Sunday, October 18, 2009

AOnce again, I am somewhat exasperated to realize that I have fallen into having to do "catch-up" blogs every time I blog! But, that's just how things are around here! So here you are:what's been happening since the last time i blogged! (I started this post on Oct I am finishing it the 1st of November....thus updates since I started this post are in this color!)

1. I got really sick with some crazy mix of malaria and this fever bug that has been going all throughout Haiti. It was NOT fun. I have NEVER been that sick, nor do I wish to feel that way again! I experienced every symptom in the book:fever, chills/shaking, profuse sweating, swelling, diarrhea, vomiting, insomina, nausea, aching all over, sore eyes, poor blood circulation resulting in purple toenails(well, under my toenails), inability to eat or drink, shortness of breath, etc etc etc. I was on IV's for 7 days, oxygen for 2, a crazy mix of IV antibiotics, anti-malarials, anti-nauseants, etc etc etc. I wish I had gotten a picture of how swollen my hands and feet were! That was a really weird thing that accompanied all of this! It all started with feeling sore and really exhausted and realizing I had a fever on Tuesday night. I felt a bit better the next day, though I was still feverish. Then by Thursday it was obvious that I was quite sick. I spent the first few days at the orphanage being cared for by Melinda, but by the time I was at the needing oxygen stage(Monday), they promptly loaded me into the truck(I could not even walk there myself) and took me off to Port. There we found a gem of a doctor named Dr.B(I nicknamed him myself) who promptly admitted me into the French hosital in Canape-Vert where I recieved really good care and spent 4 days getting better. I ate for the first time on Thursday morning, and my teeth hurt as it had been almost a week since I'd eaten! I was really blessed to recieve such great care both from Melinda and everyone at HCH, and then at the hospital in Port-au-Prince! I also had a great group of people all over the place praying for me, and I am so thankful! It was really a comfort knowing I had that backing!

I was definitely shocked at the price tag! Coming from Canada where our healthcare is basically free, having to pay a doctor and a fancy French hospital carried a good sized price tag let me tell you!

I feel pretty much back to normal for about 2 days now. It was hard the first few days being back as I quickly realized how weak I was from being so sick, and really had to slow down and not feel bad about sleeping all the time and jsut not really doing anything! So thankful to feel like a normal person again! God is so good and I know that He really carried me and everyone who was caring and worring about me through that crazy week!

2. The day after I first started feeling sick, Pat and Melinda had to go to Port for something, and of course, wouldn't someone show up needing help. A father with a set of newborn twin boys showed up, having just lost his wife and not knowing what to do with his two little boys. I felt quite yucky and didn't want to touch them and make them sick too, so between looking at them and getting Minnie to come and help me out, we talked to Melinda and then called Mathieu over to come and talk the dad about what his options were as far as HCH is concerned. He had already decided he needed to give them up as he had no way to care for them. The father was not a young man, already having some adult children, and I felt bad for him as he looked so lost with these little babies. It was a bit difficult to get things sorted out as the dad had no form of identification whatsoever! Thankfully, Mathieu, our adoption guy and Haitian director for HCH, deals with this stuff all the time and came and took care of it all. We got the twins bathed and cleaned up as they were a little dirty, and thankfully they latched right onto a bottle and drank it all down! Their names are Monel and Moliere and they are quite cute! They are about a month (almost 2 now I guesss!!) old now and are quite cute!

3. Remember Loner? The little guy that came down to us from Lori and Licia up in Cazale? He's doing really great...still has some problems with chronic pneumonia and has a reflux problem, but he is getting quite fat and has everyone in the house in love with him!

4. The one year olds that moved downstairs over a month ago are loving being downstairs, and Kervens and Kendy are now walking all over the place, while Jolanda has just realized how fast she can crawl and that standing up is actually kind of fun! Adam is happy to stand up, but any attempt to get him to stand unaided ends up with him on the floor upset and just wanting to scoot instead! Just a couple days ago Adam decided he needed to catch up with me..and there he was hot on my heels looking so very cute as he concentrated so hard not to fall down.

