A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: jdouglas

March 2017....in Haiti now for 5 weeks!!!!

Dear all.....
Where has the time gone? One thing that I'm being taught this time in Haiti is patience and looking at what/who I'm relying on! I've discovered the frustration of not having reliable internet services....and guess what else I've discovered.....life does still go on!!! : )
I write to God every morning in my journaling and have learned to be thankful for the few times that I can connect with people back home. Some of you have heard from me and I'm thankful for when you have written. I am AMAZED at all the snow that has fallen back home!!! Yes, Dave, if you're reading this, I'm thinking of you and all the shovelling and plowing that you're doing!!!! : )
There has been some rain here but also a lot of sunny days! Temps are in the high 80's/low 90's in the day but cools off nicely for night time. I've actually had a sheet on me at night! The last few nights there has been HUGE winds but no damage, at least from what I've seen.
The bean crop was green and growing when I got here and they are just starting to harvest the fields now. Banana trees are in all stages of growth...they plant them year round. Corn and sugar cane seem to just be getting started. My favourite tree, the Breadfruit, is not in full production yet...same with the mangos. There are some around but not into full season for them yet!!! However, enough for Ann Simonski to enjoy most every day she was here!
I loved having Ann here...and what a blessing she was! Dr Ghee Hwang and Dr Hamid Izadi from Vernon were here then and so there were operations happening for a few days. Ann helped by cleaning the instruments and being a general "go-to" person when other help was needed. We shared lots of laughs and groans as our bodies were tired by the end of the long days!!!! I thank God for blessing OSAPO with her presence!
Dr. Hwang was so very helpful, his suggestions and assessments were very thoughtful as he has had such amazing experiences around the world in 3rd world countries. Time will tell if his group will be coming to Haiti to help in medical resident's education.
As many of you know, one focus I was asked to do here was to train more Haitian nurses to work in the operating room. All but one of the nurses who have been trained in the past have left OSAPO....all for good reasons....but just like at home, circumstances change for people in the work force and they move on.
OSAPO's Clinic day starts when the staff arrive in the morning and set it up. There are 2 doctors to see all the patients who are waiting. Once clinic is finished, the classes can begin. By then, it is mid-day and getting warm/hot! I arranged for the OSAPO cooks to prepare a meal for the "students" but that is usually not ready til about 1-1:30 so we start with the teaching of the day! Everyone is hungry (grangou) by then and the heaping plates of rice and beans, usually with some goat and veggies, are served and devoured!!!
Getting back on track after the meal is hard to do and that session often only lasted for about an hour. This has not been the best system for training/teaching but what OSAPO can manage now with the reduction that has occurred in staffing levels in the past 6-12 months.
OSAPO had to lay off staff in 2016 and just run as a day clinic (unless there were overnight patients). I'm thankful to say that resuming 24/7 hours occurred on March 2 2017! There had been 2 deaths of women and babies who had come for help, only to find OSAPO closed! Drs Gardy and Toussaint and the remaining staff can not bear for this to happen again and so are prepared to do all they can to keep the clinic open for the people, even if it means with little or no pay!!!! Where would that ever happen in Canada? Such dedication to helping and serving!
Galatians 5:9..."Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
And, tho hard to do at times as basically I'm a selfish person who enjoys all the comforts of life, I'm trying to live up to those words. I actually started this trip's journal by writing that verse down...followed by the list of the Fruits of the Spirit...
...."love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control" I need constant reminder of those blessed words!
I'm reminded of Pastor Stuart's talk on Jan 22, just before I left Canada to come to Haiti. It will be online by now....go to the Vernon Alliance Church website and click on the sermon series that they post there....well worth listening to. He was talking about our world's perceived system of how to live versus how God intends us to live....Learning how to live knowing we have "enough" and not always wanting "more". Learning to know how to "share" rather than to "keep for ourselves".
I know that's why God keeps sending me back to Haiti....to remind me of what He has chosen me to do and how I need to think and live. I'm so distracted at home by all the things that the media tells me that I "need". We, in Canada, have so very much to be thankful for...and yet we always want more! I wonder when does it all end? When do we learn when enough is enough?
Today my heart is bursting with joy as I'm in Port au Prince waiting to go to the airport to welcome my cousin Cam to Haiti. He is an electrician and has come to fix up OSAPO's electrical system......just why do the lights on the main floor go out when the lights on the 2nd floor still burn brightly? And solve questions like that. I thank God for sending him and look forward to a week from now when Cindy, Cam's wife and Ethan, his son also will be joining us!!!! Such joy I will have sharing Haiti with them!
Susan Kermociev, Olga Hamilton and Rochelle Nyman (Susan's cousin) were here for 3 weeks and held a very successful sewing class for 9 Haitian women. They were all so very pleased with the progress that the women made and we're hoping that other sewers from back home will plan to come here and carry on with lessons. The women are KEEN....some days, Susan said, they literally had to kick them out of the classroom or they would have stayed there until darkness fell!!!! They have set a program up for others to possibly follow, there are supplies left here to use, there are treadle and electric machines sitting here idle, waiting for an instructor to come and carry on! If you're reading this and are a sewer and God is stirring up something in your heart, please get ahold of Susan at skermociev@shaw.ca or Olga at olga8250@telus.net and hear about their experience. You won't be sorry!! : )
On March 10, 3200 chicks are supposed to arrive for the "egg production" program that is OSAPO's latest venture on the road to sustainability. There is a ready market in the area for 5000 eggs each day and Gardy is determined to build to that capacity and make $$$ to keep OSAPO running. Please pray that the chicks will arrive and thrive!!! Jean Marie, OSAPO's agronomist, has been hard at work getting everything ready. Thank you to Dave for making this project happen!!! I'll try to post some pics on Facebook....or here....when it happens! cluck cluck cluck!!!!
So friends, all for now. I have to go arrange my "taxi" to the airport. I don't want to be late!!! I thank you all for reading this, for your prayers that God will continue to lead me and that I will have the ears to listen!!!! You all know how I can get on my "own track" at times!!! : )
Blessings to you all....xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 05:12 Comments (0)

