Wednesday, September 10, 2014

22 July 2014 {Sentrain}

This morning Natasha, Tarna, Elda, and I went to the market (marche a madi) to grab some groceries for the week.  It was a little overwhelming with EVERYONE staring at Tarna and I, but it was a good experience to learn how to get ripe crops at the right places at the right prices- Carol Ann is really talented when it comes to shopping in Haiti.  It's also sort of funny because little kids and adults alike constantly yell "blan" (white) wherever we go- especially in the market place.  So, Tarna and I have resorted to saying "nwa" (black) back at the greeting.  It's hilarious to watch their faces as they process our response.  It almost always ends in lots of giggles and intriguing touches to our skin.  Then the question comes up of how we really should greet each other, so we meet new faces and learn their names as they learn ours.  Welcome to making friends in Haiti 101.

As soon as we got home, we were told that we were needed in the clinic.  A delivery!  My first delivery to be a part of in Haiti!  The mother was a young 21 year old girl who was definitely a fighter.  This was her first child and she quite literally started punching the nurses when they tried to prepare to help the baby out.  So, I became in charge of restraining and encouraging her throughout the childbirth, afterbirth, and stitching.  I got a good workout and I'm oft with nail marks and bruises, but it is totally worth it to experience the miracle of this baby girl.  She came out healthy and weighed 5 lbs 9 oz.  I am so, so thankful to have been a part of it, and I loved getting to hold the baby while her mom was recovering (for 30 minutes).  Beautiful little girl!

After the short delivery, we ate lunch and then headed to the guest house to do some more hand-washed laundry.  Then Tasha and I made pies and a molasses cake for tomorrow.  Then Elda made corn for all of us and we sat around playing "Jimel, a konbyen gren?"- so fun.  Then Austin took our crew to the family land past Mawouj.  It was absolutely breathtaking looking over the mountains and valleys.  God did such an amazing job with creation- He said it was good.  And think about His little girl born today- He said that she was very good.
 Yo pare pou marche a.
Nou te bezwen pote sa yo nan tet nou paske nou se ayiysen. 

*** Sorry- no pictures of clinic babies allowed at this point.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

21 July 2014 {Sentrain}


This morning Austin and I decided to run at 5 am to his land to get some exercise in and pray for the land and his Positive Electric Ministry.  About a half a mile in, I rolled my ankle on one of the many rocks on the red dirt road.  It made a loud pop and hurt pretty bad, but it'll be fine- I can walk perfectly fine.  So, we walked the rest of the two miles and talked about all God is doing and teaching us in our lives.  Austin is married to Kaylee, and together they have three children- one yet to be born.  They are planning on moving down here in about 6 years to further their Positive Electric Ministry.  Be praying for them!

After breakfast, all the girls headed to Mawouj to get some needed grocery items.  Then we headed to the guest house to unload donated baby clothes and organize them by gender and age/size.  After lunch, we continued to organize them and then make bundles for all the newborns with essential items for the post-delivery care.  We have to have them ready and handy for upcoming deliveries.  The boys spent the day at Austin's land laying the foundation and walls for Eliodi's house (a neighbor that Austin is helping out).  Then in the late afternoon we took some new clothes and baby items for the babies at the nutritional clinic (for malnourished infants).  We were able to provide many clothes and essentials for a seven month old (5 kilos) girl, but the others were out with their mums, so we will try again tomorrow.  Overall, it's been a very productive day, and a highlight was getting a chance to talk to my family via digicel.  I am loving being here, and I know God has planned every bit of it.  Still trying to praise Him with my all, and learning to ask and accept His grace as I continually fall short.  He is so good.
 What a blessing all these donations are!
 Learning how to properly fold diapers. 
 Making bundles!
 My ankle's only a little swollen.
All the bundles!

