Saturday, August 7, 2010

mache tabarre

we spent our last day here in PAP cleaning out medical/maternity supplies from the women's center and organizing them so that they can be put in the appropriate facility.... heartline is taking some steps to open up their own full time clinic and hospital from their field hospital that sprung up after the earthquake. God has opened up doors thus far and it has seemed as though the hospital has never been able to close... :) it is a beautiful thing! not that people are still sick but that the Lord has made it clear to them the direction they should go with their resources and passion in ministering to the haitian people.

after we finished cleaning we went down to mache tabarre to see what cool haitian artwork we could get our hands on... tashi and jenny came with us. we even rode a tap tap :) this tap tap was much better of an experience than our other tap tap ride on our way to passe catabois... for 2 reasons... #1 it wasn't 2 hours long... #2 we were not overcrowded. it made for a good day :)

jenny told me today that she was going to miss me very much... and that she would be sad when i left. she also said that she would always remember me and that kenny would too. blows my mind to think about where she will be the next time i am able to make my way down to haiti. praying that the Lord would keep her in His hands and that He would protect her little one. also praying for an opportunity to help out financially. still waiting on word from beth on how all of that will go..

we start our journey home tomorrow at 8 55 am. and we should be home by 9 10 pm at the monroe airport. lots of mixed emotions by all... as usual. we have been blessed to be here at the guesthouse as we transition....but we still need your love and your prayers to know how God has called us to respond after seeing what we have seen.

see you soon :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

family clinic

family clinic day at heartline.... pure awesomeness.

mary kate and i were sat up as "triage", marrah and kasey gave out water and protein shakes to everyone and helped out in the pharmacy, megan helped out wherever a baby needed to be held, sarah the MD was doing her thing, and beth was everywhere. the Lord blessed me with a new friend today as my translator... her name is Tashi :) beautiful woman with a beautiful heart! i loved getting to know her and all the kreyol she has taught me!

we saw over 50 patients today... we were supposed to see 25 but that information was lost in translation i guess :) instead of giving tickets to 25 patients the guy at the gate gave a ticket to each family... and well you can guess how that went. either way it was great... just serving in love :)

after we finished our triage part... which 50 patients in 2.5 hours of triaging must be a record. along with full blown assessments... way to go frantic... you have taught me well :) hehe. but anyways.. we finished way before the doctor even put a dent in the patient numbers so we just got to hang out with the the girls that were working inside. jenny, the girl whose story i shared with you yesterday, and i had a moment today. just in case you didn't read... she is a 16 yr old motwho's responsibilities are quite overwhelming for her age and situation. at one point she just had a sink full of dishes that beth was reminding her that she needed to do, her baby had pooped everywhere and she had to clean him off, she popped the baby (Something she does frequently as a learned behavior) and was corrected by several well meaning people sitting in the room... so all of that at once just made her break down. tears were streaming down her face as she was just overwhelmed with life at that point. i followed her into the bathroom and just hugged her and asked if i could help her. she told me no... i didn't listen and tried to help anyways. she let me... which she wasn't supposed to let me but i think she really needed some encouragement at that point and just needed to know someone was there to back her up. after that we had some conversations throughout the day and developed a friendship. i thank the Lord so much for it. at one point she opened up to me and told me that life was too hard and that she wanted to take kenny to an orphanage when he stopped breastfeeding so that he could have food everyday and go to school and "have a good life". this broke my heart.. considering the place that she is in. her mom wants her back but not the baby and her late boyfriends mom wants the baby but not her.... she is panicking and does not know where to go. i am so thankful that beth is so vested in her situation and loves her so much. i spoke with her today about sponsoring jenny and kenny so that they could stay together and not have so much pressure to split up. more details on how we can help to come... this is something that i am seriously investigating and will be participating in whether alone or with help. if you want to help.. let me know :)

tomorrow is looking like we will be getting the remnants of the hospital supplies out of the women's center and then enjoying the rest of the day in PAP. hoping to spend some more time with tashi and jenny. last day in haiti... going to do my best to breathe it in.

love you guys... need your prayers more now than ever.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the infamous update :)

here it is... what you have all been waiting for... our infamous update. duh duh dun :)

i left you at our last day in passe catabois... it was a doozy. marrah and kasey went to the clinic with anne marie and even sat in on some surgeries. from what a i heard it was a pretty typical day despite the hernia repair. as always it is good to see medical minds experience the clinical life of the developing world. mary kate and i spent the morning cleaning things up and spending some quiet time which was good for the soul. we headed down to the hospital to find some of the patients and children eager to interact... so we brought out the colors and coloring pages. ah the simplicity of coloring. adults and children alike were gathered on the roof. kate got peed on :) hehe. i told her she was now able to join the club "i got peed on in haiti". she didn't think it was very funny :)

the clinic wiped marrah and kasey out so i soon found them passed out on the ceramic floor in the bedroom. so while they slept i had to have a little heart to heart with louvnet. as beautiful of a kid as he is... and as haitian as he is... he still struggles with the difference between wants and needs. no one is immune. it was a hard conversation but i truly believe that he understood. and i feel as though he and i both look a little more like jesus after our conversation.

