Friday, November 4, 2016

Haiti - Nov 4-18, 2016 - Medical

November 5, 2016

Hi everyone! Today was our first full day here, and what a busy day it was! Even though it is a Saturday, we still started doing physicals on our students at Degeance. The principal arranged for them all to be there, and we were able to see all of the preschool-3rd graders! Next week's team will finish the 4-6th graders. The team all commented on how well behaved and polite our students were, and I think everyone found at least one student that they just fell in love with. :) We were all huffing and puffing by the time we hiked up to the school, but it was well worth it!

Shari, Deb and Belinda started off their day by locking themselves in their room after the rest of the team had left the mission center. Oops!!! Once they figured out how to get themselves out, they kicked off our Community Agents program today with 14 people (2 from each of our school communities) and were so encouraged by how it went! The group had great questions and are all very excited to continue learning about how they can help our nurse Anite take care of our students.

Overall, it was a great day. The first day is always a little bit chaotic as everyone tries to get in the swing of things, but I think we developed a really great rhythm and we're all enjoying learning together! We're looking forward to going to church at LaHatte tomorrow morning and visiting with the community members there.

November 7

Joanne: Greetings from Hot Haiti J! Today was a fairly early day but no mountain hike. The school we went to was accessible by truck! That’s a big truck where we all load into the semi enclosed back and some sit at a picnic table on the back and some stand! Not too long of a ride but certainly no lack of surroundings to absorb!! My job today was assessing children and asking what they needed to see the Doctor for. The children definitely have a way of tugging on our heart strings and even though were hot and sweaty all day, the blessings and fulfillment definitely over ride that! The children’s faces light up with their bright smiles when we speak to them which in turn brightens our day! The highlight of my day today certainly was meeting my little sponsor girl of about a year and my sponsor boy of about 7 years. I met him 5 years ago when I was here but today I noticed he had come out of his shell a lot more and  we had a nice chat! He was so happy to see me and I was thrilled!! When your sponsor child hugs you, kisses your cheek, thanks you and shows his gratefulness for your assistance and then tells you he loves you, well, I'm sure you can only imagine what you feel! Beyond words! It was a good day!! Stew, beans and rice for supper. A refreshing cold shower and now an early bedtime. Tomorrows another early day, with a mountain hike!

Deb: I’m writing the blog tonight to share about what we did with the community health agents today.  Shari and I taught this morning and Belinda joined us for the afternoon session. We taught about nutrition and demonstrated hemoglobin with a gown with red balloons taped all over it to represent healthy red blood cells. The students really liked the visual and had fun popping all of the balloons, which meant no hemoglobin left – and I fell to the floor (dead).  At the end of the morning,  we had the students act out scenarios to demonstrate what they should do in situations when they start working at the school. In the afternoon, we taught the students vital signs, and they all took turns checking each other’s weight, pulse, respirations, and temperature.  The teaching stethoscopes borrowed from Rhodes were very helpful. Our translator this week has been excellent and he is enjoying learning all of the medical content along with the health agents. Tomorrow we will continue lessons on first aid and dehydration. 

November 8

We're all very tired, it's been a long and beautiful day, but we wanted to report a few praises really quickly before we head to bed!

  • We got to hike the long route to Dupin this morning and enjoyed the beautiful view!
  • We saw 5 different classes today for physicals, and only a handful of preschoolers screamed bloody murder and cried their eyes out! ;)
  • A lot of follow-up was done from students that we've seen on previous trips, and we were encouraged by what we saw in the majority of them.
  • Community Health Agent training went extremely well; the students enjoyed learning how to do basic first-aid, putting on splints, and even carried Shari right out of the gazebo!
  • Our day ended in in the most beautiful, celebratory way. We saw a little boy at Dupin that we felt needed a minor surgical procedure done, so we talked with his parents and decided to bring him back to do that. Belinda, Jack, Ted and Pam worked on him while his father soothed him until finally the procedure was finished. Afterwards, the little boy's father was talking to us, and the most incredible thing happened. He said they had gone to several different hospitals to get it looked at, but he never thought they'd have enough money to get this done for their son. But, he saw something different in us. He said he wanted the Jesus that we had and that he wanted to become a Christian! He dropped to his knees right there and the rest of the group around him followed suit as he became a brother in Christ! I can't explain how awesome this was; everyone is still trying to wrap their mind around it but hopefully we can share more of the story tomorrow. Please just join us in celebrating with and praying for our new brother! God works in awesome, awesome ways and we witnessed the Holy Spirit moving in this place tonight! :)

