Sunday, April 28, 2013

TB Free!

Being sick here gets extremely tiring. You can't hide from the heat. You still have to go out & function, get food, check-up on patients, etc. The dog has to be walked. The noise & chaos outside is always present. So the sickness tends to hang around and can be pretty difficult to shake. So after a few months of being sick on & off, we got blood work & TB tests done. I have also made it a priority to eat better, take vitamins, & even began doing yoga again. I am happy to announce that, while pretty anemic, we are TB free!
Getting PPDs placed
"God finds us in our failures and our successes, and He says that while we used to think one way about things, now He wants us to think another way about those same things. And for me, I've realized that I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter."
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
-Bob Goff-

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adventures in Food

Since living in Haiti, I have slowly been experimenting more with new foods, spices, & recipes. Whether it is trying to cook something completely new or finding ways to adjust to make a favorite recipe, it has been my creative expression. There are things that, Stateside, you don't think twice about. Cheese. Yogurt. Beef. Ice. Strawberries. Blueberries. Romaine lettuce. Here, we can have long conversations about what food would hit just the right spot.

While on Nurse Spring break, I had the pleasure of rest and relaxation at a beautiful location on the ocean. Occasionally I forget that I live in the Caribbean.

I read a book called Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist. This book is beautifully written and fun. So if you are looking for a reason to start cooking again, pick it up.

"Life at the table is life at its best to me, and the spiritual significance of what and how we eat, and with whom and where, is new and profound to me every day. 
I believe God is here among us, present and working. I believe all of life is shot through with God's presence, and that part of the gift of walking with him is seeing his fingerprints in all sorts of unexpected way."
Picnic during Nurse Spring Break.
Cheese, salami, & crackers go a long way.
Tropical fruit, juice, & coffee.
Even Tug likes to help do the dishes.
Mango Curry Chicken
Gifts from visitors- green been & sweet potato casseroles.
With the addition of a food processor, the Safehouse has begun making...
...homemade smoothies!
My Mom's homemade hummus recipe- using the battery pack when we are without power.
"God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it."
-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Notes from a Funeral

It is a no good, very bad, terrible, horrible thing to attend a funeral- especially a funeral of someone who dies young. I realized as I sat on a wooden, rickety church pew Sunday evening that I have had more friends & patients die during the past year of my life in Haiti then in the other 25 years in the U.S.

It is such an unnerving thing to see friends in Jubilee walk into a funeral service with their nicest clothes, their funeral clothes. Families who go through droughts of little money or food all own clothing to attend funerals. Bright white dresses, clean and ironed.

Yesterday I sat through a funeral of a dear woman who fought a great fight and lost. She was 35 and died of AIDS. She leaves behind three children. Their faces were so blank and unsure as they sat through the service. The screaming and hysteria that is such an integral part of the mourning process here is so eerie to my American ears and produces goosebumps on my skin, despite the fact that it is hot and sweaty in the church.

The church that is slowly being rebuilt after the flood that was almost 5 years ago. The walls are made of crumbling concrete or blocks, tin doors & roof, & the chaos of wires that gives the building electricity briefly catch fire in the middle of the service. 

Today in clinic, I saw a woman with shingles. Shingles is the same virus as chickenpox, but when it reactivates in adults, we refer to it as shingles. Her lesions were drying-up, healing after almost 2 weeks. On a last minute thought, we decided to HIV test her, just to make sure. Two lines, positive. She is 34 and living with HIV.
No good. Very bad. Terrible. Horrible thing.
"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world."
-Paul Farmer-

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Perception vs Reality

If you read my blog or have visited us, you may have this skewed version of our community life. Here is my attempt to shed some light.

Perception: We have deep, philosophical discussions all of the time.
Reality: We talk about bowel movements (everyone is either going too much or too little), sports, food, movies, music, & silliness a lot. Maybe more than normal.

Perception: We all get along, all the time.
Reality: Haha, yeah. We disagree, rub each other the wrong way, & communicate poorly every day. The beauty of that is that I then learn to ask forgiveness & accept apologies.

Perception: We love sweating and being eaten by mosquitoes.
Reality: We live with it & it is normal. However, most of us would jump at the chance to spend the night not being nibbled on by insects or sweating profusely. Or to just sleep in a place where there is not noise from the street or the power blinking on and off.

Perception: We hang out all the time.
Reality: Being spread out through the city, we can often give the illusion that we see each other & hang out every minute of every day. We struggle to be intentional & see each other, just like people Stateside.

Perception: Our lives are a very big sacrifice.
Reality: We choose to be here, and most of us would be really bummed if we had to leave. There are "things" we go without by living here, but we feel life here is best for us as individuals.

I love what I do, where I do it, and who I do it with. It is a gift to get to walk with people through the good, the great, the terrible, the hilarious, and the hard. And it is more fun that way. Perfection is far away, and I learn so much from our scars and bruises. Believe me when I say that the beauty that comes from us has so little to do with us as people & so much to do with the God who chooses to bless our actions, relationships, & work. I have no doubt He sees us, smiles at us, & laughs at us. But also chooses to give us favor. 
Extreme Spooning
*photos by Theresa Moesker*
"Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall
Let me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep, totally free."
-Awake My Soul-
Mumford & Sons