its boiling, the frog will stay until it dies.

we're the frog. and haiti is boiling. and we didn't know we were boiling, too, until we got here.

it's like the floodgates have opened. we've cried a lot. mostly the first day, which was valentine's day, so that was super fun. the first feeling i felt when i saw the ocean was guilt. survivor's guilt? rich person guilt? who knows.

but we didn't leave pain back on the other side of the border. i got a pedicure yesterday... further source of guilt....as my valentine's gift from ben. first pedicure since my wedding 15 months ago. first time i've felt pretty since i moved to haiti. the pedicure lady, juana, and i had a conversation in my extremely basic spanish, and i told her that the people of haiti have so much pain. she replied, i have pain too. her best friend's five year old son died two months ago from asthma. who dies from asthma? i've never heard of such a thing in the states. but juana has.

we must look like the biggest brats...sitting at a beach hotel, tearing up in the line for the 'make your own omelette' station. but, the spirit is ministering to me. i listen to worship music, and he comforts me, he heals me, he strengthens me.

a day or two more, then back to the boiling pot. for many years i asked god to send me to the front lines, and he did. i'm ready. and i'm honored that he's allowed us to be his hands and feet to hurting haiti.

katie

Friday, February 12, 2010

Prayer, fasting, and ideas

Katie earlier wrote about the 3 days of fasting and prayer. This is the church outside our window. That is the crowd. Not trying to get in- that is the crowd standing outside on the steps and on the sidewalk for church. I have to admit, initially I was skeptical. What sense does it make for a country of starving people to fast? Isn't that like every other day? But the turnout is undeniable.
 
Across the street from the hospital is an open space where people are living in tents. They were also using it to hold church today. The pastor, above, delivered a powerful sermon in Creole. They sang for hours. I was inside the hospital working with a PT from Hattiesberg, Mississippi, and I joined along when I could. I sang along to "Nothing But the Blood", and took part in their liturgy, repeating "Thank You Jesus" and "Hallelujah" as a congregation.
Haitians make anything they can into a seat for worship, including this broken down dozer.
I spent the morning with Carol, the PT from Mississippi. He is a giant of a man. He was easily 5 inches taller than me and 30 lbs heavier- most of it solid southern muscle. He is the 1st physical therapist I have seen in the country. We went around the hospita,l exercising the legs of patients who have external fixations. We worked for two hours and must have visited with 9 patients- all of them with scary metal contraptions sticking out of their femurs and tibias. 
Most Haitians are afraid of being indoor,s so all of the patients we saw were in tents in the hospital's courtyard. Kate had the camera and was busy loving on babies, so I have no pics, but imagine this: 20 camping tents with 2-4 patients in each. They eat, sleep and go to the bathroom in the tents. It smells of urine and there are flies everywhere. They also sweat in there. It has been more humid lately, and the camping tents are not the breeziest place. The stench is still with me.
I have seen a lot in the last month that will stick with me. Each time I see something new and terrible, I am shocked that it still gets to me, but I am quickly thankful that I have not become desensitized to what is going on. The hospital was a hopeful place, but it was also a place of terrible, quiet suffering. It reminded me that it will be a very long time before life is "back to normal" here.
This is CNN anchor Anderson Coopers blog. I have seen very little news coverage of Haiti, but everything I have seen and read from Cooper has been spot-on. He is telling about the Haiti I know, and his feelings about the last 4 weeks are close to mine. I respect the hell out of anyone who has been here voluntarily for as long as he has been, and Dr. Gupta too. (Apologies to my dad, who is a strong Fox News viewer).

This is an article on Haitian sovereignty. I am generally against the idea of any nation giving up their right to self-government. Pay close attention to this issue, there are a lot of rumors here in PAP about what might happen, but this is the first time I have seen it mentioned in a news article.

Ben

Reflect: Being Sanctified in Haiti

The relief effort still goes on strong here at our campus, and there are many more stories to tell; we have so many entries in the works. But I want to pause and share with you some reflections that Katie and I have had.

After we had settled into a routine we were shocked to find old habits creeping back in.  We were even more shocked to realize that maybe they had not left at all, or that they were manifesting themselves in new ways. Weren’t these problems of our old lives? Why were they here in Haiti?

We realized we had been preoccupied with comfort. Namely ours. Was the food Katie was going to eat something she liked? Did things here meet my standards of how they ought to be done? These were the questions we most often asked ourselves. We also argued about the temperature. We were not thankful to have food, thankful to have a standing home and our belongings.

The problem with us in Haiti was that we were in Haiti.

My sins and habits did not stay behind in Dallas. I brought them here with me. The earthquake did not sanctify me or scared me straight. I was and still am the messed up person I was when I cam here. It is rare to have a dramatic event that causes us to correct all our faults.