HAITI 2017

OFF AGAIN JAN 30 2017!

Hello to all.....well some people have been asking me about my blog. There are always so many stories to tell and I really will give it the "ole college try" again.
When Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti inOctober 6 2016, I knew I could help in some way alongside Dr. Gardy and he said to please come! His mom lived in LesCayes, right along the fringe of the hurricane as it HIT the south arm of Haiti. I had been to this area 4 years ago and I remember describing it as lush and jungle-like, as compared to the north arm where I live. Now it was totally flattened/devastated/treeless and most roofs gone! I have never seen anything like it in my life.
When I returned, I wrote an article for my local paper VERNON MORNING STAR and if you go on their website and click on the eEditions and go to the January 8 2017 edition, page 23-24, you'll be able to read my article.
2 weeks ago, 2 nursing buddies from Vernon, Susan Kermociev and Olga Hamilton, went there for a 3 week stint of teaching 10 Haitian women how to sew. OSAPO's long term plans include a school and the kids will need uniforms and so these women will have a job!
Also, Andrea Nelson from Calgary is there supporting a small rural school in the nearby hills from OSAPO. She works with the local teacher/director and they have expanded the programs from 30 children to over 100 in just 2 short years. This will be Andrea's 5th or 6th trip in that time and she has painted wood to make blackboards, hired a Haitian builder to make desks, started a goat program, helped get a community garden going that the children help look after and she supports a daily rice meal program for the students! I'm sure there's more but you get the idea that she is one dedicated and busy lady.
Andrea and Susan are also directors on our newly formed Society Board....."CANADIAN FRIENDS OF OSAPO-HAITI SOCIETY" is official now and we're working with the CRA on obtaining a tax receiptable status. Next will be a website development....and we would LOVE someone to help us with that! It may be to help improve an existing OSAPO one that is in the works and then we would have a link on that to a page of ours??? But we need help in however it will look.
Coming with me this time is another retired nurse friend, Ann Simonski. She has been on other mission trips, loves children and she is like a magnet to them. I know I'll be getting some pics of Ann surrounded by a group of kids as she reads a book to them!
Also coming are 2 surgeons from the Vernon area, Drs. Ghee Hwang and Hamid Izadi. Dr. Toussaint from the OSAPO group has plans to keep them busy for the 1-3 weeks that they will be there.
Dr. Toussaint has asked me to hold another Introduction to OR Nursing course as there is a need at the clinic again as the ones who were trained in 2011 have all left...sad but true. The last one just had a baby boy in December and I'm hoping she will return and help out.
In March, my dear cousin Cam Hite from Port Moody area and his wife Cindy and son Ethan are joining me. Cam will be doing some electrical work and Cindy, a retired nurse, will be kept busy as will Ethan. The kids in the community will have lots of soccer for him to play and hills to hike and see the terrain.
So friends....all for now. God has blessed all the many plans for this time. I know He led me to Haiti in October, kept me safe, showed us how to help the stricken people in the best way at the time. And now this trip is blessed with so many people joining the OSAPO Haitian staff in serving the people of Rousseau.
Please pray for us all in our time there, for safe travel and that we would be led to obey and serve the people.
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 18:16 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

