A Travellerspoint blog

Hurricane Sandy/Tropical Storm for Haiti

Hi all....thought of you all tonight as you might be hearing news casts of the weather over here. We've had big rain for about 2 days, tonight being the heaviest. Just had wind come thru that I thought might develop into something but it's calmed down again, and just raining. Even tho we're about a block away from the ocean, I've been hearing the surf pounding for the past couple of days. It looks like Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas are going to get the brunt of it! We're cozy and warm in our snug house. Today all the Haitians were wearing hoodies and wrapping in towels and blankets....and I felt just great! First time I haven't sweated all day...real comfortable! And they were freezing!
Work of sorting and garbaging and inventorying carries on but I'm thankful to say that a dental team from Indiana is here and they're helping me. People aren't coming to the clinic cause of the rain...kinda like when we get snow blizzards at home! : )
I'm truly hoping to be done with supplies by end of this week and then next week we can concentrate on cleaning up, getting some sterile supplies cooked and ready....and maybe I'll get a day at the beach resort!!!! I've given up the dream of seeing much more of Haiti. Maybe in the beginning of Dec. when the teams have gone home and before I come home on the 10th! I would love to go to Cap Haitian and see the Citadel...old part of Haiti's history.

Right now with my $ and donations from some of you, we are sponsoring 15 kids for school. I went to a school on Monday after meeting with the Director last week. He knew of some kids who weren't coming back to school as they had no $. He knows that their families just cannot do it and so I've agreed to help 5 of them. He wanted to show me 20 but I said to start with 5!!!! Costs about $150 each for a year!
I like to talk with the children, find out a bit about who they live with, do they like school, what do they want to do when they're finished, encourage them to stay in Haiti afterwards and help others. Then I tell them about Joel and Sean and how as a mom, I always checked their report cards...first for their attitude and work habits and then their marks. Each of the kids said they really wanted to go back to school this year and they all said they would do their part and work hard as a way to thank me for helping them! : )

So what's been happening lately.. a Canadian friend passed out and so I took him to Pierre Payen Hospital to be checked out. Thankfully I know the cardiac monitor well (they don't have an ECG machine) and was able to get an ECG and ruled out a cardiac event....we decided it was dehydration with a bit of a resp. head cold....he lives in a non-ventilated house and sweats LOTS at night and hence the dehydration, even tho he thot he was keeping up! His BP was in the 90 range! Not too tachy but sure didn't feel good. He's got high cholesterol and is on BP pills so of course my cardiac mode took over! After 5 liters of fluid, he did feel better! : )
A neighborhood boy got bit by a ??rabid dog last week. I also took him to the hospital hoping to get the rabies vaccine, just in case, and was told they don't have any. I figured that as I know pretty well everything stocked there. St. Marc Hosp. used to carry it. So Revelson's mom went to the local community nurse and he got a couple of shots of antibiotics. Returned 2 days later for another "shot" and after a week, he's doing fine. Arms cleared up nicely, no infection at all. He had puncture wounds in both lower arms and one finger. The dog was immediately stoned to death and buried somewhere!
A very different system of health care than at home but it works and people do get treated!!!
One of the team doctors that I've worked with in the past 2 years (and is coming again in November) wrote me and asked for my thoughts about things here and whether I thought it was a good idea for teams to keep coming. My answer spoke mostly of supporting them here...with supplies and knowledge....rather than just thinking to come here and "do". I shared that Dr. Toussaint wished that the Haitian cultural mentality was not "waiting for the white doctors" but that the people would come to the Haitian docs more....but people do wait for the white guys. So it's good that the teams still come and work hard and people do get charged for the surgery (even tho we come and work for free and bring supplies) as charging for care is the only income for the hospital. So teams do help the hospital financially that way. And Haiti is short of doctors and nurses...just like Canada! (where do all our graduates go???)
Also I said it was such a good opportunity to work alongside the Haitians....have the Haitian nurses scrub in, the Haitian residents scrub in, etc. Great time to share knowledge and when specialist do come here, it's a great time for them to teach.
I'm still trying to find out how available supplies are in Haiti...but for now, teams do need to keep bringing things. That's getting harder to do tho as the airlines are really limiting the amount of baggage we can bring.
And lastly I said that I made myself a promise that when the time comes that I cannot come here or bring teams here, I will still encourage and help others to come and do what they can. As many of you know, it's an amazing life changing experience and it's good for us 3% that live like we do to be reminded to share what we have with the other 97% of the world.
Here's a good topic for an ethical discussion.....it is felt in the medical community that the expiration date on drugs could be extended...but how far is far enough? And should these drugs be sent to the 3rd world when we can't (legally) use them in Canada and USA? Dr. Gardy feels that is showing no respect for the Haitian people. What do you think?
My devotional reading led me to my favorite Psalm this week......and reminded me how blessed I am to be here...

