Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas! And Other Miracles

Merry Christmas!!!
  Merry Christmas! We had a beautiful day for a party today. We threw our cultural qualms aside, and invited all of our clinic staff over for a Haitian/American meal. It was sunny and funny. We tried to sing a couple Christmas songs, and ended up relying quite a bit on the piano for the harmony, because the Haitians here in the hills are quite accepting of one part choruses. Of course, Haitians love little speeches, so we stood up and thanked everyone, and clapped, and remembered how special everyone is to us. Doctor Felix reminded us to look for our reward in Heaven, not here on earth, or in dollars and gouddes.

  Oh, yeah, and the gifts! Hats for the men, and scrubs for the girls...In the photo below, Doctor Mainviel won the fight for the only tiny baby present, Mis Leda's newborn.

      So many good and bad things have been happening, I don't know where to start. One morning we woke up to hear that the neighbor, Joatase had passed away. She is a mother of two beautiful children, and a long-standing friend of ours. We walked around dazed and weepy, wondering if Joatase was in heaven. Her mom had been tying charms on her body as her weakness became worse, but we were shocked that death came and claimed her now, at age 25. We had put her on IV numerous times during her pregnancy since the end of last year, and had sent her out to town for various blood tests. All her tests came back clear, but we continued to treat her malnutrition, and visited her in her house frequently. So, now,she is dead, and there are two lovely babies, needing to be loved. Needing a safe place to grow up, away from their Grandma, who is not a Christian...Ouch, and Sigh. Prayer. Tear drop again. And, I can't help but wonder is Jesus wiping a tear today, too?
    That same morning another patient came with an unusual sickness, which we felt was a pretty obvious curse, not a physical illness. It was dragging us down, unconsciously. I told the girls, "I just feel like we need a miracle from God to lift us up again. We know that God is in control, but death and spiritual defeat in too many people can make us feel like there is nothing at all that we do that is helping anyone."
    God sent us that miracle the next day!
    But in a little side-note here, I must insert a quick thanks to Paul Van Hemel, and his friends, Tim, and Lamothe. They brought us Peanut M&M' last Saturday.....and little toy ambulances to hand out to our children at clinic. I have to say that they both are wonderful. I am eating M&M's right now, and wanting to yell," It's Christmas!"
    And. They brought two medals to hang around our necks on days when we need a lift. They say WINNER on the strings. We have been having fun throwing them on our fellow nurses to make them smile.
     So, when we got home after the miracle...Kindra greeted Marcile and I by throwing the medals around our necks...
     Now for the miracle story. Marcile and I were gauging the progress of a birth Thursday morning. It was the mom's first pregnancy, and she had been married for five years. She seemed to be extremely popular in the community. For three hours, even if we did augment her labor, no progress was made in the extraction of the baby. Some of our Haitian staff came and prayed with us, but we still felt we were close enough to losing the baby, that we better hit the trail. The whole clinic was kind of a mess as we pulled out with a popular lady, strung up on IV, and in active labor.
    After we had bounced on the trail for about 10 minutes, we asked Hans to pull off the trail to re-arrange the lady, and make her comfortable. About that very minute, the baby seemed to be unlocked from it's shoulder dystocia, or whatever the hold-up was, and that little girl swooped into the world.
     One wonderful Haitian, who works for our former Doctor, Michael Rudolph, walked up right then and offered to drive our machine into the safety of their property. From then on, he proceeded to get us a bucket of water, string up a blanket in the tree, and be an angelic presence.
     Before long, we were able to stabilize the mom from her traumatic delivery, swaddle the baby in a hunk of blue cloths, and bounce down the trail to the hospital.
    I have never had such a dynamic return from an emergency. Patients and staff alike yelling,"Praise the Lord! Look at the miracle! God is great!" It was such an assurance of God's work again. Our clinic was basically rocking with joy. We just walked around smiling.
     We still have to smile when we think of it. I echo the words of Fre Nores, "Be careful. This is God's clinic! If you are going to come here, we are going to be praying."
     Merry Christmas to everyone! God is so wonderful! Love to you all, Rhoda

