Sunday, December 20, 2015

Kòmanse Holidays

Snow gently falling, Christmas music softly playing, wrapped up in a blanket beside the fireplace  sipping a hot cup of cocoa, reading a capturing story.. All the things this time of year reminds me of.

Excitement is in the air as Christmas is drawing near. People are running 'hither and yon' to gather all the things they need for this gathering or that get together. The 'hustle and busle' of shopping, Christmas baking, wrapping presents, etc.. 

Memorable times singing Christmas carols to local shut ins. Going from house to house as the snow crunches with each step and your breath stops in midair, rosy cheeks and frozen fingers. The smiles on each one's face as we leave. 

Family times.. moms traditional Christmas dinner.. Dad's after eights.. Games.. Sledding.. Skating..Singing, and all the things we do this time of year. I am going to miss them all!

In Haiti, it is a different sense of excitement in the air. I know we all would love to spend Christmas at home with family and friends but, we have a new family to make many memories with. 

Singing Christmas carols under the palm trees, enjoying the ocean breeze, and  sharing memories from home.

We plan to close the clinic for a little over 2 weeks. It will give us all a chance to catch our breath and do some other things. We have many exciting things planned for the next several weeks largely including, scrubbing the clinic from top to bottom, sorting, organizing etc.. 

Clinic has slowed down the last few weeks. We have been seeing less people resulting in smaller clinic days. However, one thing I have noticed that doesn't change much is the amount of women on the prenatal program. 

I have taken over the prenatal program which, Mali had been running. We follow the mothers until delivery, teaching them good nutrition and supporting them throughout their pregnancy.  On average, I have been seeing 40-50 women a week. Thankfully, we only deliver a small percentage of the babies at the clinic. We try to encourage the mothers to have their babies at home.

                           Prenatal Class
We have many happy times but, some sad as well. This past weekend one night, we had two births. Thanks, to Mali, Kindra, and Kayla they delivered them both so some of us could get a little shut eye. 

In the past month, we have had 2 still births which is a sad time. Recently, I also had a mother whom I couldn't find the baby's heart beat. We sent her out to get induced. These are the times when it hurts to be a nurse. The woman cried when we told her we believe her baby is dead. The next day she returned before heading to town. As soon as she saw me, she started crying. After a hug, she was ready to head out and face what was ahead of her.

The joyous times are when a mother returns who you took out for an emergency C-section. The last we had heard was the the baby wasn't doing well. She walked into the clinic a few weeks later holding a healthy baby. 

The miracles that God shows us through these experiences. Today a woman who had went through a traumatic birth returned with her healthy baby. It was through tears of joy that I reunited with her. It is only because of God that her and her baby are alive. A miracle completely out of human control! 

The past two weeks it seems that we have had multiple stitch jobs. It seems that things like that come in batches. Some stitch jobs are fun while others are a little more wearing, especially when it is a child.  

Brandon, did a great job on his first stitch job

The one evening recently, I had a two year old come in who had dropped a heavy object on their foot, puncturing between the great and second toe. It was all I could do to start that stitch job. I think that all those involved where thankful when the child fell asleep.

I hope this gives you a little insight into what is happening at the clinic these days!

May your hearts be filled with the love of Christ, as you share Christ's love with those you meet this Christmas Season. 

Blessings to you all, 
~ Alyssa 

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Risk of Love

I never wanted to be a nurse.  And I never wanted to go to Haiti. 

Then, through a funny little turn of events, I ended up on a two week church-rebuilding project in - you guessed it - Haiti. 

I ended up falling in love with Haiti.  The people, the country, the beauty that was so unexpected, the food.  I wasn't ready to leave when our time was up, and couldn't wait to come back.

Through another chain of events, I ended up going to nursing school in preparation of coming down to work as a nurse here at the clinic a little less than four years after that first visit. 

Nothing, however, prepared me for what it is actually like to serve as a nurse/mother/midwife/counselor/pharmacist/doctor/sister here. 

Some days?  It hurts.

Like, physical ACHING.  When you hear how the friend/patient that you've spent months working with and just hiked over the mountain to visit passed away, the fact that you've known for months that there was nothing you could do to make him well does nothing to help dull the pain.  We went to his funeral, and when we walked into the room where his widow was, she started wailing.