5. Minnie started school with the kids and they were so excited as a volunteer that just came brought in their new school books. So, they have all been talking for the last week about how they have "bel liv" (pretty books)! Minnie has been quite happy to see that they had not forgotten near as much as she was afraid they would, and they are all well on their way into this years schooling! Gerald and Robinson have joined the ranks full time in the classroom, and are so pleased with their big-kid books and are quite industrious. Golson-3, has decided that he too thinks school is pretty fun and does his best to sneak up there whenever possible, so Minnie has taken to bringing him up on Fridays when it's more of a relaxed day in the classroom, and he is so proud that he gets to go to school too! Last Friday Minnie gave them all mini notebook and a pencil crayon to call their own, and my afternoon was spent drawing cars and boats and houses and trees and flowers and bikes, and well....what I drew kind of looked liked those things I suppose! But the kids were happy!

6. There are two great volunteers here right now. Two friends, Melissa from LaCrete,Alberta and Rachel from somewhere in Virginia. They are both jsut great and have jumped right into things which was so wonderul with things being so crazy here when I was sick...and of course there were sick kids in the midst of all of it!

7. Speaking of sick kids, please keep Derson in your prayers. He's a little boy, 9 years old, with inoperable hydrocephali(water on the brain). He has been holding his own for a long time, but lately he started refusing to eat, and was on IV's for a while, and is currenlty being tube fed and needing a catheter as his bladder is not working properly. We moved him upstairs where we could keep an eye on him. He is doing better than he was a week ago, but it's so hard to know how he really is doing, and what extremes to go to as it is quite possible that his body is shutting down. Please keep him and us in your prayers as we wait and see that the future brings for this little boy. As of Oct 27th Derson is doing much better and is once again feeding himself and giggling at the antics of the other children. He was able to go back to his room downstairs and we are thankful for his fill recovery!

8. As most of you know, Melinda is getting married November 27th! Please keep her in your prayers as she plans a wedding in the midst of the normal chaos around here!

9. I have decided that if I do get into nursing school for January, I will be going home in December. I have been thinking about this for a long time(since I was in physio school) and it seems that it's now or never. I am not at all happy thinking about leaving, but I know that this is something God has laid on my heart, and that though the timing seems so not great, in reality the timing would never be great as far as leaving here is concerned. There are a lot of details to work out and I am quite attached to being a lot of people I would love to stick in my suitcase and just bring along. Please pray for me as I wait and figure out all the details!

10. Yestarday I met a Haitian family from Germany here visiting Haiti. Their two girls speak French, Creole, English and German...all fluently! Amazing! SO-o-o jealous!

11. We've gotten a couple more adoption files and there are a couple more on the way! Exciting to see more kids find families! PLease keep the throng of little boys we have in your prayers...there are currently 13 little boys between 1 month and 3 years, as well as a 5 year old, two 8 year olds and a 14 year old all needing families! We have a lot of boys in this house!

12. Lately I have been having this hate relationship with beans. No love, all hate. I have never been a big fan of beans..the kidney, pinto, black, lima, yucky kinds. And here in Haiti, the main staple is rice and beans and beans and rice and rice and beans and beans and rice. And if it's not beans and rice, it's rice with bean sauce! No joke! 2 years of this very mundane diet have started to take a toll on me, and there are times when I see that bowl of rice and beans that I literally just want to pick up the whole thing and throw it off the porch! We do eat N.American style foods for supper, but the main meal of the day is very Haitian, and while there are Haitian foods that I really do love to eat, my tolerance for beans has run very thin! I feel kind of shallow and picky, but this is a reality for, I think I now dislike beans even more than you know! They are a wonderful source of protein and such, and provide a simple healthy way for Haitians to eat! But, I do not like black beans and rice. I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like black beans and rice. I do not like them. Lori I am. (courtesy of Dr.Suess...I really feel a deep sense of comraderie with Sam)

13. It has been ridiculoulsy hot here. It's October now...well into October, and it's supposed to be cooling down. But no!! Instead it's hot and muggy and discgusting! And they keep taking the power! You know it's bad when a two year old suddenly stands up in his bed and starts dancing and chanting "yo by kouran, whey!" (They gave the power, yay!!). The last week or so it has started cooling down and you can actually feel a little cool in the evenings! Makes for a really great sleep!

14. I recently had a delivery of After Eights, Hawkins CHeezies, supplies to make seafood spread, and a lovely spread of other things via some volunteers that arrived. I believe I have eaten half a box of after eights since I turned my computer on an hour ago. Gotta get them before the ants do!

15. I cooked onions in the microwave last night. We ran out of gas for the stove, and were just about done making worked pretty well actually! I have learned all kinds of tricks since being in Haiti! Not to mention I can now whip up a batch up really fluffy biscuits for 40 in minutes!