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

High Speed Delivery and Other Random Stuff

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to try out my recently purchased, old, large, Yamaha dirt bike on a "quick" run out the trail to Ti Goave. We had some lab results that needed picked up as well as a stool sample that needed taken in for testing for one of our patients. Before putting it in my backpack I made sure that it was triple bagged on top of the plastic container itself, I may be overly paranoid about such things but I've had bad experiences in the past.  I made it out the trail to Ti Goave in about 50 minutes and ran the necessary errands without a hitch. While fueling up at the gas station before heading up the trail I noted heavy rainclouds enveloping the tops of the mountains I was about to ascend. I tried to tell myself that somehow I would miss it if I hurried but about 15 minutes up the trail torrents of rain began to fall. Since I had papers and a computer in my backpack I wasn't too excited about getting it soaked so I ducked into a little tarp covered food stand along the road to wait the rain out. The friendly little lady that ran the stand graciously allowed me to crouch inside and even offered me a plastic bag to keep the paperwork in my backpack dry. 20 minutes later the rain had slacked off to a drizzle and I took off up the trail again to find that the surface had become slicker than grease. My admiration for the Haitian motorcycle taxi drivers grew by leaps and bounds as I watched them calmly continue driving with up to three passengers on their small motorcycles through mudholes and swollen streams while I was barely being able to stay upright on mine. Nevertheless, I do believe that I provided tremendous entertainment  for the pedestrians along the road.
  There have been some very encouraging things happening at the clinic this past while, like the boy who had been brought in several months ago with a major  abdominal/ bowel perforation and since then had been staying in the hospital up until 2 1/2 weeks ago when we sent him home. In the two months he was at our  clinic he changed from a demanding and contrary and unpleasant smelling rack of skin and bones whom the doctors hardly had any hope for to a healthy and filled out looking comedian who has basically adopted himself into the family and calls me his dad since I have been his primary caretaker since I arrived in Haiti. The abscess behind his umbilicus is hardly causing any problems any more but we're still somewhat concerned about what caused his problems in the first place.  
my self-proclaimed son and I

  Last night after supper Kindra, Rhoda and I walked down to the clinic to check on several patients that are staying in the hospital room. As we got near the front gate we could hear something that sounded like a woman in labour coming from the little outbuilding up the hill from the clinic where patients sometimes stay. I had no idea anyone was staying up there but Rhoda remembered that Whitney had let a full term pregnant mother who had walked a long way to the clinic by herself stay the night though she hadn't been in labour at that time. Anyway, the nurses hurried up to the little shed to check out what was going on and as soon as Rhoda went in and took a quick look she said something about thinking the lady was almost ready and she and Kindra took off for the main clinic building to get the birthing supplies. As soon as they had left I heard a little more commotion inside and decided to see what was going on. I took a quick look inside and saw that the baby's head had already delivered and desperately hollered after the retreating nurses that the baby was already coming out. Kindra came running back and we hurriedly tried to don our gloves in the dark since this little room has no electric lights but before we got them on a healthy little baby girl slithered out onto the floor and began to yell. Rhoda soon returned with the supplies and I headed to the clinic to find some towels. Everything happened in a matter of about 2 minutes.  After Kindra had the baby all wrapped up in a blanket and the mother had been brought down to the hospital room to spend the night we could hardly stop laughing our heads off at the irony of it all. The mother was laughing and talking and in a great mood immediately after the delivery as if she did stuff like that every day. It was the first delivery I've ever been present at and it was about the funniest experience I've had so far in the medical field.
  Please continue to pray for the nurses and all the staff here as people keep bringing patients to the clinic that seem to be under some sort of spiritual/demonic oppression and apparently have nothing medically wrong with them which makes these cases very difficult to deal with. These cases are unlike anything I have ever seen in the states but I really don't have time to write any specifics tonight.

