Monday, March 26, 2012

My First Mobile Clinic

This past Saturday, Meg, Brooke, Dr. Rodney, Kate, and I all packed up into a truck and drove into town to Cap Haitien.

We didn't know at all what to expect. We were expecting 200 people, we had Pastor Migueloson and Pastor James as Meg and Brooke's interpreters. Kate and I had no interpreter. We weren't positive that we had enough medication. But we were trusting God because he knew better than us.

At 8 AM we stopped at a familiar, yet unfamiliar church named Sion. We climbed up the stairs with our boxes to the church. We entered the room filled with people and began setting up. The sanctuary was split into two rooms using blackboards. The front room was the waiting room, the back was two examination rooms and the make-shift pharmacy. There were elderly women, young mothers with babies, and every age in between. We quickly began setting up the pharmacy and making sure that the three rooms were equipped with extra chairs for the interpreters.

Pastor Migueloson told us that Pastor James wouldn't be arriving until 10 AM. We continued on, unpacking the box and sorting the medications into piles. Soon Pastor Migueloson spoke to the crowd that had gathered, instructing them that they needed to be patient with Brooke and Meg for they would be using an interpreter and also to tell them exactly what their problems were, for that was the only way that they could properly treat them. All of the blancos and Dr. Rodney were introduced, Meg spoke, then Brooke. Meanwhile Kate and I continued preparing the pharmacy.

At 9:30 AM, the clinic was in full swing. Kate and I began distributing the toothbrushes that Brooke brought and the proper medications. Things were a little slow and bumpy at first, considering that Meg was without a translator and Kate is limited in her medical Creole. So we chugged along. Soon enough things began picking up. Junior came and began translating for Meg, and one of Kate's old English students, Willy, started translating for Kate and I. This made things much, much easier. Soon our stack of dossiers was growing. We were handing out many, many medications. I can remember at one point looking at Kate and saying how I felt like were were taking part in the story where Jesus feeds 5,000. Our toothbrushes still had not run out, even with giving one to every adult, and our bags of medications were still heavy.

Around 11 AM Pastor James finally arrived, he took pictures, talked with some of the people waiting and then translated for Meg. Around 2 PM is when we started getting low on certain medications. By 2:00 PM we were finishing up seeing patients. God provided. Every patient that we saw was able to walk away with something, whether it be a toothbrush, or medication, or a prescription to receive the medication that they needed. By the end, if we had the medication, every patient got as much of what they needed as we had.

God knew better than us.

We saw 123 people that day. We got home at 3:30 PM covered in dust, liquid chloroquine, Amoxicillin powder, exhausted, yet completely overwhelmed by God's provision.

Our prayer is to be able to do one more medical clinic with Sion before we leave. More lives brought to the Lord, and more bodies healed to do His will.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Getting used to Haiti

This weekend has been quite crazy. Yesterday Meg was still sick, but Kate and I went out shopping with Jane, Cindy, and Brooke. We stopped at a small store that had a few imported groceries, then at another which was about the size of a Country Fair, with a little more selection. We also went into a bakery that had so many delicious looking desserts, but we only bought some bread.

We came home and then drove up to the Seminary to visit Pam, Matt, Stacy, and the girls. Stacy and Matt have the most adorable little puppy. She is so small and cute. Her eyes are still blue green. The older girl was running around in just her undies, barefoot, riding her bike, while I helped the youngest walk and chase her.

When we got back home, Meg looked pretty terrible. So we called Dr. Rodney to come and take a look at her. He decided that she had either Malaria or Typhoid. Thank goodness that I had a bottle of Chloroquine in my room. So Dr. Rodney instructed Meg to take four all at once (the treatment for Malaria). ahhh. I can't even imagine. Meg had already been taking Cipro, which is good, because it is the treatment for Typhoid. During the night she was completely miserable, she began vomiting. She, thankfully, woke me up.

