A view from a roof in Port au Prince


Shaken but not broken

I feel an emptiness and uneasiness in my stomach as I sit in my hotel bed in Santiago, on my way back to Minnesota. Although my stomach is gurgling and churning from the whatnots I've been carelessly eating on the side of the road... this is something different. It's a little fearful, a little sad, exhaustion, joy... I don't know how to feel leaving this time.

I'm so amazed by how God worked to bring me to Haiti this time. WOW. In the past few days in Leogane I spent a lot of time with the kids at the orphanage. Jas and Greg are really tired and the 'camping trip' it's quickly wearing on them. Can you imagine... managing 35 kids in something resembling a construction site, with one big hole dug for a toilet, no running water, a tarp for shelter, cold nights, shaking ground, sick kids... and the list goes on. The kids are contained in a small area of "safety." If they leave this little plot of land, they risk falling concrete walls or buildings. Any structures that are stil standing are NOT safe...
 I grabbed a few kids and sat down for story time. I'm learning enough creole that I was able to translate some of the Dr. Seuss stories into English for them. Green Eggs and Ham was a hoot. I kept asking them if they'd eat green eggs and they'd all look at each other and then shake their heads 'no!' They begged me to keep reading. They loved the attention and the amusement of having something other than rocks to keep them entertained.

There's a little princess named Claudia who is slowly wasting away. She is beautiful and I love her. She's about 20 months old and she's so skinny now that when I pick her up I have to grab under her legs and not at her waist because if I grab around the waist, my arms slip up and down her ribs. She came to the orphanage in October and was very malnourished. Her body is attacked with worms and bad congestion- aftermath of the earthquake and poor living conditions. I spent an entire morning with her. Giving her the pampering you deserve when you feel sick. I bathed her in a basin, washed her tiny lockets of hair, bubbled her up with soap, tickled her, and took silly pictures.I dried her up, lotioned her dry skin, dug around for some clean baby clothes in a box, and soon she looked like a freshly cleaned baby. I snuck her little snacks out of my backpack all day, gave her an extra glass of milk and continually filled up her little sippy cup with bottled water. I think I want to keep this little cutie.

We visited a property yesterday. It's beautiful. It's set further into the countryside. It's a very large chunk of land and extends to the water. There is a huge potential for growth of the orphanage and has room to build the clinic, church, and dormitories that Jas and Greg dream of for the futrure of OLTCH. It would take a good year to build up what they need, so they would need to temporary relocate somewhere in the meantime.

An exciting nursing story that I almost left out!.... I delivered my first baby! It was wonderful. It was Tuesday morning around 5am and I was in my tent with the girls from the nursing school telling them that I wanted to deliver a baby that day. 4 or 5 babies had already been born at the school since the quake and I wanted to be a part of the next one. Well, about an hour later someone came to the tent to get Shirley and Shirley says, "Lisa, you want to deliver a baby?" I bolted out of that tent like my pants were on fire. Everyone was laughing at my excitement and urgency to get to the hospital. The mom was 19 years old and this was her first baby. no pain medication, fan... or anything much of comfort. There was a lot of waiting and comfort care for the first.... 4 or 5 hours. The water broke around 10am and shot out into the air... I swear if I hadn't just moved a few seconds earlier, it may have bursted in my face. The contractions got really intense and then the OB doctor and peds nurse started talking me through how to direct the baby out of the canal, the suction process and anything else I needed to know about getting the baby outta there. When the baby came out, she came so fast! The little slippery thing just shot right into my arms. We suctioned and cleaned her up. I took my sweet time cleaning her and held her for awhile. The mom was too exhausted and still working on getting the placenta out. The whole thing was really cool to be a part of. I'd really like to do more deliveries in the future. I also was able to do my first sutures after the delivery because the mom tore from the birth.

Last night Dan Sorenson and I spent a few hours out in "tent city" as we affectionately call the city that has spurt up on the nursing school campus. We taught the kids "head, shoulders, knees and toes", "the ABCs", "the hokey pokey" and some some about Old mrs. Leery and a fire. Our crowd started at around 30 kids and soon grew to a group of 200 including kids, moms, dads, and grandmas. We did round robin of row row row your boat and had competitions for which team could sing the loudest, my team of kids or dan's. The hokey pokey was my favorite and by the end of the night I couldn't even breathe as were were dancing to it. I wasn't much help to Dan because I was laughing so hard. It was a blast.

I still can't believe it's all over. And it's hard because their battle continues. How long will these shanty homes built from sticks and bedsheets last? What happens when it rains hard? Where are the kids going to go for school? When do the nursing students get a break and some time to sleep? My new goal is to get back their long term. There HAS to be a way. In the midst of this crisis, there must be some organization or people who will take me up on my offer to give a year or two for teaching at the nursing school, working in the hospital, and managing the health care for the orphanage in exchange for taking care of my student loans. This is a hurdle that scares me, but my faith is stronger than ever now. I have seen the hand of the Lord and I am certain he loves Haiti.


  1. I loved this.
    Absolutely loved it.
    You are beautiful. I am so excited for your life!
    I can't wait to see you
    Thanks for your encouraging stories Lis... you know I mean it.

  2. I am beyond moved by your journey in Haiti. I'm a virtual disaster coordination volunteer and today was complete frustrated horrified meltdown at the inability for me to be effective and the sheer magnitude of this...this monster. Usually, I make a call and help shows up. This? This I cannot even comprehend and am rendered powerless.

    So I continue on, after a good sob and now, I search around seeking the ray of sunshine on it all and I stumble on to this beautiful, beautiful blog. And I'm still deeply saddened. I want to wrap every child, woman and man up and make them alright. And I can't, but I can see how we are all playing a part and doing our best. And you are a complete stranger and I'm just so dang proud of you.

    And I'm praying, praying for all of us. And I am encouraging you. I truly, truly believe the universe is going to open a way for you to get your one year in Haiti. Haiti needs you, and you need Haiti.

    God Bless you and everyone....there just aren't enough of the 'right words'.

    Safe journey through and through to you and your mom.

  3. Wow. Thank you. Your encouragement is powerful and I can see that you, too, have a fire in your heart for what is happening in Haiti.

    So much confusion and unanswered questions have come to view in light of this earthquake but each day I see how the Lord is working the situation out to bring glory to his name and to show the survivors his love for them.

    Face on the floor in prayer *Lisa*