20 July 2014 {Sentrain}

Sometimes plans have to be discarded in order to fully experience all that God has for us.  And so we practiced this lesson with out church service this morning.  We had all gotten dressed and ready to leave for church when it started to pour rain.  We decided to wait for a little while because we knew we'd only be missing 30 minutes of community announcements.  However, after 30 minutes, the rain started pouring heavier and most of the village left the church to attend to the flooding huts and houses.  So, we decided to have a little home church and sit out the rain.  It was great simply to sit around and reflect on the things Christ has been teaching us in the past week.

Then after the rain stopped pouring and our own "church service" had ended, Natasha and I headed to the house to get prepared for Carol Ann's birthday dinner.  I was in charge of icing the cake, doing the dishes, and doing the finishing touches of a couple of side dishes.  The Birthday meal was fabulous, and felt quite ironic having fillet minion on a mission trip.  But in all actuality, fillet minion is cheaper than chicken here- how funny.

After dinner, all of us did our laundry outside together.  I am building callouses now so it feels better, but it's a lot of work.  It was a great time of catching up though.  Tomorrow starts the first of many laborious days for all of us, so Natasha is planning on making pancakes early tomorrow morning.  So, Tasha and I went to the house to get the ingredients... Tasha sent me to the storage closet to get sugar and flour, and as I reached down to scoop some sugar, a rat the size of Uganda ran right from a sac and jumped up to a shelf beside me.  Frozen and disgusted, I leaped backward to show Tasha as she stood there laughing and laughing at me.  It was not something I would have wished to experience, but I feel a little accomplished having conquered seeing (and not dying) my first rat here in Haiti.  Here's to many more!

Jesus is good and He is enough and I am blessed to be here and experience everything with Him.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

19 July 2014 {Sentrain}


Today is the day of "rest" clinic-wise.  Carol Ann is off call and the other nurses take over.  We decided to take advantage of the down time by going on a long hike to two caves in the middle of nowhere, NW Haiti.  It was quite the exhausting hike but it was such a fun adventure.  Muddy and full of bats, the caves were such an interesting wonder to marvel at and we had so much fun.  As we came out of the second cave, we found a perturbed mob of Haitians ready to strip us of our belongings because we "didn't pay the cave fee" before entering.  After bargaining with them for a while, we gave a donation of a flashlight and got away without much trouble.  We ended up telling them about how they could pump clean drinking water out of the cave and how they could use the fertile mud for better crops.  It's small steps over here.  

The way back home from the cave was a pretty challenging hike, but it was a wonderful time.  After arriving to the guest house, we were all absolutely ready to take cold showers before lunch- we were all disgusting.  However, as I went to fill my water bottle, I realized we were out of water.  So, we all headed outside to pump water from the neighbors' cistern and fill a bowl of water to take "showers" in.  It started pouring rain as soon as I got out there, but God is making me more aware of how content my heart needs to be with just Him (as if He wasn't more than enough).  Because ultimately all of this will burn and fade away and He will sit enthroned.  So the showers in the rain and the lack of water, and the electricity shortages, and the intense heat, and the fist-sized spiders with fangs the size of my pinkies in my shower, and the foul smells, and the fact that no one speaks my language doesn't really matter at all.  Because ultimately all of this will burn and fade away and He will sit enthroned.  This will be my reminder to keep my eyes on things above.

Then after cleaning up, we ate lunch and Tarna and I headed to the Trueloves' house to see if we could help with anything.  Carol Ann explained that she just needed some rest time and so we sat on the outside swing for an hour or so just listening to all her stories.  Carol Ann is an amazing wife, mother, and missionary.  She has twenty-four children and a heart of gold with love for the Lord.  At the same time, she is as tough as can be and lives as though she were born and raised Haitian.  Right now she is still recovering from chickungunya and so if we are to get a premie to take care of in the next couple of weeks, I will most likely be the caretaker.  She is too weak right now to lose sleep and the premies need 24/7 care.  Obviously I would love to take care of a premie, but I am also hoping no premies present significant need here- because Haiti is a tough place for an eighteen year old, let alone a baby who has yet to grow full term.  And the survival rates would be significantly lower with the spread of chickungunya and their undeveloped immune systems.  But I know without a doubt that my Jesus can heal, and make miracles, and He will be praised no matter what.  Healthy or not, we will love these babies, if they come.  Praising Jesus for another day.  