November 9

Joanne:  Hello everyone following this blog! Today mom and I have been away from home for one week and oddly I feel caught in a bit of a time warp. This is such a different world that on some level it’s hard to imagine life back home. Tomorrow is the last day for most of the team but those of us staying the 2 weeks will be greeted by a whole new team on Friday. 

       Today we got to sleep in a bit later which for me was about 6:30. Then the breakfast bell rang earlier than anticipated so I had to rush just a bit. We left for St. Marc at 8:00 and unfortunately no hike involved today. Despite the humidity and the heat, hiking is a highlight for a lot of us! The scenery is amazing and when I say there’s never a lack of things to feast your eyes on, I'm certainly not exaggerating!! For me the day was filled with assessments on junior and senior high students. Dressed in their tidy, all-matching uniforms, socks and hair accessories, each school is unique in their own color and style.   I’ve learned a bit of creole that I can greet and ask the students a few questions. We encountered a few heart breaking scenarios and a few of us shed tears when faced with the harsh reality of what some of these children endure on a regular basis L.  A mother also brought in her little girl off the street (she wasn’t part of the school) to see if the ‘white people’ could help her. She had stuffed a substance of some sort up her nose and her local hospital had turned her away after telling her they could not help her. The girl did fight as children do, but with  the help of God, this amazing team was able to relieve this sweet child of this obvious discomfort!!

Deb: Writing to give an update on how the community agent education training is going.  Belinda, Shari, and I are forming relationships with our students, which is the most rewarding part for me. They are very sweet and gracious and are working hard to learn each day. Today we had them pack the first aid kits that will be taken to each school. The students received their very own stethoscopes today, and they were so pleased. Tomorrow is their final exam, and we are all hoping that they do very well. Over the weekend there will be a few more classes with them here at the mission center, then on Monday, I think we will begin to go to the schools with our students where they will be serving. It will be like a “clinical” experience for them. I am very excited to take them to the schools and actually have them start doing the skills that they have learned this week. So far, the experience is a 10 out of 10.

A momma brought her little girl into our clinic at the very end of the day to get something taken out of her nose (as seen in the first picture of Mary holding the girl). As the team was working on the little girl, another one of our team members and a translator prayed with the mom. She accepted Christ! WOW! Pastor Herve later said that many people in the Haitian culture only know of voodoo-- a religion and practice that is NOT one of love and empathy. When this momma saw the way we loved and cared for both she and her child, she wanted to be a part of it. Herve's confident she'll start coming to church now. Awesome! The Holy Spirit is moving here in Haiti, friends!! :)

November 10

Today was Team One's last day in Haiti, and it was a bittersweet feeling for everyone! The majority of the team went to MPCA to begin doing physicals on the 700 students that we have there. We were able to see grades 4-7th, which is a big accomplishment! Everyone was very busy, very hot, and very tired... but we were gifted with cold bottles of soda, which was a wonderful surprise!

The Community Agents and our four faithful team leaders for that group completed their last day of their training. They took an exam and received the last bit of their supplies that will equip them to start their clinical practice next week! They were SO excited, jumping up and down in celebration of their supplies!

Tonight we got together as a group one last time to share who we were praying for throughout the week, took time to hear Pastor Herve's testimony and pray over him, as well as do some shopping from the vendors. We have had an incredible week together and have become more like family instead of just a group of people who met for the first time a week ago.  There have been so many great things that have happened throughout the week, and so many ways that we've seen God show up and be faithful.