This morning she was really looking bad. We called Dr. Rodney to ask him to bring her some IVs to get some fluids in her. His mother, a nurse, came in her Sunday best to give her the IV. The first IV chord was no good, so she had to run down through the compound, across the street, to the Catholic hospital to get a new IV chord.

Meanwhile, I went to the church next door with Brooke and Wadner. The church is just one big room with a stage. They had keyboards, drums, bass guitar, and microphones. Wadner interpreted for me. The oddest thing was that at the beginning of service, all the visitors were asked to stand up and introduce themselves. There were five or six of us. Thankfully I would say one sentence into the microphone, then Wadner would interpret for me to the congregation. The other thing that was odd was that their prayers were very, very long. Imagine about 10-15 minutes with your head down, except you have NO IDEA what is being said. Wadner interpreted some, but I think everything loses a little bit of impact in the translation. Especially when others around are hearing someone talk during their prayer. I felt a little out of place to say the least. Nonetheless, Dr. Rodney gave a beautiful message on the ways that the devil tries to draw you to him through the story of Haman and Mordechai.

Throughout the service I could feel many young eyes on me, adults do not mind but the young children do. There was a little baby girl, not even one, who absolutely adored me. The strange thing about the children in the service is that they are in the service. Most of the parents let the children run up and down the aisles while there are ushers who stand at the open doors to make sure that none of the little ones get out. I saw two of my students, Samuel and Roud.

After service, the three of us went back to the house so Brooke could examine Meg a bit more and take a look at her breathing (Brooke is also a doctor). Soon after, Dr. Rodney came back over again with some more medicine for Meg to take. At this point, Meg had had one full bag of fluids, the kind with nutrients, and she was working on a second. After the medicine she was given, she started to pep up a bit more. She ate some egg, applesauce, and bread with peanut butter. We all knew that she was really feeling better when I told Wadner that he and Brooke were staying for lunch and Meg said "Oh no, Wadner hates Kate's cooking" with a grin on her face. For the rest of the day I hung out with Meg, writing a lesson plan, and bringing her food and Gatorade. We had many visitors throughout the day, VaDam, Oulie, Roud, and Jake all came by, then Bud and Cindy with some cookies, then VaDam again with Brooke, and then Jane with Kim, Meg's mother, on the phone.

Meg ended up taking a bath, eating some more, taking the rest of her medicine, and now she has fallen asleep on the couch while watching The Patriot with me. It is raining. Not only God's blessings of prayer and healing, but also some much needed rain for the grass and gardens.

God is good.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday, Friday Gettin' Down on Friday

As most of you are well aware, today was Friday. In the education world, one of the best days of the week. By Friday everyone is exhausted, and by 2:00, everyone is looking at the clock and counting down the minutes. Today was no exception. Today the Kindergarten class was there of 7 students, for a total of 19 students in the classroom, me, Kate, and another classroom aid who is there to help the days the Kindergartner's are there. The aid corrects the student's workbooks while Kate teaches the three separate groups. The students also have tests on Friday, so Kate would typically be doing very different things all by herself with three different grade levels. But today I was able to help give spelling tests, watch the Kindergartners, and answer questions. I also read the after class story which gives Kate some more downtime to record grades or rest.

Yesterday, at Kate's class, Meg and I ended talking to a few of the men in the class afterwards. They were very interested in American culture and just hearing us talk. During that class time, Meg got most of the questions. Today we both went again, and I got most of the questions. They asked many questions about what I think about Haiti since it is my first time, if I have had the food, how the weather is back in Erie, and they were interested in how loans work. They were definitely questions that we were not expecting.

