It has been a long day, but we are so glad to be here is Haiti. We had an eventful morning checking all of our luggage in once we got to Cleveland, but it was smooth sailing from there. Both flights were fine (we even saw a rainbow from the plane) and collecting our luggage was a breeze. The drive to the Mission Center was nice and not too hot, because of the rain. Once at the center, we unpacked and waited for dinner: Haitian Spaghetti, a first night staple. We gobbled up dinner and relaxed the rest of the evening. Mary took a swim, which she was itching to do from the second we arrived! The sunset was gorgeous, as always. It was a long, great first day. Now, everyone is off to bed so that we will be well rested for an early morning of church at LaHatte!
April 30, 2017
To say today was an adventure, would be quite the understatement! It started with a wonderful breakfast prepared by Monita, and then the real journey began! Riding in an open truck down Highway 1 is exciting enough but then to turn off into a “dried up” river bed to trek up to LaHatte school and church is a ride you will not soon forget, especially when the truck gets stuck and you then need to walk the rest of the way. There were no complaints or grumblings just much laughter as certain members of our team repeatedly lost there shoes to the mud!
Then as we drew closer to the church, we saw man after man dressed in their Sunday best walking out to aid in the rescue of our truck. Let’s just say, that too is an image we will not soon forget: a suit clad gentleman with a pick axe slung over his shoulder.
We knew we had made it when the sound of a hymn came wafting out across the heat of the morning air.
Mud caked shoes were taken from us and cleaned to shine like they did when they were new! Pastor Herve insisted on washing our feet, such a humble deed for “the boss” (the Field Director here in Haiti) as well as a humbling experience for the team.
Church was inspiring... a hymn in a different language still feeds the soul.
Following church the medical pieces of our team evaluated children and our PR team, Shelby and Rene, gathered footage to help tell the Mission Possible story. Mary taught the leadership team about proper cleaning and maintenance of the Life Straws which is the water filtration system providing water for the school and community.
The team was so glad to look out and see the truck had reached the top and would soon carry us back down the mountainside.
Back at the ranch....or the mission center as it is called, the Community Agents patiently waited for further training. Belinda and Pam spent time talking with them, getting suggestions on what they need, how things are going and introductions to new capstone projects while Mary continued her personal mission of teaching them about the Life Straws. Crystal did further training with Anite who is completing her Bachelors in Nursing this Friday. Congratulations Anite!!
The next adventure came for our PR team, heading up to Degeance to video the current school with the hope and vision of the new school in the horizon. The children of Degeance had fun with Vanessa....lets just say a pair of sunglasses and an ipad can go a long way in entertaining beautiful children!
That pretty well brings our day to a close with a wonderful, gentle storm and inspiring sunset.
Keep up the prayers....you are all a very valuable part of the team.
May 1,. 2017
Our day-two adventures started fairly early after a lovely meal prepared by Monita. We left at about 7:30 (we are on Haiti time, so it very well could have been closer to 8:00) to head out to Chardene School. Unfortunately for us, today was a holiday and the kids had the day off. To our surprise though, many kids greeted us upon arriving. The principal and teachers asked the sick kids to make sure and be there. We got out and went straight to work on our different tasks. Pam led Vanessa, Belinda, and Crystal in setting up to evaluate and treat kids that are or were sick. Mary took charge of leading the Community Agents in changing the Life Straw water filters. Rene and Shelby got the video camera and Go Pros and went to work interviewing kids, teachings, and recording other various footage.
The morning flew by. All of the kids that were sick and needed to be assessed were seen. Mary did a great job of teaching the Community Agents and allowing them to try out what they learned about the Life Straws. They also were able to check out the new well and are in the process of testing the water to see if it is safe to drink (this process takes 24-48 hours so we might know tomorrow). Rene and Shelby interviewed kids that were taken to the hospital earlier this year for surgery, kids that would like surgery in the future, and preschool and kindergarten teachers talking about the children’s books they received. In addition, Rene is working on a very cool project that we got some good footage for!
After leaving Chardene, we drove back to the Mission Center were we quickly ate lunch and walked up the road to the smallest MP school, Lanzac, while Mary stayed behind to teach the Community Agents. Lanzac is only preschoolers, so we had a room full of small children and their mamas. Again, Pam, Belinda, Crystal and Vanessa went to work assessing children, while Rene and Shelby occupied some of the kids on the playground. The afternoon went smoothly and as soon as the last child left, we packed up and walked home to the Mission Center. Monita was already finished with dinner by that time, so we sat down and ate the AMAZING Haitian food. At that point, Mary was able to share about how her day went with teaching the Community Agents. She had the lovely task of teaching them about Urinary Tract Infections, Hernias, sex and more! We ended the night we a beautiful sunset and off to bed for another crazy, fun, hot day in Haiti.
