A Travellerspoint blog

Dec 10 and still in Haiti

If you've been following the news, you are aware that things are not happy here in Haiti. The elections were a sham....the "reigning" president fixed the results and the people are angry!!! We are totally safe here at Canaan from all the riots that are happening in Port au Prince. American Airlines has pulled all flights til at least Monday Dec 13 and I'm now booked on the 5:30pm flight to Miami. That will put me back at home on Dec 14.....IF the airport opens!!! There still is work here to do so I'll keep busy. The team that is here from Washington has finished tiling the big supply room in the new clinic and put up the shelves. However now Pastor Henri wants the wook treated against termites before we paint and so we're looking for the solution to use. May have to go to St Marc.....next biggest city to the north.....for it......and that might not be possible if there is unrest there today!!!! Chuck, a well digger from Nebraska, whom I met through Annie is going out today to repair some wells and Caroline and I may tag along. And if not, then I can always go to the school and help the children in their studies. They follow a self-learning program called ACE and so need to read to their supervisors at times, etc and I can be the ears!!! : )
So please keep up your prayers for this country and these people. They desperately need a government that wants to help them....not the corrupt ones that they've had. Hope to see you in 2010!!!!

Posted by jdouglas 06:39 Comments (0)

4 more days!!!

Where has the time gone? I leave Friday morning at 1050, fly to Miami where I'll stay overnight and visit with friends David and Ingrid and then Sat morning fly to Kelowna via Seattle. I'm NOT looking forward to the snow that I've been hearing about. I'm still wearing shorts and haven't had a sweater on for 2 months. During the day today I was sweating while working in the clinic and really looked forward to the cold shower before supper!!!!
It has been an amazing time.....lots of hard work, amazing things seen and done. I've been blessed with new friends who have shown me so much of this country. I've been to prettier places but there still is a loveliness about this country. It's rocky and dry and dusty and rainy.......and look what it's been through in one year.....earthquake, hurricane, cholera epidemic that is still going on!!! Why would anyone live here or come here??
But I've met some amazing people here who have been called to move here and help as they can. I've been in orphanages and schools run by both "blancs" and Haitians working side by side. I've met well diggers from Nebraska who repair existing ones if they can't dig. I met a Haitian who dug a 125 foot deep well himself....took one year to do it! I've met a wonderful Haitian doctor who studied and lived in the USA for 15 years but left his practice a few years ago to return to Haiti to help his people. He said his family and friends still think he's crazy but he's where he wants to be. His wife works for an NGO in PAP and he runs a clinic out in the hills. I hope to return one day with a surgical team and do surgery there. He charges the people 100 goudes (about $2.50) for treatment if they can. If not, then it's free. He said...How can I charge someone who has walked 5 hours to see me? He has strong financial backing and built a beautiful new clinic in Rousseau 2 years ago. It's well equipped and they just got a brand new anesthetic machine and OR table delivered last week. They deliver some babies there but now he wants to do Csections when necessary! He has set up and run a cholera clinic for the area and said they have had 850 people through there since the first case Oct 24 and there have been only 3 deaths!!!! Pretty good stats. The place was immaculate and the staff so very kind and knowledgeable. He said that's the strength of the clinic.....the Haitian people who work there cause they want to help!!
I'm back at Canaan orphanage now until I leave on Friday. Elsie and I are going through all her stored medical supplies and sorting and moving them into the new clinic as they get the rooms ready. There's a team here from Washington state finishing up the tiling and painting.
It's 10 pm and the power will go out soon so I'm going to bed before it does. So dear family and friends.....I may not be writing anymore here until I get home. Looking forward to Christmas with Joel and Sean and Emily and to seeing dear friends. Love to all.......xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 18:50 Comments (2)

Nov 24.......

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father Son and Holy ghost!!!!!

