A view from a roof in Port au Prince


Serve wholeheartedly as if serving the Lord, not men

The title explains my theme for the last few days. The Lord has given me this verse to motivate me through the hard work. There is so much to update on but there is also a lot of work to be done right now, so I don't want to take too much time! Right now we are busy unpacking boxes upon boxes from a shipment of donations. On Christmas eve we spent over 10 hours getting in a massive shipment from a port city. There were 13 huge crates with about 20 moving boxes in each crate. We packed it all into a moving van ( in the HEAT of the day), traveled back through the mountains to Leogane, and then began unloading all the boxes in the dark- trying to beat the rain.  The shipment included: stove, baby chairs, clothes, storage boxes, feed my starving children food, canned meat, fruit, vegetables, baby formula, bottles, diapers, a basketball hoop, hundreds of shoes, blankets, towels, coloring books, and on and on!!! The house is packed full of kids and boxes. The driveway in front of the house is full of boxes, the staircase is lined with boxes and the entire kitchen is packed high with boxes.

The big Christmas celebration will be on Dec 28, after Chris and Emily arrive, as well as Jasmine's husband Greg. Last night we had a small celebration which included choclate pudding, Christmas songs, and presents. The kids went absolutely CRAZY when jasmine told them she'd be coming back into the room with her arms full of presents. She called each kids up individually and handed them a present to bring to another child. After everyone had a gift in their arms they were all allowed to open them. They were so very excited!! Everyone was showing off their gifts to their friends and to me. Every kid got a stuffed animal, and a big plastic bag that included socks, a shirt, a coloring book, crayons, and a couple pieces of candy. I have it on video so I'll post it as soon as I get back to the states.

On monday and Tuesday I will go to the hospital with the students from the nursing school and on Wed and or Thursday, Rigan and I will start going a community assessment of high blood pressure and diabetes and then develop a follow-up plan for how to care for them.

Everything has gone so well. The Lord has protected me in all  I have done. It was a little strange having Christmas here. In the US, everyting is so quiet, but here the market is still bustling and it's like any other day. Some people have told me that they are too poor for Christmas to be a celebration, and I think that might be a little bit true.

Hope to update again soon!


I'll be HOME for Christmas :)

Well, as the title explains... I'm heading back to Haiti for the Christmas season! After prayers, arguments/discussions with the madre, thinking lots, and finally gathering support from friends and family for this trip, it was clear to me that this trip was going to happen.

5 days!!! Or is it 4? I leave in 4 days, but I will not get in to Haiti until the morning, so 5 days. Just leaving is exciting enough for me; to know that I am "on my way" and making some progress to get there.

Thoughts are swarming through my head about what the trip will be like. It will be my first time flying there on my own!!! I keep envisioning myself with my huge suitcases swatting away the friendly Haitians who want to help me with me bags ( for a nice tip of course). Then I look into the sea of black faces, frantically searching for Rigan, and I spot him right away and he comes and helps me with my bags and we leave the airport. Let's hope it goes this way. I will most likely be the only white person at the airport that day. If I'm lucky, there will be a 60-something year old white guy with greying hair, who is clearly on one trip of many. That's the profile of the other white people I see. Oh yeah, and maybe an Amish person. I've seen a few of them at the airports over the trips.

So what's this trip about? What do I hope to accomplish? What will I actually DO while I'm there? I try to think through these questions so I can give really good answers to people when they ask me, but sometimes I just don't know how to answer. I really don't know how to explain the concept that NOTHING ever goes as planned in Haiti. "Plans" do not carry the same meaning as they do in the United States. And things are always crazy there, so it makes it close to impossible to plan! But here's what I've come up with
This is my attempt to describe what this trip is about..
Relationships. Building and growing in my relationships with the Haitians. Spending time with each of the kids at the orphanage. Learning the little quirks about each little rascal there. Getting to know the students at the nursing school better, as it is my ultimate goal to open a non-profit in partnership with them in the future.
the orphanage and the community with my nursing skills. The goal is to go door-to-door around the community, visiting the families and seeing those who need medical care. Then with some of the money I have raised and saved on my own, I can provide interventions for them- whether it's food, meds, or a pair of shoes to protect their feet. Also serving within the orphanage. A goal is to at least START the kids on getting tested for HIV and Tuberculosis while I'm there. Also, to set up a plan for their immunizations. We also started medical records for each of the kids. With the addition of a new baby, David, to the orphanage who is serverely malnourished and handicapped, I will need to update some of these records on a weekly basis. Another goal is to hire a Haitian nurse for the orphanage and to establish that nurse's role within the orphanage. We will use a former nursing student from FSIL nursing school.
Learning : Learning more about Haitian culture, taking Creole lessons, learning more about healthcare and how to care for the conditions commonly seen in Haiti. I hope to follow my friend Sheila or Shirley into the hospital to work with patients and give help there. Also to learn from Jasmine ( mother at the orphanage) about how to run something like an orphanage in Haiti. The behind- the -scenes work that I haven't yet understood. Learn about adoption policies in Haiti, the education system, and programs available for HIV/AIDS/Tuberculosis patients.

So that's what I've got so far! Check in for more updates throughout my trip. I'll be there from Dec 18-Jan 5, staying in Leogane, Haiti at the orphanage. I hope to find good internet and update this every 3 or 4 days.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of making this trip possible! :) I can't wait to be there.