annaleise was called down to the clinic for an emergency and invited mary kate to go with her... which was a huge BONUS :) there was a tap tap roll-over accident and patients needed to be seen. as far as we could see there were no serious injuries, praise the Lord. it's in those moments that you thank the Lord that there were no serious traumas like we see at home in the ER... the patients would just die. many more realizations have been verbalized... like wondering how in the world they get by using 800 mg of ibuprofen for a high dosage of pain a wound with drinking alcohol that the neighbor made.. no electricity and headlamps for lighting.. nurses suturing and using whatever hands they can get to treat the people that find themselves standing in the clinics doorway. sometimes there are just no words.....

during all of the taptap hubub i was frolicking about passe catabois with some of my favorite children: rosmanette, jan kelly, weedlin, michellda, mickende, fedna.... visiting michellda's family and going to see gena and her 12 brothers and sisters. it was sweet time with the kids... and i think we all enjoyed some quality time before we headed out. the river looked too enticing so we couldn't keep from diving in and enjoying a swim! they were singing and dancing and just embracing the day. it's on my hard days that i will do my best to remember those moments... pure joy despite overwhelming circumstances surrounding me.

our last night was filled with reminders of why we had come... and very sad faces of children. we ran into anne marie who told us that she had just spent the whole evening pleading with the hospital in port de paix to take a patient who was severely anemic and needed to be transfused or would die. a medical emergency... she literally had to get on her hands and knees to beg the people to admit him and treat him. sweet Jesus... i have no ability to wrap my mind around that. #1 the stupidity of the hospital to not treat a medical emergency (which is a common occurance) #2 the fact that God has given anne marie a heart to be an advocate for these people, that is completely mind blowing. and beautiful. ------------ it broke my heart to see kate say goodbye to some of the children. mariejinette and yolta in particular. the relationships are what change you. haiti is not just a country... it is a beautiful place made of beautiful people with amazing stories and that is what you cannot shake.

wednesday morning started early with more goodbyes and a seemingly short ride into port de paix to find the Lashbrook's children's home where Sandra has been staying. the drive into port de paix was gut wrenching.. it is a broken city for sure. trash ridden, broken down buildings, over populated... and pulling into the orphanage was an uneasy task at first. thankful that the Lord was holding us during those moments... especially me. we were welcomed into a home by haitian people and they pointed me right to the reason i came.. to a little girl lying in a pack and play along with 7 other children in the same room. i don't remember much about the first few moments of reconnecting with her... but i do know that she is beautiful, and growing, and healthy, and loved. the interns that run the homes filled with over 100 children keep the babies along with the help of over 80 haitian staff members. the boys home was at the edge of the carribean which was completely breath taking... almost too good to be true. i got to hold the most beautiful little girl in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. we helped to make dinner for the boys..home made pizza... and just enjoyed spending time with the kids and getting to know the interns who are living out the Gospel daily. so encouraging to see God using them to make fathers from the fatherless. the night time is where our time in port de paix got challenging. but funny.... at least if you look at it from one perspective :)

showering consisted of a 5 gallon bucket and a measuring cup. best shower ever. no joke. the inside of the house was like an oven. i wish i could say i was exaggerating but even being from louisiana did us no good at this point. even with the generator going and fans blowing on us we were still all miserable and dripping sweat. as if i haven't learned to think things couldn't get much worse... they did. the generator cut off and there were no more fans. everyone and everything in the house including rats and roaches came out to visit. before we knew it... 17 people were crowded into the living room wondering what we were going to do about the situation. there was a lot of laughing... and whining... and screaming. the next thing we knew we were walking down the streets of port de paix at 1 am with all of our luggage, air mattresses, children, and in our PJ's :) we went to the boys home to sleep in the guest house that ended up being about 20 degrees cooler, praise the Lord. we got about 3 hours of sleep with 4 of us sharing 2 twin sized air mattresses with our new friends doing the same. mary kate got so carried away that she thought it was cool enough to snuggle.... i shot that idea down :)

this morning, thursday, our flight was scheduled to leave PDP @ 6 am... but this being haiti we didn't take off until 645 am. we pulled up at the guest house here in PAP @ 8 to find some very sweet people who will be our family for the next few days. what a blessing... and did i mention this place is like the hilton in haiti?!?!? :) praise the Lord (PTL) for cokes and fans. most of our day was spent at the birthing center doing pre natals for the women in heartlines program. the knowledge and resources that they are providing these women are empowering and life changing. this is how change is going to happen in haiti. i see God's hand in everything they do. we got to see the heartline field hospital with it's few remaining patients... such a sweet little community of people. at one point there were over 100 people and now they are down to 15 who are still remaining waiting on a medical visa or placement in a home due to most of their homes being destroyed.