November 11

Last night we took some time to pray over Pastor Herve and the ministry that is happening here.

November 12

Congratulations to all of our students for passing their final written exam.  Today we spent most of our time at the Mission Center reviewing content and getting them ready for “clinical” next week.  The team members doing physicals today got back to the Mission Center around 12:30, and while they were eating lunch, Shari and I took the Community Agents to Lanzac to measure heights and weights on the children before the other team members arrived to do the physicals. They loved it! One of our Community Agents taught the little children our hand-washing song while they were waiting to get measured and weighed. Since they loved doing heights and weights so much, I can’t wait to see how they will react next week to actually seeing children in the schools and orienting to their jobs.

Joanne: Hello all again! Well we're into our 2nd week J. Another awesome hike up to the Degeance school. Literally pouring sweat but it was great! In the afternoon we came back to the mission center to see the small Lanzac school children. Doing a small lancing procedure to drain a large abscess on a small boy looks quite different in Haiti than anywhere else I’ve had the pleasure of assisting with a procedure. To give him some privacy at least from his class mates, we carried him across the small school yard to another empty classroom, laid him on an old wooden table covered with a blue pad, and did the best we could with equipment we had. Assisted with not only medical people but the boy's mama, my translator and my mom held the child down so we could relieve him of a very uncomfortable abscess to his buttocks. Trying to do teaching via a translator to explain to the mama how to do daily dressing changes on her own with likely very limited and primitive resources also proved challenging. It is so rewarding to see the smiles on these peoples faces for helping them! There are no complaints or grumbling whatsoever, only grateful hearts! Just a little friendly reminder to those of us who have been so fortunately blessed to have the resources we do in US and Canada, please don’t complain the next time you have to wait for 30-60 min in the waiting room to have your “prescription filled” after you’ve left the comfort of your own home, gotten into your heated or AC car and comfortably driven to your modern, clean hospital.  Many of these mamas have a long walk up or down a mountain with at least one or two children in tow in this humid heat with smiles on their faces because they know someone will help them today! Also after a procedure like this , we would probably be able to have the dressing changed at our local hospital as well! I'm not sad I have the resources I do where I live, nor am I sad I was born in Canada, however I am sad for these less fortunate folks and glad I could help just a little.  We met the new team yesterday after most of our initial team left and it's nice to have another great team! The ocean and the cold showers have been a great relief at the end of a hot work day. Tonight we played games and had a lot of great laughs!! 

November 13

Today was a relaxing day for the majority of the team. We started our day by walking down to Lanzac to worship with the sweet people of that church. Shari sang a song about Psalm 23, which was well-received by everyone in the congregation.

After church many of us enjoyed a nice breezy (YAY!) day on the beach! Many of us swam, others took naps in the hammock, and a few of us played cards! The Community Agents were back today for more sessions; Mary Kay taught a session on worms, Crystal taught about different medications, and other information was presented as well.

We're thankful for a day to relax and regain some energy before a busy rest of the week! Please be praying for the rest of our time here; for the students we will be seeing, the traveling we will be doing, and for our eyes to be opened to the things God puts in front of us!

November 14

After a nice relaxing day yesterday, we started off the work week by heading in two different directions. The majority of us went to Chardene to do more physicals on the students, while Deb and Shari took a few of our Community Agents up to Degeance to start their clinical practice.

The Community Agents were making sure that the students were taking their worm medicine and also getting an idea of what their day-to-day tasks will look like.

We were EXTREMELY busy at Chardene today... we saw around 250 students, plus worked alongside the other Community Agents to give them some practice on their job! Wow!! We literally worked until the sun went down and drove home in the dark. Thankfully, we got to see the majority of the students and Mary K presented the worm seminar to all of our students as well. The pictures that she used to show the students what can happen if they take worms really helped open their eyes to why taking their worm medicine is so important!

