Welcome to the Gospel to Haiti Clinic Blog!
We are located in the beautiful mountainous terrain of rural southern Haiti, and our clinic serves its small community in many ways. These pictures and comments are about individual people whose lives we have been able to touch in some way. Look through the compassionate eyes of Christ, and pray for them...
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Hello! I am Mackenzie King! I came the end of May, so I have been here for a little over two months. I am 20 years old and am from Lancaster, PA. As a job, I worked at a local nursing home as a Certified Nursing Assistant and really enjoyed it!
I am doing the milk and malnutrition program. I am really enjoying meeting the children and seeing them grow and get healthier from more food and nutrients!
I am also helping out with the bandage program since Todd will be leaving soon. Todd came to fill in for three months until someone can come fill that position more long-term. I am enjoying caring for the wounds and learning what works best for different types of wounds.
Our current team
A bandage patient with an abscess near her collar bone
A little boy with a broken arm. We splinter it before sending him to TiGoave.
Every miracle often first starts with a problem. Or sometimes, approximately twenty seven and a half problems.
But God still does miracles. Millions of little miracles, and sometimes of you dare to pray the big prayers and let Him show up, you'll see big miracles. Goose-bump giving big miracles.
On Monday a little boy was brought in. He was one if those patients that you only had to walk into the room, and you didn't have to come close before you could see he was "in bad shape" The tiny, malnourished child's fontanelles were sunken, he wasn't breathing well, and he was showing signs of sepsis (a serious infection) probably brought on by an infected cord site after the homebirth. Transports and emergencies here always seem to go in slow motion, especially to my EMT brain, but their is always so much to consider and so many factors and people involved in getting a critical patient to another hospital. We made plans to transport while we bottlefed the infant and put him on oxygen. We got maybe 2 ounces into his little tummy before he became too lethargic to suck well.
The nearest NICU was 3 hours away, and as we prepared to transport, he started declining. We didnt know if this little guy had three more hours left with the limited care we could give, but he now fit criteria to be flown by chopper, so we called Haiti Air Ambulance. They said they were on the way to Port au Prince with another child, but they would call us back shortly to confirm that they can come transport our patient.
We gathered around the child as we explained to the family that it looked like it was possible to fly him to a higher level of care. We asked if we could pray for them and gathered around the little body on the table, and we prayed. We prayed two very specific prayers. One, that God would heal this child if it was His will, and Two- that God would clear the weather that the helicopter could land. (Our nearest level spot to land is at a much higher altitude that often has a cloud cover) We prayed in English and in Creole, both languages understood perfectly by our Heavenly Father.
An hour crept by as we waited for the call. Twice his heartrate dipped below sixty, so we did assisted CPR and it stabilized again. He was a feisty little fighter! FINally the call returned. They could transport and were ready for lift off! Time for action. The chopper was in the air.
Transport paper. Oxygen tank. Everything ready? Check. Check. Check.
Minutes before we were ready to leave and after 3 hours of fighting- his respiratory drive crashed. His heart was still beating well, so we assisted his breathing and continued with our precious, limited oxygen- and walked out of the clinic.
We took the bundle of blankets and cords carefully to the machine. Marla held his body steady as I worked the BVM, giving little puffs of oxygen into his lungs as James drove the machine as fast as he could on the twenty minute mountain trail to the landing zone.
Going up the infamous Jack Rabbit hill, the machine stalled in a curl of black smoke. Then again. Two family members had climbed on on the frenzy as we left clinic, and now we couldn't make it up the hill. We had to ask one to stay on the side of the trail, so the loaded machine could get up the side of the mountain.
Then a little while later, with a cry the mother yelled out "stop stop, this is the father coming! Let him see him for just a minute!!"
As we stopped the family member beside the trail tried to quickly hand over something to the mom.
"NO NO, DRIVE ON! He's trying to give evil witchcraft things for the baby!" That changed everything. God had saved this little boy up to here, and we didn't want anything to do with that! And we had a baby in critical condition that needed to get to the landing zone, and we were only halfway there.
We glanced anxiously at the skies, and the clouds that hovered overhead. Could they land?
As we popped over the last hill... we saw them. The helicopter had indeed landed, they had beat us by 5 minutes and the crew was all ready and waiting for us!
