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...