A Travellerspoint blog

It's cooler : )

The end of a lovely calm weekend after the "storm". I went for a long walk down the highway towards the town on Sunday. Most days I wouldn't even think of doing that cause it's way too hot! Everyone greets me with "Bonswa" and a smile. A couple of young girls did laugh as I walked by and I heard the word "blan".

Just like in Vernon when it rains mid August, the air temp here has cooled. I'm actually having a light blanket on while I sleep!!!! After many nights of tossing and turning in the heat, this is a welcome reprieve.
We had a marvelous time at Moulin Sur Mer for my birthday. The hurricane was "blowing" but we knew the eye had passed so figured it was "safe". Off 7 of us went in Elsie's truck....it's not far from here. It was lightly raining and beautiful by the ocean with the surf crashing onto the beach. (normally a dead quiet ocean) But we were under cover and enjoying the evening. The meals here take a long time to get ready and after a while of waiting we realized the surf was really crashing much higher and harder against the stone retaining wall on the beach. Then it absolutely began to POUR rain....steady and strong. We began to wonder about our decision to be "out in a hurricane" but Elsie said all was fine. However when we finally left.....in a covered golf cart to our vehicle.......we saw that all the grounds were now under about 6" of water and we had to drive through water to get to the highway!!!! But back at Canaan, which is up the hill from the highway, all was well. It rained hard all that night with big winds but we were all safe and warm and dry!
It's been busy the last 2 days as I've been off to Pierre Payen....that's the nearby town where I worked with the surgical team from Pennsylvania. I need to find out what supplies are available for the next OR team arriving Nov 23 and needed to coordinate the search with Edgar, an interpretor. Even after thinking I'd arranged it, Edgar was off to Port au Prince to pick up a team and take them to Boreal, about 2 hours from here. So instead Susan and I worked with Annie in the clinic with the local doctors....quite an experience! Similar to Nicaragua. Then we spent some time helping the nurse look after a few cholera patients that were there. This local hospital has dismal supplies and we were alarmed at the care! When we talked to Elsie about it, she came and checked it out and we determined that something needed to be done. 2 men had died that day and there was no more IV solution available for the night. So we loaded 3 of the worst patients into the back of Elsie's truck....and their families.....and off we went in the dark to drive to St Marc Hospital where I had worked last week. Nov 4...the last night I worked.....there were 210 cholera patients. Now there are more than 400. There's been a huge increase since the hurricane. The facility had people everywhere!!!!!! They had run out of beds and so the sick were lying on the benches in the triage area.....head to toe! One family carried in their teenage daughter, limp in their arms, and laid her at my feet on the gravel floor. I got a blanket underneath her and started 2 IVs and ran them open!!!! Nick went out to our truck and brought in the thin mattress that we had in the back of the truck for transport and we put her on that! Doctors without Borders is an amazing organization and they were truly doing their best but the numbers are overwhelming. We ended up staying and helping for about 3 hours. One young girl that we had brought was immediately surrounded by about 4 docs and they resuscitated her for about an hour.....miraculously we heard she did make it through the night however the reason she was doing so very poorly is that she has syphylis. She is only about 10!!! She has no family and lives in Montrouis in an orphanage. A cousin of hers did arrive before we left to spend the night with her. Without family, these people would be in a much worse state. There's no way they could get enough staff to tend to them with diarrhea and vomiting!!!
We got back home about 10pm and literally fell into bed as the lights went out. We have power by the generator every evening from 6 til 10 and there's scattered power in different buildings during the day!
Today I again arranged to be in PP to meet Edgar at 9am and again he went off on another errand!!!! This time to St Marc and was very apologetic and promised to be back by noon. Everyone here has a cell phone......yes, even me.......and there is constantly a phone ringing. But it does work to keep in touch. I'm even learning to text!!! To get to PP we didn't have a ride so we flagged down a local "tap-tap" (commuter truck) and paid our 10 goude each (about a quarter) and off we went! When you want to stop, you just "tap-tap" on the back window or on the side of the truck, and they stop and you get out!
We got the supplies checked and helped out in the OR for 4 surgeries.......the first done there since our team had been working! It was fun to work with Emylene again and Dr. Jean-Robert whom we had worked with Monday. First case was supposed to be a hydrocele repair and turned out to be "elephantitis" instead so the 19 year old boy had an orchiectomy instead. No pathology done. Did a couple more hernias and then an abdominal hyster. Most cases are done with ketamine, monitored by an oximeter for heart rate and O2 sat. The hyster was done with spinal and sedation. No back table.....all the instruments on the mayo stand. It was almost more than I could bear!!!
Not sure what tomorrow will bring.....I may stay here at Canaan and work with the school children. They always need someone to read to. A team from New Jersey is here now tiling the new clinic floor and said they may need me there. Lots of floor to do which I hope gets done so I can help Elsie move into there while I'm still here in early Dec. On Thursday the rest of the Vernonites are arriving and we'll all be at Clean Water for Haiti for a week. It's a beautiful spot, right on the ocean so will be able to have a few "dips" while we're there!!! A very tranquil spot!! It'll be fun to see everyone again.
It's 9:30 pm now......I'm the last one in the cafeteria....everyone's gone to bed already!!! Soon lights out and then the dogs start barking and the toads start croaking and the rooster starts crowing about 3am and then the dogs start up again. There are lower (on the hill) dogs
and upper dogs and they fight every night for territory. The upper dogs are pets for Gladys and Henri and get fed and the lower dogs have to scrounge. Puppies get eaten regularly....good thing as there is lots of "puppy making" going on!!!! Then about 5am, they feed the pigs who are penned near our house and their squealing and grunting is a noise not to be missed!! I just can't wear ear plugs....it's enough to have my CPAP helmet on......but I actually do sleep through it all some nights. (Mom wouldn't be surprised to hear that.)
Blessings to all. Say a prayer for all the people in the world who don't have what you have in your lives right now! We are so very blessed in Canada. There has to be ways for each and every one of us to help someone in some way. I encourage you all to find some way to make a difference. It becomes a life changing experience, believe me!
Over and out.......................

