Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 17

While Samuel was in town, we visited our Paraguayan friends who have been working on a new road around the airport.  They are engineers, so they gave us a tour and showed off their work.

Kendra and I went to our first Livelihoods Workgroup - it was half in English and half in French, and a little in Creole.  It was very interesting and a perfect time for us to network with those people.

Lots of other meetings with IOM and people in the livelihoods group the last few days.

(This is a prime example of my lacking of journaling for a few days.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 14 - Trip to Dessalines

Out by 6:45am with Mary's amazing egg and cheese sandwiches.  Picked up Dr Mathurin from Project Hope and took him to the hospital in Dessalines - over 2.5 hours from Port-au-Prince.

Dr Mathurin met with Dr Fedquierie to discuss ways Project Hope could help the hospital.  Kendra has known both doctors for quite some time and was just able to connect them.  The hospital was originally a project of the Free Methodist Church and has diversified in order to receive more funding.

Drove back the 3 hours to PAP because it was heavy traffic. Stopped at the La Maision restaurant by the airport that we like for "lunch" with the doctor at 4pm. Yes, lunch.

Dropped him off up the mountain at Delmas 65 and drove toward Croix-des-Bouquets. Samuel met with Dr Brutus with Johnbern at a cyber cafe while Kendra and I went to see Dr. Willie to talk about shipping.

Back to pick up the boys and headed "home" to VC.  Johnbern and I compared meeting notes then went to bed.  Most of the VC group was in bed by the time we got back.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 13

We were going to go to church at the CAD orphanage with the Victory Compassion group today, but then we learned that Samuel was already at the border. He is coming to spend time with us and for a few NET responsibilities.  We left at 8:30am and drove the 30 minutes to the border.  Getting through was easy on both sides, but then we realized the real problem - a cement truck fell half into the water and the other half of the road was being worked on, so we had to wait.

Kendra got out to go meet Samuel because you could still walk across the road.  JB and I had church.  He read me a few psalms and his favorite Bible verses from school.  They came back with a brunch of chicken and fried plantains.

Drove across the area where we were stopped after 2.5 hours.  Picked up fried chicken in Jimani for dinner for Victory Compassion.  Transferred things from a jeep to Floyd in a hotel parking lot.

Back to the border.  Arrived at VC to unload around 2pm.  To FOHO (Friends Of Haiti Organization) building to pick up medicines and IV solutions.  Afterwards, we headed to the land for Samuel to see Village de Nouvelle Vie ( New Life Village ) and to drop off new supplies.

To Willie's to sort medicines and ask about shipping.

To VC late for friend chicken and the best potato salad I've ever had.  Ava (3 year old) wanted to play the matching game with me.  So cute!  Talked to Johnbern afterwards, then bed.

My friend, Ava.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 12

Up at 6:30am and immediately started packing up the workroom at Juju's house.

Since stuff was stolen, we got as many things in the van as possible, then Laurel (from Victory Compassion), Johnbern, and I drove the first load to Victory Compassion (VC).

This was my first major experience driving through the busy streets of Port-au-Prince.  Wow!  So much happening - trash, dirt, people walking, trucks, cars, taptaps (taxis) and motos.  We were driving around a corner and a moto drove onto my side of the road to avoid a pot hole, so I got too close to a giant truck whose mirror was sticking far, far, far out of the vehicle.  Oops!  My mirror hit his mirror.  Johnbern (JB) gave a big sign because he knew he was going to have to handle it.  Usually the locals want money when this happens, so Johnbern got out to talk to the guys.  They, of course, wanted money until JB learned that the driver was not around.  JB told them that he was just going to call the police, so he got out his phone to pretend he was calling someone and the guys told him to just leave.  Whew.  We drove away quickly.

Unloaded at VC, good conversation about voodoo between Johnbern and Laurel on the drive back. Packed up the second load and was very surprised our entire workroom fit in.  Everything only took two trips in Floyd (the van).

Johnbern went to visit his Mom and sisters, so Kendra, Laurel, and I drove back to VC with the 2nd van full. Said goodbye to the family. I thanked Juju for all her kindness and let her know what a blessing she was through Johnbern's translation. All the kids were sad to see us go. My heart hurts a little for them because I know we won't go back there.

Unloaded at VC, reloaded and took things out to the village that are going to stay there.