 God is still conquering!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Thousand Words

-that's what they say a picture is worth.  So I figure that by the time you've viewed all the pictures that I'm including in this post, you'll have heard something like three thousand-five hundred words about our day.  Plus the minimal amount I intend to type in addition to that.

Our consultation rooms stay full, as our little clinic stretches to hold all the nurses and patients.  

Precious little babies, in desperate need of love that they're not getting.  Our young neighbor boy, who works for the local witch doctor. Coffee for weary minds; and candy, an oft-prescribed medicine for our young patients' trials.  Wilfred and his Bible story book.  The usual mass of people attempting to get their prescriptions to the front of the line.  Clipboards hanging neatly on the wall.  Patients lined not-so-neatly up on the bench.  Inspiration in the form of the written word.  


A single day. 

Our day. 

Sincerely, Kindra

Monday, December 1, 2014

Do Angels Make Ginger Tea?

    There are certain things that break your heart. One is Kinsley. Partly because he's angelicaly cute, and partly because he's sick, but mostly because his mommy just walked off on him. Then, when Kinsley yells my name from beside the road, and runs into my arms like a little fuzz ball, nothing but saying that I am allowed to adopt him will make me happy. Unless his mom comes back.
    And then there are the spiritual battles. This month has had more of them.
    Our last birth was Saturday night. The labor lasted Saturday night, all night long and into Sunday. The mom, Monique, would yell and throw her body around, at times lying on the floor for a while, or walking crazily outside like a maniac wind-up toy. Then she would call people on the phone and yell and say she was dying. Nothing seemed to be abnormal in her progress and labor, except that it was slow.
    The dad of the baby had never witnessed a birth before, even though it was this lady's seventh child. It was the first child with this new, frenzied husband. He was very stressed out, and would stand beside the wall and cry with his hands raised helplessly. Then they would call the one child in to stand beside the mom. It only added to the stress, as the little girl was not emotionally able to cope with seeing her parents so worked up in the middle of a sleepless night. She would cry loudly along with them.
   Marcile and I were trying to sing, even if our colds and tiredness made our voices sound rather crackly and ancient. We attempted to get the dad and child to go sleep, but that didn't work too well, as it only made the mom fuss and yell out to them, and ask why they left her alone like that.
    By about four o'clock in the morning we were getting very physically and emotionally drained. Before long, neighbors that she had called, began to show up and scold her for being so ridiculous. She calmed down one notch, and then, flew back into another fit, telling us she was dying once more.
    Janelle was trying to keep us inspired with coffee and drinks. She was so encouraging and calming, and we were so glad she was there to pray along with us, as we realized that this baby was at the mercy of a mother who had an evil spirit on her.
    By about 9:00 in the morning, the mother began having more serious cases of spiritual attacks. Her labor would stop and she would be unresponsive as her whole body convulsed. We began to fear for the life of the baby.
   Then the aunt, who was a Christian, prayed in the name of Jesus for the  evil spirit to go out. We all joined in. She told us to drink some ginger tea, take a break, and eat some bread. We all were convinced that she was an angel. The love of Jesus in her life was such a contrast to our long night with the fear of the family all around us.
   Before long we called up to the church and asked for someone to come and pray. Instead, the whole church stood up and prayed. During that time she had a very productive contraction.
   We were very happy when a few girls from church came down and helped pray through the final contractions that it took to push the baby out. Praise the Lord! Marcile and I were shaking by this point. It was about 11:00, by now. So much relief, tiredness, and strain from the fight to bring this baby boy into the world washed over our bodies.
     So that whole scene pretty much broke our hearts. The joy of a new life, and then, to top it off, the mom wasn't even happy. She turned her back and laid the baby behind her on the bed.
     But we have some hope to give people like this. Both Kinsley and Monique can't resist the love of Jesus. It is the hope that could change their futures and give them a reason to live again.
    Thanks for praying, friends! Have a good week.
    Rhoda, for the whole Ahlege staff

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