Happy Mother's Day May 10 2015

Time has flown by since returning to Canada. First I visited with my family in North Van and Victoria and was amazed at how the 3 grandsons have grown!!!! We are all excited about #4 to be born in June...and also a cousin to be born in June too! My family is growing.
As I write this today, I'm wondering if a day like this is celebrated in Haiti. I will have to ask DR. GARDY....WHEN HE COMES TO VANCOUVER/VERNON and then CALGARY in June 2015!!!! The committee is busy planning events for him to meet other Global Health/Community Development people, some family and friends....and hopefully a bit of time to just enjoy seeing our beautiful country for the first time!
If you would like to meet him, please get in touch with me....judydouglas@telus.net or phone 778-212-8877.....or........
7-10 PM
8305 West Kal Road, Coldstream/Vernon
Tickets are for sale at the BEAN SCENE on Vernon's Main Street across from Towne Theater and include a glass of wine and appys!!
(or phone/leave a message with me and I'll save one for you)
Don't wait as many have been sold already!
If you have questions about where all the donated money has gone in Haiti, please come and ask Dr. Gardy.
See what a Haitian is doing for his fellow country...men/women/children!!!
Kyle, chairman from WATER PROJECT FOR HAITI will also be there and also
Pat, who will be able to answer all your questions about DAYS for GIRLS sewing project.
Dr. Gardy is the co-founder of OSAPO, the remote "mountain" clinic that I spend time at. He is also the administrator of PIERRE PAYEN HOSPITAL, in a nearby community. He is also (in his spare time!!) the founder of a new Nursing School....called ISSIP (Institute Superieur des Sciences Infirmieres et de Physiotherapie). The nursing school part opened Jan 19 2015 when I was there and the PT part is to start this September. Both schools are hoping that some Canadians....YOU....will come as guest lecturers at the school! There is still need for many trades people....for educating and actual working too! The best way to teach is to show! : )
Susan Kermociev was such a good example of that. She brought her mom's old sewing machine and taught 2 Haitian women how to use it. Juliana was coming to OSAPO every Monday and Thursday to use the machine. She needs help to begin to market what she's made...a small step towards a business and a way to make $$ for her family! : )
Denise Nelson was a true gift from God...very timely...as she was there at exactly the right time to help teach the Haitian nurses about laparoscopic surgery. OSAPO staff (with help from an American surgeon who brought the equipment) performed OSAPO's first 2 laparoscopic cholecystectomies in March 2015!!!
The river bank is definitely a threat to OSAPO and there is a good, well-researched plan in place to build a reinforcement wall. It's been done very successfully along the river. Dr. Gardy has local labor forces piling up rocks to be used in the metal cages which will form part of the wall! Of course this will take $$$ but if not done, there is a very real danger that the clinic will one day be lost! It is in an ideal area, it is visited daily by many people from the surrounding area....and so the decision is to stay there! This decision was arrived at with much prayer and investigating by 2 different engineering firms in Haiti.
So to all of you....I am grateful for all your support. When I see so many are still reading this with interest, I am encouraged to carry on in my journey. God is my guide, and I pray that some of you will join me there one day and see for yourself. I am tentatively still thinking about October 2015 to return. You are all a blessing to me and my prayer is that you are also blessed!

Posted by jdouglas 11:48 Comments (0)

and now, about to leave Haiti!