Psalm 16
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Hope you all have had a wonderful fall and now are getting your winter woolies out! I can't imagine even feeling cold again!!! : )
all for now........xoxoxo Judy
I'll try to attach some pics of the renovations happening!

Posted by jdouglas 16:58 Comments (0)

Montrouis, Haiti Oct 6 2012

Dear all....well here I am back sitting on the porch...in front of me are the lush green hills and the banana trees in the lot next door. The men have been working there for the past hour in the cool morning air. The ground has not been tended to and is overgrown and they are digging and cleaning it up. Even though it has rained hard 3 different days this week, the ground is workable but still hard to break through. They're using picks to break it up. Did you know that it takes only 6 months for a banana tree to grow and produce a crop...and then it's finished, will be cut down and the root will be cut up to replant in another field that has got holes dug in readiness?
The children are all fine. I took Bijory to PAP to see the surgeon yesterday, Dr. Scott Nelson from California, and he is very pleased with BJ's progress. When I arrived on Sunday, there was Bijory in the yard with the other children playing....without his crutches in hand. When he has his AFO's (ankle-foot orthotics) on, he is supported and able to walk on his own. He can do that also without them but with less stability and strength. WOW!!!! I love telling him he has beautiful feet! Once in awhile, I get a smile out of him...he actually is quite a tease! : )
Lery is running and playing soccer and climbing stairs with great stability and strength. He walks to school and is so very happy with his "new legs". Another WOW!!! I hope to get one of the bikes fixed while I am here so he can use it for quad strengthening. Anyone out there like to work on bikes?? You would be kept busy here!
The hospital is still in a state of renovation...the 4th hallway is being finished so that means that supplies that were being stored there are now out in the big front room, in a huge pile against the wall, waiting to be sorted through and organized. God always has my work ready for me to get started on!! : ) It's Saturday today, but Miss Gretta is there for the w/e and so we're going to start on the pile today. She was gone most of the week and we only had Thursday together to reaquaint and get organized as to where to start. The workroom is all finished...walls up, shelves done, painted and tiled. The new delivery room has been used a few times already and is very workable! The new OR needs another table and anesthetic machine...
In my devotion today, it read..."walk by faith__not by sight." Hmmm....very appropriate! I know why I'm here and will be given the strength and skills to do the job. "Do not judge a day as devoid of Joy just because it contains difficulties." I know there is a lot of work to be done before the teams arrive in November but we will work together as a team and do our best.
President Marteilly was on my plane from Miami to PAP. I so wanted to walk up to him, introduce myself and shake his hand. He has a very hard job ahead of him. Of course, the people think he is working too slow, not getting the right things done. It's the same things I hear back in Canada. But I see changes each time I come...more roads being paved in the city, more cleanup happening.
Unemployment is still high but I still encourage the men who bring their children to me for sponsorship to school to still try to find work. I tell them I will help but they can't expect to be entirely looked after and the children need to do well in their studies. As parents, I encourage them to help their children do that. It is a hard life here but it still is the one God has given them and there is a lot to be thankful for.
I will meet with Dr. Gardy and Toussaint next week and hopefully start forming a plan for UBCO instructors and maybe some students to come next year. The autoclave needs to get working again, the electricity needs to get fine-tuned so it is reliable...Miss Gretta tells me that she only used the autoclave once and then there was problem with the water pressure! I wish Randy from the States was back here! : ) But I will pray that there is someone, Haitian or otherwise, who will help.
Blessings to all. Keep us in your prayers!

