Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Favorite Day of the Week

"We need the poor more than the poor need us." - Mother Teresa

"Friendship with people who live on the margins of the larger society, who are generally feared, excluded or overlooked, invites us to reconsider the meaning and practice of mission...If we really believe that the good news at its heart is a story of God's love for us, then mission is being faithful in loving God back- being faithful to God, and to what, whom and how God loves. When our relationship with God is so compelling to us that we invite others to experience the same kind of life-giving relationship, we are in mission. The starting and ending point of mission is relationship, not only at the individual level but also at the level of communities."
-Friendship at the Margins, Christopher L. Heuertz & Christine D. Pohl

"Lord, our efforts at faithfulness are fraught with failure more often than we care to admit. Thank you that your love for us is never wasted. Keep us rooted in your word, eating at your table, and praying by your Spirit, so that we may remember when we fail that we are part of your family not because we deserve to be but because you want us. Amen."
-Common Prayer

Tuesday has come to be my favorite day of the week. Mostly because Tuesday morning is Prenatal Day at the clinic. If you haven't seen from my pictures, Haitian women are beautiful. But they are RADIANT when they are pregnant. So we get to see gorgeous pregnant women come in and get education and prenatal vitamins. Working in OB-GYN and labor & delivery has never been a desire of mine. Ever. But I've enjoyed this day. Recently, a few doctors brought us a fetal heart monitor. And it is an amazing thing to watch a Mom hear her baby's heartbeat. This week, we had a woman come in and say that she stopped feeling her baby move. So our Haitian nurse and I took her to another room to see if we could find a fetal heartbeat. Our goal is to empower our staff to do as much work independently as possible, so she searched for about 5 minutes to find a heartbeat- without success. So I sat down, fearful that we were going to have to tell this woman that we couldn't hear her baby. But for some reason (really, I have no expertise with this at all), I found it! Such relief and happiness! So Tuesdays continue to be my favorite day of the week. To laugh and work with the beautiful pregnant women of Gonaives.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Welcome to Gonaives, Tortuga!

Since I got here, I'd been hoping to get a dog. A big dog- not like the little dogs that roam the streets here that you can see their rib cages. But a guard dog, a companion, and a friend. A lot of the American community here will be leaving for some of the summer but I'll be here. And now, I'll be here with Tortuga! We call him Tug.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Ben's mole removal

Laughing through stitching

Singing and bread making

College basketball!
"So you mustn't think I'm unhappy. Anyway, what do happiness and unhappiness mean? They depend so little on circumstances and so much more on what goes on inside us. I'm thankful every day to have you- you and all of you- and that makes me happy and cheerful."
-Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas

What is happiness? When I read this quote, I thought of the last few days. Going out on a Haitian sailboat and snorkeling. Coming to clinic to hear that the people of Jubilee were aggressive towards our staff, so clinic was stopped. To have to walk by sick people and wish things were different with them, but, at the same time, be so incredibly proud of our staff of sticking up for themselves. Getting thrown up on by the clinic's first cholera patient of the year. Bleaching the floor. Learning that a woman in our prenatal clinic lost her baby. Watching NCAA basketball with friends. Holding, hugging, and laughing with a little girl who had a burn on her face that we had to scrape a few times a week. Not knowing why she even still talks to me after we've caused her so much pain. Being called "chou chou" (the Creole version of 'sweetheart') by one of the security guards in Jubilee. 

What is happiness?

"True happiness is having wings." - Ben Harper

What is happiness?

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness! You are clothed with majesty & spendor. You water the mountains from your dwelling on high: the earth is fully satisfied by the fruit of your works. You make grass grow for flocks & herds: and plants to serve mankind; that they may bring forth food for the earth: and wine to gladden our hearts, oil to make a cheerful countenance: and bread to strengthen the heart."
-Psalm 104: 1, 13-16

Monday, March 12, 2012

What time is it anyways?

Sunday was daylight savings time- for most people. For our community in Haiti, it was a day of confusion. I didn't find out until much later in the afternoon that Haiti had (maybe) decided to observe it. So a few of us made the switch after talking with some people and hearing it being talked about in the streets. The school teachers decided to not observe it. So we were going to start the day with two different clocks. 