Posted by jdouglas 17:48 Comments (3)

in the aftermath of Tomas

Dear all................thank you for your faithful prayers. The eye of the hurricane has passed by us out in the bay on the other side of the big island. Unfortunately the south arm of Haiti has undoubtably suffered....time will tell how bad. We still may get huge winds tonight but they prepared for that by cutting the larger branches off the trees. We feel very blessed. We spent the day talking with Pastor Henri...an amazing man of God and with Pastor Joel and his lovely wife Rosemene, who played the guitar and sang for us. Some we knew and would sing the English along with her in Creole. The children have mainly stayed indoors, snoozing and playing. It has rained most of the day....sometimes hard sometimes lightly. Our house has held up, a few leaks here and there but OK.
In celebration of my birthday, my friends are taking me out for dinner at a resort near by......you see, life just carries on!!! Amazing!!! It's called Moulin sur Mer....google it and you'll see where I soon will be.
Annie and I will probably go back to St Marc Hospital tomorrow and help as we can. This rain will probably spread the cholera more....please pray that it doesn't. Again time will tell.
Pastor Henri knows his people are very resilient but they need our prayers that they will know who to turn to as trouble after trouble hits them. Our Lord loves them all and even through all this, has shown His mercy and grace. We don't know why....may never know....but I have faith that He knows and good will come out of all this.
Keep writing, I love to read your comments and hear from home. I wish you all were here to share the joy that I am surrounded with. God is so very good to me.
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 14:33 Comments (4)

Tomas is knocking at our door

while we can still get online, I want to let you all know that I'm back at Canaan orphanage. We worked again last night......more +++++ new admissions. Since our first shift the inpatient count has increased from 130-140 to 210 last night. We had cots beside cots beside cots and any floor space left had family members sleeping!!! I will NEVER complain back in Canada again!! We are so blessed to have been born there and live there. Please keep praying for these wonderful Haitian people. They have so very little.
We've just been called to supper. Caleb has finished attaching cardboard to some of our windows. We've pulled all our furniture away from the windows into the center of the room. Electricity will be shut off soon and we're told not to use too much of the water from the cisterns as they have to stay full of water for the weight or else the wind will blow them over!! We've got lots of bottled water to drink.......as long as it doesn't last too long. We'll be playing lots of cards by flashlight......thank goodness I brought those crazy windup ones from Costco!!
This is flickering so I'm going to send now........love to all. Please pray for us here. We're all well and together and with dear friends.
love you Joel and Sean and Em......xoxoxo mom and Pat and Doug......xoxoxo to all.......

Posted by jdouglas 14:54 Comments (2)

Nov 4.....what a way to spend my birthday!!!

