A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

continuing Sept 25....oops

Hmmm....didn't mean to end that last entry on that sad note....I hit the wrong button I guess.
I'm thankful for this laptop that I bought. I just wish I knew more about running it. It is a great computer though....thank you Joel for talking me into getting a Mac!
I measured all the kids today for the record book! Caroline had forgotten her measuring board at OSAPO last week and asked me to bring it back down as she has a Mamba clinic at Canaan on Tuesday. So you need to picture me on a moto, hanging onto a wooden board that's an 1X8" board 54" long. She stands up or lies the kids on it to determine degree of malnutrition, etc. About halfway down, a fellow did stop us and got on behind me and I was glad as I gave him the board to hold and I held onto his lunch container. Anyway, the kids love doing anything like that....typical kids they are as they then compared what the numbers were!!!
Tom and Cheryl and I took them all to Moulin sur Mer resort yesterday for ice cream and a swim at the nice beach there. Had a great afternoon. I blew up a "CANADA" beach ball and they had great fun with it until the wind and waves caught it and off it went. Renel and Lery and I tried to catch it but couldn't.
We're having autoclave trouble at OSAPO....does anyone have experience with a "pressure cooker style" All American autoclave? They're looking for the manual...I've emailed the company and they immediately connected and asked a couple of questions and I haven't heard back from them since. It doesn't register up to 250 degrees even after 2 hours of hard boiling. Any comments are welcome!!!!
I'm bushed so off to bed. Yikes it's 9:30 and the generator will shut off soon. It's nice to try to fall asleep while the fan is still blowing.
Love to all........Judy

Posted by jdouglas 19:24 Comments (0)

Sept. 16.....3 days til Joel's birthday! : )

Thursday Sept. 15

Just had the greatest day….teaching 5 nurses + 1 “drop-in”!! Yep everyone was there and it was good! Start time was supposed to be at 9 but the last 3 didn’t get there until 9:20’ish. It’s hard to judge how long a tap-tap will take and then a moto up to OSAPO. They come from the other side of Pierre Payen which is about a 10-15 min. drive from Montrouis and then the moto takes another 20-30 min. On a work day, they arrive anytime between 7-7:30. Everybody’s day in Haiti starts about 5:30 at home. I think cause it’s pitch black at 6pm, electricity is expensive if they’ve got it, and so bedtime is early. No wonder there are soooooo many babies in Haiti!!
I witnessed the birth of a beautiful boy yesterday. …her first and all went well. Babe has an extra little finger which apparently isn’t all that uncommon in Haiti! Lots of yippe-kay-yaaing noise and then the nurses would slap her arm to quieten her! Sure not like the TLC women get from Canadian nurses….hey Susan and Gail!!
Right now I’m out on the deck and it is pouring rain. Imagine the loudest thunder you’ve ever heard in Vernon and double that…..it’s LOUD! Can’t see any sky or hills around…all grey. I just made it back from next door checking on a young American girl who’s helping at an orphanage there for a few months. Got a message from someone else that Jill’s mom is quite concerned about her so I went and checked. As I’m heading over, I’m thinking….I know diddly squat about rashes and skin bumps and I knew that was her problem. It’s just on her arms and legs, is red, pimply…was more raised yesterday she said but today it has spread and is very itchy! She saw a good doc yesterday and he gave her Ampicillin and Loratidine. She’s OK …tired, has a cold…and so I will take her back to the same guy in the morning if it’s not any better. Where’s Steve Debella when I need him?? She’s had it for 2 weeks. Any opinions are welcome….except because of the storm, I can’t post this cause no internet!!! : )
I was thinking today…..as I was DRIVING up to OSAPO….and only Joel and Emily and Karlyn and Garret will know what that means…..about how commonplace things around here are becoming.
Like driving on a road that really isn’t a road but a rocky trail at time
Like chickens and pigs everywhere…little chicks of every size
Like women walking with huge loads balanced on their heads
Like piles of rocks everywhere that eventually get chiseled down into gravel or cement mix. On the “road” today I met a huge digging machine trundling it’s way up the road and then diverted down the river bank to start digging up more rocks.
Like knowing I’m going to have to drive all the way to St. Marc tomorrow (30-40 min) to buy a cake mix for Stanley’s 11th birthday. Renel had a cake 2 days ago and so Stanley must have the same!!!
Like going into the bathroom with my flashlite just now and seeing another huge cockroach on the floor, going back to the kitchen to get the flyswatter that thankfully I brought, and going back and squashing it!!!
Yep....I'm live now. It's Friday night and some guy just finishing singing O Danny Boy in Creole on the PA that's blaring in the neighborhood somewhere. Strange.....
I love this place. Every day is a new adventure. I survived the drive to St. Marc....it's a city full of motocycles. They're like bugs everywhere! Stanley got his birthday cake and I got to witness the biggest smile ever.
I'm going to try to post some pics of the kids I took tonight.
God is good.........