When I woke up to get ready for clinic in the dark, I realized that I hated the idea of switching. Of our staff giving out clinic cards in the dark, waking up and getting ready for clinic everyday without sun (and sometimes power), and having the end of my day be the hottest part of my day. But I got an early start. I get to clinic, only for our nursing assistants to not be there. Our nurse to show up on normal time (late). The school to be in confusion because some kids & teachers showed up early, some later. Asking a boy and his mother to come back for another breathing treatment at...wait, what time? All day, not knowing what time it was. What time is it anyways? 

So I had a day of no time. Of looking at my watch not knowing what time it was. Think of what chaos that would bring to the United States. And yet life here continued with only mild chaos.

"I'm late. I'm late. For a very important date. No time to say 'Hello, goodbye.' I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"
~The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland

One of my favorite faces.

Gouda cheese from my wonderful Mom!

After a clinic visit

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Madness

When I think of being in Haiti, I think of being exactly where I should be- but also being exactly where I want to be. However, there are moments when I really miss certain things. And it's March. Now that doesn't mean much for a lot of people, but growing up, it always meant March Madness. March Madness is so much more than basketball. It's excitement, sitting on the edge of your seat, the best basketball you'll watch all year March.

If you've known me very long, you have heard of my love of Duke basketball. Before leaving for Haiti, I literally couldn't bring myself to watch any Duke basketball because I didn't want to become attached this year. But it happened anyways. Even though I have been unable to watch any games. But I have been following them. Rejoicing in the email from my brother about the first Duke/UNC game where Duke came back to win in an EPIC battle. Being sad about their second loss to UNC. Being so very sad when they lost to FSU in the ACC Tournament. But then, tonight, the brackets came out.

So we've decided to continue brackets in Haiti- from afar. And there are big plans to go to Port Au Prince to watch the Final Four and Championship. March Madness lives. Even in Gonaives.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When your arm itches, check for ringworm

One day we will have a NEW clinic!

Frisbee with Journey Church

My beautiful desk

End paint job!

Making Joyner Mac & Cheese

It came out beautifully- and there were no leftovers

This is what happens when your roommate on her moto meets the road

Meet my new friend, Fredrick. My ringworm.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Port Au Prince

We went to the most WONDERFUL place called Serenity Cove...

...and drank coffee out of the smallest cups.

Happy Birthday dinner, Tia!

Cheese is a rare find... and it clearly makes us excited

Hadn't seen Ben this happy in weeks!
A few of us journeyed into Port Au Prince for a few days last weekend. It was a great time to celebrate Tia's birthday, plus Keziah hooked us up with directions (via a map that looked like we were searching for buried treasure) to a place called Serenity Cove. It was full of art, beautiful clothing, amazing food, and spectacular plants. You could take this place, as is, and plop it into Asheville, NC. We sat for 4 hours and just took it all in. It was so very removed from life in Jubilee. After a week of hell, it was a wonderful, wonderful break. Plus, we got to eat some ice cream.

"We found love in a hopeless place." - We Found Love, Rihanna

Blessed are those who mourn

These past few weeks have been hard. And hard just seems like a lame way of describing it. I will tell you this: we lost 4 patients who we follow at clinic last week.  I'm still processing so much of it that it's insanely hard to describe. But I will tell you that it was one of those weeks that I felt my senses were in hyperdrive. So I will describe to you some of my more vivid memories.

Samuel's tiny black coffin as we took it to the Catholic graveyard. The way Roselande felt as I tried to help her breathe. The way her Mama continues to look at me everyday with sad eyes, asking me for medicine for a headache she has from crying all day and all night. A grandma who came to tell us that her daughter died and that she needed help getting formula- the way her voice was hoarse, almost gone from wailing. Hearing that a young man we saw on the first day of clinic had died- remembering how his body looked so tired and sick that day. Wondering how much more we were going to be given. Starting a journal with Keziah, writing down their stories and remembering them.

So I got back to Jesus. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Jesus weeping for his friend, Lazarus. BLESSED are those who mourn.

"Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We'll understand this all by and by"
-Farther Along, by Josh Garrels