Dear friends and family....I just read the last entry to this blog....I've decided I really cannot call it a blog if I only write on it once every 3 months!!! WHERE HAS TIME GONE SINCE JANUARY??? : )
I am leaving Haiti in 4 days and there is soooo much to tell you. This beautiful and amazing country still needs our help....we have to be careful how that help is given, but it is still needed! Haiti is full of wonderful, knowledgable people...but the countryside was so very much neglected for too many years by the corrupt Duvalier government.
But that is in the past and Haiti is ready to move forward. I am blessed to be working with amazing visionary Haitians like Dr. Gardy. Hopefully he will get his Canadian visa and join us in Canada in June. We are planning the 2nd annual OSAPO fundraiser June 6 at the Kalamalka Country Club in Vernon. There are plans in the works for the Calgary group to also hold another event in Calgary. Time and place to be announced!
I felt very blessed to have had some Canadian friends join me here in January. I would love for more of you to come and see what I see, work with me and Dr. Gardy and his staff, see the Haiti that I have grown to love! A group of 4 Calgarians and a friend from Vernon (Susan Kermociev) joined me for 10 days and what they accomplished was phenomenal.....not earth shattering as we all would want....but very meanful. They established relationships with a group of people in the mountains nearby who are trying to keep a school going for their children, Susan taught 2 Haitian women how to sew on the electric machine that she brought and they are now sewing articles to sell, they introduced "Wonder Bags" to 10+ Haitian women who now will be able to cook for their families more efficiently, and so very much more.
You see friends, you do not need medical skills to be needed here. Come with what God has given you...and often that means just an open and giving h
I have so many stories to share with you...many sad like the baby that was brought to the OSAPO clinic after the burning roof of the home caved in on it...oh it was the very saddest day of my life knowing that the child had a very poor chance of living....and then it was the joy of seeing a little girl who lives in the community to recover from having her 6th finger digit removed. It was constantly getting caught and getting infected and now she feels so beautiful without it....such a simple solution!!! it's a genetic trait in Haitians, usually tied off at birth but this mom did not have the money to pay for it!!
Men who have hernias so huge that it is impossible for them to work......in a culture that already has a 60% unemployment rate! What hope do they have without corrective surgery? 80% of Haitian doctors leave Haiti to go to the USA. So truly, Haiti does still need medical help....but there is so much more. They need people to come with trade skills....agricultural, electrical, plumbing....please consider how you may help!!!
My email is still judydouglas@telus.net and I welcome any and all questions and comments. I would love you to join me in Haiti. I am thinking of coming back in October 2015...after the joyful event of Joel's wedding in Sept. I am so very blessed as we also are awaiting the arrival of yet another Douglas in June 2015. I am so very thankful for all of God's blessings.
Thinking of you all......xoxoxo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 17:38 Comments (0)

Janvye 24 2015.....nan Ayiti!!! in Haiti!!!

Dear friends and family....as many of you already know, I am in Haiti! I just read a draft that I started in Nov 2014 to let you all know I was heading here, probably in January. Well I arrived here Dec. 30 2014...almost a month ago! I was picked up at the airport by some friends who live in Borel (where Water Project for Haiti site is) and so I travelled with them there and brought in 2015 by heading to bed about 9:30 pm. We all were bushed!!!
Since then, life has been full!
I returned to Pierre Payen Hospital and Donna Binkley's home on Jan 3 2015. I had been asked to take over as a "team manager" for the PPH Guesthouse as a surgical team from the States was arriving Jan 7. This was Naomi Shield's ortho team whom I knew well. There always is lots to do to prepare supplies for the teams and now I had to make trips to St. Marc to buy food and supplies for their stay!!! Always a learning experience here! My Kreyol is improving but I still need a lot of help so Loveline, Steve Mossburg's adopted Haitian daughter, became my very able assistant! God always supplies what is needed!
Which brings me back to the devotional reading from this morning...I still read from a book called "JESUS CALLING" by Sarah Young. She was inspired to write as if it was Jesus himself actually speaking...

"....Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones....As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step." (Hebrews 13:15)

As I read these words, I feel this...a peace that happens more often here in Haiti than it does in Canada. Here, it seems that I do yield to God to guide me each morning and show me what it is I am to do. In Canada, the whole pace of living has sped up and I don't spend enough quiet times with Him. I yield more to the pressure of "time" rather than to Him! Here in Haiti, I have come to realize that there really aren't that many things in life that are so very urgent and important. My love for Him and for my family and dear friends comes to the surface of my thoughts....and after that, whatever I can do in a day is what gets done!
I have so many stories already to tell you all...but for now, these are my thoughts to share. I'm back here at OSAPO and Dr. Gardy just got an urgent call that someone is sick at Moulin Sur Mer and so he is off down the mountain to help. Susan and I are just heading off for our morning walk and then off to church at Canaan orphanage, the place where my journey here in Haiti in 2010 began! I fondly remember those days with Susan and Caleb Kermociev and Shannon O'Brien.
I am so thankful that I listened to God's call to come here.......
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 03:41 Comments (0)

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