Posted by jdouglas 21:22 Comments (0)

Survived a hurricane...apparently

They say that what I thought was a BIG windstorm on Thursday was actually a hurricane...name started with a K. I saw evidence of it on Sunday as we walked through a nearby banana grove and saw some uprooted trees. Thank goodness I live in a pretty sturdy house!
Here's what I wrote that day about the "thunderstorm"

Sept 8 2011

A huge thunderstorm, rainstorm just passed through here. Dumped tons of water down in the past hour and the hard ground outside is flooded! Some the of kids were out laughing and playing in it…at least it’s cooler now!
We saw the dark clouds forming on the south side of Port au Prince this afternoon as we were driving away from there. We’d been to 2 hospitals today trying to find help for the sweetest 13 month old boy who has come to the Canaan clinic. His name is James and he has extrophy of the bladder. I think that’s what it’s called. His bladder opens onto his lower abdomen…and that’s where he pees from. He has undescended testicles and his little penis is like a tiny flap. He is robust and the cutest little guy. His mom has taken excellent care of him as he could have gotten septic many times. It was a long day for him and never a peep out of him. He was content to sit on his mom’s lap and nurse every once in awhile. The first doc said he needs an operation…which we knew…and so we were sent into Port to the Children’s Hospital “Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs” (Hopital Saint Damien) Of course, the doctor had already left for the day so little James has an appointment on Sept. 19 at 0800! That means leaving for about 0600 to get there on time. Hopefully he can get the surgery done here in Haiti but if not, Canaan will arrange a medical visa for him to go the the States. First a surgeon there will have to agree to take him on (for free) and he will have to convince his HMO/hospital to also do it for free. Neither this mother nor Canaan have that kind of money! Thankfully there are many stories like this with happy endings…doctors and hospitals are finally found that will do it!
The storm has passed, still some rumbling a bit farther away. I don’t follow the weather here so never know what it’s going to be like. Can’t do anything about it anyway. I did finally register with the Canadian Consulate and friends tell me that they’ll email me if there is a Hurricance coming or something similar!
Tomorrow is back up the hills to OSAPO and some teaching. It’ll be a surprise to see who turns up! : ) They’ve all said they are coming (again!!)