16. Please pray for our milk situation. For the past few months we have been very thankfully blessed to have a huge supply of milk in storage provided to us from our friends at CAM(Christian AId Ministries). However, our supply is almost out, and they don't have any shipments coming that they know of, so we may be back to having to buy milk once again. With 31 kids under 3 needing milk at least 3 times a day, plus babies on bottles, that's a whole lot of milk! Plus the older kids who get milk once a day!

17. We had some very sad news come our way a week or so ago. Remember Yvenson, the little preemie that came last September about the same time as the hurricane? Well, he turned a year old just a few weeks ago, and I am not sure of all the details, but there are some rumours about meningitus. We were all very shocked and saddened to hear this, and can't imagine how his mother must feel as she was so happy with her little boy that made it despite being such a fragile preemie. Please pray for his mother Wilda as she is grieving.

18. I am tarantula hunter! I used to be so terribly scared of these critters, until I learned all you have to do us get a stick and swipe across the ground and hit their legs which are incredibly fragile, which then break and they die! Haha! So now when the kids find one, I no longer run after a guy to come and deal with it, I find a stick and send that little critter to gloryland! Though I wil admit if I woke up with one on my leg or something, I might very quickly turn back into a wimpy screaming girl!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

13 Cakes Later

The birthday gang chanting "GATO, GATO, GATO. GATO!!!" (cake, cake, cake cake!!!)

The Decorating Committee
Gabo(wanna be decorator), Melinda, Pat, me, Valdo, Cherub, Margaret.

(Nancy and Sandra had already escaped the birthday bash bedlam!)
Baked cakes all day Thursday, started decorating at 8a.m. Friday morning, finished 13 cakes by 4:00 p.m. just in time for a 5p.m. PART-A-A-A-A-A-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y!!!!

Jamesky 2: Nemo by Sandra

Lony 8: Lion by Margaret

RoseLissa 2:Bumblebee by Lori

Lineda 2: Ladybug by Cherub

Golson 3: Frog by Cherub

James 8: Train by Lori

Adam 1: Fish by Valdo

Kendy 1:Touring Car by Nancy Overholt
(It was very scary!!)

Julie 2:Dragonfly by Margaret

Kervens-1: Heart by Nancy

Ester-1:Heart by Nancy

Amanda-11:Heart by Melinda

The June/July/August Birthday Party gang, with a few extra newly one year olds who had birthdays earlier this year.

September catch up!

I know. You don't even have to say it. At least I am finally here.

I know that last time I blogged it was a catch up blog, and well, here we are again, catching up from the last catching up!

And you are VERY thankful ;)

So, what's been happening????

-we had 5 one year olds move downstairs.(thanks to the people who provided us with the funds to get 9 new cribs...they arrived and are full!) That has been interesting! I can never get over how much our dynamic has changed since I arrived 2 years ago(oh yeah, my 2 year anniversary in Haiti has come and gone, since August 9th). We have 41 kids and only 13 of them are over 3! I think that lets you know a little of how things can be around here!

-a new Steevenson arrived, sent to us from Lori and Licia up at Cazale, weighing all of 2lbs and a few ounces...his mom went into premature labour while away from home, ended up at Licia and Lori's and then came down here to make use of our incubator. We weren't sure for a while how he was going to do, but he's pretty stable now, though he still has trouble keeping a steady temperature. He's getting 18cc of formula by tube, and is hanging out in the incubator which we have jerry-rigged with a heating blanket as it's not running the best right now. Pat and Melinda are in the states for 2 weeks, so Valdo and I have been busy taking care of him....I should say Valdo as he has been amazingly attentive and is spending the 2 weeks while they are gone caring for him, really only asking me when he is unsure about something. And is doing a great job! I am so thankful for him as it is stressful running the house, without having to be ever watchful of a preemie 24/7!!

Valdo with two of the preemie triplets that came last July

-we have 2 super awesome wonderful stupendous gals here from Ontario. Cherub(who I met the first time I came here in 2006) and her sister Margarat are here for 7 weeks and they are the best thing since sliced bread! Seriously! They see something and just do it, and understand how to make things easier, and are not afraid to get their hands dirty. One things that helps me a lot too is they are comfortable re-directing bad behaviour, and lately our little gang of 5-7 year old boys has been quite naughty!