"Mis Kindra.  Mis Kindra.  I lost him.  I lost him.  You went through all that misery with him for nothing.  We lost him.  He's not here."

My tears mixed with hers as I wrapped my arms around her.  I found their ten year old daughter up on the hill with tears streaming down her face, her uncle beside her.  The five year old sat on her grandpa's lap, looking slightly confused about everything. 

He was only thirty-eight.  Owned a beautiful little house in a really pretty little area of a lovely country.  Had a good wife and two perfect little girls.  Three brothers and two sisters.  Was Fre Jack's son-in-law, bless his heart. 

Amontil was my friend.  He stayed at his sister-in-law's place for a while during part of his illness, and I'd often drop by to see how he was doing.  He was often in pain, but was always so patient and sweet.  That last time we visited him, he told us that some people say that he was becoming discouraged, but that it's not true.  He looked me in the eye and told me that he was going to leave his girls when they were young. 

He passed away the next evening. 

See, we're not just here to make diagnoses and hand out medicine, though that it is a large part of our job.  We're here to be an extension of Christ to those who need him.  To be the hands and feet of the One who created ours.  To serve. 

Even when our feet hurt, and we don't feel like getting our hands dirty.  Even when our own hearts are breaking as we try to deal with our own problems in our own lives, and it feels like if we try to feel another's pain it will most likely end up being the straw that broke the camel's back.  But God didn't place us here as his representatives only when we feel like being so. 

Our lives don't revolve around our feelings, and neither should our actions and reactions.  Jesus wept for his friends, so why should we think that we shouldn't have to face that pain?

Besides, when you do find yourself willing to embrace the hurting people around you, you get to share in not only their heartaches, but their joys and happiness as well.  You become, in some small way, a part of their lives, and they a part of yours.  That willingness may lead to pain and/or rejection, but it's worth the risk when you can shine some light into an otherwise dark corner, or feel yourself make a connection across the barriers of culture and languages.

I remember reading a story called The Perfect Heart many years ago, and it's stuck with me all these years, so I thought I'd give y'all the link to a copy of it that I found here.  It's worth the click and the read.

Life here has been slowing down a tiny bit as we get into December.  In the month of November, we saw over 1,900 patients, and they kept us hopping.  But we're hoping that we'll continue to slow down as we near our Christmas vacation (which is starting next Wednesday!!! *happy dance*).  

A few random shots from the last month...the fellow on the bottom right,
by the way, is grinning for a picture that I was supposed to be
 sending my mom, his "mother-in-law". 😉
Anyway, hope y'all had a blessed Monday, and that you have a wonderful remainder of the week. 

Keep the faith, and hold your light high as you shine in your corner of the world. 


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Soldiers in Training

You may have started to wonder if we still exist having no blogging activity. Blogging in one of those things that has been in the back of my mind, but I always seemed to find other things to do;). I almost decided not to blog after I realized we have some recent blogs. But.. here we go.. 

The past few months have been a whirl wind of events. I can't pinpoint one particular happening that I want to share with you. 

Several thoughts that have been twirling through my mind the past couple weeks are being soldiers for Christ. God doesn't promise peace and calmness but, brings trials along in our lives. God wants us to be soldiers for Him.  A quote from The Christian Daily Challenge devotional "He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs." Sometimes it is easy to question what God takes us through. However, I always realize that God knows what He is doing. 

The last several weeks have been very busy. We had long clinic days. Many hard decisions to make, some long exhausting cases, but God has been very good. He has given the grace and strength that we have needed. He also brought trials into our lives that have been trying and painful. Through it all God has been strong, showing who is in control. We have seen life and death. Close death experiences, joyful experiences and much more. 

The tests come when you have multiple patients needing a nurse. Haitians are as human as Americans/Canadians ;) thinking that their illness/injury is the worst. It is an emergency, we need to be seen first. Patiently, you tell them to wait their turn. By 1:00 pm, my patience starts wearing thin when I have to tell someone for the umpteenth time to wait patiently a nurse will be coming. 