one particular young woman caught most of our eyes today.. her name is jenny. she is 16 years old and has a 6 month old son named kenny. kenny was born at 7 months and weighed 3 lbs. it is a miracle that he is alive after his unassisted birth in the slum and hard beginning to life. she is still at heartline's hospital even after Kenny is a happy, thriving baby boy due to circumstances at home. she told me that the baby's father died and she has no one to help her. beth shared later today that her family in cite soleil no longer wants her and is not willing to help with the baby at all... she is at the hospital until the Lord provides a way for Jenny and Kenny. these encounters are daily... the needs are overwhelming. beth and john handle the challenges with grace and mercy and with a lot of love and a whole lot of faith. i have a whole lot to learn.

we will be staffing a medical clinic tomorrow.... WITH our friend Megan who made it in this evening! we are so excited that she joined us :)

looking forward to embracing another day in haiti... we still need your prayers and your love.

until tomorrow...

last day in PC...port de paix... and NOW port au prince

we have SOOOO MUCH to update you on... so tonight we will all be sitting down to update you on our last day in passe catabois, our amazing time in port de paix, and how our first day in port au prince is going.... so be checking in around 8 pm or 9 pm tonight!

we made it to port au prince and are at the guest house... which is pretty much like the hilton in haiti. i have some mixed emotions but we are enjoying being a little more comfortable as we finish up our time here in haiti. beth mchoul should be here to get us in just a bit to work in the birthing center for today. we are really just looking forward to getting to invest in the incredible ministry they have for the people of haiti. love it.

so.. until tonight... :)

Monday, August 2, 2010


i stole the title from some awesome haiti lovers.... "TIH" means "this is Haiti". you can actually use it for any location when you are put in a situation that is akward and would only happen in the place that you are.... the past day has been full of "TIH"appropriate stories :)

after i updated the blog last night Anne Marie invited us to a soccer match... i had no idea what we were in store for. but it seriously could not have been better! we walked to this little bitty soccer field in the dark with AM, hospital patients, and some of Fre Jal's kids. the generator was used to light up the tiny area with very loud creole music playing... of course... they had too many things plugged into teh generator so it went out frequently (TIH). we arrived around 7 30 and the match was supposed to start @ 7 pm. it did not start until 8 45 (TIH). we sat around the outside of the soccer field as the 3 on 3 teams competed with tons of fans cheering them on... there was a DJ that did the commentary the entire time who thought much of himself and made it very clear to the entire audience... which was pretty funny. at half time they had different people rap and dance.... oh words will do it no justice. a video will show itself sooner than later! seriously... TIH moment worthy. probably the most TIH thing i have seen yet. btw.... marrah has a boy named "DoDo"that likes her... but no worries... the children made it very clear to us that it was not a good idea :) --- we left the match around 10 pm with it still going on .... we could hear them going on and on throughout the night until around 12 am. TIH.

this morning Mary Kate went to the clinic to spend the day with AM. we brought the supplies that we carried over (nerve block kits, comfort care kits, masks, IV's, condoms, OTC meds)... we were a sight for sore eyes im sure lugging it all the way through the village :) anyways... she said she had a great time and was really glad that she decided to go.... AM even handed out some condoms :) mission accomplished! as always it would be better to hear from her directly but she wanted me to share some of the things that she learned today.... one of the main things she kept saying was that she realized how wasteful we are at home with the medical supplies and how much we take for granted. her mind was constantly wondering how this could be recreated somewhere else and how it all works.... i love it! what a blessing the clinic and hospital are to the people of Passe Catabois and the surrounding areas.

Kasey and Marrah did not end up doing Camp Hope stuff today... they didn't really feel like that was where they wanted to spend their time... so we went to the hospital and did puzzles and blew bubbles with some children and patients. puzzles were a GREAT idea for them... at first kasey said they had no interest in sitting down but after a while they were really intrigued and say down and did them all! so fun to engage with them! we walked through the market and got a good taste of what haiti has to offer... a wild experience i tell you. rosmanette was by our side the whole time... she has been this whole trip. she is my faithful friend here. i love her so much.

this afternoon has been pretty chill... ptl. i have spent time with kids and held a TB infected & malnourished baby girl for over an hour. Her name is Shellmeez. she is 12 months old but looks like she is 2 months old. the TB and malnourishment has robbed her of joy, the ability to thrive, and just of life in general. she has the weakest cry ive ever heard. sickness and hunger again became a harsh reality. mary kate told me that the way she sees God's grace in the situation is that He sent Annaleise and Dustin to care for her during this time. she is so right. praying for this little girl's healing... and leaving how the Lord heals her in His hands. on a more serious TIH note... SHE IS HAITI.