My heart and head was full of this song and praises for our Lord this morning. I've been back at Pierre Payen Hospital since Sunday. The state of the "cholera ward"was still in bad shape and I'm seeing why God has me in Haiti.......and also why I've had the experiences already that I've had. My working time in the cholera ward in St Marc Hospital a few weeks ago was training ground for me so that I could see and know what needed to be done.
Contact was made yesterday with the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group in St Marc and this morning they arrived with a crew to take over the ward. PRAISE GOD!!! The American team had come here to do surgery but that was not in God's plan. They've done 4 cases......amazing ones that I'll tell you about......but most of the time they've been working in the cholera ward....cleaning up, making "Oral Rehydration Solution", starting IVS on collapsed patients, maintaining IVs, picking up garbage, whatever was needed!!!! The Haitian nurses are worn out.....5 of them have been working daily on rotating shifts since the outbreak started....about 4 weeks ago.
It's now noon and the MSF team has been here since 9am. We had a meeting with the hospital Director and then the assessment and organization was fine tuned!!! MSF has been doing this kind of thing for years and I'm so very thankful to God for sending them here. The 3 sickest patients are being sent to St Marc and criteria will be in place so that this will only become a center for mild to moderate cases. They just don't have the facility or the capability to maintain a cholera center.
I had to leave for a break as I was in tears as I finally made it into a second ward and saw a little 8 year old girl sitting up drinking the ORS. She was very sick yesterday and I had feared that she might die overnight. I had spent the morning in another room with 3 others that are also very sick but will be going to St. Marc. I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness to see her so much better. Her mama and I hugged each other and shouted "Alleluyah"........and the whole room echoed our praise!!!! What a joyful moment!!
I can't help but say to anyone reading this that this is not by chance, all this is not a coincidence, all this is not luck.........this is the hand of God using those of us who believe in Him and listen and obey His commands. God nudges us all to love Him, believe in Him, to live as one like Jesus who was our greatest teacher. When we are filled with the love of God and faith, we will want to do his bidding. It doesn't mean that everyone needs to travel the world.....or even go downtown to the homeless.....but it does mean we are called to know God and learn about Him and believe that He wants to be in each of our lives......He wants to love us and have us love Him......and then everyone's hearts will be filled with a passion to do His will. And what a joy that is to experience!!!! We're all given gifts.......and so I encourage you all to discover what your gifts and passions are........and go for it!!!!!!
Two days ago a very pregnant lady walked into the clinic, we got her up on the examining table, Dr. Joe had a "look".....saw a foot and within a very short time, she had a caesarian section and had a beautiful baby girl. All are well and went home yesterday afternoon!!! It was a second child for the mom and she was quite happy going home!!!! Dad was absolutely bouncing with joy!!!! That babe would have surely died ....and maybe the mom..... if this team hadn't been here!!! Thank you God for sending them here at this time!
Annie is back in Haiti....I'll see her tonight....and will be going to stay with her after the team leaves on Sat. She tells me that she's got us another job........this time with "pay"....working at a cholera center somewhere out in the boonies!!! I have no idea where....but I'll soon find out. She and I worked together at St Marc's Hospital. She's having her huge American Thanksgiving feast on Sat........and I'm so looking forward to cranberry sauce!!!
Before I know it, Dec 10 will be here and I'll be flying home. I don't know what that's going to feel like. I expect I'll be coming back here soon! Time and God will tell.
I love you all........I'm thankful for everyone of you in my life! Joel and Sean and Emily....you are my force d'accompli!! I love you like life itself and I hope one day to share all this with you. Mom, I am so thankful that you are praying for me each day. I love you and miss you and look forward to seeing you soon. Pat....I pray for you and love you for being my sister. Doug...we have to rediscover each other again. I feel like we have time to make up. Hope Bonaire is treating you well!!! : )
Just got called to another meeting........but one of these days we'll be off for a bit of R&R at the resort!!! I love that too.
xoxoxo judy

Posted by jdouglas 08:57 Comments (0)

Nov 17

Today before breakfast we all headed up the beach where about 6 people were pulling a net in. We asked if we could help and so we joined the lines. I found out they were all from the same family....grandma, sons, daughters and spouses.....all pulling in the day's catch! It ended up being about 2 dozen small fish, like sardines. Hard to feed a family or make a living on that. Then we helped them "fold" the huge net into their boat and they anchored it out deep and left the beach with their basket.
Yesterday I was with the team on deliveries. We headed north of here, past St Marc, into the Artibonite Valley......where all the cholera started. We delivered and installed 34 new filters into a school (4) and the rest into individual homes. So we saw lots of new countryside and met lots of Haitians....old, young, men, women and children. Some dirt poor, some had nicer homes. All this was from a flat deck truck with flip-down sides. As the day progressed....we started at 6am.....the load lessened and we had more room to sit. After many years of wearing a seat belt in Canada, I'm becoming quite comfortable riding in the back of trucks!! We passed by donkeys loaded down with baskets full of bananas...we saw beautiful children dressed in their school uniforms heading off to school, we travelled on roads that would be considered bad forestry roads at home, then we were on nice smooth pavement...not very wide ever and always traffic is honking! There are goats and pigs and chickens in every town and community. Laid out in yards on tarps is the latest harvest drying.....millet, corn and rice. The better off homes have a slab of concrete in front of their homes to lay it on. I remember seeing that same thing in Burma and Nicaragua. Every town we went through had a market....teeming with people and motorcycles. There was so much to see that it's hard to think of it all to tell you. I'll try to make a collage of pics to send out when I get home.
Tomorrow is our last day here at Clean Water. Sarah and Peter and their sons Noah and Abe have been delightful hosts and friends. We've learned so much about the water filter business and I'm so very glad to support such an endeavor. They are helping a lot of people in this country to be healthier.
Water and education are the keys to this country and others to become healthier and self sufficient.
More again another day. I pray that all is well with you.
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 16:38 Comments (1)