I always love the patients who come in for consults complaining of everything that could possibly be wrong. We try to discern what the underlying problem is. I have concluded for some, it is needing love and a listening ear. Time after time they will return for 'randevous' with different complaints. However, in the end they feel better because someone listened and they have more medicine:). These are the times I have to remind myself 'What Would Jesus Do?'   

Outside the clinic are continual needs that need to be met, some physical but, many spiritual. The devil likes to try and make us think the battle is impossible. However, we continue fighting knowing that God is stronger. We try to be little lights to the surrounding community knowing that the evil one is busy. He is ruining young girls lives, tearing marriages apart, and planting seeds of deceit in many a young man's heart.

With clinic slowing down again, it gives us time to go visit people. It is especially enjoyable to go visit patients who have stayed at the hospital. It is always rewarding to see how they have improved since they left the hospital. It brings a connection when you can sit down and visit with people within their environment. 

A task for everyone to do.....

Fre Adolph

Mis Kayla

Mis Kindra

Mis Whitney

Mis Marquis

Mis Mali

God has called us all to be soldiers for Him. He never starts us out in the battle, but prepares us for the fire. When He sends us into the battles He expects us to fully depend on Him. God is training us in Haiti to be soldiers for Him. Continue to pray for the work in Haiti and each one on the field. Thanks for your support. 

~ Alyssa 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On the First Day of December

An assortment of thoughts tumble like snowflakes into my mind, settling into somewhat heavy drifts that I find myself obliged to scoop away to avoid an otherwise threatening brain freeze.

So what are these thoughts?

Well again, like snow, they are hard to separate "flake from flake", but the accumulative formation, or information, of them can be quite overwhelming even to myself sometimes.  

Believe it or not, we've had some days here recently that have been rainy and cold enough to make it easy to imagine some snow might fall next!  So I'll try to scoop some out, and hope that there's not too much mud and gravel mixed in for you to enjoy.  

And I think to myself... (Quoting a song) it IS a wonderful world, but I STILL. MUST. BLOG.  It's now been two full months since I did last.
It crosses my mind that maybe l should make a New Year's resolution to blog more, but then I remember that that's kind of pointless, 'cause Lord-willing I'll be leaving early next month.  

That means I'll really only be here for a few more work weeks.  I'm going home.  Back to the home I left 2 1/2 years ago, when Haiti first began claim the description of home.  

I can't imagine what it will be like.  I dread the first morning of waking up and realizing how far away from Haiti I'll be, and how different life will be, but then I get so excited wondering what life will be like living with my family again.   

Seems like just when the weight of those uncertain emotions start piling up on my heart, the wind of excitement catches them all and blows them at least to the side, clearing a path to walk again.  

Mixed emotions.  Bittersweet.   I find myself reaching for those words a lot. 
Life is a constant change of scenes and seasons.  God was wise for assuring us that He never changes.  Even earthly love of friends and family can't keep life from changing.  It can endure, but it is never capable of overruling time and defying change.

New babies are still being born, old people are still dying, even babies are dying...   And the cycle of life goes on.  Sometimes I wish to understand what it is that keeps it all going on in its endless tides.  

Even in a single day, we sleep, we get up, we eat, we brush our teeth, we wear our clothes, we wash them, we work, and we get tired and dirty, we eat again, we shower, we brush our teeth again, we sleep again...  

And it goes in endless circles in my mind.   But life is not endless.  Neither does it go in circles.  
I often wake up asking myself the question, "What is the purpose of this new day?"   "Where is it going to go?"

Even life itself can seem like vanity sometimes.  So what is it that gives it purpose and meaning?  Of course we all have the book answer; to glorify God.  But I'm not claiming to have it perfectly understood personally and practically applied in my own life.  I am learning though.

Sometimes I learn very slowly.  Or maybe I should reword that and say sometimes I learn fast.  But life is a journey, and journeys take time.   

I'm afraid this is looking more like a blizzard of thoughts by now.   And I feel like I've slid off the road.  I hope I haven't lost you.   'Cause this was s'posed to be a clinic update.    I'm getting there.  

It's hard to know what to write about when there's been so much that's happened in the last two months, but maybe I can remember some of the more major things...

October was high speed busy from start to finish!  Besides being one of the busiest months of the year here as far as the number of patients per day, we also had quite a few other cases that ended in bouncy trips out to town.  