November 15

Today our team hiked the hour-long (one way!) hike up to Dupin to finish doing physicals on our students. We were thankful that some of our students met us halfway down the mountain to help us carry supplies!! It was a BUSY and productive day; again, we stayed there longer than anticipated but were thankful to get everything finished. We saw a student from last week that we did a minor procedure on and we were encouraged by what we saw. We’re all very tired but the team is doing well and working hard!

Deb: The community agents started their clinical experiences yesterday.  Shari and I were with four agents in Degeance and Pam was with two agents in Chardene. They arrived before we did and had all of their initial responsibilities done of checking the bathrooms, lifestraws, and hand-washing buckets. Today we had three agents at MPCA and Pam had two at Dupin. The other agents are helping the team with physicals while the three of us are supervising what they will be doing on a daily basis after we leave. The hand-washing song we taught the agents when we first got here has been such a big hit. They have gone to each classroom and have taught them the song as well as the importance of washing their hands. It has been so much fun to see them take a leadership role in their assigned schools. It has been so rewarding to see them in the clinical setting putting into practice what we taught them last week. I’m looking forward to the next two days.

November 16

Today we had a busy day working at two different schools, St Marc and MPCA. We were excited to finish physicals on all of the students at Saint Marc and also got another grade done at MPCA! Deb hiked up to Degeance with a couple of our Community Agents to do some training up there and had such a wonderful time with them!

Josh and Crystal had fun this morning too; they went on a field trip to a couple of different pharmacies in Saint Marc with Pastor Herve and Anite! They were amazed at how crowded it was and thought it was interesting how the prices of things compared with the prices that we would find in the States. It was a neat experience for them and a fun way to start their day!

We're all very, very tired but feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve here.

November 17, 2016

Today we experienced first-hand why Mission Possible stresses the need to be flexible, flexible, flexible! Our team headed out for LaHatte early this morning, drove almost an hour, and then discovered that the road was way too muddy for our truck to get through. We had to decide whether to get out and hike all the way up to LaHatte or turn around and go back. Because it was so hot, and no one was prepared to have to hike, we turned around and headed to MPCA to do more physicals there. There are ALWAYS physicals to do at MPCA!! Shari got a chance to close her time with the Community Agents in prayer, which was very special to them. We got all of the primary students seen, and a good chunk of the secondary students, so we're really excited about that! It's been a challenging, tiring, and hot week, but we all just feel so priviledged to be able to be His hands and feet here in this country!!

Joanne: What a 2 weeks this has been! Exhausting, fulfilling, emotional, hot, sweaty, challenging, awesome, upsetting, funny, fun oh and did I say emotional?  If anyone out there reading this is feeling the need for fulfillment in their life, Haiti isn't going anywhere- (I Hope). I'm definately leaving a part of my heart here! Yesterday after work I was sitting in some much welcomed shade when this sweet, adorable little girl (3 years old) walked up to me and latched herself to me and didn't let go. I started showing her pics on my phone and before long 3 others joined in. I took some pics of all of us and showed them. They light up to see their faces on a photo! So simple for us but huge for them!! It's refreshing to see children that are so easily satisfied with so little. They just want to love and be loved! When it was time to go, she held my hand and we walked to the truck together. I heard her little voice say something to me in Creole but couldn't understand. My heart sank a little when I realized it was the first time she spoke because it was just before I was to leave. I had a good idea what she had said but clarified with a translator. She wanted to go with me! My heart broke! What do you say? What do you do? It's so hard and I haven't been quite the same since! What a bittersweet evening tonight! I'm starting for home tomorrow and am so excited but I'm incredibly sad to leave the children and my new awesome Haitian and American friends behind. This trip has been all I wanted and more. I felt the need to go way back in April and committed myself then, but am still not sure exactly why God wanted me to go. It doesn't matter and I may never know but I'm so thankful and will never regret coming. I'm also so glad I was able to take in such an awesome experience with my mom! What an awesome memory! Thanks mom! Thanks to my family for supporting my decision and to God for the opportunity and looking after us every step of the way! Also- If there's anyone interested in sponsoring a child, please let me know. Mission Possible has an awesome sponsorship program!