We're at Clean Water for Haiti

Seems like years ago since I wrote the last blog. Just reread it and remember with sadness that evening trip to St Marc. I checked out the PP Hosp the next day and there were 14 people.....we left 5 there!!! Cholera is still spreading and we've gotten word that it's in Port now and Cap Haiten and in the slums in City Soleil. Apparently these are the worst slums in the whole world. Imagine having that distinction!!!!!
I did spend a couple of days helping the NY team do some tiling in the new clinic. My goal with Elsie is to help her move all her medical supplies into there before I leave Dec 10!! Please pray that this will happen as it is going to be a big job and she really would like the help!
The tiling looks great so far but still lots to do. There's another team coming for over Thanksgiving (will I get turkey again??? Please pray for that too!! : ) and we're hoping they'll get more of it finished. Then some more wall painting and shelf building and then moving day. The doctor at the clinic is a gem.....a 30 year old fellow from Cap Haiten who had worked previously for an NGO and is fitting in at Canaan wonderfully. He has a wonderful servant heart and is so very kind and gentle with the patients. His name is Dr. Jean Robert.
The surgeon I worked with last week was also Jean Robert. He lives in St Marc and travels to many clinics to see patients. Does general and gyne surgery. Annie, the nurse from Michigan, works with him when he comes to the clinic. I've really enjoyed getting to know her....we worked together at the cholera hospital in St Marc.....and I miss her now that she's in the States for her son's graduation. She is coming back Nov 23 and will work with me and the next surgical team from Nebraska....headed by Dr. Joe Miller. They know each other as he's been here many times before. Right now he and I are trying to coordinate about supplies for the team. There's not much left at the hospital and I've been trying to get more supplies from a depot here near Port called Mission of Hope. Elsie and I went there on Friday and I was able to speak by phone with the fellow in charge. He will look at our "wish list" and see what he has in storage and hopefully I'll be able to drive back there and pick it all up before the team arrives next Sunday. It's always a "wait and see" climate here. What I can't get, the team is going to have to hustle and try to pack before they come so time is of the essence. However, all I can do is wait for his return phone call!
We're at Clean Water for Haiti and enjoying Sarah and Peter's hospitality. They have 2 beautiful little boys....Noah and Abe, a real delight. It's very relaxing here but I can't seem to forget that just a 10 minute walk down the road is the hospital where the cholera patients are being tended to with meager supplies. We did ask Doctors without Borders to come and check on the conditions there and see if they could help set it up better. The doctor we spoke to hoped to drive down and see it. There are bed frames there without mattresses and so the patients are often lying on benches. Hopefully St Marc will be able to bring down some of their supplies but they are being overwhelmed with numbers of new patients themselves!!!
Tomorrow we're taking the "new" team and the Craigs over to Canaan for church and lunch with the kids. We're going to sing them a new song during "open mike" and I know the children will love that! Then we're off to a "missionary meeting" that is held every 2 weeks. I went to the last one and met some Canadians from Surrey and Vernon!!!! Amazing eh!!! Crystal Beach some of you may know, has been here about a year teaching in a school in St Marc. Barb is from Surrey and has been here for 8 years and helps out in many missions around St. Marc.
4 of the team went on a filter delivery yesterday...a 14 hour day going to 34 homes in a neighboring town.....and I'm going to an area north of St Marc on Tuesday. It'll be great to see more of this countryside. The ocean is calm and a beautiful blue....and sooooooooo warm!! Had a beautiful sunset tonight. Today Trudy and I walked along the beach and met a young fellow who spear fishes off a wind surfer board. He had a couple of small fish is his box that was strapped on the board. He really needs a new pair of flippers...wish I had some in my suitcase. Whatever a person might imagine to bring here could be used by someone.
So all for now.......the gang just got back from a basketball game in Montrouis. Sounds like we're at a resort. CWH is an oasis, believe me. We actually have power 24 hours a day!!! : ) love to all..........xoxo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 14:29 Comments (0)

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