We drove up, didn't take the time to do another assessment, just grabbed the oxygen and took him out to the crew. Two flight paramedics, a doctor, the pilot. His last chance at life.
Step, step. Watch the oxygen tubing. One last puff with the BVM, and he was in the hands of the flight medic. A quick scurry as a report was given and they moved into action. Vitals, blood sugar test, ultrasound.
A quick shake of the head.
"Where's the family?"
One medic walked off with the mom to explain to her.
Her little boy was gone. He had died minutes from being on his way to the NICU.
We stepped back as life saving efforts were stopped. Phone calls were made. The little boy was covered up and brought over. Even as the little blanketed body was handed to me, I sensed it. Peace. God's will had been done. And then I saw it.
I bank of clouds hovered just beyond the soccer field, the edges nearly straight as if held by the wings of a wall of angels. Above us, the sky was blue. And just as the chopper lifted off, a wisp of cloud finally broke away and drifted toward the soccer field as if to take its place. Soon, clouds swirled towards as, and as we drove away with the grieving mom and the tiny blanket, they finally flooded across the field.
Our prayers had been answered. I believe God had a plan for the 10 short days the little boy lived. Maybe it was in the little bit of comfort we could give the family when we met them on the trail, overcome with grief as we handed them the little boy. Maybe it was in the prayers we prayed in the hospital room. Maybe they too, saw the way those prayers had been answered by the clouds that refused to enter the field until the chopper flew away. Maybe SOMETHING in those 4 hours had planted a seed in the hearts of the family who still practiced voodoo. Maybe maybe.
And He smiled down on us too, that day. He left us with His perfect peace, even in the death of the little boy, gone before his life really had the chance to start. His Presence was obvious, his Touch felt as He held back the clouds for us.
Hello! I'm Marla Zimmerman from Northern IA. I've been here for 8 weeks now.
I Work in the pharmacy and help out where I can. I have a lot to learn but I'm thankful for the training I got at MMI before I came, it give me a head start on a lot of things.
I enjoy my work in the Pharmacy and I now have a love for meds like I never thought I could have!
The last couple weeks we've been having extra big clinic days, making it a challenge to keep the shelves stocked so when the month supply of meds comes, it’s like Christmas for me. opening boxes full of meds and then seeing the shelves full again is always a good feeling!
Last Friday some of us went on a hike following the dry river bed to the water hole. getting out and enjoy the beautiful weather and views is always refreshing!
Saturday morning emergency run with Todd and MacKenzie
Saturday night we welcomed a healthy little boy into this world!
"What an incredible honor we have, to help their hurting bodies but even more, to speak to the thirsty souls."
We saw this in action again and again, in the work of Dr Philip and Dr Males when they spent a week with us here at our clinic in Aleag. It was a huge honor to have both of them here at the same time, representing both the American culture and the Haitian culture. Their years of experiance and wisdom was appreciated more than we could voice as they worked with us giving patient care, teaching as they went- reinforcing our skills and giving us quite a few more.
Prior to their stay, we had begun keeping an eye out for patients who might be in need of surgery. Before we knew it, we had a list of possibilities, and it kept growing. In the middle of our Friday, we emptied out the Bandage room, and started with surgical consultants. Over 23 hydroceles, cysts, and cleft palates later, we finally had to turn the last few patients away since it was getting much too late, and then as evening crept over the mountains, we scrubbed up for our first minor procedure- a wound reconstruction.
On Saturday we transformed our Operating Room from the prior night into a schoolroom. Our Haitian nurses came as well for a few hours of classes. Dr Males did an amazing job switching from English to Creole to French, expanding our knowledge on hypertension and medications.
The afternoon and early evening were dedicated to surgeries. We all got the opportunity to assist the doctors in surgery; opening, repairing or removing, closing, and post op care. Dr Philip explained his way through each step, and at the end of the day, eight overjoyed patients had gotten procedures done.
One shy little girl could walk comfortably again after having a cyst removed from her foot.
A hernia was repaired. A cyst taken from a young man's cheek.
