Friday, August 6, 2010

HAITI: the final day :)

First off, thank you for all your prayers!  I am 110% recovered, after lots of sleep and plenty of medicine (since that is all they have here). 
     Yesterday and today were much alike as far as work goes, we simply worked our rounds with the clinic team.  HOWEVER, things were made much more interesting when Amber, the summer missionary who we helped with filling the prescriptions, was whisked off to do another job and Ashleigh and I were left, alone, to work as the pharmacists.  Thus, after two days of training, we had to read the doctors writing (isn't it known to be illegible?), and to make it worse we had to know what medicine it was that they were trying to write...not easy when you have Doxycycline, Chloroquin, Erythromycin, and literally a hundred more medicines with crazy names.  So, I learned to say phrases like , "mwatye grenn avek manje chaksjou" (take 1/2 a pill with food every day), "yon fwa pa jou" (once a day), or "de grenn twa fwa pa ju" (two pills three times a day).  But we met many people and played with the kids; most importantly, we have been able to shine a light and make memories we will never forget!
     One of my favorite experiences besides the clinic was the marketplace we went to this evening.  For half an hour we went to all the stalls set up and bartered, which was sooo much fun!  A typical convo went like this:
Them: "hey!  look!  you buy, only $15!"
Me: "oh, bel, no, mesi."
Them: "I give you, for $10"
Me: " about 2 of them for $5?"
Them: "wi, wi! 2 for $5"

or my favorite:

Them: "Look, you buy for $20!"
Ashleigh: "how about $5?"
Them: "Ha!!  No way.  $12."
Ashleigh: "No, mesi. No." (walks away)
Them: (running after her) "oke, oke, $10!  uhh..$8!  $5!!"

Haha it was a blast, we would make a deal, then get them to throw in a couple more items for free.  I ended up getting a big bag of woodwork and jewelry for under $ less than half and hour.  Good thing we didn't have longer, or I would have terrible credit! 
     Tomorrow morning we leave the compound at 6 to escort the young girl who is a summer missionary back to the airport, and our flight leaves 3 hours later.  It has been a wonderful experience, and I am excited to come back one day soon!

Love from Haiti,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

HAITI: Day 5

I'm not feeling too well today - slept as soon as we got back from the clinic until dinner, now we will have devotions and I will go to sleep again.  I will update tomorrow though!  Please pray for us, a couple of us on the team feel ill.   Thank you!

Love from Haiti,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Haiti: ORPHANGE :)

First, while it is fresh on my mind, let me be the first to tell you about on eof the most delicious desserts I have enjoyed in quite a while: after a long day of toting around 6 babies and toddlers at a time and sweating in more places than one would think possible, the medical staff was given a treat - corn flavored ice-cream!  We were trying to look at it and figure out the flavor, and upon being told Ashleigh and I did not know quite what to expect.  However, it was a tastebud-tingling flavor that I can only describe as a mix between vanilla, coconut, and coffee.  It was amazing!
    Anywho, about the orphange.  it took us about an hour and half to get to the orphanage (maybe longer?) though we were too busy watching the people and towns go by to really notice how long it had been.  There were about 80 orphans ranging in age from babies to probably about 8 or 9 years old.  They we all waiting for us when we arrived, and not a single one was bashful.  Nearly knocking us over, a stampede of toddlers ran to Ashleigh and I, giving us high-fives then promptly clinging to our long skirts.  The next several hours were no different; we sat in the concrete room with the children as they received check-ups and took some outside in the concrete open space to play.  Some children had incredible energy and were always laughing and smiling, but others were sick and sad-looking, not saying a word the entire time.  One such baby girl, only about 3, became an extra appendage for me after a while - she was content to be held and carried around as I tried to amuse others.  It broke our hearts to see these sick little children, with the older ones having to care for the younger ones.  The workers, all very kind but understaffed, did not even know all the childrens' names, so we had to ask other kids in the orphanage.  some babies were witting on beds all alone and sick, with no one watching them except our volunteers.  It was a sad sight to see, and we did not want to have to leave the kids.  Giving them beanies babies helped though - they adored their new toys, and they were able to pick from a hundred (literally) different animals.
     Every one of us felt guilty for eating and drinking in front of the kids, and we only did it when we knew we had to in order to continue functioning at our best.  As soon as Ashleigh and I reached for our sandwiches, about ten toddlers clung to our skirts and wailed as we ate.  We knew they would be fed within the hour, but seeing the pain in their eyes and their bloated, hungry bellies made us want to cry along with them. 
Soon we said our goodbyes, but hopefully not forever.  Ashleigh and I will enter the mission field after college (with a few trips between), and a calling may be with an orphanage.  We are still praying about what to major in; we want God to use us for what HE wants us to do in the field (and we would LOVE any prayers you would be willing to say for us!). 
Today has been exhausting, so it is time for sleep.  God bless, and please be praying for the Haitians and the children, and everyone else in the world who is not as fortunate as we are!  (Though a note on that too - these people are so tuned into God and so caring of one another that I honestly don't know who is more fortunate.)