Sept 9 6pm

This is getting to be a typical day here at Annie’s. Awake about 0530-0545…someone starts walking outside and I sleep by an open window. Course though I’ve been going to sleep between 9 and 10 (generator shuts off at 10) so I’m usually ready to wake up. Sometimes I lay back down and let my body enjoy the quiet and cool early morning. It seems as soon as I get up, I start sweating!! : ) Then light the stove to heat water for coffee, go and shower, make coffee and take a cup down for Genesis, Sylvanie and now Lisa. I’ve started making it stronger and so she likes it now! Of course, they all load it with sugar! Then breakfast will either be scrambled eggs, sometimes with cheese or maybe just a fresh bun with mamba. (peanut butter) Sometimes I’ve saved something from supper and will eat that. Like tonight, Lisa made me a delicious pasta and veggie salad and fried chicken legs. (2) So I’ve only eaten half and will put the rest in the ice cooler and eat it tomorrow.
Right now, it’s turning dark, generator just came on and so the kids have gathered upstairs in the second big room…with a TV…and soon either a Wi game will come on…or a movie. They all talk at once, talk throughout the movie. Some sprawl out on the floor and fall asleep…actually they’re all on the floor cause there aren’t any chairs!
Today I made a decision about the teaching. I’m emailing the docs to say that there must be at least 2 designated full days for teaching. It hasn’t worked out trying to fit a few hours in 2-3 days each week. They’re not all coming at the same time, I’m having to partially teach one part and then repeat it…and still 2 out of the original 5 haven’t even started! Today it rained real hard…some called it a hurricane cause the wind was HUGE…and so 2 phoned to say they weren’t coming unless it stopped raining. By 1 the rain had stopped and by 2 they hadn’t shown up. The class was supposed to start at 12!
Judith was there working today and thankfully she is some kind of a boss cause when I explained that there must be 2 days when all 5 of the main nurses could come to a class, she said…”I can organize that. I’ll tell you on Monday which days it can happen!” A lesson to remember…when trying to organize a class, do it with a nurse, not with the doctor!! : )
Tomorrow I head off to Pierre Payen Hospital to check out the storage room for supplies. Then in the afternoon, I’ll be joined by an American surgical team that has been working in PAP this past week at the Adventist Hospital. They’re all finished and are spending their last night in Haiti at a favorite resort of mine...Moulin sur Mer….in fact that was where I spent my birthday last year riding out Hurricane Tomas!

Saturday Sept 10

Had quite a full workday. Spent the morning cleaning the upstairs where I live…it’s about 1500 sq. feet in all…2 big bedrooms, large bathroom, large kitchen and 2 large living spaces..one with the TV that the kids take over and the other with the big table and chairs which is also my bedroom at night by the windows, trying to catch a breeze! It’s all tiled and so very easy to clean with the mop. Then onto the laundry…which is a real challenge for me as it’s all hand done, in a huge metal basin, wrung out and then hung outside. I haven’t perfected their technique of squeezing the water out of my blouses so that they don’t get wrinkled.
In the afternoon, at Pierre Payen Hospital, I attacked a storage room and discovered so many things we could have used in August. At least now I’ll know where to look during the next surgical team time! I need to give you a picture though of what this “storage room” is like…#1..there’s no lite as the electricity isn’t on for some reason and there are no windows #2..it’s all rough wooden shelving, crowded, very dusty and dirty with rat droppings throughout. #3..some of the supplies are in good cardboard boxes that haven’t been chewed through, some are in lovely plastic containers, some are in bad shape….everywhere there’s dust.
So I had quite the time, threw out a lot that just couldn’t be used in the shape it was in. I tried to organize like things together as a lot of the stuff had obviously just been “dumped” there. A typical container from a visiting team is filled with all sorts of things that people back home think “Oh, 3rd world can use this!!” and into a box it goes. I’m going to send out a memo to the world that they must INVENTORY everything they put in a box and really spend time thinking how 3rd world might be able to use it. Most 3rd world clinics do not have access to ETO sterilizing and so if it needs sterilizing in order to be used, then it must be steam autoclavable!! All these unsterile drapes with plastic on them are used as table/bed covers and then have to be incinerated…which is NOT great for their air quality! I found one big box of some very fancy VAC dressing supplies! Do you think we could convince the company to come to Haiti and do some inservicing…oh yes, and please bring the pump/motor with you!
For you OR people, clean lap sponges and raytec gauze and 4X4 gauze are still great items to send. Blue towels are also great. Any unsterile drapes that do NOT have plastic on them are OK.
Anyway, I could go off on that tangent for days!
The American team arrived and after a quick tour, we headed to the resort. I immediately hit the pool to freshen up…it is truly picturesque…alongside the teal blue ocean! Then a rum and coke and listened to their stories of their week. Everyone always tells of the BIG hydroceles and hernias! I soon realized why God had me meet these people. I was introduced to Dr. Terry Dimitrich, an orthopod from Wisconsin, who quit his practice and is in Haiti for a year. I had my laptop and showed him pics of Bijoey, with the congenital club feet and Larry, with the grossly knobby knees who can’t stand up straight and Renel with his left foot attached to his femur. Terry looked at them all and said to bring them to the clinic in Port and they can fix them!! “Right here in Haiti” I said. Yep he replied. And so as soon as Annie gets here, we’ll be taking them to the Adventist Hospital for a consult and booking of surgery! Annie’s been trying to get an American surgeon to agree to do them. That’s usually what has had to happen. I was so excited and thanked him and thanked him and thanked him! What a blessing for these boys not to have to leave Haiti for such expert help!

