Friday, November 18, 2022
Hello! My name is Loveda Lee, and I arrived here at GTH the middle of September to work in the clinic. I grew up in Ligonier, Indiana, but the past 7 years I've lived in Harrison, Arkansas, working as a CNA and Household Coordinator at Hillcrest Home. I enjoy working in the medical field, hanging out with friends, sewing, reading, being outside, and playing games.
I first heard of GTH 2 years ago when my brother Verlyn was asked to work here. I was privileged to visit twice in the time he was here and am growing to love this country and the people who live here. I'm excited to see what God has in store for me and for the mission in my time here.
Marla trained me in the pharmacy, and between filling out prescriptions, I've been working on updating Ti Kats (patient ID cards), prenatal forms, and miscellaneous other documents.
Occasionally there's a birth or emergency I get to help with. My very first day at clinic started at 7:30 with a gate knock. There was a small child at clinic whose aunt had brought her in for very labored breathing. After assessing her and preparing to transport her to a hospital, her situation suddenly worsened and within a few minutes she passed away. The following week I helped Dani deliver a healthy newborn in the morning. That night Clyde, Dani and I headed to Fond de Blanc with another lady in labor, but the baby was born and passed away before we got to the hospital. Life has so many uncertainties, but I'm so thankful to we can rely on a loving God who never changes. He is faithful, caring for our every need. Thank you for your prayer and support!
Dani and I with a newborn
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
October 4, 2022
Hello from the rolling mountains of Haiti! The last blog post I wrote was introducing myself and telling you a little about myself. Now I have lived in this beautiful but broken country for four months. I'll tell you a couple lessons I learned in my first four months here. One lesson is that we live in a broken world, and there is death and hurting all around us. I knew this, but it became so real as I worked with the sick and hurting here. Let me tell you a story that illustrates what I mean a little better. I am not a writer so bear with me...it was Monday evening, and Jacinda poked her head into my room and said there's a baby about to be born at clinic if I could go up and help. I crawled out of bed half waking up because I had been sleeping due to being up all night Sunday night on a transport. As I walked into the room, I heard moaning as she tried to deliver her baby. She was young...19 years old. I thought to myself... Wow! I could be the one having a baby! I'm almost the same age as she is. I grabbed gloves and started assisting Mis Simose. We helped the mom trying different positions and techniques but still no baby came. We laid our hands on the mom's stomach prayed for the baby, for God to be glorified, for the mom to have strength, and wisdom to know what to do next. As we all prayed out loud, the family also prayed and poured there hearts out to God. At that moment, I could feel God's presence, and I knew He was here with us. We decided to transport after no progress. Since I had went on a transport the night before, two of the other nurses and Clyde headed to Fond de Blanc. When they were about half way there, they could see the baby was coming soon. Thankfully, they were near a clinic in Villa. They drove there, and the baby was born as soon as they layed the mom on the bed. The baby had a weak heart beat but did breathe, so the doctors started CPR right away. The baby unfortunately did not make it, and they returned to the clinic, so the mom could recover. Another lesson I learned here is to focus on the joy of the little things. One day I did not have many patients, so I went and sat on a bench with a couple of parents waiting to be seen by one of the nurses. I started talking to a little girl who was approximately 3 years old, and she had the cutest smile! It made me realize that there is so many little moments of joy in each day that I take for granted by focusing on the hurt or problems that look so big to me but not to God. Bob Goff wrote, "When joy is a habit, love is a reflex" (Everybody Always by Bob Goff).
The day we accidentally matched
The little girl who brought me joy
This is a sunrise from that I took on a transport to Fond Des Blancs
The little girl who brought me joy
This is a sunrise from that I took on a transport to Fond Des Blancs
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
It was a fun light evening of sitting around boss' kitchen table playing beans, drinking tea an eating fiber balls. When 9:30 rolled around, we came up and crashed in our own beds; but then there was a gate knock. It sounded like a stitch job, so Mackenzie, Clyde and I went out and met the guy at the gate. He had a cut about an inch long on his cheek. Mackinze washed the wound while I gathered the stitching supplies. I numbed the wound with lidocaine and then put in the 3 small stitches. It looked good, and the black thread matched right into the guys wanna be beard. As we washed the bed and got the room looking tidy again, James brought in a patient having an asthma attack. He had taken the machine up to church and brought them down to clinic. Miss Leida was with them too.
The patient was breathing hard. It took all her energy to get a breath of air.
In a panic she grabbed her legs as she sat on the emergency bed while James held the nebulizer for her.
Wheezing hard as she gasped for air. We stayed with her giving her care till she was stable and then gave her a bed in the hospital room for the night telling Osley to come knock on the gate if her breathing got to hard again. It was fun to work with Miss Leida (she has worked at the clinic for the past 20 some years as a nurse)
Mackenzie assisted her, and I jotted down the vitals and time.
After we did everything we could, we waited until the medication started working. Miss Leida rubbed and patted the patient's back, singing and then praying for her making the emergency room into a worship center! At 12:30, we headed back home a little sleepy but the cool night air waking Mackenzie and I up again making us realize that we were both hungry so befor bed (and the long chat we had) we ate bread with some of Mackenzie's precious jam she got in the mail from family...
Though we slept the rest of the night away it felt too short, and 6:30 came too soon!
Sometimes I forget about life out side of our little compound that sits in between the valley of the mountains. For the twenty some weeks that I have been here so much has happened. The good and bad, the hard an rewarding, staff that came and went.
It's all a part of of life down here. But through it all we continue to see the faithfulness of God, prayers that are heard, and hearts that have been redeemed! Whatever happens next, we find peace in knowing that God is in control; and if we call on him, he will answer!
“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you. Isaiah 45:10
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.
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.
Please keep on praying for us! -Mis Emily
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
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!
Monday, June 6, 2022
"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!
Doing an ultrasound on a possible surgery patient
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