Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A fearful moment

Yesterday I had one of the most fearful moments in what I would say my whole life. The riots were going on due to election as Carolyn and I were headed up to school to do some work and see how to team was doing on the wall. As we were headed down the road we were going straight in to a manifestation, we were able to quickly turn around and go another way. We were limited in how we could get there due to other riots. We eventually got there and things were going fine. I was in the office at my building putting away school supplies, and other stuff when I heard a few gun shots,and brushed it off as nothing and continued working. Then I heard a few more, and once again I just brushed it off. Then I peered out from the office, which leads on to the porch room, and I could see a group of young men all coming up the road and they were not just a large group of people, they also had a few pickup trucks behind them as well. This is when fear sunk in for me, I was all alone, in the building everyone else was in the other school down the road, and I had no time on my cell to call for help. So I sat there and prayed, it was all I could do. I was done my work in the school and could go over to see everyone else just yet. Once I noticed all the haitians were back to their everyday life on the road, I figured it was safe for me as well. I was up on the porch of the other school and you could see plumes of black smoke coming up from road blocks of burning tires, it was quite a scene. All is well now with the normal noises of trucks and roosters and crying babies which were not heard yesterday morning. Just pray that things don't flare up again. 


video
I suggest turning off the sound, so you don's have to listen to my conversation,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November update

hello!

Things are going great here, were are at the start of elections and voting, so its been an oxymoron here lately, with lots of campaigning and loud music, but today as voting starts the streets are quiet, and so is church. We are off school tomorrow, so may go down and visit my babies down at the orphanage tomorrow. I was there the other day, and now know how a parent instantly falls in love with their child. I was there visiting before i went up the hill to the youth group I have been leading, and the kids wanted to do worship and afternoon prayer before I had to leave, so we all gathered in a circle, and I had one of the twin sitting in my lap, as we started to pray she began to position her self as if she was an infant curled up in my arms, staring up at me with her big brown eyes fighting falling asleep. I sat there listening to the staff pray in creole, as i prayed for Magine, it was the first time i understood what love really is, and how strong a mama's love is for their child. Sadly i cant bring the twins home with me no matter how hard i try, due to adoption laws and me being unqualified. School on the other hand is going great, my class is working very hard and has started to read triumphantly as we come to the end of the 12 week learning to read program. It's really neat to see their progress as some of them have never spoken a word of english in their life. Also they are working very hard on their christmas program, and it is the cutest thing hearing them sing silent night at the top of their lungs, any body walking by stops and listens to them. ( there is a video of this on facebook on my profile). Last week I had the opportunity to go to a village clinic with the medical a medical team that was here. It was an amazing chance, and made me appreciate the work doctors do here when they come to the country, especially during this cholera epidemic. And for those wondering, about the cholera here, it seems to be some what under control and the reason it is spreading is because people travel and are very mobile here. Doctors with out boarder have it under control, as they told the medical team that was here ( the team had persmission to be at the hospital from the director himself) and that they werent needed, but that afternoon on the internet they say they are crying for doctors and nurses. Also it is the nepalese soldiers that brought cholera in to the country. This past summer Nepal had a cholera outbreak, then soldiers were sent here in the beginning of October then the outbreak happened near their base, where their sewage had leaked into the main river with the cholera virus. The people were upset about it, but things have calmed down now. 

Not much else is going on here, its been cool, and sweater weather the past week or so, but I am going to freeze when i get back to Canada next week

see you all then

-Crystal

Friday, November 26, 2010

Renmen

Love takes on a new definition after spending any amount of time here. It is something that is not given easily to anyone, whether you're a ti moun or grand moun. You just don't get love very easily. The children love it when you are able to scoop them up and they have your undivided attention. Tonight as I was at the orphanage, we were praying and praising the lord with children and the whole time I sat there with a one of the twins curled up in my arms, fighting falling asleep, staring at me with her big brown eyes cuddled in to me. It was then I realized what love for a child is, the same love of mother gives. I could have sat there all day as she stared at me with her chocolate eyes, rocking her back and forth. Renmen, love, what ever you  call it, it is one of the most valuable things a child could get here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jeanton

Me, Dr. Grossman, Norkins, Nadia, Biran, Dianne, Carolyn, Kathy


     There are different  experiences one could have in this country for any type of passion. My calling here was the children and educating them to the best of my ability. Some it's construction and the restoration on the broken down cities and villages laying around the earth quake stricken land, some clean water and sanitation, and then there are those here that a called to a medical mission. We currently have a team here from West Virginia doing amazing things out in the small rural hospitals, they have done everything from treating those stricken with cholera to delivering 3 or 4 babies over a three day span. Today though the plan was to go out to Jeanton where I have gone on several occasions with Barb to check and pray for the people. I tagged along with the idea of being photographer and to hang out with the kids, little did I know I would get a slight medical education. I was assigned to keep the medical records, and write down the perscriptions. I had it down to the point where I could understand the patients symptoms, ask their name and age, and understand our doctors jabber.