Posted by jdouglas 05:06 Comments (0)

3 more days til plane time!

Hi to all........I'm in Steveston BC still, enjoying the beautiful fall weather here in Canada. My friend Kristi who is in Haiti right now, writes in her blog about how hot she is and that's she's sleeping out on the porch cause it is cooler at night. Soon she'll have to move her air bed over and make room for me as that's my favorite place to sleep too! : )
As I'm clearing up some papers, what to take...what to leave behind....I came across an In Touch devotional book that I had followed in July in Haiti. As I flipped through the pages, I came across something circled and I had written...."Share on the Blog". This is what it says.....

"We need to realize that our willingness to trust the Lord affects every area of our lives...how we feel, what we do, the way He blesses us, and whether our prayers are answered. It all begins with our focus.
Our focus in turn affects our emotions. Those who choose to believe what God says experience the peace and joy of knowing He has everything under His control. Because they trust Him, fewer situations bother them. But if our minds are filled with doubts, anxiety and fear rush in...then, we're just not sure if the Lord is going to help us or not. Instead of resting in Christ, we fuss and fume, trying to anticipate all possible outcomes and solve every problem in our own strength."

What an answer to prayer these words are! Yesterday, I had been thinking of all I haven't got ready to take back to Haiti, thinking of "why didn't I get it done" etc etc. This morning I prayed that God would lead me to organize things so that I could catch the ferry and go visit Sean and Emily and not be distracted by all the "what if's" and "I should have's". And this morning has been wonderful.
Shanny and I woke up and shared coffee and then went for a long walk with Jack (her dog) along the Fraser River delta here in Steveston. The fog was just lifting and it was beautiful. Then back for breakfast and I got my nose into my Bible and prayed for peace and joy for this day!!!
The hockey bags are packed. My carry on suitcase is packed. I'm almost at the bottom of these papers and then I'm out the door to the 5pm ferry to Victoria...and it's only noon! : )
My prayer is that you will re-read these words given to us to share. Decide where you want to put your trust today! And let God lead you to peace and joy!
Next post from Haiti.........xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 12:05 Comments (0)

Heading back to Haiti Sept 30 2012

Good grief!!! Here it is September 20 and I've been in Canada since August 8 and am soon heading back to Haiti! I guess it's about time I updated this blog. I continue to be amazed at how many people are following this and I thank you all for your interest. I don't know who you all are but please know that I am encouraged by your interest. I hope you are getting to know a bit more about Haiti and her wonderful people through some of my "musings".
I've enjoyed great family time since my return...first at my niece Savannah's wedding in Victoria and then at a cabin on Okanagan Lake for a week with the guys and girls! Lots of fun...and we hope to make it an annual family event!
I then headed off to Alberta to see my mom who will turn 88 in October. She continues to amaze me with her youthfulness and stamina and we had a great visit together...often just driving around the countryside checking out the crops! Alberta is beautiful this time of year with harvest in full swing.
I've got 2 hockey bags packed already with some of the things that are hard to find there. More and more, I'm finding I would rather take $$ back and buy what I can there. A great way to help stimulate their economy.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the Pierre Payen Hospital looks like....hopefully all the renovations are finished. Time will tell. Then Miss Gretta and I are hoping to hold some inservices with the nursing staff and get ready for the American surgical teams that are coming for the month of November. 4 different teams will be there...some of the people will stay over a week. It will be a busy yet fruitful time as many Haitians will get their elective surgeries done. Dr. Toussaint is a very capable surgeon but he can only do so much and the wait list is very very very long!! Also these teams will bring some of the much needed medical supplies that are hard...or impossible...to get in Haiti! Haiti is progressing along but there are still many needs we can help with.
Celine Lee has decided to join me in November and I look forward to working with her for a month. She's the daughter of a long time friend, Laurence. He and I have shared surgical mission trips to Nicaragua in the past and I'm hoping he'll come on one more trip, only this time to Haiti.
I am starting to "talk" to people about forming a surgical team to come to Haiti in June 2013. There is a small group of nursing instructors interested to come then and a surgical team would certainly complement what they will be doing. So if you're interested, please email me at judydouglas@telus.net. I would love to hear from you.
So that's all for now. My next blog will be from Haiti...I'm sitting here now in Vernon with a sweater on. Soon I'll be so HOT that I will find it hard to imagine ever feeling cool! : ) But I've kept the weight loss off since last time so if I go a few more times, I may actually get to my "ideal" weight!!! : )
Talk to you soon...........Judy