-RoseLissa started standing up straight right around her 2nd birthday, still holding on of course, but very awesome! She continues to get stronger and more able to do things, though her latest feat of climbing up on a bench on her belly and flipping over to her bum makes my heart jump every time! The combination of being 2 and suddenly being able to start doing what her friends do is a crazy combination....and she's jsut a little determined! Her two smallest toes have now gown normal flat toenails, and the nails on her other toes seem to be following suit. She still has 5 toes that have no nail growth at all

-Minnie is coming back on the 11th! I am so excited to have her back, and the kids are ecstatic to be starting school soon! Please pray that she does not have any more health problems and that her parents have a good visit here for 2 weeks.-Melinda is getting married towards the end of this year, and will be living off the compound with her new family. Please keep her in your prayers and she prepares to start this new chapter in her life, and for the changes that will take place here at HCH

-Melinda got to put a needle in me again. I had been feeling tired for about 2 weeks, and then one day I woke up with diarrhea that would not stop and by that evening I was short of breath and quite week. She took no time at all jumping on the oppotunity to stick me...apparently I was a little dehydrated as it took 3 litres of fluid before I even had to pee!

-I recently endeavored to re-endeavor so master doing black hair...i had started a while back, but didn't have too many girls with long enough hair, and Kettline jumps around so much that it's a workout, so I had let things go for a while. Since then, I have started again as the toddler girls have long enough hair now, and am happy to announce that I am getting pretty good! The best was when Haitian lady commented that she was sure it was a Haitian who had done RoseLissa's hair!Yeah for me! I am not as fast as the ladies here, that's for sure, but the kids are very paitient with me for the most part!

This is called "shou" which means "cabbage". The way it's done here is by taking a small section of hair and braiding it, the attaching that braid into the next so they stay flat against the head. You make as many rows as you want and then they all meet at the crown of the head. This is the 2nd time I have done this style and it turned out pretty alright!

-the other night we watched a movie and hippo's, elephants and monkeys. I had forgotten how funny it is to watch an animal movie with over 20 todddlers...i really heard nothing the movie had to say, due to the kids all shouting "Lori, gade!!"(which means "look") every time an animal moved! Hilarious way to pass an hour!

-I have decided that there is a silent alarm that goes out the minute Melinda and Pat go to the states....because every time , without fail, old families come asking about their kids who have been gone for 10 years and get mad that I don't know who they are talking about! Really sick kids show up, and I have to decide how best to help them with the knowledge I have learned since being here(it's scary sometimes having people depending on you like that, but when there is no other option for them, the least a person can do is try!) or like it happened the very minute they were leaving, a 13 year old boy showed up with a huge gash in his leg where he had fallen on a piece of iron while playing soccer. They had stopped at the clinic in town but found no-one there, so a girl that used to bring her baby brother here for milk, came and brought the boy down here. I managed to get it to finally stop bleeding and close it up as best I could. He's been very faithful about coming back for dressing changes every morning at 11 a.m. Walking about 30 minutes . Each way. Haitians are amazing.

Valdo and I taking care of a nasty scrape

-yesterday a young woman showed up with her six month old baby who I could tell instantly was suffering from the effects of kwashiorkor(protein deficiency malnutrition) as his cheeks had that "look" (puffy and kinda stretched) and as soon as I pulled the blanket off the state his hands and feet were in confirmed that diagnosis. Steeven(yes, this seems to be the name of the year) mother had recently found herself in a bad place as her own mother died and the people that they had been staying with kicked her out. She's seen her son going downhill for about 3 months as she is not producing enough milk, and recently realized she needed help. She was prepared to give him up, but after I talked with her and told her we could help her with milk she was alright with taking him home and coming back in two weeks to reasses things once Pat and Melinda are back. These situations never get any easier to see...and in this case, the mom needed as much help as her son. Please pray for her and her child as they face such difficult circumstances.

Swollen feet

Steevenson Jean Paul

-a bunch of the guys around here are involved in a community soccer league that is only about a month long, so we've gone to watch/play in a few games, which also makes a fun outing for the older kids. The weirdest thing happened the first day. I got introduced to the local witch doctor, who lives just a stones throw from here, and a few minutes later just about dropped my jaw when he told our team they needed to pray so that the the game could get started!! Such a contradiction!! We couldn't help but make a few jokes about who he would be praying to, and if we won, who it would be who gave us the victory?!?!? The sad reality here in Haiti is that there is such a cross between voudou and christianity, and it can be very difficult to recognize the differences as there is such an overlap. For the record, the game ended 0-0.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hot. Heat. Sun. Sweat. Gross.

