Greetings from Haiti! We had a pretty busy here. This morning, Deb and Rene went to Saint Marc to visit a lab and get some information from the director regarding the possibility of sending students there to get labs done in the future. It was a very informative and encouraging meeting, and we are excited about the idea of a new partnership.
Back at the Mission Center, Sabina and Heather worked on getting a head-start on the physicals by looking up our students' medical histories and writing them on their cards. It will be so helpful for the providers to know that information when they see that student. Nick and Devin spent the afternoon organizing the pharmacy- it looks wonderful!
Rene, Pam and Deb met with the pastors and principals this afternoon to review the schedule for the month. Everyone is excited to get things rolling, but we are enjoying the calm before the storm tonight because the first big team arrives tomorrow! Please pray for them as they travel and for the bags to get here safe & sound, too.
We were excited to have a cute little visitor tonight!
November 3, 2018
The second part of our week 1 group made it safe and sound tonight! We are glad they are here, and they're glad they can finally go to bed! They were met in Haiti with a downpour! Thankfully they were picked up in the van and not the open truck, but the bags on top got a little wet. On the bright side, we now have the opportunity to organize the hygiene kits because they got a little wet.
The Community Agents came today from 1-5 PM. It was great to see them again! They are excited about their graduation coming up at the end of November. Beginning on Monday, they will be participating in the physicals at each school. They practiced skills today that they will be using at the physicals. Our team volunteered their fingers to allow the Community Agents to practice taking blood to check hemoglobin levels- Nick and Heather both volunteered 5 fingers! Even Rene volunteered one!
Some of our team members organized the pantry so that our wonderful cook Maude would know what food was available to use. She was so happy, she gave them a kiss on the cheek and squealed!
We have all been practicing our Creole. Deb and Rene have been a huge help with our communication. Today we were able to have a full conversation with Maude and Madame LaFett about our meals for the week without using a Haitian translator.
We thank God for the opportunities we have already had and those that will come, and as always we appreciate your prayers.
November 4, 2018
What a day of rejoicing it was! Awaking our first morning, we prepared ourselves for a day of worship. We traveled by cattle truck and hiked the remaining way to attend Degeance Church. Hiking along the rugged path and up the steep incline, we passed banana fields, donkeys, goats and even children swimming in the stream! After breaking a sweat and finally reaching the end of the hike, we were welcomed to the church by the most gracious parishioners. Dancing, singing, and worshiping our Lord, His presence was alive. It was amazing to celebrate God's love even when the message is not spoken in English. After the Church service, we were able to fellowship under the big tree and drink international drink that always brings a smile - Coca-Cola. Our hearts were filled with love as we hiked with Kelly to meet her sponsor child. Their meeting brought huge smiles and a few tears of joy to their faces as we all experienced how God can bring together two people from two different countries. As we said our goodbyes and loaded back on the cattle truck, we were excited to see another blessing that God is working on. We look forward to seeing the new school, soccer field, and Church, that will hopefully sometime soon be completed!
Upon our return, we enjoyed yet another fabulous meal prepared by Maude. She takes such good care of us with her fabulous cooking! This afternoon we ran through Mock Clinics, preparing ourselves for the big day tomorrow and the rest of this week! We cannot wait to travel to the schools this week and help every child we can. We are so happy we are able to provide medical assistance to these children. The community agents will be able to maintain follow up care for the children. Vanessa was also able to do some follow-up with some of her hearing-impaired students, which gives her a good head start for the week.
With a little extra time, we enjoyed the beautiful ocean, enjoyed hearing the waves, and of course seeing the goats standing on the beach. God's magnificent sunset was the perfect backdrop as our day came to an end. Day one has come to an end, fellowship has brought together Kitchen Karaoke and the beautiful sound of rejoicing for our Savior. Stories and laughter are shared by people who just a day ago were strangers but now are connected and have developed a friendship full of memories that will forever be treasured.
November 5, 2018
This morning we awoke to a beautiful morning as we prepared ourselves to be a Servant of God as we provided love and care to the children of MPCA school. Our hearts were full and our faces were filled with smiles when we listened to the children begin their day with morning worship. We were able to listen to them sing and relate their songs to the same songs we sing at Church! The team prepared the clinic to bring medical needs to the preschool and school age children. We had different stations set up from height and weight, foot checks, audiology, nurse visits, vision, to doctor follow ups. Medications were provided for the children and charting completed in order to build medical history for future visits. These beautiful children touched our hearts and filled us with joy throughout the day. God has blessed our team with translators to ensure the communication. We would not be able to do these clinics without them! Everyone on this trip brought something to the school and to the children at MPCA. The return drive in the cattle truck was a little quiet compared to most trips. Some were tired, some reflecting on the day but everyone feeling grateful for what had been accomplished. Upon return to the Center, a few went for a short swim in the ocean. Some prepared supplies for tomorrow, and we all awaited anxiously for the dinner bell to ring so we could enjoy fellowship and another wonderful meal prepared by Maude. We can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings and the different ways we can continue to help these children.
November 6, 2018
What a day! We were back at MPCA today for day 2 of school physicals. We were thankful to see a lot of healthy students. We were also thankful for answered prayer as we identified several very sick children, and were able to get them the appropriate treatment and follow-up. We saw almost 80 children.