Posted by jdouglas 15:54 Comments (1)

Aug 4 2012

As I sat on the porch reading my devotional and Bible for this morning, I got distracted by a ?family of geckos running along the cement wall bordering the property. I thought of you all and wanted to share the picture of that with you! Here, like in Nicaragua, everyone builds 8-10' high cinder block walls around their property and enclose it with a big metal gate that gets locked every night! I've never felt unsafe here, never thought someone might break in...but I guess it does happen. Same as at home!
There are so many picture stories I wish I had the words to write about. This morning I didn't have enough coffee to make a full botum and so Edy went to the little nearby store...and came back with a small plastic bag of Haitian coffee. I buy a brand called REBO and can only get it in St. Marc. What he got is VERY strong coffee which is what they all like. I'm drinking it much stronger now...and without milk/cream. In fact I haven't had a glass of milk since I got here. I've had ice cream but no milk. Lisa makes powdered milk for the children a few times a week but it's not to my liking! : )
Last night I took all the kids to the nearby "StopOver"....a gas station with a newly opened convenience store! They have a round counter there with 10 high stools and we all sat there and ate ice cream til we had belly aches! Great fun! They all had to memorize the 9 "Fruits of the Spirit" in English and Kreyol and recite them to me 1:1....and then we had a little talk about how they can apply each of those characteristics in their day to day lives. One boy, Elephat, did not quite get it at first. When I asked him what would he now do if Alex threw a rock at him, he said "throw a rock back at him!" So, with Edy translating, we talked a bit more to him and he finally got what the words mean!!!! : ) They all recited perfectly and so off we went to celebrate!
This afternoon we're all going to Pastor Frito's orphanage. It's in a poorer neighborhood and the children share mattresses on the floor. Many of you donated $$ to make them a latrine and buy those mattresses. : ) I have some things I want to leave with them....things you've sent, some clothes, books, toys, back packs, etc. I'm looking forward to hearing David play the trumpet!
Miss Gretta is gone for a few days....her father is sick in Cap Haitien. (her mom died a few years ago) Hopefully she will be back before I go. We're not going to get the supplies put away in the new workroom before I leave. They have started the wall tiling in the new OR and delivery room but that's about it. Yesterday, I thought the fellow said "jodiya" (today) he would "komanse" (start) tiling the floor in the workroom but I never saw him again after he said that!! : )
It's going to be a couple of weeks I'm sure before things are back to normal! The laundry room did get painted though so all the old shelving from the workroom can get moved into there and the linen can get organized. Right now it's piled in laundry bags against the hallway wall.
This doesn't sound too bad as I read what I've written but I wish I could download some pictures to show you what it looks like. It is a mess everywhere...except the 2 patient hallways and the nursing station and the OR! Right now they've got the little burned baby, Jeff and 2 post-ops...from a hernia repair and a prostatectomy. Might be a couple of other ladies too as I saw them come into the triage yesterday. They arrived by tap-tap....a mattress in the back of the truck where customers usually sit, the tap-tap backs up right to the hospital door and they push and pull and finally drag the person onto the stretcher!
When I get a faster connection, I will download pics of Jeff. His wounds are clean, he now only has dressings on one arm and we don't need to take him to the OR anymore to do them. He's a normal 2 year old, wants out of bed and to run. His brown skin is all peeled away where it burned and the splotches are quite a "pink" contrast! He's cute as a button! : )
See you soon........xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 05:29 Comments (0)

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