It's hot here. Can't believe how hot actually! There is nothing like suddenly realizing sweat is running, not dripping cuz it skipped that step, but running in rivlets down your legs. If you ever need to be reminded what it used to feel like when you peed your pants as a kid, come on down and join the fun! Even the Haitians are complaining about it. It's somewhat incredible actually! The saving grace is that we have had pretty steady electricity through most if it, and there are plenty of fans and one very lovely air conditioned room to escape to once in a while. However, that being said, leaving one of those places of refuge requires a person to venture out and for the umpteenth time feel that same feeling when a big truck goes flying by you on a hot day, and you have to absorb the heat of the air and the exhaust all while gasping for air through the dust. Yep, it's just lovely!

Besides the heat, things have been going quite well. We have been blessed with a couple cooler evenings, and that really makes things much better! The kids are doing well, though we have had to deal with the diarrhea that comes with the heat, and then runny noses and fevers here and there. But for the most part, they are doing quite well!

I didn't write about this yet, but the two babies that I wrote about 2 or 3 posts ago both died within a week of each other. They both had severe complications due to perferated bowels, and they were jsut too weak to make it through. It was a lot deal with, as at that same time I found out that my dad had passed away as well. My parents divorced when I was about 12, and I have not had much at all of a relationship with my dad for the last 15 years, so it was a difficult experience, trying to deal with and absorb all of that while being here in Haiti. Spent lots of time thinking and praying and deciding what to do as far as attending the funeral. It's very wonderful to have a great mom who spent lots of time talking with me and supporting me as we decided what to do in that regard. I ended up deciding to stay, and I am thankful that I feel peaceful since that decision was made, both before and after the funeral.

Two new children have come our way this last week or so. One is a brand new baby girl named Claudia, whose mom died very unexpectedly during childbirth. Her family did not know what to do as they were in such shock and asked us to take care of her for a week. They came back at the end of that week and asked if we would keep her as they did not have a way to care for her. So, we have a very cute chubby little baby girl who has joined the ranks in this house very heavy on the boy side! As well, this week Lori and Licia up at Zach's Clinic in Cazale called and asked if we would be willing to take over the care for a little baby boy named Loner. Terrible name huh?!?! He's 2 months old(though Melinda and I are sure he's older cuz he's so aware) and all of about 4lbs. He'd been at Zach's for about a month and a half, and they are so full there and he needs so much special care, and he would just not put on any weight. So, Loner came down and joined us here for the time being. He's very weak, and Pat and Melinda took him to see a doc who is quite sure that he has whooping cough, so this little man could sure use your prayers!

Speaking of Loner, he needs to be fed. So, this post stops here! More to come soon!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pajama Picture Shoot












Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A few new things

Took the kids to the new town square for an outing. They were busy looking and being looked at by the other kids there, most of whom were selling some form of something or other. We bought some chips and juice and visited with them. Then I had a small heart attack when I realized that two kids who didn't go with Sadrack and some boys who had to pee, decided they wanted to go, and ran across the street by themselves to join them! They have a very basic(aka small and minute) understanding of traffic safety, and are used to always having someone directing them and looking out for them. I caused a bit of a scene as I jumped and ran to the edge of the park and then barrelled across the road after them! Thoughts of Needless to say, we had a little lesson that afternoon about being safe and asking permission to go anywhere, even if you see someone else doing something you want to do as well!

This is Mike, the son of our cement worker, Boss Doudou(ok, you can stop laughing at his name now!) In Haiti, all significant events(graduations, weddings, etc) have a godmother and godfather for the event. I was asked to be the godmother for Mike's kindergarten graduation. It was a long, long event, but an interersting array of old and new culture mixed together...and a LOT of people squashed into what was, when the event started, an airconditioned room. At one point a fellow we were sitting with got up to take some pictures and this lady and her friend squeezed themselves down the small aisle in between chairs and took his chair. So, when he came back everyone had to shuffle their buns and get cozy. Just another day in Haiti!

Here is the family and godfather and me. It was really funny as the two girls on each end were arguing over who got to stand by the "blanc"(aka me). I think every picture we took outside has a shoulder or hand or something that got in the way as people just continue on Haitian style and barrel their way through!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Catch up!