Later, I picked up Johnbern in town while Kendra met with Dr Willie Severe and learned that Dr Suarez (who did the free clinic on Sunday) left the country that morning because Dr Brutus threatened him. Ohh great.

Back to VC for a late dinner, emails, and talked to Mary (the wonderful cook and finance lady), then bed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 11

We spent most of the day at the site while ACTED interviewed all the families present.  ACTED is the organization that will build better temporary shelters in the form of plywood homes.  These new homes will be elevated from the ground for when it rains, have a sturdy foundation to survive tropical storms, and also has windows and a door.

Sidney and his team doing interviews.
It went really well, then ACTED informed us that some of the people had lied to us about their real situations.  After the earthquake, an organization went around to homes and marked them green, yellow or red.  Green means livable, yellow means repairable and red means destroyed.  Unfortunately, some people had green marks, which means their house was fine!

Headed to our meeting with the Mayor and spent time discussing the best way to handle the situation with those families who had deceived us.

Kendra has been promised land from the Mayor since November of this year.  These meetings are usually the same - greeting, small talk, ask on the progress, same answer from the Mayor.  At least we are staying in the front of his mind.

To Juju's house to find lots of items stolen.  Laurel showed kids a song from Victory Compassion's Kidz Club.  They loved it and sang it all night.  Pieced together stories of stolen items.

Johnbern made dinner. Packed up, bed early.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 10

At the village, the kids at the site all like to call my name.  I usually start to chase after the little ones and they just giggle.  The boys like to play with the soccer ball.  All the kids fight over holding my hand.  I had JB teach me how to say "I need to work".  Stanley with the hurt head is extra special to me.  He always runs up and gives me a big hug...sometimes a kiss on the check.  Megina, his older sister, is 13.  She knows some basic English, so today she wrote down creole words next to English words to teach me. Hand, chair, sit, hair, shirt.  They also helped me pass out extra supplies.

Victory Compassion brought a team out to pour the cement slab today and fix the pavilion.  It's fun to have lots of people around the site.

Kendra got upset - drove her to VC. Talked to Mary. Back to site to pick up Carter and Johnbern. Took Carter back to Juju's and drove to Victory Compassion. Cried in shower. Dinner with K, JB, Mary, and new friend Nicholas. He shared his testimony and a recent struggle. He cried, spoke with him one on one to offer encouragement. Good conversation. Bed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 7

Woke up at Victory Compassion. Mary made us egg and cheese sandwiches, her specialty, to go.

All the way through town and up the mountain to our Viva Rio organization meeting. Viva Rio is a Brazilian NGO that builds biodigesters (turns poop into electricity, fish feed, and plant fertilizer). USAID is paying for one for Dr B's hospital.

Before and after, stopped at the hotel next door for coca colas. It was beautiful. They had Internet, so we worked and Johnbern ate Haitian spaghetti. The owner showed us around and apparently a lot of big NGOs (non-government organizations) stay there for $90-120 US dollars a night. What?! Expensive.

Kendra and Johnbern (JB)

At 1pm, drove back to Juju's house to pick up Carter. On the way we saw a box truck stuck in the ditch/water river in front of our gate to Village Theodat.

All to UN Log (Logistics) Base. To JOTC to check on fencing request, to IOM to talk to Alain, visited the World Food Program, the Agriculture cluster, Cash For Work office through World Vision and the Logistics cluster. Kendra and I split up for a few while Carter and Johnbern took turns translating for me because everyone speaks French and little English.  I'm so impressed that they both know Creole, French, Spanish and English.  Teach me!

One row of offices at the United Nations Logistics Base.
We've spent a lot of time here!

IOM (International Organization on Migration) Warehouse.
It is usually FULL of supplies.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 6

Up by 4:45am to drive from Victory Compassion to the village to pick up Stanley, an 11 year old boy who had a cement block fall on his head during the earthquake. He has never received any medical attention for it in the last year and a half. A Colombian Doctor staying at Dr. Willie Severe's will take care of it for us for free (Dr. Suarez).

When we arrived at the village, we picked up the boy, his mother, and the President. The boy and I played for a few minutes yesterday, so he greeted Kendra and I with a kiss on the check. It was very cute.