Monday Sept 12

I just finished eating the most scrumptious fish that Lisa cooked…well almost as good as one that Mrs. Huang would cook. Tasty thing it was! Lisa totally spoils me. I haven’t had to cook a meal, other than breakfast, since I’ve been here. I really could get very used to this life!! : ) She’s like an artist and I’ve taken a few pics of the plates she brings me…and tonight was no exception. I’ll post them one day!
I came home from the Canaan clinic today, the truck loaded with supplies that I’ll be taking to Rousseau/OSAPO clinic on Wed. All these clinics get lots of supplies delivered or brought and then it’s all stored! Caroline asked me to go through boxes of stuff she’s brought out of the storage container and take what I know they won’t use!! They’re a medical clinic with no resources for surgery and so I have a gold mine now ready to take to OSAPO OR!! In exchange, I’m going to ask Dr. Toussaint to not charge a couple of Canaan patients for their much needed surgery! A real win-win propostion I figure! : )
Teaching day starts Thursday! : )
I hear there was an earthquake on Vancouver Island!! Felt in Vernon!! Emily says they didn't feel it in Victoria. I think I should be worrying about you all rather than vice versa!! Take care all.....

Posted by jdouglas 18:15 Comments (0)

this is called "catch up" : )

I've been writing in WORD and saving it as I haven't been getting online when I wanted to. Hmmm...should I send this whole thing....oh why not? You've all told me I love to chat!!!! Maybe read it in sections or something! Here goes............