Mary Kate is doing english with Mariejinette again tonight... but this time at the guest house. they had a good night last night but she said she wanted to spend some more one on one time with her with not as many people around. many of you know what Fre Jal's house and family are like... they just want to be involved too :) hehe, gotta love them! mariejinette LOVES LOVES LOVES mary kate! she told me today she is her sister :)
Marrah and Kasey will spend the day at the clinic and Mary Kate and I will frolic about town. looking forward to it... but not looking forward to goodbyes. Fedna's dad wants to chat with me... Not sure what that is all about. Say a prayer for that conversation. Christnet had to leave unexpectedly today... he sent a note via Louvnet. Such a sweet boy... he told me to not be sad and that he would see me in December :)

Wednesday we will be heading to see my sweet Sandra. praying for her and for how my heart will react. He has opened too many doors for this to not be part of the plan. just praying to embrace the day with her and leave it at that. needing a touch from His spirit in this area.
I really tried to put some pictures up... this is the only one i could get. :( but i promise there will be more pictures of your sweet friends and family! they are all smiles and doing great. just please continue to pray for them.
hopefully we will get to update you again tomorrow before we head to Port de Paix.
Jessica, Mary Kate, Kasey, & Marrah

Sunday, August 1, 2010 do haitians spend their weekends??....

pretty good question, EH?? :) Well this is how we spend our Haitian weekend.... hope you enjoy!

Saturday was a day for the river... we didn't go to the usual spot because the river was large and probably would have drowned us had we gone there. So we went to another swimming hole... it turned out to be GREAT! To see all of the kids make a mad dash for the water giggling and screaming was priceless. We washed them from head to toe with Johnson's body wash and scrubbed them down GOOD! BUT.. the next thing I knew they were rolling in the mud making scary monster faces at the small children... haha... gotta love it. Who needs a bath, anyways?? Mary Kate let Michellda wash her down and braid her hair in the water... There was also a moment that Mary Kate had with Loushka before the river.. but I will let her tell you that story :) Marrah just romps with the best of them and I can't decide if Kasey likes to romp and watch :) Maybe she likes to do both :) :) Everyone agreed that this was a really fun event!

There were some sad realizations by all yesterday... Hunger is very much so a reality here. If I had more time I would write more. But I will just leave it at that.

Marrah and Kasey have become very attached to "small small" ... also known as Jan Maxon :) Such a sweet boy... they have gotten him laughing and talking when before he would hardly do either. So precious! Today he was blowing me kisses... SO SWEET!

Last night Mary Kate made friends with Mariejinette through teaching her some English! Now everytime Mariejinette sees me she asks where Mary Kate is and when she is coming back! hehe... such a sweet connection. That is where she is right now as I type this.. helping her with English!

Today started off with Church... it is definitely an experience. But I do have to say that church here is very westernized. They learned from the best :) :) hehe.. I hope you hear my sarcasm. But it was sweet to see some familiar faces and just to worship.. because where 2 or more are gathered together.. He is there. So thankful for that truth.

This evening I went to take a walk and find Anne Marie... and I walked up on a woman in labor. I was so excited! First time that has happened in my 4 visits here! I was able to help with the delivery and basically watch a miracle. The baby wasn't breathing and had a rough run at first but after a little mouth to mouth by Anne Marie the baby seems to be doing great. There is a guy at the hospital that seems to have a crush on me though... He is hilarious. Not even sure of his name but it cracked me up when Anne Marie handed him the newborn with his dress and hate on... no joke. I have a picture that I will share later :) TOO FUNNY!

the marbles and jewelry making came out tonight... it was fun to see the smiles on their faces. of course when you hand out fun things someone always ends up crying. oh well.. i guess it is worth it if most everyone ends up happy?!?!

Tomorrow Marrah and Kasey will be helping out at Camp Hope and Mary Kate is spending the day with Anne Marie. So they should all have very interesting days. As for me, Im not sure what I will do, maybe I will float around and enjoy :)

We are asking the Lord to be glorified in us... and to make His name great. Asking Him to fill us with His love so that we can pour out.

We love you!

Jess, Mary Kate, Kasey, & Marrah