Arrived to Willie's compound and saw the doctor cleaning his scissors and such. The little boy didn't really realize what was going on, he was so happy and smiley.

Ever since I was small I have absolutely loathed visiting the doctor. I was always so afraid, so when I saw the scissors and the boys head would be close together, I decided to stay far away. He had enlisted Kendra as the assistant and that was fine with me! Then, he asked me over to open the peroxide bottle, then the iodine, and eventually, I stayed to be the boy's official hand holder. Now I understand what my Mom meant by "when you have to - you do it". As the boy sat on his mom's lap I tried to distract him by helping him wiggle his toes and then he taught me to count to 30 in creole. I would mess up on purpose and he would correct me. We did it 3 or 4 times.

When the doctor was finished he bandaged up Stanley's head and then Stanley shook the doctors hand and said thank you. A very sweet thing for an 11 year old to do.

We took Stanley and his mom back to the village and then went back to have breakfast.

Johnbern, Dr. Willie Severe, Dr. Suarez, Pastor Patrick, Kendra, Emily
(Clockwise around the table)
Headed back to village to prepare for Dr. Suarez to come down because he agreed to do a health assessment for everyone in the village - for free today.

Dr Suarez assessed the patient while Johnbern translated.  I wrote down all the medications that each person needed.  Everyone in the entire village was diagnosed with anemia, parasites and malnutrition.
Dr Suarez with Famie and her mother, Lucianna Alfred.
Famie is one of two extreme cases of malnutrition in children in the village.  We also had a prostate infection, that is probably cancer, but in Haiti that type of healthcare is not available.  In addition, we did two pregnancy tests - one was negative for one woman and positive for another.  To be there while JB was translating for the doctor, telling this women she was pregnant when she just had a baby six months ago was heartbreaking.  She started to cry as the father is the man she is currently separating from because of domestic violence.  We assured her we would support her and be there for her during this time.

While Johnbern and I helped with the health assessment, Kendra spent her time working with Simon to fill in the giant hole.  Unfortunately, the Bobcat fell into the hole while they were filling it.

It took Floyd (the van) and a pick-up truck to pull it out!  What a day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 5

June 18
Didn't sleep well last night. Up once or twice an hour. No electricity most of the night, lots of tiny bugs found a way through my net because they are smaller than the mosquito holes. Ugh.

Up at 4:30am to head to land to fill in the large hole. Stopped at Marassa Market, to land before 7am. Dr B was already there, yelling at the people. Misunderstanding.

Worked with the people by using shovels to fill in this gigantic hole. Told Kendra this was insane as they have barely eaten in days. We brought them food, but this is our problem, not there's and the doctor wants to hold them responsible.

Brainstormed ideas to get it done otherwise. Kendra took Carter down to Mike's old compound while Johnbern and I worked with the people. I didn't stop digging until Kendra came back to prove a point to the people. The President came and wanted to take over and a girl walked me to the shade. It was cute and I appreciated the gesture.

When Kendra and Carter came back it was only 9:45am-ish and we had made minimal progress on the hole. They brought good news as Mike's old compound (now Dr Willie Severe's) has a bulldozer we can use. The people in the group are Seven Day Adventists though, so we can't use their equipment until tomorrow as Saturday is their holy day.

Took a water break for the four of us (Kendra, Carter, Johnbern and I) to debrief what we had seen and heard. Reorganized the white house and all our donated items.

We brought the people rice, beans, chicken, spices, maggi, oil, and lemons and sugar to make lemonade. They made a big meal. I think it was the first time some of them ate in even a day or so. These people are more malnourished than we realized.  We all ate some too and it was very delicious!

We passed out Teddy Bears to all the children today.  Children from a church made these bears for each child in the village.  They even prayed for the bears and for the children who would be receiving them before they were sent.  The kids got very excited.  We also passed out candy canes - the kids didn't realize you had to take off the plastic.

Dr. Suarez stopped by and saw a few of the people.  He agreed to come back Sunday to have a free clinic for all the villagers.  What a blessing!

Afterwards, we headed into town with Dr B to visit Viva Rio, a Brazilian organization that does a lot with biodigesters.  It is a very interesting concept.  They gave us a tour, we saw their way of using the Sawyer filters and then we were able to visit an after school program where students participate in a karate/dance type activity.

Top of biodigester.