Ok, so i don't know that to start with as it's been so long, so here goes. I am thinking that this list is going to be random and such, but hopefully will give you an idea of where things are at!

-Thym's wedding went well from all I heard from Pat and Melinda. Lots of jokes made about needing to come back to Haiti to get a rest!

-we have had a number of sick kids coming through the doors...a set of month old twin boys...were here for a while, one went home, the other stayed not doing too great at he's fine and headed home soon. thank you Jesus!

-new baby girl came in yesterday...not sure of all the details of her history yet....mostly just shell shocked as we know her dad is 60 and her mom was 21!

-Carlos, Samuel and richard are all walking, along with Ester and Aneve

-Carlos refuses to hold his cup for himself, but this morning the little imp stole a cup Odette was using to feed Bertho and plopped on the floor and proceeded to drink from it by himself! Things like that are a big deal in this house!!

-we moved the 10 babies up to the classroom. They are getting too big and starting to walk and crawl more and they needed more room! They are so happy!

-RoseLissa is doing great. She got her casts off about 3 weeks ago and is now getting used to things again. She was really fragile for a couple weeks and her feet were really sensitive. Now she is starting to try and stand though, and use her legs more normally. She still has problems with her knees, but it will take some time to see how much they will correct on her own

-Speaking of RoseLissa, about a week and a half ago, we went to Port to get groceries and go find the place that the doc. in Port had referred us to. Two hours later, after her dad Sadrack had gotten in and out of the truck probably 30 times(this is how it goes in haiti when you need to find a get out and ask and get this or that pointed out and then jump back in and go until you don't know where to go again and jump out and...well you get the picture) he came back to the truck and said that he thought he had found the place. However, something about how he said it made me wonder what in the world he had found. Much to my chagrin, we squeezed into this horribly smelly, tiny little 20x20' room, full of leather, shoes in various stages of making, a tiny little old man and a rather large and volomptuous(spelling?) lady who did not have the most flattering aroma. I knew were were experiencing OIH(only in Haiti). Our "wonderful" doc had referred us to a place that he himself had never been, only knowing of it as someone had dropped some paper off with some very general information he had not bothered to follow up on. Sadrack could only say(though too polite to say it in front of the tiny man big lady), "the shoe place in Mirebalais is nicer than this one, not to mention we didn't want a shoe place anyway!"
We got back in the truck and burst into laughter. It was all we could do really. All that time driving around the streets of Port and to find that delightful place. Next thing to do is to try getting into St. Vincent's hospital and get what we really need...hopefully!

-the bridge has been going out on a regular basis. Every time it rains, it washes away the temporary fix they have made with rocks and dirt, and they start again. This bridge is the temporary one they made after the hurricane last fall. It's not holding up so well, and hurricane season just started! There have been some adventures walking across a little piece of the bridge that is not broken, about the width of a baby formula can! I have enough of a time keeping my balance, and have huge respect for the steady stream of people crossing with a 5 gallon jug of water or a basin full of this or that balanced on their heads!

-the impetgo and such seems to be mostly cleared up. Seems like there are a couple kids who are just hanging on to their infections, but it's much better!

Ok. need to stop as there is a lady here who I promised to give a picture of her nephew. Will write more soon!

Late email post

Wrote this email a few weeks ago...for all of you who are not on my email list, here you go. For those of you who were really hoping this was a new blog, I am in the midst of doing that too!