A great example if this is in the movie “Funny People”. Adam Sandler plays a rich and famous comedian (hard role I am sure) who has a rare disease and very well might die. He makes some small changes, gives some things to charity, reconnects with his family. He looks like he might have some break through when he is told that the experimental drugs he is on have cured him.

Faced with this near death experience how does he live? He has an affair with a married woman he used to date and gets beat up by her husband. 

Not really a model to follow.

His side kick, Seth Rogan, has a great scene where he tells Sandler that the reason he is still unhappy is that he (Sandler) is the problem.

I watched that movie earlier this week and was wide eyed at the end. I was convicted.

Don’t  laugh, I know I am one of the few people to find spiritual enlightenment in an Aptow comedy. But I saw the parallels in my life and cringed: moderately unsatisfying lives - overcoming deadly circumstances - continuing dissatisfaction in life - moment of wonder, what is it going to take to not be dissatisfied?

The problem with Sandler’s character and with me is that experiences or circumstances do not sanctify us. Only Christ does that.

Quakes, camps, break ups, marriages, moves to new cities. None of them can do the complete job of sanctifying us that Jesus Christ can do. Sure those moments can be used by Him, but they are not in and of themselves cure alls for getting rid of your junk.

Surely I am not the only one who has done this. I think people do this all the time. We think that in the next phase of life we will become the person we always wanted to be. I have done this my whole life.

Let me self-disclose for a moment. I have always thought that in just a few years I would be more fit, have a little more money and be a better Christian. Despite the fact that I was doing nothing to move towards these goals.

I didn’t work out. I spent my money foolishly. I put very little effort into my faith.

In high school, college, young adulthood, my first year of marriage, and moving to Haiti I kept expecting my change in circumstances to make me into the person I wanted to be and knew I should be. Despite the fact that in nearly every season I just mentioned there was very little personal development.

You have no idea how ashamed I am to write that.

Change requires work. It requires effort. It requires sacrifice and denial. These challenges are not something we can overcome on our own. Success in all of these things require an active relationship with the one who already over came them. Jesus.

All of the things I just mentioned are painful, uncomfortable and generally considered to be avoided. But at what cost? At the cost of being at your quarter-life and realizing you do not like who you are? Not what you have become, but rather who you have always been? At being disappointed at who you never became? Despite your highest, but lethargic hopes?

What a terribly expensive cost.

I now believe it is more richer and less costly to pursue sanctification at all costs. I also believe that when we feel like we cannot make it we will be strengthened.

Jesus was about to heal a blind man and he asks him. Do you have faith I can do this? And the blind man says. Yes, but give me faith to overcome my unbelief.

I wonder if Christ asked me about my faith that I would have the wisdom to say, “ Yes but help me when I have unbelief.”

That is my new prayer. Katie and I are bearing down on the areas that have habitually sucked at. We are trying to be intentional and deliberate. The progress is small and results will be hardly noticeable every day. But I believe that they build on one another and maybe when I move back to the States one day I can look back on this time here and see some growth. At the very least the earthquake diet will pay off.

Hope

Mrs. Ackerman's PreK-1st graders make Valentines on Thursday. We did not have school today, February 12, because today has been declared the first of three National Days of Prayer. Haitians are fasting for 30 hours- from 6 am this morning to 12 noon on Saturday. And believe me, they are out in force in church. This morning we went to a hospital to serve, and they had just a handful of patients- anyone who can be is in church. We woke right at 6 am because the church outside our window (just across the street, over the school's perimeter wall) started with prayer and singing at top volume. They were still worshiping at 12:45 when we had returned from the hospital. We heard them on the drive to the hospital, and we heard them while at the hospital- different congregations, blanketing Haiti in hymns. 

Last night we celebrated Ben's birthday! Ben wants to wait to celebrate his birthday until we get to Santo Domingo, but I wanted to have cake and candles before everyone started leaving town- the majority of our students and staff are taking a few days of R&R, whether in Haiti, in the Dominican Republic, or in the States (lots of people heading to Miami).
We even scrounged up Funfetti cake and sprinkles! I sneakily bought birthday candles about 10 days ago when we went to the grocery store last. We only had 24 candles, but that was just fine- we're all a few short these days here in Haiti:)
Ben made his prettiest face for the camera- he just LOVES it when I make him take lots of photos!
Haiti's hottest relief worker 2010!
 