Blog stuff

I’m discovering lots of things….old and new….about Haiti.
-that you can’t leave ground coffee out on the counter in an open bowl overnight as it turns into a paste by morning, however I still used it to make coffee. It just needed more stirring!
-and my mom would be amazed to hear this…Lisa and Sylvanie and Genesis think the coffee that I make is “weak”. Haitians drink a very strong, thick coffee and then they pour in about ¼ cup of sugar into their small mug. I was pouring for them one morning (from the new botum that Joel brought…I think of him every morning as I make coffee!) and I added the sugar….very sparingly….telling them “ase” (enough) and they laughed and laughed and wanted “anko, anko” (more, more!)
-that I don’t need a mosquito net for mosquitoes…but it would help fend off all the other big flying bugs around at night that I feel “land” on my bed or my body!!
-that even though they walk around looking very somber, Haitians love a good laugh anytime and they break into a huge smile when I say “bonjou” or “bonswa”. Hello becomes “bonswa” after noon. I intermix familiar French sayings with the basic Creole that I’m learning and then we all have a good chuckle. French speaking is the “sign” of an educated person as all post-high school graduate studies are in French. Very few Haitians can read Creole and one way of marking their meds is to draw circles. 3 circles on a bottle of medicine mean you take it 3 times a day….maten, midi e domi.
-that I’m learning how to drive on the Haitian roads…an unbelievable experience that is going to be very hard to describe! It is not uncommon to see 4 vehicles coming at you on a 2-lane road. Does that give a clear picture to you? : ) The big buses and trucks do NOT slow down for anything or anyone and certainly not when they’re driving through the town. Horns honk continually and pedestrians do NOT have the right of way! Dogs and goats and donkeys all know to step aside and seem to look left and then right just like us! There are no rules of the road; passing and speeding are the way to drive.
-about how DARK it gets here at 6pm. The house’s electrical system runs on a generator and sometimes it doesn’t get started right away and we wander around with our headlights. One night it ran out of gas at 8:30 pm so we all just went to bed! I brought a little power pack that I run my CPAP off of after the generator goes off but it didn’t make it through that night. I wake up once it quits working, pull it off my face and roll over and go back to sleep. Some nights it’s hard to sleep cause of the heat but tonight (Aug 24) will be lovely as the tail end of the hurricane’s rainfall hit here all afternoon and it’s much cooler now…probably down to 90!!!! : )
-I will NEVER complain of Canada’s roads again. Only the #1 highway to PAP is paved and the rest of the streets and roads that run off it are lumpy gravel. Hard to even call it gravel though…more like rocks on a one-lane path!
-the joy of having my first formed BM in about 2 weeks and peeing often enough so I know that I’m drinking enough!!
-there is always noise here at Annie’s…there are 19 children and often 3-6 adults and they all seem to be talking at once. I’m picking up a bit of new Creole every day but still far from being able to carry on a conversation. I often catch myself just saying “wi” a lot….reminds me of a good friend doing the same in Nicaragua! : )
-the chickens here run loose everywhere and there are always chicks in different stages. I was sitting outside talking to some of the kids yesterday and suddenly, over my shoulder, a chick was dropped into my lap! : ) and there’s one hen that literally climbs the big mango tree by the upstairs deck where I slept. She half flies and half climbs up the trunk and then goes up to the second large branch. Her chicks go crazy cause they want to follow and so it’s quite fun to watch their attempts each night. They do eventually make it after a few attempts and then squawk until they find their mom!
-I was presented this week with 2 T-shirts that only the OSAPO staff wears. I felt very blessed and know that I am being considered one of them! : ) Dr. Toussaint told me that he was going to hide my passport so that I can’t leave….I was very thankful for that acknowledgment. God is good to me!

Sept 2 2011

I’ve been preparing all along to teach the OR nursing course and had left the morning of Sept 2 to finalize the outline of the course…to organize it so the students would get a glimpse of what was ahead. Organization is hard for me and in my prayers I had expressed my concerns about “doing it right”.
Here’s my devotion today…taken from my book “Jesus Calling”

“Living in dependence on Me is a glorious adventure. Most people scurry around busily, trying to accomplish things through their own strength and ability. Some succeed enormously; others fail miserable. But both groups miss what life is meant to be: living and working in collaboration with Me.
When you depend on Me continually, your whole perspective changes. You see miracles happening all around, while others see only natural occurrences and “coincidences.” You begin each day with joyful expectation, watching to see what I will do. You accept weakness as a gift from Me, knowing that My Power plugs in most readily to consecrated weakness. You keep your plans tentative, knowing that My plans are far superior. You consciously live, move, and have your being in Me, desiring that I live in you. I in you, and you in Me. This is the intimate adventure I offer you.”

I know there are some of you that do understand what Jesus is talking about here and I’m excited for you and hope you share your “adventures/miracles” with me!! For those who don’t understand or think I’m “fou” (crazy in Creole), I encourage you to try it for a while. Turn to God with your requests, ask Him to help you in a difficult task…believe this with your heart and accept His help and you will know it “isn’t a coincidence”. I challenge you to give it a whirl…what do you have to lose?