The highlight of the day was returning to the mission center early. Rene began a new tradition tonight of having the sponsored children of our team members come down to the mission center for a time of fellowship and dinner. It was an incredible blessing for everyone! We shared a meal, met some of their families and learned about their homes, sang a popular Haitian song, and prayed together. Johanna prayed in French, and a Haitian mom prayed for all of us. Even with the language barrier, we were able to create long lasting memories. We all took many pictures that we look forward to sending back to our Haitian friends when we write letters from home.
While this was going on, there was also a blood pressure clinic at the mission center. What a blessing to see so many come, and the improvement in their blood pressure and health status. We ARE making a difference for the people we are serving!
The team is a growing together in friendships, and it is a joy to make new friends as we serve our God together! What a privilege for each of us to be called to this work.
With the time change, it seems to be getting dark rather early. We were all sitting around the table talking about how late it felt when someone looked down and said "It's only 6:30?!? No way!" Needless to say, we are exhausted but exhilarated! We are looking forward to a good night's sleep before another busy day tomorrow! Thank you all for your continued prayers!
November 7, 2018
We arose bright and early to get ready for our first trip to Dupin for the month. While we missed some of the familiar faces from MPCA, we were excited to head to a new environment. The drive up to Dupin was gorgeous, and Sergo, with his incredible driving skills, got us up the mountain without difficulty. We stayed on schedule and saw everyone we had planned to see and even a few extras. Thanks to our friends at Pierre Payan Hospital, we were able to refer several students to the hospital. The new environment took some getting used to, but eventually our clinic ran like a well oiled machine. Thanks to our Community Agents, we were able to get a hemoglobin on every student who came through the clinic, helping us to identify our anemic students and get them treated appropriately. We saw more sick kids at Dupin than we were used to seeing at MPCA and are so thankful that God provided the opportunity to evaluate and treat them. Sergo left to pick Jameson up from the airport and Jeff showed off his awesome driving skills by us down the mountain with ease.
Thankfully, we had no clinics or seminars this evening. We were able to relax, hang out, and enjoy each others' company for the rest of the evening. We thank God for providing us with the opportunity to rest after the last 3 days of clinics.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support, we love you all! We are so thankful to have the opportunity to be God's hands and feet in Haiti this month.
^Belinda: Kenbelove's face lit up when I told him you'd be visiting soon! ;) -- Rene
November 8, 2018
Whew! We had a LONG day at Chardene. Poor Vanessa is still working with kids while I write. She has been going since this morning, working diligently, to make sure that our students are able to hear God's word! We are so lucky to have an audiologist with us this week! As she works, the fisherman who have been out in the ocean every night this week, start their work. We went out last night and they showed us their catch. They catch these little fish that look like sardines but they call them Pickett. We have no idea what they use them for and our creole made it difficult for us to figure it out. From what we understand, they take them to market. According to our translators, "strangers" buy them. We don't know if that means foreigners? We know that they don't eat them. It was a really cool experience!
Heather and Sabine led us in song almost the entire ride to Chardene. We made a pit stop at Pierre Payan Hospital to check on our referrals from yesterday. This morning was a little rough at first, we moved our ear wash station 3 times before we had our set up just right. Poor Deb dropped the water pick the third time she moved it and we all had to take a deep breath before the first kid came through. Once the first class arrived, things were smooth sailing. With three providers the children moved through the lines quickly and there were breaks between patients for the first time this week. The littles were NOT happy about getting their ears cleaned or their hemoglobin checked, but after several renditions of "Jesus loves me" in Creole, they were all smiles!
Jeff took over height and weight and did an incredible job of organizing screaming children. Our Community Agents continue to improve and have become an indispensable part of our team. Marcia has found her calling with checking feet and has it down to a science. With Olivia's help they had the opportunity to check the feet of every child who came for their physical. With their trusty wipes they even had the opportunity to clean many of our students feet. What a humbling experience.
Johanna was busier than usual with 3 providers prescribing meds, though she didn't have as many crazy doses as Devin, Nick, and Jameson become more familiar with the dosing options that we have available. Of course, things become easier as the week is wrapping up. It was nice to have Jameson today as there was another set of eyes to look at all of the crazy skin issues that we aren't used to seeing in the States.
Rene continues to impress us all as she is able to get the kids from their classes without the help of the translators. Julie helped organize the children through the audiology station. It has been a struggle to find a quiet place to evaluate our students ability to hear. Kelly continued to be versatile as she switched between nurse assessments, ear cleaning and vision throughout the day, jumping in whenever needed. Emily continues to provide some of the most detailed notes ever, which has been unbelievably helpful for the providers.
As the week winds to a close, with only one more day of clinic, we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with each other. We are sad that the week is coming to an end but so excited for the next team to continue the work that we have started.
November 9, 2018
It's hard to believe, but week one has come to an end. We spent our day at Saint Marc, and were so encouraged by not only how healthy the students looked, but how well behaved they were for us. It really shows how the students have become accustomed to their yearly school physicals. It's not a surprise for them anymore- they know what to expect and we are gaining their trust more each time we are here.
It was a busy day, but we got a lot done by seeing the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th graders, as well as some kids who needed immediate attention. When we came back tonight, Vanessa had some more students waiting for her to do hearing evaluations on them. We are so grateful for the long hours she is willing to put in and for her desire to make sure our students hear the Word of God.
Tonight we wrapped up our week together by doing shopping from the vendors, spending time worshiping and reflecting on our week, and then of course playing Fizz-bo.
Us that are staying longer are sad to see the wonderful one-weekers go home tomorrow, but are anxious for the next group to arrive. Please pray for travel mercies for the teams coming & going, for their airport drivers, and for us back here in Haiti as we re-charge our batteries and prepare for another busy week.