Just for the note, as I am writing this there is a 6 inch spider on my screen of my window above my bed and there is a dog who tries to bite me every time I pass it right outside my door.  Gotta love this preparation time!

 Elda's corn!
 Entrance to the first cave.



 Exploring another hole in the cave!


 Tarna and I showing off our muddy experience from the first cave.
 This horse wasn't really into people.

 Entrance to the second cave!




 If you look closely, you can see some bats.

 Getting water for our showers.  So thankful for water!

 A little wet!
 My backyard.
 It gets muddy quickly!
My friend spider.

18 July 2014 {Sentrain}


My main duties for today included all things in the kitchen.  Everything here takes about 10 times longer, and that includes cooking and cleaning.  Carol Ann cannot use her hands much because of the virus and Se Venicia is in the middle of having chickungunya so I took over making bread and cleaning the dishes.  Everything here is home made- absolutely everything.  So, I am finally learning to cook, and my parents are a little nervous.  Among the many tasks that I used to take for granted are doing laundry.  Tasha taught Tarna and I to "correctly" wash our clothes while living here.  It took 2 hours and I have a bruised, raw wrist, but it was such a great time of fellowship.  These tasks weren't heroic or fancy, and they don't take much bravery, but I feel God telling me that this is my preparation stage for my long-term mission, wherever and whenever that may be.  Because at some time or another, I will have to re-learn everything in order to survive in a third-world country, and I am thankful God is using my simple, menial tasks to teach me new skills, humble me, and make me thankful for the little things.

The clinic is pretty sporadic in needs and deliveries (you can't really plan when a baby will be born).  We can have two deliveries in a day, and we can go a month without any.  Right now it's been a slow week for the clinic and we haven't had many needs so far, so I've been mainly helping at the house.  It's good timing to not be so busy with the clinic, and it's especially good not to have any premies that are in need because of how chickungunya is spreading so quickly- it could be fatal for a premie and exhausting for our recovering nurses with all the work.  God's timing is always perfect.

Tonight we all played some more volleyball and "keep away" with the local kids.  It was a blast.  The children are starting to come out of their shells and some even stop staring at us when we walk across the street.  One of the girls that I've befriended is Elda, Natasha's 19 year old sister.  She is absolutely hilarious- she is always joking around and she has been very welcoming.  Yet at the same time, she is one of the most intimidating people I've ever met.  If any of the kids get in her way, she'll get a rock and throw it their way.  If a dog is in the house, she grabs a switch from a tree and whips it.  If we play "keep away", she pelts balls at people to win.  She is a character.  I am still trying to figure her out, but until then, I'm glad to have befriended this funny girl.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

17 July 2014 {Sentrain}


My first full day in Nan Sentrain has been a day of relationship-building and attitude adjustments.  This morning Natasha and I made omelets for the family and then went over to the house to help in the kitchen and do some cleaning up.  Everyone around here is in the middle of having or recovering chickoungounya .  So the "menial tasks" that most of the women do in the kitchen needed to be taken over by Natasha, Tarna, and myself.  Although I would have liked to be working in the clinic, this work is needed, and it humbles me to keep my eyes on Jesus and embrace the "mundane" moments that are teaching me so much.  Christ is changing my attitude and showing me that I am here to serve- to serve with whatever is needed, whether that be doing dishes, cooking, playing with children, helping in deliveries, or fostering a premie, I am here to serve.

After helping in the kitchen, Tasha and I made homemade doughnuts for all the Trueloves and our crew.  Then we went outside and played soccer with the village children for an hour and then finished with an hour of volleyball... Haitian style, which means the Americans will always lose- no matter what!  We don't mind though because these people are precious and we are building relationships here.  It's a beautiful life.