 Like the lady that came who was in labor but who didn't seem to be progressing.  We started feeling like something was wrong, and Hans, Alyssa, and I hit the trail with her.  By the time we got to the Ti Goave hospital, we were very relieved to find a very capable doctor on call who determined the baby was in distress and was able to to an emergency c-section.  That was an answer to prayer!

A few days later, we had two unrelated broken femur cases arrive in the same day, which was a very unusual occurrence!  The amazing part was being able to successfully fly both of them out on the helicopter!

Towards the end of the month, Ewald Marten, the German dentist, came back and spent another two weeks crammed full of pulling and filling teeth in the small dentist room set up in the back room at clinic.

Our new nurse, Kayla Kauffman, also arrived at the same time, as well as her sister Katie Jo, my brother Aaron and sister Chloe, who all did a lot to help assist Ewald in his two-week dental project.  It was all wonderful.  Just terribly busy, even more so for Mali, who was the header-upper of the whole project!

And then it was November first before we knew it!  The busy-ness let up some in comparison to October, but I think it's the second busiest month of the year.  Both months were stretching and demanding in many ways.  Our medicine supply probably suffered the most stretching, as it was under the most demand.  Yes, that was a challenging time, but God supplied the need.  We certainly don't take having enough meds on hand for granted!

One of the more major things that happened was Dr. Sutherland coming from TN for a weekend to do various surgeries in our clinic!  It was a huge blessing to be able to provide a new level of medical help to a number of people who had waited a long time! 

And last but not least in number, was births.  Lots of them.  Some perfectly smooth, some very scary and difficult.  One stillbirth.  But God was there every time, answering our prayers, giving us the wisdom we needed, and teaching us lessons we hope never to forget.

Dealing with deaths and near death experiences definitely has a way of putting life into perspective.  My small griefs shrink to take their proper place in the broader scope of life when I share in someone else's griefs.

One of the stunning views we enjoyed up at Don and Carole's place for Thanksgiving...

We got word today that Kin's grandma passed away.  We hurt for her.  And we hurt to think of saying goodbye to her, as she prays about when to go home, but of those changes that's out of our control.  

Patrik and his physical therapist, Kin.

Please keep the mission in your prayers!   The spiritual and emotional strain each of us face in our personal lives can often weary us long before the physical demands can.  We sense the battles, often we find ourselves smack in the middle of them, feeling too weak to gruel through another fight.  But we're never left hopelessly without help.  God is always there, and the battle belongs to Him!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

As most of you must have noticed,I am not an avid blogger. It doesn't help that I have tried blogging  for a nearly a week and the internet is too slow. So here is my final attempt to blog about our 10 day dentist clinic experiance.I wrote one blog and lost it so now I wont be writing much...I will show you pictures and leave the rest to your vivid imaginations.😊

Mr.Ewald...ready to start a new day. We usually started at 8:30 am and finished anywhere from 7 to 10:30pm.

Brandon and Aaron assisting need to be quick and precise with the patience to stand still. (Even tho you are in totally uncomfortable position. :-)  
 Ewald,filling a tooth. The finished product,a work of art.
 Is that a look of triumph in Han's eyes??

 All from from one patient?? Yep....major teeth extractions going on. I always have to smile when those patients sit up after it's all over.First thing is to stuff their ears with cotton balls to ensure health and protection from who-knows-what.Next is too hug the dentist....something most dentists rarely get.:-)

 If you notice the angle of the tooth in the upper left xray. ...yah, our hearts sank when the picture apeared on the screen. It was successfully  extracted after hard work on Ewald's part and prayers by the team.
 Notice that light shining out of her eyes???Her dentist might be German, but smiles and eyes alight are international  languages.😆

Needless to  say after ten long stretching days and short nights we were all tired and worn out. But happy.. 
A heartfelt Thankyou extended to all who donated towards making this possible. The xray machine was a dream come true....saved us from alot of 'tèt chajé'. Thankyou.
Sometimes it can feel as if we can bless such a small portion of aching humanity. The  world is throbbing with pain. the center of God's will is  perfect peace. He guides our hands and hearts. May His glory spread over all the earth.
Mis Mali

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Full Days, Full Moons, and Full Hearts

If you are one of those people that scoff at the notion that there are more births around full moon, then please disregard my belief in said notion as the result of too many nights with lost sleep due to too many births around full moon.