Sawyer filters for a larger water filtration system.

Viva Rio performance.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 4

To HELP by 6:30am to meet with Dr about land for agriculture.  He is generously donating the extra land for the people to farm.  We walked all around his father's land to agree on the first piece we saw.

Back to HELP, then to the village as the doctor wanted to discuss the filling in of the giant hole with the people.  The doctor brought Gilbert's "land watcher".  Unfortunately, this is a complete misunderstanding as the Dr told us we could dig the hole, then when the hole was dug, he told us we weren't allowed to and had to fill it in.  The outcome of the meeting was that we needed to provide food for the people to fill it in.

Friends helping us brainstorm ways to fill it in.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 3

Stayed at Victory Compassion.

Dropped Pierre Paul off in town because he had an engineering exam. Two months from getting his bachelors degree in computer science, then he is going to get a masters.

To land.  People were happy to see us, they even clapped.  Lots of hugs, smiles, and "bonjours" for "Good Morning".

Walked around with the group.  President told us concerns, issues, and happy news.  Our first baby was born in the camp on Sunday morning - wow!

World, please welcome baby Elby!
His mother, Wosline, gave birth to him in their shelter with help from her mother.

We were excited to see that the pavilion is also completed and people are resting under the shade.

Headed to Juju's to set up our workroom and beds.  Started contacting people to set up meetings for the week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 2: Travel Day

Kendra came to pick me up this morning with Johnbern and Danny's brother, Pierre Paul. We went to the supermarket to get groceries and then headed to Port-au-Prince.

On the way we had tire problems and had to stop to get two new front tires. Yikes. The others lasted only a year, but with all the terrible holes in Haiti, I am honestly surprised they lasted that long.

Afterwards, I was beginning to feel a little sick. They stopped to grab a sandwich and I threw up in a bag in the car. Then, she had to pull over again later - lovely.

The border closes at 6pm Dominican time, which is 5pm Haiti time. We arrived at 6:10pm. Kendra floored it all the way to the gate and begged them to stay open. They said hurry, so she ran to the building, which is flooded from all the water, and is actually now outside under a tarp. After much debating, they approved our paperwork and the gates opened.

The DR Building is closed due to flooding.
They set up outside under the tarps instead.
The road is straight...I think.
The market in between the two is now only on one side because the water levels are so high. At the Haitian building, getting in was a breeze, but leaving wasn't. With only one lane, traffic was going both ways. Kendra got our passports stamped, then got back in the vehicle and let a car go through that was coming in the opposite direction. Then, a giant box truck started coming and she said "no way" and drove up to meet this box truck nose to nose.  It was quite entertaining.  We were all laughing and she was ready for war.

Headed to Victory Compassion.  Stayed the night since I still wasn't feeling well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another Adventure Begins: The Beginning of Trip 4

After spending the entire month of May in Haiti and the DR, I headed back to the United States...for two weeks.  It was an amazing break to spend time with friends and family.  I even got to spend a long weekend in Oklahoma at the Mid-America Free Methodist Church Conference's Family Camp and in Tulsa, Oklahoma with friends.

When I headed back to Haiti on June 14th, I had a hard time keeping up on my journal.  We returned and were so busy getting the families settled, distributing supplies and planning our next moves that sleeping at night was the priority over writing.  I did keep up for awhile, but there is a serious gap in the middle of the trip and not all the days are complete.

Day 1

Rough start this morning. Almost missed our flight even though we were at the airport in plenty of time.

I enjoyed riding down with Marty and Cheryl Trepus (Thank you for taking us!) to help Kendra catch them up on the adventures.

Into Santo Domingo by 3pm. Spent the plane ride talking to Kendra about what we've been up to the last week since we've spent so much time together. Samuel picked us up and was very happy to be with his wife. They spent time together while I visited with their friends Doris and Raul.

I enjoy spending time with Doris and Raul because they are very focused on serving their community - in the poorest of areas. During my second trip, I visited the community program where they serve.  Their enthusiasm for people is contagious. I arrived at their home about 4pm and slept until dinner at 8pm. Afterwards, we spent time on their roof talking about their plans for the future and what they think God is calling them to do next. Just spending a small amount of time with them is encouraging.

I'm grateful for this evening of rest before our long journey to Haiti tomorrow.