Hello all! Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how things are! It's quite insane running the house by myself for a week! Definitely looking forward to pat and Melinda getting back on Monday!I am trying to deal with an impetego infestation:there are 18 kids with some amount. The ladies have been really great about bathing them all with permagamate(this herbal purple stuff that is an awesome infection fighter) and I've been dousing them with polysporin. Looking better already...this made day 3 of that regime. Takes about an hour each time. morning and night.We'll keep on trucking! I've been feeling a little bit like a chicken with its head cut off. So much to do. Had a baby come in Monday morning, breathing like an 80 year old smoker...thankfullly we had oxygen. That took up a few hours today, then we sent her to the hospital, then our own kids sick with this and that along with fevers, and then community kids coming in with high fevers.I had been busy trying to get the new girls organized and familiar with things....hard to do when I am running in 300 directions, but I am so glad they came. However, since they came, one girl just can't seem to handle things, so they left to go to the CAM mission where it is much quieter and a little more comfortable for a few days. Hope to see them again soon. In the meantime, I have to cook suppers too, but that's not been so bad as we kinda established a menu, or at least some simple meal ideas, a few months ago, and it's easy for me to get what I need for the most part. Thankfully the kids are not picky! Makes me really appreciate our volunteers who come and take care of evening meals for us! Madam Cedieu, one of our workers, came home from the hospital Saturday a week after her mastectomy. walked here by HERSELF from her house, abuot 5 minutes, in the heat, to ask me to change the dressing. I chastised her a little bit for not just sending one of her kids after me...told her I was more than happy to make house calls. Oh yeah, that's what else I did tonight after the kids were in bed. She seems to be healing well except for that a few of her stitches have come loose and she is going to need them redone sooner than later. It's been quite the learning experience caring for her and I know that God has given me the strength to tend her wounds encourage her, despite the fact that I feel so inadequate. There have been a few kids coming each day with fevers, diarrhea...definitely a bunch of likely malaria too! A girl who was about 10, her mom didn't know exactly when she was born(this is really common in Haiti) came with the side of her head covered in sores and a terrible ear infection. She was really brave and not too scared of me, and so I managed to get her cleaned up quite well, sent some meds home with her mom, and told them to come back so I can clean it again and see how things look. So, what can I say, I'm busy! I have been managing to get some good sleep though, so for the most part it has not been too bad. Lots of help to be had when I need it, so that does make the load lighter...the hard part is takes time also to get people to do what you need them to do! One more story:Had a lady come yesterday...she walked what later took us at least half an hour to drive in the truck, starting at 3am in the morning. She came because she is 9 months pregnant and she has 4 other kids, and is a widow. She cried and cried asking for help, as she has seen her kids become sickly since she has no one to provide for them. We got her some food and milk for her kids, and attempted to take her home. We got near her house, but then could not pass due to the mud, and we had to get the truck back to pick people up that were coming in. So she walked the rest of the way home. We wanted her to stay at the orphange, but there was no one to stay with her other kids. Late this morning she called to let us know that she had given birth to a little boy at 7am this morning. I had a hard time dealing with feeling so helpless in this country....there are so many people who need help and there is only so many we can help. It was really hard for me to realize so blatantly yesterday that she is just one of so many women who are so desperate. Had to walk away and collect myself before we talked with her more. Next week once Pat and Melinda are back we will see what else we can do for them. I feel so blessed to be able to care for the kids in our home here, and that God has seen fit to provide for us, and in turn allow us to bless those around us! However,it's great to be back! The kids are all so big and so many of the toddlers suddenly have so much to say! They are so funny! I feel like I haven't gotten to spend enought time with them yet, as there is always someone calling me away to do something, but that time will come! The older kids have been grilling me about who and what I saw in Canada and ask to see the same pictures everday! Please keep me in your prayers as I do feel tired, especially at this time of the day, but really wanted to share all that has been going on thus far! I will be blogging...just not this week!Talk to you soon

Monday, May 11, 2009

Aneve's Arrival

On February 10th, a little boy named Aneve joined our household. His father and grandfather, both of who are also named Aneve, brought him to our door. It was very apparent that this little boy was suffering from the effects of Kwashiorkor, which is a form of malnutrition caused by a lack of protein, which causes edema(swelling), thinning of the hair, irritability, and other serious issues including liver damage, and this is the cause of many childhood deaths in Haiti. Aneve's mother had died suddenly about a month before, and they had been trying to care for Aneve and his two older brothers. Thankfully they took the perogative to come for help before it was too late. It was really a sad thing to see them come, knowing that this little boy was so sick, knowing they could not provide for him, and knowing that they were going to have to give up their namesake. That is one of the things that I still struggle with so much in Haiti...knowing and seeing so often that people love and want their kids, but even more so, they love them and want them to live. I wish so often that we could just take kids in more often and get them on their feet, and then send them home. But, as I have learned, that's not always possible. We do have a number of community kids that come and stay for a short while here and there, but they have mothers. Mothers are the key to a lot I have learned. I was recently reading an article about a doctor who works with new and expectant mothers in Africa, and she addressed the reality that when mothers die, families fall apart, and when families fall apart, society is not far behind. This such a stark reality in Haiti. God really knew what he was doing when He invented the family.

Aneve has come a long way in the last 3 months. He cried a lot the first while, and we spent lots of time holding him and just comforting him. His skin has almost cleared up now(he was covered with impitego and ringworm) , and has lost that dried/cracked texture. He has become a very smiley cute little boy! Not to mention he wins the award for the blackest little Haitian in the house!

