Thursday, July 30, 2015

More Happenings

  Sunday evening, we mission staff planned to head up the mountain to Don Weavers place for supper. A man with a large cut on his chest requiring sutures arrived in a timely fashion just before we left. Donavan left with some of the staff leaving Kindra, Mali, David and I to come up on the other rig whenever Mali finished the stitch. Little did I know that it would be 8:30 p.m. by the time I was able to get to Don´s place and eat supper (we had meant to arrive at his place by 6:00).
  After Mali had sewn up the fellow and sent him on his way we left and headed up the mountain, about a 3 1/2 mile trip on the UTV. Before we got to Besace Donavan called and said that someone had been hurt at the soccer game that was going on close to Don Weaver´s place and told us we'd probably get flagged down by them when we came past. Sure enough, as we rounded a corner in the bumpy trail and the soccer field came into view we saw a LARGE crowd gathered on the road in front of us. It was unclear what was going on in the center of the crowd but it seemed like there was active treatment of something being performed there. I finally managed to get through the people enough to see that they had a young soccer player who was yelling his head off stretched out mid air between several of the others who were frantically washing his leg down with soap and water. After some coaxing they released him and let  him lay on the ground so we could check him out. He was complaining of severe pain in his left knee but there were no visible deformities or other signs of a fracture or dislocation. The crowd was so tight and loud we decided to take him back down to the clinic where we could hear ourselves think and give him some pain meds. Mali and I turned around and headed back down to the clinic with the boy and his brother leaving David and Kindra to walk the rest of the way to Don's.
  After we had put the chap in a bed, imobilized his leg and given him a shot for  pain we  headed back up the trail only to have the utv start sputtering about a mile and a half back up the mountain.  Thanks to my stupidity we were out of diesel! After some consultation by phone with Donavan I decided to turn around and coast back down to the mission to get fuel. Had an amazingly fast and quiet trip back down, poured a couple gallons of fuel in the tank, and after another trip up the hill, we finally arrived at Don Weavers place and got some food in our stomachs.
  Michael Rudolph has been coordinating surgical teams from the states for the past  several years and thanks to his efforts and the efforts of the surgeon and other medical  staff who came down to donate their  time, this past week we were able to get surgery done on 15 patients with inguinal hernias that have been coming to our clinic for help. Some of these people have suffered with severe hernias for years because even though the surgery is a relatively simple one that can be performed at many hospitals in Haiti, the costs of getting it done are far beyond what most of these folks are able to afford. The list of guys with hernias needing operations seems to grow longer every week so it was an incredible blessing to see these people finally being able to get help.  The hospital where the team was doing the surgeries was in the little community of La Colline, about an hour west of Ti Goave. Tuesday I took a load of 12 hernia patients along with the daughter of one of them who was to act as a care taker for the rest. It made a total of 14 people squeezed into the landcruiser. Very tight. But no one seemed to care since they were finally headed to get their problems fixed.

Some of the hernia fellows waiting at the door of the hospital to be told where to go after just after we arrived
Yes! yet another surgery being performed. This particular case was a massive hydrocele removal that I was privileged to be able to observe on.
  After we arrived at the hospital in la colline Michael sorted everyone out and I was able to hang out for a while in the operating room and watch the surgeries being done. A very fascinating and interesting operation. Today I took three more patients out and brought nine very happy post surgery patients back with me to ti goave.
Broken tombstones line a rocky gully. Death is an ever present part of daily life for most Haitians as witnessed by the many tombstones scattered through gardens and around houses.
   Somehow it seems from my experience that God has used my time here in Haiti more to train me and whittle off my bad spots than anything else. It seems that more often than not its the other folks here, Haitians and Americans both, who are showing me, most times involuntarily, how proud and unchristlike I am and how much I still need the grace of God in my life rather than me having all the answers for the people I came to minister to. Through all the stresses, discouragements and problems He always comes through. It still amazes me, but it shouldn't come as a surprise because hasn't he said "...I am with you always, even to the end of the age"? Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Just a Glimpse...

...of what's been going on recently.  And not so recently, as in since the last time we blogged!  :-0  :-)

Really not so much out of the ordinary has happened here the last while though.  Kin and I both went back to the States for a couple weeks mid June, leaving Hans, Mali, and Alyssa in charge of clinic.  I was back for my brother's and another friends' wedding, and Kin was back to give her mother a surprise welcome home after having been in Austria doing cancer treatment for several months!