We have had a rush of births in the last week, whatever the reason.  We had two births here yesterday.  And there is a woman sitting out in the crowd out front that believes she is in the beginning stages of labor as I write.

Yesterday's first birth story actually began the day before yesterday.  A small crowd surrounding a woman with a protruding abdomen came up to the clinic gate just as Whit, Hans, and I were leaving to go home from taking care of a small boy that appeared to be having an allergic reaction.  We checked her to see how far along she was, and, since she wasn't very far along, settled her in for the night with instructions to call us if anything happened in the night.

We awoke to a knock at four o'clock, and were told that she was "decomposing", or passing out, and they wanted to know if we could come check on her.  We hurried down to the clinic, only to find her nearly asleep.  We went ahead and checked her since we were here anyway, and found her to be progressing nicely.  It was her first baby, so we told her to try to get some rest since she would need her strength later.

Mali ran back down to check on her when they came back and knocked again at six-thirty.  She called me on the radio shortly after to let me know that she thought that I should come down too, since it looked like this baby was going to be coming soon.  I jogged down a few minutes later to find that the baby was, indeed, very close.

When the baby was still just "very close" some time later, we made a call back to the house to ask everyone to pray for the woman, the baby, and two nurses who felt a need for additional wisdom.

We tried just about everything in the book - literally.  Duck-walking, normal walking, laying down, sitting up, standing up - we'd have got her on her head if we would have had any reason to believe that that could help.  Our concern grew as time went by.

Donny called on the radio to see how things were going, and I told him that we were discussing the possibility of sending her out.  He said to just let him know when we made a decision, and that they were praying for us.  I had no sooner than got off the radio when I looked up and saw an angel standing there looking at me.

This particular angel's face was very familiar to me, as was his name.

"Michael!  Oh, I am SO happy to see you, what are you doing here?  You wanna help us?  Can you look at someone for us?  What are you DOING here?  Mali, it's MICHAEL!  Oh, we are SO happy to see you.  Can you come in here for a minute??  There's a lady here in labor, andshesbeennearlycrowningforalongtimeandwerestartingtogetworriedandwewerejusttalkingaboutsendingheroutbutthebabysheartbeathasbeenfineandwerejustnotquitesurewhatweshouldobecausewejustkeepthinkingthatshesprobablygoingtohaveitanytime...."

See, I know that he was a gift that was heaven-sent, because he managed to not only follow all that was spilling out of my mouth, but to keep a smile on his face through it all.  Michael, if you're reading this, you'll never know how reassuring your presence was that morning.  Really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Long, stressful story short, a little boy was finally born.  Tears sprang to both Mali and my eyes as we heard him let out his first yell.  Our praises to God for a healthy baby were cut off by the sight of a MUCH larger amount of blood than you're supposed to see outside the body, and were replaced by desperate pleas for the bleeding to stop.

Praise the Lord, it did finally stop.  We got the mother settled in her bed with her small, cone-headed son, and went out to get our clinic day started just about the time that Fre Norès was finishing up devotions with the crowd out front.


It seems like I can never finish up my blogs the same evening that I started them.  This was a post that I started last Tuesday, and now I suppose I can tell you "the rest of the story".

We kept this mother here so that we could keep an eye on her for at least a few days, and eventually ended up sending her out for a blood transfusion.

The lady who thought that she was in labor on Tuesday morning finally had her baby this (Sunday) morning.  A healthy, if rather angry, little baby boy.  Mali and I both chuckled over the way he would scowl at me, and he was letting out warrior cries from the moment he entered the world.  Guess he thought he'd better make sure that we knew who was boss from the get-go.

In other news, Ewald was back doing his thing with teeth again for the past two weeks.  His work is really worthy of a post dedicated to just that, so I think I'll leave that to someone else.  Suffice it to say that there was incredible work done in that time, and an incredible amount of it. 

With the additional dentistry patients, our little clinic sometimes felt like it was straining at the seams to hold everyone, and there were some very long days put in by those assisting in the dentist's affairs.

