Sunday, June 29, 2008

The reasons the bugs aren't so bad

Once upon a paper chain

This project took 3 weeks (of once a week craft afternoons) and the finished project lasted just over 24 hours...but they loved it while it lasted!! I was silly enough to go to Port-au-Prince the day after we put it up, and James and some gleeful toddlers managed to get a hold of one end of the chain, and well, we once had this beautiful paper chain...

Out on the playground

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update on Berto

Berto has been with us for just over two weeks now and has come along remarkably!! Pat and Melinda were gone for the first week or so that he was here, and so it was fun (and tiring) to be a very involved part of helping him get back on his feet! He spent the first few days being tube fed every four hours, and after a few das graduated to eating cereal and still receiving liquids via the tube. He started to eat really well and also started to interact a lot. He would respond to you calling his name with a little coo, and then would "talk" back and forth for a while if you took the time. He started smiling a lot, when he wasn't mad as he realized that when he cried, he would get food! It was amazing, and sometimes frusterating, to see how his character changed once he gained some strength and realized there was food on demand(well, within a schedule of course!) I was very tired after getting up a few times each night to feed him and settle him back down, and was so happy when he started sleeping through the night. Pat and Melinda came back and took back over caring for him, and he has continued to do well. Pat says he's been eating like a horse, and we've had him drinking from a pliable rubber nipple sippy cup, though he can be really stubborn to get to drink due to his high pallet and lack of patience! I'm back spending most of my time downstairs, but still get a few minutes here and there to spend with him. He's really starting to get quite the attitude, which I've learned since being here is common with kids who have suffered from malnutrition, and can get very indignant when he realizes no one is holding him!! He laughed out loud for the first time the other night and it was very precious to hear. We got him dressed up in a new outfit Pat brought home for him and he looked so cute! Thanks for your prayers for him and please continue to pray as we wait and see what his family is going to do regarding leaving him with us or attempting to care for him again after he is completely healthy again. gn="center">

Berto's Arrival Day

His feet and hands were covered in scabies and very infected. He didn't really have even a layer of skin on his feet or hands.

One week after being with us

Berto's feet yesterday

Berto 2 weeks after arriving

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Day at the Rescue Centre

Yesterday I finally was able to do something I've been wanting to do for 2 years: I got to go and meet Licia and Lori who run the clinic and rescue centre up in the sticks of Cazale. I've been reading their blogs( and ) for a very long time now, and so it was so great to actually meet them. Melissa and I took Jon along as his older adoptive sister is volunteering up there, and headed on the long, dusty,hot and sometimes ridiculously bumpy road to Cazale. We stopped for a dip in the ocean as it was the first time Jon had seen the ocean, so it was really special to be able to experience that with him.

We arrived just before lunch and met up with Jon's sister Tori and had a great meal together, and then got to see and meet the kids there. Right now they have 70 admited patients, mostly children, who are malnourished and/or are severe burn victims, who they keep and nourish and heal until they are ready to go home. They have a large number if babies who they keep for two years until they can be sent home, as their mothers have died and their fathers cannot care for such small babies. The children come through the clinic which Lori runs, and then some are admitted to the rescue centre which Licia runs. I could not get over how much they do in such a small space!! It made me so appreciative of the large home we have and yard for the children to play in! However, the children are very happy and loving and it was so neat to be a part of their day. It was bathing time, so we got busy stripping down kids and helping to get them cleaned up...and my word did that keep us busy. Besides bathing kids we were keeping kids out of the clean water buckets and having kids saying "mwen-mem" over and over hoping the new "blancs" would pick them to bathe next! I very quickly got nicknamed "ti-blanc" (little white) thanks to this little pixie named Sophia who you could just see the mischief ooze out of! It was fun to recognize some of the faces from Lori and Licia's blogs and see how much they have changed!!

Seeing all the children that they are helping and how they are so known in the community and are loved by the people was a neat thing to witness. Somewhat different from here in Mirebalais where we have disputes with landowners trying to close our road! Licia and I talked for a while about what I was thinking about being in Haiti, and once again I spent the ride home thinking about what God's plans are for me. It's an interesting feeling to know how much you are needed in one place, yet to see another form of serving the people of Haiti and wonder how many more areas in Haiti do not have anything like the clinic in Cazale. I am really happy that I got to see some more of the ways that God is using people in Haiti, and it's amazing how experiencing that makes me feel even more attached to this country!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sad Little Berto

This is Berto. He arrived Sunday afternoon after we received a call from a neighbouring pastor who had come across this sad little boy when he arrived to pray with Berto's grandma. Our first sight of Berto brought tears to my eyes as he was by far in the worst condition I've seen first hand since starting to work in Haiti. His whole body was covered in sores, and his fingernails were embedded into his hands. His feet were covered in sores and scabs and his toenails were jelly-like. Berto's head was filthy and also covered in sores, and right away we could tell there was some form of brain injury by the telltale flitting back and forth of his eyes. I was amazed to suddenly realize how much he resembled Naika, another brain damaged child we have here. We asked his mother if he had been dropped or had fallen and she said no. SO, at this point we are speculating trauma at birth or perhaps shaken baby syndrome. Berto has a very high pallet and so Melinda figured that he is so small because he cannot suck, and his mom did not have the means or knowledge to feed him other food.

Giving Berto a bath

The dirt in the water is the filth from his head...we hadn't even gotten to the rest of him yet!

His feet were all swollen and covered in sores and filth

We weighed him and he is 9lb 4 oz....oh, and he's one year old.

Melinda calming him down after she finished cleaning and bandaging him all up.

Berto is holding his own at this point. He is being tube fed and is doing well with 4oz of formula. His head and feet are looking much better today. He was seizing constantly so he is now on an anit-convulsant medication called Phenobarbitol, and this has helped tremendously. He responds when we call his name, though is not able to focus at all. Please pray that he continues to improve and that stay well when Melind heads to the states on Wednesday.

More Bon Fet

We had ourselves a good game of Musical Chairs!
(and the kids did so great actually PLAYING a game)

Down to four!

Yes, that is a chair breaking! But both Moise and Bedza managed to get their bums in it! The laughter lasted a long time!

May/June Bon Fet!

Pat and I got together for my First Attempt at Cake Decorating

Happy 1st Birthday Julie(cake turned out pretty good huh?!)

Happy 6th Birthday Joanna!!
(she lost a front tooth the next day!!)

Whoot whoot!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

For I know the plans I have for you...

So, I've emailed everyone I have on my list, and talked with other people, so I figured it was now safe to blog that I AM OFFICIALLY STAYING ON AT HAITI CHILDREN'S HOME!! This decision came after a few months of not knowing what God had in store for me, but the peace I have about this decision makes me feel like there was really nothing else I could have done but continue to serve here. I am really excited about the new things we are going to attempt to do this fall(more details to follow), as well as cotinuing to develop the programs that are already underway. Minnie(the gal who is also here long term) has gone home for a couple months, and will return before I head to Canada for a while at the end of July. My friend Laura asked me to be in her wedding on Oct. 4th, so I am not yet sure exactly how my coming and going will all come together, but it will be nice to be home for while. Your prayers regarding everything falling into place both for me and for HCH this summer/fall would be greatly appreciated. There are some other new events happening here, but they'll have to wait because I've been gone to Port-au-Prince the last two days in a row(another story for another blog, but please be assured that Air Canada continues to be as lame as ever) and I am exhausted!