 Earlier this week, something clicked in my brain. The non-profit I worked for in Dallas before coming to Haiti had absorbed an adoption agency about a year ago. I knew that adoption agency worked in Haiti with a place called Hope Orphanage, which was associated with Hope Hospital. I also knew that my new roommate here, Jamie, was working as a translator every day for the last month with German doctors from Humedica (a German non-profit) at a place called Hopital Espoir.  It took all this time to make the translation- Hopital Espoir is Hope Hospital! So I had to go see the work there. Today we had no school, so B and I jumped in the back of the truck and headed to Espoir with Humedica.
Hopital Espoir was swamped after the quake. They have a fair number of supplies now. There is no air conditioning, and the entire place smells like wet concrete and bodies. There are several patients in each room, with an additional handful of family members sleeping all around them.
This is what I mean by "degaje". No traction? Broken lower leg bone? Make it work with rags and a spare concrete brick. Believe me, there are plenty of spare bricks around these days. I worked with a German pediatric nurse (and current med student) named Saskia to change all the dressings in the pediatric rooms in addition to one room of two middle-aged women. One woman had a serious head injury (healing well), a serious calf/ankle wound (not healing so well- waiting for a skin graft machine to try to save her leg), and a left arm that was amputated above the elbow. Changing the dressing for that amputation was something else- just skin stretched together and stapled into a stump. It's healing well, but the poor woman looked utterly miserable. Her roommate, a rather large 50-ish woman wearing only a hot pink lacy top, suffered a femur fracture and had an external fixator. Cleaning and re-bandaging all the points of entry for the external fixator was quite a trick, and also very time-consuming- or, at least, it seemed to take a very long time because I was holding up her leg in the air. One little boy had an external fixator for a femur fracture, and another German doctor told me this was a revised fixation- he came into the hospital having already been treated elsewhere, but when they did an xray the bone had been set incorrectly. He must have been in so much pain. His name was Brice, which his mother pronounced "Breece".
At what point the German leader called for "break time". We all filed down into the basement of Espoir, where I saw this bulletin board. A break room had been set up with coffee, white bread, and peanut butter. They also were making a kind of juice out of Grenadine syrup mixed with water?! Strange, but tasty!
 
 We walked back upstairs through this makeshift kitchen. From what I observed this morning, the patients are getting "soda crackers" (similar to Saltines) and a Dixie-cup-sized drink of milk.
 This crack is the dividing line between the two parts of the hospital- where they think is safe to go, and where they think it's not safe to go. They watch this crack grow every day- you can see the piece of tape marking where it originally started. In the background the Humedica head nurse works the pharmacy.
This mama was lying behind the check-in desk with her baby. Mama is on crutches and has suffered a leg injury- how will she hold the baby and get around?
This woman was in the middle of labor, pacing the hallways. She was dilated to 6 centimeters, and the OBGYN, Laura, (who did Teach for America in Houston before med school) told me that I could help with the delivery if I would stay a few more hours. I was so disappointed that our team left at lunchtime and I had to go to catch my ride. Lord, I want to help deliver a baby someday! Please let it happen!
The pediatric ward. I had spent quite some time with infected wounds in my face, so I gave myself a reward....
Babies.
 
Meet Christie
And Christelle. They are twins. They were born ten days before the quake. On Christelle's chart, you can read a doctor's handwriting: "Twin. Mother died at birth".
This is little Jedna. Jedna's parents were both killed in the quake. She has pneumonia- there is no sound that breaks the heart like a racking-hacking-respiratory-infection-cough-sound coming from a teeny infant. She also has a nasty case of scabies.
Saskia examines and loves on little Jedna. It was fun to get to know Saskia. Humedica is an all-volunteer crisis response group of doctors. You sign up, then they call you when an emergency happens, and you either jump on the plane or say "keep me on the list, maybe next time". Saskia has been to Kenya, Somalia, India, and about four other places with Humedica. We talked about her hometown, near Cologne. We also talked about how our grandmothers feel about us being in Haiti. Some things translate cultures:)
Me and Jedna.
 
Holding Christelle.
Mom, calm down :)
Little Christelle. The government, under pressure from major aid groups like Unicef, has shut down any new adoptions of Haitian orphans, saying that a long time needs to go by to re-unite children with families. That's great. However, when you see three tiny infants like these, whose parents are documented as dead by hospital staff, you wonder- do they benefit from this policy? Jedna, Christie, and Christelle need mamas. They need homes, and Vacation Bible Schools, and grandmothers, and tricycles, and Easter egg hunts, and photo albums, and little pink bedrooms. Pray for wisdom for the whole adoption circus- wisdom for the NGO's, wisdom for the government, wisdom for adoptive families, and mercy, MERCY, for the orphans.
 
Saskia feeding Christie.
 
Hope Hospital. Apparently, at one point the founder, Gladys, got a hook up with Oprah, and that's where the funding for this place originally came from. 
You can see the German and Humedica flags hanging outside Espoir.
Back on campus. The Army is letting our relief center use a couple of their tents, and the Aruban Red Cross is bunking in this one.

B and K Update:
We are headed to Santo Domingo tomorrow morning to spend a few days of R&R. We're jumping on a bus and looking for de-compression time. It'll be quite an adventure. Prayers for our souls to find refreshment and rest. Prayers, as always, for Haiti.

Love,
Katie

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