After going to the English class, Meg and I went over to Dr. Rodney's house, who is the father of one of my students. He was so excited to see me in his house. So Meg and I turned off his TV on him and his brother and made Roud get a book to read to us. Now imagine going into an American child's home, turning off their TV and making them get a book, this probably wouldn't go over too well. But Roud and Oulie (I think that's how it is spelled) were more than happy to read/listen to a story. Sweet Oulie fell asleep on me during Roud's story. Soon VaDam and Alesha came home, then Dr. Rodney. VaDam helped Meg and I with some Creole and I helped Roud with his homework while Alesha ran around playing with Meg's keys. It was great fun and so adorable to hear Roud today at school excitedly telling everyone how I came over to his house last night, he even wanted me to come over again tonight. I didn't though, because Meg is not feeling well and I am still very tired from traveling.

Tomorrow the plan is to get to sleep in a bit, and go travel to some other towns.

Bug Bite Count: 9
**Meg's friend Ketlye told me that my blood is sweet, and that they like me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Days in Haiti

I am totally exhausted, but having so much fun. I arrived yesterday around 9:30 AM at the airport, where Meg was there to pick me up. Thankfully, both of my bags arrived on the same flight as me, so after getting my bags Meg, Olan, and I headed out to the car. Many men tried to take the bags from us to "help" us get to the car, but they would only want paid for it even though we were able to carry everything. The drive through Cap Haitien was crazy. People walk out into the middle of the street, cars pass on all sides, cars drive in the wrong side, people on motor cycles weave in and out of traffic. I sat in the back and ate the banana that Meg brought for me. The streets were bumpy when we got outside of the city, but then we arrived on the compound. Meg helped me to unpack and showed me around the house. We went for a bit of a walk, then I came back and took a nap. When I woke up we had lunch with Brooke, tomato sandwiches, apple, and fried plantain chips (which are delicious! I don't think I will be able to have another potato chip ever again!). In the evening we went to Bible study with the other missionaries then to Bud and Jan's for dinner.

Today was my first day in the classroom. It was just the first and second graders today. There are 12 students in the class, 3 girls and 9 boys. The boys are very rambunctious! The students came up to me all day asking questions about their work, which I helped them some, mostly with re-reading the directions, then I had to tell them to sit back down because if I didn't they would just want to stand next to me and work. The classroom is about half the size of a classroom in the states, but with almost all the same things, which was crazy to me! The students totally wore me out, but hopefully soon my novelty will wear off.

Next I am going to observe in Kate's English class with Meg, then dinner at the house.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a night in an airport...

Currently, I am sitting in the airport just outside of where I board my flight tomorrow morning. This is the least fun part of my trip, and I think that I am working myself up about it.

My first two flights went well, both landed about 15 minutes early. I cried the first part of the flight from Erie to Philly, but the man next to me was very kind and tried to talk with me to get my mind off of it. Even now, I am still scared about the fact that in a few short hours I will be flying into a foreign country. My second flight was long, but the woman who was also sitting in my row was fantastic company. She is a traveling bartender, more accurately a snow bird. She was on her way back to Ft. Lauderdale from Maine where she was taking care of her father. She was very sweet and we had lots of good conversation.

So here I continue to sit, I think I may try and find a nice corner to curl up in and sleep for a little while...

Please pray for my safety as I spend the night here, and for safety flying into Cap tomorrow morning. Also pray that Jane, the woman picking me up, is there right away and I do not have to wait alone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My last full day...

...was filled with packing, and planning, and errand running. I have one bag completely packed and it is weighing in under 40 lbs. I am waiting on some clothes that are hanging up to dry before they will be packed to take. I deposited money into my bank account, stopped at my doctor's office to pick up an updated immunization record, and to Wal Mart to pick up luggage tags and locks. I updated both my iPod touch, and my iPod classic with new music and movies to occupy me during my flights.

Tomorrow I plan on finishing up the packing, visiting with my Grandparents, watching a video for my big project in Integrated Methods and dropping the CD off at school, and finishing with a farewell meal at Chic Fil A, because I won't be able to have any for the next 6 weeks.