     It was a great day. We were able to see over 80 patients, most of them with similar symptoms, such as headaches, abdominal pains, problems with their eyes and seeing, and lots of colds especially with the children. Most of it was diagnosed as malaria, and hypertention, and we even had one old man laying on a rickety church bench hooked up to an IV for cholera. It gave me a great appreciation for those coming to places like this for a medical mission, as you have to use your disgression with patients because some people just want medication, or with their children "force" symptoms on to them, which if you can't understand you don't catch.

On a side note it was a great day to practice my creole.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A friday morning drive


The morning haze was still over the valley as we dipped in to the Artibonite. It's  mystical place, with villages scattered across it's lands, farms and rice paddies as far as the eye could see. My love for the country and the want to see more of is what brought me out there this particular morning with Carolyn. She was contacted by a former employee saying a village needed help, and was hoping we  could help them with clean water and perhaps a clinic. Our goal this particular morning was to assess the situation. There is just something I love about driving through Haiti, especially the country side. You see a different angle of life, where people work hard in their gardens from sun up till the hot heat of the day is too much for them to bare. And the children, they love it when you come and visit them, they will babble on even though I don't have the slightest clue as to what they are saying, but they continue on and giggle when I use the little bit of creole that I do know. Another thing is they love their picture being taken, and love to Ham it up for the camera.

We eventually turned off the main highway to an old beaten path and gravel road which would lead us to the village we were visiting. The beauty capture's you, as you drive through the country side, and kids yell "Blanc" and wave until you're out of sight.  Ladies along the river washing clothes, and children playing in it beside them. Though the river is muddy and contaminated from the rains the previous week that we got and from the cholera. But daily life has to continue. When we arrived we were greeted with open arms, and we were shown around the village, asking questions about where they were getting their drinking water and cooking water, and showing us the filter system they were using for the water. It wont last long, the one they are using, but it working for know. We talked more about organizing the community to bring in the bio-sand filters that Clean Water for Haiti makes with the pastor and he was in agreement that yes the community could use them, he wants a healthier community.


We were then taken over to one of the many mud huts, that made up this tight knit village, to where an elderly man was laying on the floor suffering from cholera. It was a sad sight to see, but from talking to the family, we knew he was doing the best he could be. They had previously taken him to the hospital and were given rehydration salts to give him, and the vomiting and diarrhea had stopped. We prayed for the man, hoping he would get better, and then in the door way of the mud hut, Carolyn shared with those that had gathered around to see what was going on how to prevent cholera, they seemed understand and took in the knowledge. Then walking to the church, Carolyn shared something discouraging, she felt that the elderly man would probably not make it, due to being weak previous to getting sick.


Once at the church we talked a little more with the pastor, hoping to see the vision Carolyn and I would hope to he could see that would help his village, that by targeting the elderly and the children, who both have weak immune systems, there would be no death. And to teach them proper sanitation and hopefully soon would have more water purifiers in the area. It was then time to leave, and the children were all giggling hoping for one last picture as they gathered around the truck, and waved as we pulled out of the village.

It's moments like this one that make me realize the simplest things make a difference and that people have the need for basic items such as clean water and the resources for proper sanitation items. It's moments like these and the children that I meet along the way make it worth while being here in Haiti. It is these moments that I will remember and cherish for ever, and that at the same time breaks my heart.





Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things I have learned so far... #3

  • Don't expect the house to look the same after Carolyn has the day off
  • Baygon (bug killer) become your friend fast
  • You get a new definition of winter after being here, 20 degree weather is now considered cold
  • Once you survive a hurricane and a cholera out break, you THINK you can survive anything
  • Seeing a crazy person laying in the ditch in a hospital gown become normal
  • You look forward to even an hour with no one in the house, when teams are coming in and out
  • You become crazy thinking you can write a novel in 30 days even with lots of down time
  • You begin to think that characters in above mentioned novel are real
  • You begin to literally crave diet coke and will start wanting to pay top dollar for it

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm Alive

Well Thomas has come and gone, and I can officially say I have survived a hurricane. It wasn't as bad as we all thought it would be. We tracked it for a good week, before it even came close to us, at one point it showed the eye was going right through St. Marc. The government was afraid as they didn't want to lose any more people, so Wednesday night they put a message on the radio declaring school was canceled for the next couple of days. As well they became putting out evacuation alerts for the tent cities. They were telling them to fold up their tents so the wind doesn't blow them away, and the real kicker, told them the Americans were sending rope. ( I sat laughing at all this) The real plan as far as I'm concerned was for the government to get their land back. Thursday morning we went in to Port to drop some people off at the airport, We passed several tent cities and not one person making an effort to move their tents. And the wind was picking up, and beginning to rain as well. Friday morning came, and we were ready for it, school was ready and I was waiting for it to hit. It was a little windy, followed by a little rain, and a little more wind. Next thing we knew it was way out past Haiti ( the path showed it was to go right in between Cuba and Haiti). It was over just like that. But the wind and rain picked up just as we all decided to head to bed about 8 pm, and it poured and was windy all night, which is what caused the damage and flooding through out the country, not the eye of the storm its self. The next morning we headed up to school to see what damage had been done there, and through out the town. The water in the rivers were a little muddy, and it wasn't really high or even close to the road, market was going, and people were continuing on with daily life, including the crazy man in a hospital gown who usually sits in a ditch. Life went on, no damage to St. Marc. Who said surviving as hurricane was hard work, it was a piece of cake.