Full days.  Full of high blood pressures, belly aches, fevers, headaches, and blood.  Full of shared laughter, tears, jokes, encouragement, and prayers.  Full of good things, and some not-so-good things.

Full hearts.  Full of love and pain; joy and sorrow.

Full of life.  And wonder of a God who is good.  Who has bestowed us each moment and each person in our lives.  When you work with the dying, you learn to appreciate life in new ways.  You learn to recognize that every breath is a gift, not a promise. 

So make the most of the time you have been gifted.  Hug your mom, and tell her how much she means to you.  Thank your dad for all that he has sacrificed for you.  Bless those that have blessed you.  Make a coffee date with that friend that you've been wanting to share with.

Leave no regrets.

Glorify God.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


This morning I checked the calendar  to see who was on call. Realization struck that maybe I should consider blogging again.  All day I have been scratching my brain for an inspiration but, it has been slow in coming. We have had busy clinic days. I should have lots to write about but, it seems the days are starting to run together in my mind. 

The thought I have been pondering the last few days is sharing God's love even when it seems inconvenient for us. Many times a day I am disrupted of a task at hand due to another patient or someone needing something. At times, it can feel discouraging. I begin to think I would be more efficient if I could complete a task without interruptions. I have my schedule and need to get x,y, and z done before the day is over. I want to help people BUT  it needs to work into my schedule or not? 

The question I have to ask myself is what am I here for? Did I come to Haiti and expect to work 7-3 and go home and relax? Did I come here for vacation expecting I could get all the sleep I wanted? ( not that I don't wish nights wouldn't be interrupted at times :)) Did I come here expecting I could help people when I had time? 

The last few weeks have been filled with long clinic days. Most times whatever we had planned for the afternoon didn't happen. People we wanted to go visit had to wait until another day.Plans got changed complex situations arise at the most inconvenient times or so it seems? People need to be transferred out.( Side note the one day we had two air transfers, maybe someone else will update you on that.) It may mean a trip out to town after a long day with a labouring woman. Maybe it means being late for a birthday party because a patient needs help or leaving the birthday party early because a patient has come to the clinic in need of help. 

It may be the small things that are almost unseen and yet disrupt my plans. It may be an IV catheter has come out and we have to restart it. The patient is hard to stick and we are tired. A knock on the gate just when we are ready for supper. We have to wait until the needs of that person are met so we can eat. It may be someone who needs something and it is pouring rain. Why did they come to the gate while it is raining? Could they have not waited until after it stopped?
My schedule during clinic hours may be disrupted. I am trying to complete a task but, someone else needs help. These people need to be controlled. A lost dossier needs to be found. The pharmacy needs milk from the depot. A box of protein is needed from the house. An IV needs to be changed and the day keeps going. At times I ask myself what have I done today?

The more I ponder this question the more I realize it isn't about what is convenient for me it is about meeting the needs of others. I can have all these excuses that make sense in my mind why it is inconvenient. However, does God look at my pleas/needs as inconvenient? I hope not. How much more I want to be willing to show Christ to these people even though it may be out of my schedule or interrupt my task at hand.

A few recent pics from clinic...

A little boy on the malnutrition program 

A little girl with Kwashiokor 

A 7 day old baby with meningitis 

Thanks for your continued prayers and support!
                                                                         ~ Alyssa 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Day of Rest (or not)

Sunday morning.  A time to sleep in a bit, drink coffee, leisure in the knowledge that today is a day for rest...spend a little extra time reading your bible and praying, eat a good breakfast - maybe just spend a little time on the swing reveling in the beauty of the morning.

That's what I think a Sunday morning OUGHT to look like.  My morning didn't exactly go as I had planned it out in my head this morning.

I woke up around seven thirty to a knock on the gate.  When I saw what time it was, I assumed it was the boys bringing the soup that Pastor's mother-in-law sends for him (and us) every Sunday.  I closed my eyes and willed someone else to please answer it so I wouldn't have to wake the child sleeping next to me up.  Thankfully Janell did just that, and quiet reigned for all of two minutes.  Then Judnay decided to wake up and declare his hunger for eggs, so the two of us tottered out to the kitchen to round up some coffee and food. 

