Sunday, May 25, 2008

How we look today

Isaiah...look, I have a face behind those cheeks!!

Vens...joining the football team we are starting!

Levi...setting records for scooting backwards!

Samuel...feed me...yes, again!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ti Pwason

For our weekly outing we went on a walk through the area behind the orphange. I've walked there many times, and thought the kids would really like the change of scenery. As soon as we headed out the gate, the kids told me that we were going the wrong way. I said that no, we were just going another way today. We headed past a bunch of little mud and stick houses, and then everyone stopped when James looked back and said "Gade, lakay nou!!" which means "look, our house!". Few of the kids had seen the house from that side, and were amazed at how big it was compared to the rest! We continued with our walk and soon our troop grew as the village children started to tag along. We stopped along a little stream, where the kids were enthralled with the "ti pwason" "little fish", which were actually minnows. We stood on the bank for a long while, watching the activity in the water and interacting with the village children who kept giggling when our kids said "whoy, pwason!"

We then continued on our way, and as we headed around a tall cornfield, David said, "we need to go back!" I asked him why and he said he didn't know where we were going. I explained to him that I had already walked this way before and he got this really cute look on his face, like "why didn't I think of that", and then ran to the front of the line. Along the way we would catch glimpses of the house, and the kids would cause a big clamor, and we'd have to shoo them along.

They had a great time seeing new kinds of trees, especially the ones with the picks on them to keep animals away, and many other new sites along the way. As we walked towards the river we came across a cow who had recently given birth and was eating the afterbirth. Try explaining to a bunch of concerned children that, no, the mama was not eating the baby!! We also got to see a cow being milked, and a few had some concerned looks on their faces when they realized that was where milk came from!!
They were nice and wonderfully tired out when we got back, and a few of them announced that we would be going that way every week!

Gade! Pwason!

Shannon and some of the troop

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May's Special Event

We had lots of extra help with made it really fun!

Golson refused to get out of the he fell asleep in it!

Pat and Michael

Moise after resurfacing!

So, on Saturday we went to a place called Wazo Plaza where there is a great pool where the kids can swim and eat and have a great time. The kids were very excited when they realized what was happening, as we all were at the prospect of a nice change in routine. We loaded the truck up, and headed out across town. On the way, we stopped in town to pick up some snacks, and I saw the truck for IBESR(Haitian social services who renews the licences of orphanges) and said as much to Pat. She raised her eyebrows and said, "I sure hope they aren't coming to see us cuz we're not there". About 30 minutes after we arrived at the pool, Melinda (who was in Port-au-Prince) called to say that they had indeed arrived at the orphanage, and had called her, and after interviewing some people there, they were going to come and see us at Wazo Plaza!! We had a good laugh when Pat said, "Well, I better get out of the pool so I'm not dripping all over them!". Anyway, the interview went well. And the kids had a great day. They are becoming more and more comfortable in the water, and we had a lot of fun just playing and interacting in a diferent setting. IBESR was very happy to see the kids out on an outing, as this is something that they are starting to stress: children in orphanges being exposed to life outside the compound. It also spoke very well for us that the children are taken on an outing every week, as well as to church every Sunday. So, it was a blessing that they got to see us there, despite Pat having to sit and talk with them in her swimclothes!

Going to the Bucket

The electricity has stayed on for another posting. I am happy.

Some great people in my church agreed to sponsor the outings I take the children on weekly, as well as the once a month special events. This has been so nice as it ensures that we have the ability to do these activities without taking the funds from the homes budget.

We go out on walks every week, and every other week, a part of our walk involves going to a little porch-front shop and having a treat. The kids look forward to it all week, and lovingly refer to it as the "bokit" which means "bucket" in Creole, which they mistakenly say instead of "boutik" which is Creole for "little shop". The workers here all have a great laugh when the kids realize we are going out and starting shouting that they are going to the bucket! Now it's just a big joke and they refuse to say it the correct way!! Along the way there is much excitement as they use their ever-increasing English vocabulary, and make connections between their school-books and the real world. It also gives us a chance to teach them about traffic safety..and my goodness, if they can survive in Haiti, crossing the street in N.America will be nothing!

The beginning of the catch up blogs

We've had another week of thoroughly annoying, not there when you need it, and then only for a minute or two, electricity...or at least what they like to refer to as electricity...I'm still not convinced.

A few interesting things have happened since my last post so I'll try and catch you all up. I think I'll split it up into a few postings, just in case the "electricity" decides to part with us again.