I was extra excited about coming back this time, since I didn't have to come alone!  My little sis, Ataley, (who all the Haitians can't believe is bigger than her older sister;) came back to spend a few weeks with me!  

Last Friday she was Dr. Felix's assistant while he did a small surgery to remove a large cyst from a man's head.   

I know, it's kinda gross.  Maybe I should've added a disclaimer to this post.  :). But it was pretty neat to see that huge fatty blob of tissue removed!  :0 :)

We've had a steady number of births the last month too.  I think this was the first of three that our team has done the last couple weeks!   

Well I hope no one was hoping for a more exciting blog post, cause if you can't tell, my inspiration to write it hasn't just been bubbling over...

Maybe next time. ;)

One more thing...I know it sounds trite, but keep serving God wherever you are!  :). He is a GOOD and faithful God! 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Life through a Lens

Words fail for me to describe to you our life.
The swirl of color in our lives here is amazing! I hope that my camera lens can give you a small insight of our lives.

Hans working away on Fre Batel's abscess. Our dear old man has much to learn when it comes to patience. HE comes and plops down in the consultation room begging to be done 1st. We send him back outside to wait for Hans. And wouldn't you know but 3 minutes later he is back on the chair complaining about the long wait and how he NEEDS to be taken care of right away!!

What more could Kindra ask for on a Monday morning then a big tight hug from Madame Henri????

The Doc cheered up when he saw his steaming coffee and this bright wreath. Thanks Boukje!!

This is Evna...and yes she is as sweet as she looks. She had a severe case of Kwashikor. The 1st day she came in for a consultation she stole our hearts when she said," Mis, could you please make me all better? I really want to go back to school and feel good again!" I am sorry I don't have a picture of when she left but she looked amazing. Plumpy Nut ,lots vitamins ,and tender loving care....

KNOCK, Knock!!  Someone is hurt and needs a nurse.its 8:30 p.m. David, Hans and I run down to clinic. We bring the patient into the hospital and right away see his bloody bandage. My red flags went up when I saw him fishing around in his pocket . Is he going to take a finger tip outa there?? Sure enough he pulls  out the fingertip and wipes the dust off before he hands it to me. We all started laughing along with him.  And if anyone is wondering,No we did not re-attach it surgically.
This is my miracle boy....the picture you see below is 24 day old Job. He arrived at the clinic tiny and emaciated. He didn't cry. He just stared. With that glazed look. His little shrunken limbs jutted through his Pjs. I picked him up and I loved him. I wanted a beautiful miracle. Donny's had just left for home and we were overloaded with work. I knew that it would be nothing short of a miracle if he lived. After discussing things with the other nurses and promising to not loss sleep over him. I begin his re-feeding schedule. We prayed. His parents prayed. And God heard and gave us a miracle. He is the handsomest boy ever and yes he still brings tears to my eyes every time I see him. 

Job....24 days old

Fiana...cried pitifully and mumbled "Bonswa Mis Mamba."
'Good afternoon Mis Plumpy Nut...' another Kwashikor patient

When your garden is set on steep Haitian hillside loaded with rocks and you lose your footing...THIS is what happens!!!

Whitney and her adoring little Haitian patients. This man showers her (and us) with many gifts of yams, peanuts, bananas,sweet potatoes. 2 minutes of talking with him and you just have to smile. He nods and 'amens' everything you say.
Our 1st successful with Ayiti Air Ambulance. A 14 year old boy that got in a skirmish and someone chucked a large rock at his  head.
Makayla came down with her Daddy to greet everyone. This little girl followed her and Makayla kept saying "tute!!'Cute" until the she  reached for Makayla's candy..:)

                             I hope this gives you a brief glimpse of our life. Thankyou to all of you who pray for us and the Haitians. We need your prayers. Sometimes the weight of the responsibilities that we carry seem heavy but with God...Anything can be done. "Peace not the absence of affliction, but the presence of God. "
- for His Glory,
Mis Mali