Our most memorable patient was easily a sweet middle aged lady with a ping pong ball sized growth on her right hand. She said she had learned to work with it, but oh my it was so horribly embarrassing to raise her hands in church in praise to Bondye (God) and everyone could see the large thing protruding from her hand. Her eyes filled with tears as she repeatedly thanked Dr Philip after seeing his neat row of stitches in her hand. Then with twinkling eyes she asked if she could take the removed growth home to show her family. We carefully placed it in a little plastic bag, and she gleefully put it in her satchel. She trotted down the trail with happiness in her step, raising her now normal hand with repeated "Mesi Jezi, Mesi Bondye, Mesi Dr Philip" while the other hand carefully held on to her backpack and it's precious little cargo in its little plastic bag.
The 18th of May fell over the doctors stay- Haiti's Indepedence Day. Their was an early worship service held at our Aleag church, and all the children came waving their handheld Haitian flags. All the schools got together and marched past our clinic on up to Besace, where they held a celebration. It's a fun day for everyone, especially the little children.
We really weren't ready to see the doctors drive down the trail again, but appreciated every hour they had spent with us. They had dedicated more than a week away from their families, blessing the clinic and community in so many ways.
It's so many people like them who make this mission a success. From the doctors doing the surgeries and giving us skills to up our patient care while they arent here. The donors supplying the funds to make it all possible. And the prayer warriors, lifting us and fighting our battles with us. Together..
Together we have this incredible opportunity. To help the hurting bodies, and to minister to the thirsty souls .
Thank you for your continuous support.
Early morning Independence Day service
Patients waiting for consultations
A good Doctor knows that sometimes all a scared little boy with a machete cut needs is some time, gentle words, and of course a lollipop always helps!
A early morning gate knock announced that a baby was about to be born. We hauled out of bed and scurried down to clinic. About an hour later, a baby girl was born. After checking the mom again, we discovered, much to our surprise that she had twins. We got ready for baby #2. Two hours later her contractions still hadn't started up again, we talked to our new DR, Dr Medor who started coming to work at clinic 3 days a week, and decided it’d be best if we transferred her. We headed out towards Fonde de blan thinking we'd have to do the 6 hour trip. Meanwhile Mis Dani talked to a Dr at Villa clinic an much to our surprise they told us they could take her in. So instead of a 6 hr trip it turned into a 3 hr trip. We sure weren’t going to complain about that. A few hours later we heard that baby #2 had safely arrived into this world. We had a lot to be thankful for.
This past weekend, we enjoyed Bryan and Ashley Beachy with their 4 children as they came and stayed with us for the weekend. Verlyn went back to the states for a week of visiting his family and a much deserved break. Saturday we took Bryan and his daughter Payton on a hiking trip to the waterfalls. Hiking with Bryan, we learned a lot about the plants an trees of Haiti as he has worked with agriculture here in Haiti for 12 years. Like always, it was great getting out and hiking thru these beautiful mountains. We even took a different trail coming back so we got to see different scenery. All the sore muscles the next day sure were worth it all.
We are so happy about having Dadou here for domestic help. So far none of us nurses have complained about handing all the cooking over to her. It leaves our afternoon more open to going out and visiting people or emergencies. Plus Dadou's cooking is hard to beat.
Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord that walketh in his way ~Psalms 128:1~
We've been called all of the above, but the last one came as an unexpected surprise. Life here in the Aleg mountains is never boring, especially now as we are short staffed. And it seems like the less people around to handle all the problems, the more of such we get. Austin and Emma left in January, Lorrayne left in March, just after Gloria came back from Furlough. We have one of the Haitian nurses staying with us overnight so we have more human power to stretch around. In the middle of all this craziness, we had a gate knock one afternoon. It was a neighbor with a message. We need to go visit Little Emma. She's very sick.
Cody, Daniella, and I jumped on a machine and drove to the foot of the trail leading to Emma's little mountain home. We found her daughter Abigial sitting outside in the dirt, and beside her was the tiny human Emma. She could barely lift her head, and her body had shriveled down to what I guessed was approximately 80 pounds. A neighbor man offered to help us carry her down the mountain since the trail was very slippery from recent rain, and he proceeded to pick her up and sling her painfully skinny body over his shoulder and walk effortlessly down the mountain. I brought Aby, dodging the puddles and sometimes grabbing onto vines to steady us. At clinic Emma requested to speak to Fre Noes, since she felt like she was close to dying. We drove crazily and snatched Fre Noas from his beanfields. And faced another dilemma. He refused to go anywhere in his muddy clothes! So we backed up to his house, and told him to hurry. Two minutes later he came back out, shirt tails still flapping as he unknowingly buttoned his shirt wrong, unbuttoned twice, only to proceed to do it wrong again. After praying with Emma, we took decided to keep Abigail at our house while we transported Emma to another hospital.