Love from Haiti,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HAITI: Day 3 :)

Today was the second day of working in the clinic, this time in an outdoor revival structure - and Ashleigh and I are getting better at this medical thing every day!  For starters, the clinic was an answer to prayers, because Ash and I have been praying about whether God wanted us to work medical missions or had other plans, so we have been able to experience the medical aspect.  We both love it!  We are able to communicate with the women (if you call moving eyebrows and gesturing desperately communicating) and hold their babies (most women have 2-5 children when they come to the clinic, and no one ever seems to hold their own baby.  We were always given babies to hold and never knew who the mothers were, so we just continued to pass them along.  It is a wonderful part of the trusting and close community). 
     The children were adorable, which only strengthened the resolve of Ashleigh and I to adopt children from third world countries.  They were sooo precious!  Mike, our 21-year-old Haitian translator who is a blast to be around, taught us some fun phrases to say to the kids:
"Kore m" - pound it (yes, the fist pound is popular everywhere haha)
"ou belle" - you're beautiful/cute/handsome, ect
"Mwen pa pale kreyol" - I do not speak Creole


* The languages spoken are French and Creole

*Creole is an auditory language - the people could not read or write so it is simply how they heard french.  Thus, most words are written as they sound.

*There are no traffic laws, so the roadways can get hectic.  However, most people are considerate and there are few accidents (so far that we have heard of). 

*HILARIOUS: Randal was working construction, and a woman came by, handed him a baby, told him to "keep, have", and left.  He held the baby for about 20 minutes before a boy came back to get the baby GIRL...saying it was his nephew!  I wouldn't be surprised if half the babies in the country are raised by the wrong parents, but they are some of the most loved babies I have ever seen.

Love from haiti,

Haiti: Day 2

Yesterday we finally got to get out in the field and work with the people, but not in construction like we expected - we were in a clinic!  It was a crude but very effective set up; we were in an empty, open concrete building, with two doctors, a missionary intern filling the prescriptions, and a translator, all helping Ashleigh and I find our niche in the fun.
    Before I start getting technical, let me hit where it really matters.  The first thing we noticed about the people was their priorities.  Many of those in the clinic would go claim a spot as early as 4 AM, and we didn't arrive to set up until 8.  They would sit there quietly all day waiting to be seen, though many would not even have a chance to see a doctor, so they will be first Monday.  Everyone was packed together, which in America would undoubtedly cause problems, but no one seemed to mind or even notice.  the children were held by their parents and, aside from the few distended babies, the children were all well behaved.  Women who needed to nurse their babies did so without shame or hesitation, as is similar in most countries other than America.  All of these people simply wanted to be treated for their pains and medical issues, and would wait 12 hours if needed without complaint - yet it is difficult for Americans (including myself) to wait for even 12 minutes. 

Our society is fast-paced and impatient, with fast food and fast cars and fast service. Yet somehow too many people continue to feel like they are missing something - not getting enough.  If we slowed down and took time to find what was important rather than stuffing unnecessary fillers into our lives, we might find that we can finally feel fulfilled.  Looking at these people who have nothing, I have seen that they have everything because they rely on God for every bit of what they have.  If we did the same, we would always have enough.

Love from Haiti,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

HAITI: Beauty and Destruction

Haiti MT: Day 1

     The long awaited mission trip for which we have all been preparing for months is finally a reality - and I can honestly say I was not prepared at all.  Approaching the earthquake-ravaged island from the air-conditioned plane, Haiti could be mistaken for a beautiful destination first glimpse from the air, that is.

Tents are set up everywhere to provide shelter for Haitians.
  Before we even began our descent, masses of white and blue objects were visible, soon to take the form of ragged tents and crude shelters now called home for many of the Haitians.  This is what we had seen on TV, what we had been assigned to help construct - what we had never truly understood the conditions of.
     Let me begin at the beginning.  Ashleigh came to the house a little after 8:00 last night, and we were ordered to bed; of course, we couldn't really fall asleep until hours later.  After what seemed only 5 minutes of sleep, we were loading up the car and headed to meet the group at 3:30 am (and like all teenagers, we are bouncy morning people, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed in a heartbeat), ready for our early flight out of ATL.  We received our Haiti Team shirts to wear, and in our layover in Miami we were able to meet other teams and speak to the members, all of whom were involved in great projects.  The beach was lovely, and it seemed a vacation.  Until we saw Haiti.
Tents are squeezed in any available space
     THE FIRST THING TO CATCH OUR ATTENTION was the tents.  No homes were to be seen - only shattered walls lying in ruin on crumbling foundations.  Instead, torn tarps and crude shelters made of sticks, newspapers, and old wood or tin  lined the streets and filled every inch of space a person could find amongst the ruin.  Children played in the streets and cars bounced across the pitted road made worse by a recent rainstorm.  No amount of words could ever describe the scene we saw with the poverty these people live in.  (A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case even a picture does no justice).

Garbage lines the roads
     WHAT TRULY BROKE MY HEART was the children.  A young boy, only six or seven, came up fearlessly to our moving van and stuck his hand through the window, emboldened by his thirst and starvation, begging us for no more than a sip of our "aqua".  We had to shut the windows, a difficult action for all of us, so that he would go get water from the well rather than try to get what little clean water we had.  They can drink the well water - we would only get sick.  However, this reasoning didn't soften the hurt for us.  Being  pampered daily has made life much easier for us, and too often we take that for granted!

    HOWEVER, we have met some wonderful people and seen beautiful scenery - the beaches and the mountains make the landscape ever changing and keep things interesting.  There are many different animals that are similar to our cattle and goats, but with a unique twist; I'm just hoping to catch one on camera!  Meanwhile, we are going to push some pills, so I will leave it at that!  Feel free to ask any questions. :)

Love from Haiti,