Minnie holding the newly bathed and shaved little Aneve

Aneve's skin was swollen and loose and infected and...oh he was a mess!

Swollen hands

Kids with Kwashiorkor face many challanges, one of which is that their cells begin to absorb water, causing swelling, which then over time causes their skin to start cracking(you can see this really well on his leg), and soon after fluid starts seeping out as their body cannot contain all the fluid build-up. Aneve came to us just before his skin started seeping fluid.

This is Aneve 5 days after he arrived. He started smiling and it was amazing to watch the healing take place in his body and spirit.

As you can see, Aneve is beautiful BLACK baby! (notice the shades of brown!)

Derson's New Wheels

Many of you know Derson and his story. He is a 10 year old boy who is hydrocephalic, which in the simplest of terms means he has water on his brain. This causes pressure which affects development and abilities in many ways. Derson is unable to walk, though he used to pull himself to his feet in his crib when he was smaller. Now that he has gotten so big, he is not able to do so any longer. However, he does feed himself, and when he chooses to be, can be very interactive. He loves to laugh, especially when one of the older children is getting scolded about something, or when someone takes the time to sit with him and just chat. A great guy who was here last year managed to put together a wheelchair for Derson with pieces of other wheelchairs we had around here, and that held out for almost a year. I began looking at somehow getting another chair for him a few months ago...and to be honest, had no idea where to start. However, I was checking out the blog of our friends who work up in Cazale, and low-and-behold (is that even how you write that...I just realized I have NEVER written that phrase before!) there was a little story there about them having a chair in the states that they wanted to get on their container! On a whim, I wrote and said "hey, when that chair gets here, if you haven't already designated it for someone, we have a little boy who would love it!". Lori or Licia wrote back and said "we would love you to have it! And in the mean time, we have another one in storage you can have too!!" So, a few weeks later we met up with them in Port-au-Prince and Thym brought home Derson's new chair. It brought tears to my eyes when I saw how almost perfectly it fit him! I am always reminded how God knows....he knows our names, our needs, our hopes....way before we even realize them ourselves!

Derson and his stylin' new chair

There was no seatbelt for the chair, so I found some luggage straps, ripped apart some seams, made some new seams, and wa-la (again, how do you spell these expressions!?!??) Derson smiled much more than usual that day, as everyone came over to compliment him on his new wheels, and he burst into laughter and shook his head no when Grandma asked for a ride!

Feb/Mar/April Birthdays

Samuel-1...and there goes the cake!

With all of the craziness at the house, we got a little behind on the birthdays. A couple weeks before I came home, I realized I had better get on organizing the birthday bash, or when I came back we would be even farther behind! Thankfully we had a lot of people(big and small) around to help decorate all 6 cakes (which sometimes be a little stressful on my sometimes perfectionistic self) , and help put up balloons and streamers! So, for all of you who have been wondering what cakes we came up with this time, here you go!

Richard-1st Birthday

Ketteline-8(Thanks for the 5 lbs of Mini Eggs Mom, they made this butterfly delish!)

Conleigh reminded everyone of a little madamoiselle with her hat!

The Birthday Gang

Jay-2, Ketteline-8, Conleigh-2
Richard-1, Naika-4, Samuel-1

Conleigh was full of dramatic faces...excited and a little overwhelmed at the attention!

Pardon the lack of Naika pictures. I was holding her, and thus the pics of her are on someone else's camera. This is her watermelon cake. I will post some pics of the birthday girl when I figure out whose camera they are on!

Everyone enjoying Chico's(cheesies from the Dominican) and Tampico(fruit juice from Haiti) and cake and excitement!

Jay turned 2. It was his first birthday with us and he wasn't too sure about everything, but definitely didn't mind when he realized he could eat the boat!

I have decided I need to make my cakes less appealing...or at least use fewer fun candy embellishments!!!! Just look at Conleigh's face...she was ready to go in for the kill...and she did, of course heading straight for the poor bunny's eyeballs! I actually LOVE making cakes for the kids...though now I personally have obtained this "wanting as close to perfection in Haiti as possible with my newly learned and limited cake decorating skills" attitude, which is very annoying as I realize I have spent WAY too long on a cake! But, it's always a labour of love!

Parent's beware:these children now accept only really cool cakes! Or at least ones with lots of love poured into them!