The week started with a bang Monday morning when at about 9am a new arrival knocked on our front gate...well, his father did anyway. The little boy arrived with his father and maternal aunt, and I knew after all the pics I'd seen on The Rescue Centre's site that he had kwashinors syndrome. That is, for all of you who are still trying to pronounce the word, a form of malnutrition caused by a lack of protein in the diet, which then causes the cells to absorb fluid and then the child starts to swell. Isaiah, as he came to be called, had the hugest cheeks I have ever seen. He looked absolutely pitiful, his face so puffy he couldn't even really open his mouth to let out a cry! Melinda was gone to Port, so Pat and I got him cleaned up, and found out his story. Apparently Isaiah's mom has been paralyzed since his birth, and the family had decided that they could not care for him. I asked how long he'd had the puffy face for, and they said, "oh, he's alwas been a big boy"...they really had no clue that he was as sick as he was. They told us he was 6 months old, though we are wondering if that's short a few months, as he's become quite interactive,
and seems to be past the 6 month markers. He is doing quite well, and it was amazing to see how much he changed, even within the first 24hours of being provided with proper nutrition,.

Isaiah: Day 1

Isaiah Day 2....already starting to look better...especially with that nasty hair gone.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Out on the town....well,more like the dirt path down to the river

Monday, May 5, 2008

And there is no night there

Saturday arrived and brought with it the event that I was not sure how I would handle...the death of a child. Simon arrived at HCH on April 5th, perfectly matching his twin brother Samuel, except for Samuel's funny shaped left ear. They had been born that morning, at home(or perhaps in the car..the details are not too clear) and their mother had not survived their birth. They both seemed to be healthy, full term and weighing in at about 4lbs each...excellent for twins in Haiti.
About a week after they arrived, Samuel got a little sick and Melinda had him on IV for a while, and he went through a couple days of jaundice. Shortly after that, Simon also began to show signs of jaundice, and the last 2 1/2 weeks were busy keeping them on and off IV's, through bouts of antibiotics, bili lights, bloodwork and few hours of sleep on the parts of Pat and Melinda. Then Samuel seemed to pull through and start eating and passing non-green stools. However, late last week it appeared that Simon was still not recovering, and progressively got worse as the week went on. On Friday, Melinda pulled me aside and asked me to contact a doctor I knew of at Lifeline mission, known only to me through the Livesays blog, to ask her for any help she could provide. Suddenly the reality of what was happening was very stark. This of course was on a day that the internet decided to part company with us again, so I headed up to town praying that the internet connection was working there. I sent an email describing what had happened so far with Simon, and that evening Dr. Jen called and affirmed what Melinda was suspecting..Simon was in organ failure. She affirmed the things Melinda was already doing and was planning to do and gave her a few more ideas, but also was honest in that things did not sound good for our little baby. I was so thankful for her call, even just to affirm for Melinda that she was doing all she could for Simon. Through it all once again I have been amazed at how God brings his people together through the internet!
Pat and Melinda stayed up with him, and in the morning when I walked into the room, Melinda greeted me with, "It doesn't look good". She had sung to him all night, as when she quite he would not stop crying. However, in the morning he had stopped responding even to that. It was so sad to see him, laboring to breath, even with oxygen, his skin and the whites of his eyes orange. We spent the good part of the morning praying, and at about 10:00 I went downstairs to check on the kids, and when I walked back in the room at about 10:10, Melinda looked at me as she was walking over with the stethescope, and said "he's gone".
I cried...lots of quiet streaming tears. It was a very sad new feeling for me...very real ,yet almost not, so foreign a feeling it was. We had a little service that afternoon and buried him in our little cemetary acoss the road. That morning was a hard one around the house...and then God in His infinite wisdom sent a nest of mud wasps into the baby room, and distracted our tear-run faces as we moved them to safety. It was amazing to be carrying a very alive little one down the hallway, and realize how God was speaking to us in our grief.
Simon's death not something I really understand...yet, being in Haiti I think I appreciate even more that Simon is in a much, much better place. Just seconds after Melinda confirmed that Simon was truly gone, the words "and there is no night there" popped into my head, and these words kept repeating themselves over and over throughout the day. I finally got the chance to look those words up and this is what I found:

No Night There
by John R. Clements

In the land of fadeless day
Lies the city foursquare;
It shall never pass away,
And there is no night there.

God shall wipe away all tears,
There’s no death, no pain, nor fears,
And they count not time by years,
For there is no night there.

All the gates of pearl are made,
In the city foursquare;
All the streets with gold are laid,
And there is no night there.

All the gates shall never close
To the city foursquare;
There life’s crystal river flows,
And there is no night there.

There they need no sunshine bright,
In that city foursquare;
For the Lamb is all the light,
And there is no night there