May 2, 2017
It never ceases to amaze me how God shows Himself everyday in Haiti!! Not only are His sunrises the most beautiful I have ever seen, but also how His people show His love. LOVE truly needs no translation!! Today we literally hiked over a river, through the forest and up a mountain to see the children needing medical attention in the village of Dupin. If you followed our blog last November this is where we met a sweet little boy and did a procedure at the mission center. The follow-up visit with Belinda, the provider that performed the procedure in November and now sponsors him, melted the hearts of those who got to witness their reunion!! Dupin is the school that we hike the furthest to; over 40 children and staff were assessed and treated today alone. God doesn’t stop there. When one of our translaters showed up for work today, he was obviously ill, so we jumped into action and made sure he was treated so he would be able to continue to serve with us.
We started the day earlier than normal with servicing the LifeStaws at Lanzac. The Community Agent overseeing this project showed up 30 minutes before everyone else. This dedication spoke volumes to us here at Mission Possible. The project is very important to ensure all the children have safe drinking water. Making sure they are properly maintained is crucial.
Pam, Rene and Shelby traveled with two children and their mamas to the hospital in a nearby village. The hospital, Pierre Payen, was very helpful in obtaining the proper labs needed to continue to assist our kids to keep them healthy. We were thankful for good reports.
After a long day, it is always a pleasure to come back “home” to some fresh Haitian food cooked by Mainita! She has always done a wonderful job of making delicious food for us. Today was on of my favorites!! Mashed potatoes!! If my family it reading this they know how much I love mashed potatoes!! Yes, I saved some for everyone else!!
A thunderstorm is rolling in now and we're getting ready to play some Fizz-bo!
Thank you for praying for us this week!
May 3, 2017
Day four took us to Degeance school for a medical clinic, but before we went there we stopped at MPCA to do a follow-up with one student. Vanessa got to meet one of her sponsor students there as well. Our journey up the mountain of Degeance began along side several young men from the school who came to carry all our supplies. Shelby was able to meet the two kids her church sponsors and Crystal was also able to meet one of her sponsor kids while at Degeance too. All were adorable and so sweet! There were 23 children seen and treated. One young lady was so ill she had to be hooked up to an IV for fluids; we are all praying for her to feel better soon. The children were loving and delighted by our presence. Such a joy.
Meanwhile, our public relations team spent the majority of the day at the current Degeance school campus getting footage of students that had surgery a few months ago and other various things. Later, they took a hike through the village around Degeance with Pastor Herve, Jean-Michel, and Principal Wilson. They were invited into the homes to speak with families of children in the school talking about how MP has impacted their lives and their excitement about the new school. The hike ended at the property of the new Degeance campus where Pastor Herve gave his Vision Cast for the new school and property. The medical team hiked down and met them at the cattle truck.
This afternoon, Belinda taught the Community Agents about home-remedies, basic first-aid, proper documentation, and discussion on Capstone Projects. Pam, Mary, and Crystal set up the Blood Pressure Clinic for staff members. They reported that it was the best turn out and best results they have had! Belinda and Pam also performed a minor procedure on a student!
A long day ended with a dinner cooked by Monita and once again an unforgettable sunset.
May 5, 2017
Our final day in beautiful Haiti was a huge success. The morning started with seeing a preschool teacher from MPCA at the Mission Center who needed some lab work done. Our group split up to accomplish everything left to do, as it was our last day! Pam, Belinda, and Crystal left with the teacher to get the much needed lab work done at a lab facility while Vanessa, Mary, Shelby and Rene headed to Chardene for some last minute video and fixing a broken Life Straw. Shortly after arriving to Chardene, the group completed their tasks and left to continue to the next stop: Saint Marc. The medical team followed shortly after to Saint Marc, as well. Once at Saint Marc, the group set up for another clinic to see follow up students from the last medical trip and to see sick students. Rene and Shelby were able to get interviews with a few students while Mary worked with the Community Agents on the Life Straws. Mary, Vanessa, and Crystal were all able to see their sweet sponsor children! After everyone was finished with their work, Jean-Michel of the Leadership Team treated us to ice cream and soda. It was so kind of him and so refreshing after a long, hot day of work.
We then headed back to the Mission Center where Belinda immediately started teaching the Community Agents about wounds, bites, burns, infections, intestinal parasites, medication, and much more! Mary ventured to MPCA to assess their Life Straws and teach about care and upkeep. Pam kept busy helping a treat a teen-age girl and a little boy and his family among many other things. The rest of the group started getting everything ready to leave by taking inventory. The afternoon concluded with the beautiful sound of guitar played by one of our interpreters and a prayer with the Community Agents. Our night ended with a surprise to remember!
Tonight is bittersweet as we pack up, but we all miss our family and friends and are so thankful for the thoughts and prayers over our journey this week. We ask that you all pray for our travels tomorrow and all of the beautiful people we will be leaving.