 Our everyday supper- beans and rice!
 Life in the kitchen.

 Sydney, one of the family dogs.
our volleyball marks!

16 July 2014 {Sentrain, Haiti}

After getting up at 6 am, our crew left Blue Ridge at 7 am and headed to Nan Sentrain.  George's pick-up truck was completely full of people and of all of our luggage.  George, Jonathan, Natasha, Tarna, and I were in the cab; while the caged bed of truck was full of propane tanks, luggage, and Austin and Stang.  This lasted for three hours until Natasha and I switched to sitting in the cage.  It was hysterical!  Most of the ride consisted of dusty, rocky dirt roads and you feel every bump.   I was thanking God all day that I don't get car sick, and because of that, we had a blast.  For about five hours, Natasha and I sang our favourite worship songs, got to know each other, and enjoyed the marvelous views of NW Haiti.  We tried new (to me) Haitian foods, like Pate and Banan Peze.  Both very good!  I decided awhile back not to say no to any food that I'm offered here, even though I've been a very picky eater for most of my life.  It's a place I've been growing in, because in all reality, it's extremely selfish of me to look at food unthankfully while so many around the world are dying due to starvation.  So tonight when the Trueloves' friend made us fish (like literally just caught- a red snapper) and beans/rice for dinner,  I accepted.  I haven't eaten fish since I was little, but it definitely was not bad!  So thankful for the food we have, and I'm learning to be a gracious, thankful receiver of things I'm not used to.

Arriving to the guest house, where I will be staying, made me pleasantly surprised.  Everyone has warned me how "primitive" and "simple" this place is.  It is.  It is not what I'm used to, but it is everything my depths had hoped for- a place where comforts are scarce and I am forced to depend on my God for everything.  But I am blessed and thanking Jesus for a bed and a place to take a cold shower- unexpected luxuries.  By third-world standards, where I am living truly is a nice place to stay, and I am thankful for my "primitive" place.  Thanking Jesus for another day.
 The view from the cage!
 Natasha getting ready for the dust.
 Just get a taste of this sweet ride.
Getting a little dirty is just part of the fun!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

catching&looking{up}

It's not that I didn't write all my experiences down... because I did.  It's just that writing them down and then actually reflecting on them in my mind (and heart) became a longer, more draining task than I had anticipated.  It's been three weeks since I left Haiti and it is going to take me more than just a couple of weeks to begin understanding and applying all that God has taught me in this time.  It was a wonderful summer- a summer full of growing up, being humbled, grieving, and choosing joy even when the going got tough.  It was an adventure that contained intimate experiences with my Savior, and only He knows the entire story.  Yet I am choosing to publicize most of my experiences in the hopes that my God will be glorified in that He was able to use me, a broken and imperfect individual, to plant little seeds that will be watered and reaped as He sees fit.

So here it goes.

15 July 2014

This morning our teachers team headed to Port-au-Prince via Gabriel at 6 am.  The ride was an absolute blast, and the views of the mountains and shoreline were spectacular.  We arrived in Port at the airport about 8 am, said our goodbyes, and then Chuck, Bailey and I headed to the Blue Ridge Guest House to meet George Truelove.  He was so welcoming, and I loved getting to hear some of his life stories before the kids arrived.  George left at 2 pm to pick up the kids from the airport, while I stayed at the guest house to update the blog, shower, and have some quiet time.  The kids finally came to the guest house at about 8 pm.  We all ate dinner together then prepared for our trek tomorrow.  Everyone is very nice, but getting to form relationships takes time.  Austin and Natasha are George and Carol Ann's children... Austin married Kaylee who is the sister of Stang and Tarna who are both on the trip- along with Jonathan who is their cousin.  Learning everyone's relations is half the battle.  It was an extremely hot, sweaty, lovely day here in Port-au-Prince and I am excited to see what God will do next.
 This is the bench where I was blessed to have my quiet time (at Blue Ridge).
 My view.