Please keep me in your prayers tomorrow evening, I board my plan leaving Erie at 6:18 PM, my first flight by myself EVER. So needless to say, I am quite nervous about flying on my own, and staying the night in an airport, and flying into a country that I have never been to before.

M├Ęsi ak bonswa!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tying loose ends..

Today was really a fantastic day. I spent most of the day just resting and packing. Then around 3 I started calling the Academic Affairs office to try and get ahold of Michele Wheaton, the woman who was assisting me yesterday with getting my class schedule fixed. I was finally able to get ahold of her and she was able to fix my schedule. I am now registered for all 10 of my credits making me a full time student. This will reinstate my scholarship and grants and because my schedule has been fixed early enough, my bill will hopefully be corrected soon.

I also received my "text book" in the mail today, which I ordered two weeks ago. I was worried about the book not arriving in time, but it thankfully arrived minutes before I finally got ahold of Michele.

I also got my taxes finished and I will be getting a refund, this is really great news because I was beginning to worry about paying for my luggage to get down and back. This makes me feel more comfortable financially considered that I am going to have no income for the next six weeks.

The last thing that will hopefully be settled is my PHEAA. I am praying that God will end this drama, and provide me with the aid that I need. I am also praying that it is decided on before I leave because it will be difficult for me to make phone calls and pay bills while being in Haiti. I am confident that this will be resolved before I leave because God has sent me on this journey and will therefore make provisions to allow me to go worry free.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In one week...

I leave in one week. A week that cannot go fast enough. I am filled with excitement and a little nervousness.

Yesterday I met with Meg, my future room mate. We talked nothing about travel and everything about getting to know one another. It was wonderfully unexpected. I left our meeting feeling overwhelmed with God's grace and provision to be allowing me to be down in Haiti at the same time as Meg, rooming with her, and sharing many of the same passions for what to accomplish while we are down there.

The afternoon progressed to involve a bill from Mercyhurst, where I realized that I am still only registered for 4 credits, making me a part time student, instead of the 10 I am supposed to be scheduled for. Because of this, my scholarship and grants have been revoked. Very frustrating, and very little that I can do. So I started my day, today, by calling PHEAA, for my PA grant that was revoked about a month ago, about the status of my re-evaluation with the correct information sent it. They received it on February 27th, and I was told to expect another 2 weeks wait to find out the final verdict. Hopefully it will all be correct, because I will obviously be out of the country and unable to make phone calls and meet in SFS. I then called the Registrar's Office to try to get my schedule straightened out. Basically they forwarded me to Academic Affairs where I left a message explaining that I had met with Dr. Belfiore about scheduling for my Independent Study and the two other courses. They told me that they would get back to me as soon as possible.

Yesterday I also confirmed an idea that has been floating around for quite some time, and I believe that now is the right time to reveal it. I was trying to figure out a way to minister to girls in the village and also trying to provide them a skill that they could profit from. I sat making a friendship bracelet while pondering this. Then I realized that I could teach them how to make these! So I have messaged Pastor James to find me find a group of 15 to 17 year old girls who would be willing to learn how to do this. I would teach them how to make the bracelets, bring down the supplies, and pray and talk and laugh with them. I would also pay them $1 per bracelet that they make, I would then bring the finished bracelet's back to sell here in Erie for $2 each, the extra money would go towards buying more supplies for the girls to continue making the bracelets. I pray that they would be able to use this skill to make the bracelets to either send back to the US, or sell in their village. I am so excited to begin this and I cannot wait to meet these ladies and talk with them about Jesus and love them. I am also so excited to tell the women and girls in the US who buy these bracelets about the girls who made them.

I completed most of my packing, and have weighed my luggage and it is coming in at well under the weight limits for flying. This is fantastic considering that I will have to pay per pound on the IBC flight. I have also finished all of my sewing to be done before the trip. So now I am listening to my dog bark at the construction in front of our house that has been going on for the past two weeks, watching some television and praying that these days pass quickly.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. in this world you will have trouble. but take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33