hello again....some of you have heard from me that I've met up with a nurse from Michigan who has been in Haiti on and off for 15 years. Annie has an orphanage here along with a Haitian partner and his wife. Look up her website www.bonsamaritan.com. She gets amazing things done. I'm very thankful that she decided to join me in coming to St. Marc to work here at the hospital. I'm using one of the docs laptops right now on my break. We work alongside the Haitian nurses.....starting IVs and then changing them and trying to keep them running for the rest of the trip. They're giving very little antibiotics.....the main treatment is rehydration, at first through IVs but then with a solution called ORS...oral rehydration system. OVer 65 gets doxycycline along with any with co-morbidities. Cholera is a nasty disease to get but thankfully for the patients, their families stay with them through it all. Families sleep on the floor on cardboard mainly right beside the stretchers......well not really stretchers. They're the old army style cots with holes cut in the bum spot and then there's a bucket placed underneath which the family members keep emptying. Not a pretty site but the system works and people go home after a few days. I'm feeling Ok.....sleeping at Annie's for now as I don't want to go back and forth to the Canaan orphanage while I'm working here. Shouldn't be any danger of spreading the cholera but I just want everyone to be safe.
And now here comes Tomas. We were happy to hear that it had been downgraded to a tropical storm a couple of days ago only to find out tonight that it's a Category 1 today. We'll be safe along this coast....everyone keeps assuring us and so we just have to pray and trust in God to be with us. We'll see how close it is tonight before we make a decision about whether to come to work again. We have to drive about 30 minutes. St. Marc is vulnerable and they figure it definately will have some flooding. Please keep praying for us and all the people here. I often wonder just how much more they are meant to take. I have been blessed by so many new friendships and have always been greeted well and treated kindly. I love their music and singing and dancing and joy for the Lord.
There is so much here to tell......I'm taking pictures and will have lots of stories. I love being here.....a great answer to prayer was that baby Chibey flew to the USA today to get his surgery in Knoxville Tennesse. A pediatric surgeon there has offered to look after him. We were so very thankful to have that miracle happen. Lots of paper work had to be done but it all happened. God is good!
My friends had planned to take me to a resort nearby for a swim and supper for my birthday. I think "Tomas" may change those plans but I'll let you know.
Gotta get back to work.......more IVs to hang! Blessings to you all........keep praying for us all.
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 01:08 Comments (2)

Oct 30

I'm back at Canaan orphanage. Caroline, who is here for a year, has started a FB page so if you are on FB, check out Canaan Christian-Community. You'll see some pics there of the kids and updates about what goes on here. God continues to place people in my life who help me to find ways to serve the people here. Today I got to know Annie Hume.....she has been coming to Haiti for 15 years. I first met here in the OR in Pierre Payen this past week. We had about 2 minutes to talk and she said...I'll find you....and she did today. She took Susan and Caroline and I to her home here that she rents and she opens it to children who need a home. One little guy we met had spent 4 days buried in the rubble of the earthquake before he was found. His family all perished and he lost an arm. Today he was playing in the yard at Annie's house with other children!! : ) She has a website....bonsamaritan.org.....I haven't even seen it yet but this lady has accomplished a lot in the years she's been here! On Monday she's asked me to come with her into the Arbonite Valley area north of St. Marc to deliver some Cipro that a pharmacy in her hometown in Michigan sent her. We'll travel as far as we can in her truck and then be met by some fellows on motorcycles! Reminds me of a time in Nicaragua that we had to leave the bus at the road's end and God sent along this "angel" who had a cart pulled by oxen who loaded our gear up and took it the rest of the way. Same idea.....different country!
Tonight we've been alerted about Hurricane Tomas which is heading our way. Right now the sky is clear with lots of stars....very humid but that's normal. We ask for your prayers that this storm will divert and head back out into the ocean where it can blow itself out. And if not, then for safety for us as we ride it out! I have no fears....I know where our protection will come from and I have great faith in Him. It will be harder for you at home as you'll be wondering what's happening. Our internet connection is gone with even the rain storms we got here first week so I doubt we'll have any then. The worst of it is supposed to hit Haiti on Wednesday. I'll try to get back online asap after it's over.
Tomorrow we'll have church and wonderful singing. The children have beautiful voices and the girls were practicing tonight some songs they love to sing. They sing in the morning as they're doing their chores, they sing as they're gathering for supper, they sing as they play. Right now the "cafeteria" has about a dozen of them sitting at the tables getting help with their homework. They follow an american program called ACE....a home schooling type of program. There are 2 young women (Kendel and Terry) here now as teachers and they work with 2 Haitian fellows. (whose education is about at the grade 8 level) The children all get dressed in uniforms Mon to Fri and the school is right on the property! They are very diligent students and a joy to help! When I have time, I go into the classrooms and they will take turns practicing reading their English lesson. They're very patient with me as I try to learn Creole. We get together on Tues and Thurs evenings for lessons. Please pray for my brain cells to absorb this new language. Thankfully I do remember a lot of the French I studied many years ago. Joel and Sean and Emily.....I could us my own personal translators!!!! I would love to be sharing all this with you......and maybe one day I will be blessed to do so.
Mom I love you and pray for you often. I brought "Our Daily Bread" for my devotional time and wonder if you're following it daily now too! You see, we still can share that time even when we're miles apart.
Love to all......more next time. xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 17:37 Comments (4)

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