A view from a roof in Port au Prince


Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

It's hard to believe that it has taken me this long to get online and give an update on the trip. It feels a little bit freeing not to be connected to the internet all the time. That being said, I have a lof of things to update on!

The first few days we were in Haiti, we stayed at Sheila's house in Karfour. On thursday we took an all day bus trip to visit an orphanage in Kenskoff. We rode the tap tap for 5 hours each way to visit the orphanage. It is home to 400 kids. The kids will never be adopted, they stay in a "family" at the orphanage until they are old enough to live. There is a nurse that works there and I talked to her about her job. She takes care of many children and manages everything from wounds to HIV treatment.

Last weekend we took a trip to Goinaives, Shirley's home town. We had be planning with the church there for a healthfair. Just minutes before we were supposed to travel to goinaives, the car broke down. We watched and waited for hours as the Haitian handy-men tried to fix the car. Hours after hours.. and we were still at Sheila's house with no hope of leaving any time soon. We were supposed to leave at 10am... and after it was dark, around 7pm, we finally found a different way to get to Goinaives. Shiela's brother volunteered to make the 3 hour drive and drop us off so that we could make it to the healthfair. We arrived in Goinaives at 10pm, ate dinner, got in our bednets, and went to sleep. At 5am the next morning we woke up, gathered our supplies, and headed to the church to set everything up. It was a great day! We did two presentations, one on Cholera and handwashing, and the other on nutrition. As I looked into the crowds, I saw a mix of children, adults and the elderly. Many people had notebooks and were taking notes from the information we had for them.

Next, Dr. Mattheiu- Shirley's husband and a pediatrition, saw the pediatric patients while Shirley educated on diabetes, breast cancer, and hypertension. Gretchen and I made an announcement that we would be in the back of the church and would be available to pray with anyone who needed prayers. We were not sure if anyone would take us up on our offer. One-by-one people came to us for prayer. Everytime I opened my eyes after praying for someone, the line of people waiting had almost doubled. We prayed for people for hours, raising up prayers for sickness, increased faith, poverty, loved ones, abandoned children, etc. It was really nice to be able to connect with the people. After that, we had a big meal for the people. Everyone had meat, rice and beans, salad and a bottle of juice. There was more than enough for all to eat.

This week we have spent our time at the orphanage and going to the hospital with the nursing students. I have spent a lot of my time with a baby in the pediatric unit who is very malnourished and is HIV positive. His mother is only 14 years old and she does not want the baby, so often times he is left alone crying and is starved. He is my little friend and today I held him for hours, fed him, bathed him, and talked to the doctors about his care. He is on a nutrition program at a local NGO, but the mother does not always go to get his food.

Today after working at the hospital we taught English class. We played a competitive game of head shoulders knees and toes. The students loved it and were extremely competitive.

Now it is time to go back to Shirley's house. We are all very tired. I hope we have electricity tonight. Leogane has been without electricity since the earthquake, over a year ago. Just a few nights ago, there was electricity for the first time. It felt like independence day! Now we have electricity for part of the night, which is helpful since it is pitch black starting around 6pm here.

Just a few more blessed days here! more stories to come...


MIA soon to be PAP

We made it safely to Miami! I woke up this morning at 3am, shuffled around the luggage to make each bag under the 50lb limit, and left the house with Gretchen and her wonderful husband Dan as our driver... at 4am! Hours later we arrived in Miami, ate lunch and called our friend Sheila in Haiti to make sure everything is in place to be picked up at the airport this afternoon. What a relief it is to make it to Haiti in one day! I have been to Haiti many times, and often do an overnight layover in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, and let me tell you- it's better to get all the travelling done in one day! Gretchen is a great travel companion. We chatted away on the 3 1/2 hour plane ride to MIA which made time fly. Our descent into MIA was a startling one. We landed on the ground and immediately took off again. We flew higher and higher, back into the clouds. Confusion took over in our minds... the silence of the plane.. why were there no announcements about our false landing? Finally, the captain made an announcement that the landing strip looked bad so he could not land. We flew around in the sky for about 15 more minutes and then safely landed on the ground. Whew!

I coughed up the dough at the airport so that I'd have access to their wifi internet. I'm so happy that I did because I received an email from an orphanage in Kenskoff that I was hoping to be able to visit on this trip. Everything is set in place and we will hopefully visit it tomorrow. I will tell all about it after we visit. There is also a pediatric hospital, called Saint Damien that we have arrangements to tour.

I hate to admit this, but I am craving my third meal of the day and it's only 1pm! I guess that's what happens when breakfast starts at 3am. I am holding out for the mini toblerone bar, cheese spread and crackers that American Airlines gives on each flight to Haiti ;)

I want to say a big THANK YOU! to everyone who supported Gretchen and I and made this trip possible. The garage sales were a big hit and we also had many family members and friends that donated money. Bethel's rock church was also supportive both financially and in prayer. This medical mission trip would not be possible without this help from our supporters! We were able to raise all of the funds we needed. It was such an encouragement to feel the support of friends and family. Please continue to pray for us on this trip, specifically safety and health.

Our flight is now boarding!! I will update once we are in Haiti.