Aby flourished, packing as much food as she possibly could into her stomach, till we had to remove food so she wouldn't eat herself sick. She had gone hungry to many times and now ate everything I'm sight. She gained a few pounds and her skin healed up from her scabies, while her legs gained a delicious plumpness, even as she became more active. She struggled with sleeping at night, so we took turns keeping her so no one would get to sleep deprived.
Poor Aby was also introduced to various parenting techniques as we were thrown into the roles of 3 first time moms and 2 dads. Things became interesting after I offered a significant prize to Gloria if she could potty train her before she leaves. This manifested in howls from the bathroom as Aby became used to perching on the toilet, and once in awhile puddles would appear on the floor unexpectedly, but 2 weeks on and Baby Aby was in fact, almost potty trained.
Emma missed Aby terribly, so one weekend we packed up and drove the 3 hours to the hospital. She was overjoyed to see her little girl, and she was definitely getting better. They were able to spend almost an hour together.
We still have Aby here, as long as we can if it doesn't interfere with our clinic work. We have someone who cares for her while we're busy, and so far it is working out! She brings us so much joy.
This finds us in just the start of rainy season here in Haiti and also the start of a new year. We all hope it's a better year for Haiti. This last year was not a easy one for a lot of people.
Some more changes have happened since we wrote last time . On Sunday we said goodbye to our temporary administrators Austin and Emma Hartzler. It was hard to see them go but I am really thankful for the 5 month they stayed here with us. Also thankful for all they did for us during this hard time don't know what we would have done without them. God knew we needed them. Now we are looking forward to having our new administrators (James and Autumn Erdley) here Lord willing in a couple of weeks.
December 17th we had our Christmas staff fèt (party). We had lots of good food that our Haitian cook, Jetta, made. Took, reminisced over the last years event, had a moment of silence for Trent, staff pics, and had lots of fun. Then we closed clinic for 3 weeks and starting CLEANING! We got the whole clinic cleaned in a record of 2 days. We also did a lot of general clean up around the compound here, things that had gotten neglected this past year.
The 23rd we went to Ti Goave for another Christmas party hosted by Pastor Levy. We went earlier in the day to get some shopping done at market before we went to the party. Pastor and Madam Levy escorted Lorrayne, Emily and I in his car, a very exciting thing since its been at least 5 months since any of us had a ride in a car! The party was formal, decorated with reds and greens with a balloon backdrop and string lights. Tables lined the interior of the rented hotel party room, but even the decorations couldn't compare to the party goers who came- decked in their finest Christmas clothes! We stayed at Pastor's house for the night and headed back up the mountain early the next day.
On Christmas day we delivered a baby girl, Cody and Austin made brunch, we exchanged gifts and then in the evening we went to a double wedding at church. We came back late and had our Christmas supper.
The last couple days of the year of 2021 we spend on the little island called Ile a Vache. It was a great get away. a time to relax and digest all that had happened in this past year. We also did some exploring on the island, visited their market and beautiful beaches. The island was a 20 minute boat ride from Les Cayes-that is if the ocean is calm. Unfortunately the day we came back it was a windy day and it took us 45 min to get to Cayes.
The rest of our days off we did a lot of visiting friends, studying creole, more deep house cleaning, etc. It was nice to have the break but we were all happy to jump back into clinic life again.
The first 2 days of clinic were crazy busy. Right now there is a bad fever an cold bug going around. I declare there isn't one house hold in these mountains that doesn't have a sick family member in it.
We all are excited for this new year, please pray for us as we jump head first into 2022.
Thing's to pray for .
• Austin and Emma as they go back to the states an get back into the groove of American life.
•James and Autumn as they prepare to come here.
• Us youth as we serve here without any administrators for a couple weeks.
• New birthing Center project.
• upcoming staff replacement, a guy for clinic and a girl for domestics until May.