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tears of Joy and Pain

Life comes with joys and sorrows, laughter and pain, life and death.. Many times we want to avoid the pain and sorrow and enjoy the happiness in life. However, it is the painful situations that make us more dependant on God and strengthen us. Through these times God can break us and mould us into something beautiful. 
The past 2 weeks have been filled with joys and sorrows. We have had several births which are joyous occasions for the most part. To be exact we had  4 in 29 hours which resulted in sleepless nights. It sure felt like we had a birthing centre thankfully it has subsided for the past few days. Two of the births coincided which was a lot of fun since both teams of nurses where at the clinic. Whit and I in the one room and Kindra and Mali in the other. We would keep checking on each other to see who was progressing the fastest good times.. 
The four of us nurses with our two babies! 
Other joys included, the smile on a patient's face when you tell them they can go home after being with us several weeks... The excited little boy with his glove balloon I gave him and many more. 
Sorrows also are a part of life but, many times hurt and tear us apart. The first incident was our neighbour man who died in the hospital after his health declined. This was hard for those involved. The second was a 2 week old baby who had not eaten in two weeks. Whit and I did all we could by inserting a NG and giving small frequent feeds.
Inserting the NG tube. 
 After supper, we did not feel comfortable leaving the baby at the clinic for the night. We decided to bring him up to the house. Not long after he peacefully slipped away. It was sad and beautiful at the same time to think of a innocent baby not having to experience all the pain and sorrow of living on this earth. While grieving the shock of the baby dying, I got a message from home that my grandma had passed away. Even though I was expecting the call I was very glad to have Whit with me when I got the message. It hurt so bad. How could this baby have slipped away and now my grandma? I loved them both so much. My heart hurt sleep did not come but I had much time to think and pray. God gave me a beautiful picture of my grandma holding the little baby Whit and I had tenderly cared for it gave me a special sense of peace. I was reassured with knowing that Grandma was safely home where she wanted to be. 
Through the pain God has shown himself strong. Walking to clinic yesterday morning I had to smile at the sight of the many people on the path. Arriving at clinic Fre' Noras asked why I was so happy and I didn't know what to say but, I knew that the joy in my heart is what can help me through the day. 
~ Alyssa 


Last Tuesday towards the end of our clinic day, a husband and wife came in carrying two week old twin boys, Mitchye and Senior (Seen-yo).

My heart cringed as I pulled the blanket back from Senior's face and saw what looked more like the aged and weary expression of an old man than a baby that should never yet have known a worry in the world!

They said his mom didn't have enough milk and that he hadn't been able to nurse.
We knew he was a critical case, but we still had a lot of hope for him after recently seeing another miracle survival case similar to his of a baby named Job who lived the first 21 days of his life without milk!

Alyssa got an NG feeding tube started right away and we began with a pediatric ors since he apparently had been fed next to nothing since he was born, and we knew he wouldn't be able to handle milk right away.  

He perked up almost immediately and started experimenting with his vocal abilities, not really crying, but just screeching in a very high pitch!  I've never heard a baby cry that sounded so much like a squeaker toy!  It was quite endearing, and Alyssa and I suddenly found ourselves loving this tiny little squeak! ;)

We convinced the mother to stay the night so we could continue his tube feedings and monitor him more closely.

That night we carried him home to spend the night with us so we could feed him every two hours.  We put a warming pad with plenty of blankets in the bottom of a small pink suitcase and made a bed for him there.

"I think if he makes it through tonight, he'll be ok.  And I think he will make it.  With the way he cried, I think he really wants to live!" I said.   After all, I thought, Job was worse and he lived!

About 10:30, soon after he had finished another ors feeding and we were preparing to leave him to sleep, Alyssa and I both noticed his ashen color.  I felt suddenly alarmed that he wasn't ok. 

"Alyssa! Is he...?  What's that on his clothes...?"
We crouched down closer to look, just in time to see the rest of his tiny liquid meal run from his mouth... 
He had just died.  

We stood in shock for a few minutes, not willing right at first to believe that he had actually died.  Our minds right away searched for anything that we maybe could have done differently that could've made him live.

But we had done everything in our power to do, and he still died.  It would be very hard to not believe in God, whose power is greater than ours, the one who gives life and the one who takes it away...

Hans fetched a little box from the depot for us and we used it for a coffin.   After all that, Alyssa and I sat down to watch the video I had taken of his cute little cry again.   

A couple short minutes later, Alyssa got word from home that her Grandma had just passed away.  She had been expecting that word for a few days, but it was still hard.

It didn't seem like coincidence that at almost the exact moment we watched little Senior slip away, her family was back home saying goodbye to her Grandma too. 

Her Grandma had loved babies and had had 15 of her own.  Alyssa mentioned how it felt a little like she was there for her Grandma's death by being here with Senior when they died so close to the same time...a bittersweet experience!  

It reminded me how much God cares about those small details of our lives!