Matthew 21: 21-22
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Matthew 6: 7
“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

Sunday Sept. 4 2011

It’s 1040 and we (15 of the children and Sylvanie and I) just got back from church. Often a big truck comes to pick them up but not this morning, so at 0710, we headed out walking. It’s about a 20 minute walk. We took a “short cut” through the banana groves, along narrow pathways cutting across country! I thought this area was all houses but there is a lot of agriculture! We were headed to Bon Samaritan Church…it’s one that Annie went to years ago when her first orphanage was right near there. I seem to recall that her home congregation raised money to buy a bell for the tower. Church was already started…the children were with one younger pastor for their lesson and the adults were in the pews listening to an older pastor. Sylvanie and I joined that group. Of course I didn’t understand very much but next week, I’ll bring my Bible and ask which scriptures he’s reading from! I’m surprised I didn’t think to take it today as I love bringing my Bible to church. I am always amazed at how God speaks to me through His word and I have many notations written in it.
After a bit, I joined the children to see how they were participating. Each week they have to memorize scripture and the pastor was going over that with them, first the girls and then the boys, whatever age! He then asked them questions about what they had learned. Finally the children joined the adults and singing started, accompanied by a fellow on the accordian! The only song I recognized was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.
After a couple of songs, first the children stood up and recited their scripture lesson for the congregation. Then it was the adults turn…first the women, then the older men and then a group of younger men. This happens at Canaan too only there, each age group of children sing a song too! : )
Then more sermons…about an hour long from the younger pastor…I think it’s his church. Then more songs…and then he invited the older pastor to speak. The whole service ended with us all taking communion…with real wine! : )
They asked me to speak in church and someone translated for me. I got a bit choked as I told them I am so grateful to be here and that I was a long way from home and missed my family but that this community had all welcomed me so much that I knew I had a family here too of God’s people.
The children had told me it would end about 1000 and sure enough, it was 1010 as we were blessed and all shook hands, greeting each other again…and then off home…a different route this time that meandered again along paths til we finally reached the road I’m familiar with.
Lisa and Kwam and their son don’t go to church…she says she doesn’t like this one. Her home church is in PAP. So she’s been in the kitchen cooking the meal. We eat our big meal mid-day…any time between 1200 and 2 or 3pm. The kids are excited cause I’ve promised them I would take them to the nearby beach “apre-midi”. I don’t know how I’m going to keep track of all of them but plan to set some rules about water play. Last time Garret and I took them and a few of them got horsing around in the water, dunking and rough playing and it’ll cause me too much grief trying to keep track of who’s under and who hasn’t come up yet!!! : )
I didn’t sleep well again last night…I’d had a coke late afternoon which probably did it!! So tonight will be early to bed as “lecole” starts tomorrow.

Monday Sept 5....Happy Birthday Jeff #34!!! : )

I am so pumped about my devotion this morning, that I just had to write about it.

Here’s a great visual from my “Jesus Calling” book…
“As dew refreshes grass and flowers during the stillness of the night, so My Presence revitalizes you as you sit quietly with Me.
A refreshed, revitalized mind is able to sort out what is important and what is not. In its natural condition, your mind easily gets stuck on trivial matters. Like the spinning wheels of a care trapped in mud, the cogs of your brain spin impotently when you focus on a trivial thing. As soon as you start communicating with me about the matter, your thoughts gain traction and you can move on to more important things. Communicate with Me continually, and I will put My thoughts into your mind.”
Wow…how many times have I spun my wheels ineffectively. Em knows!! : ) I still thank God for the blessing of her being here during “that” surgical week!

Again affirmation that God ALWAYS leads me!!!
Today in my “Leadership” devotional book...wow, it’s a full formula of how I must teach today. Thank you Jezu for all you give me. I am NOT alone in this
1. Help others keep their commitments to God.
-my plan is to start the session with prayer
2. Speak words of support and encouragement.
3. Evaluate progress, offering an objective perspective.
4. Offer words of wise counsel and direction.
5. Lend words of caution, rebuke, or correction.
6. Give tangible resources to help them reach their goals.
-plan is to ask them what they want to learn and adjust my content to that
7. Provide unconditional love.
8. Help them find places to apply and practice what they’ve learned.

I will read these words every morning that I go teach and use these examples to help me be a good teacher!!!
Hope you're all having great days....I always love the Okanagan in the fall.

Posted by jdouglas 14:24 Comments (0)

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