This is where Janell found us when she returned from the gate a few minutes later, with news of a lady in labor who was being brought in on a cot.  I turned the egg-making over to her capable care, and headed down to clinic.

On the way down, a friend of mine asked if it was possible that we could give his sister a ride home from the clinic that morning, to which I replied I would ask Hans about it.  Upon my arrival, I found not one, not two - but THREE woi-ing women.  The one who had just arrived was still on her cot outside the door, since our beds inside were full.  I called her in to see how far she was progressed, while I grabbed a radio to talk to Hans.  It was her first baby, and she'd only been in labor since the night before, so it wasn't surprising to me to find that she was barely dilated.  I sent her out to walk around outside, while I went to tell the family of the stroke patient occupying one of our beds (my friend's sister) that Hans had agreed to take her.

Preparing her and her meds to leave took up the next little bit, and Hans arrived shortly after to transport her on the Husky.  I waved goodbye to them, as I called the next laboring woman in to check her. 

She had been here since the night before, but hadn't been very far along then.  I found her much closer when I checked her now, and made a mental note to keep a close eye on her, while I went to check on the next woi-ing lady.

She was actually only seven months along, but had come in for diarrhea that was threatening to send her into premature labour.

One of our resident bandage patients, St. Luke, showed up at some point in here, ready for his daily bandage change.  And it was also at some point in here that Hans called on the radio to alert me to a young guy he had passed on the trail that was "kinda bloody looking with something wrapped around his head." 

I called Alyssa to ask her if she would mind coming down to bandage St. Luke, and she showed up shortly to help out.  She had no sooner than walked in it seemed, when I heard voices outside.  I figured it was the boy that Hans was talking about, so I headed out to see how bad it was.  He was out there, sitting with something (I think it was a shirt) wrapped around his head.  However, he wasn't the only bloody person out there.  Another young boy from the area here had slipped when feeding his animals that morning, and sliced his ankle.  I gave the one that didn't look as bad some gauze to cover the cut, while I called the one with the head wound in to check it out. 

Upon inspection, I decided it definitely warranted stitching, and since Alyssa finished her first bandage job about now, she offered to do it while I went to start an IV on the lady threatening to miscarry. 

On the way there, I radioed Whit to ask her if she wouldn't mind popping in for a bit too, to which she replied that she'd be there in a minute.  I started the IV on my lady, while she went to start one on the lady that was close to having a baby.  I finished mine, and gave her a round of meds that was supposed to be followed by a second round fifteen minutes later.  By this time, I felt like I should probably be in the room with my other laboring woman, so I asked Alyssa, who was finishing up her stitch job, if she could give her her meds when my timer went off, since I figured I'd still be in coaching this lady. 

It had just a hair over twelve minutes left. 

Whit was finishing up this IV when I came in to check her again, and I found her ready to have her baby.  I explained this to the woman, but she told me that she felt like she was too tired.  I encouraged her to try, since I felt like if she would just give a few good pushes she could just have this baby, and, with her next contraction, she did just that.  And, to the surprise of everyone - including us two nurses - she really DID just have her baby right then. 

A little boy - a fact that his father couldn't stop grinning about.  They had a girl already, and had been wishing for a little boy.  We were cleaning up afterward when I heard my timer going off in the other room.  My head whipped around in surprise, as my eyes met Alyssa's equally surprised ones.  Funny, sometimes, how much can happen in such a short time. 

Well, this is a post that I started Sunday evening and fell asleep before I finished.  A lot more has happened since - David left on Monday, along with Judnay, who they dropped off at his new home at IFM.  We sent the girl threatening to miscarry out to Petit Goave with them as well, and last I heard, they were considering giving her something to "make her have the baby".  Whit, Alyssa, and Hans also made a run out to town with the other girl that had come in Sunday morning, where they did an emergency cessarian.

We've been busy the last couple weeks.  Fre Adolph told me the other day that the reason we've been having so many people at clinic is because people are getting done with their bean harvest, and they now have a little time and money, so they're all coming to the clinic now.  That, coupled with the fact that we're short one nurse since Mali is back in Canada spending two weeks with her family right now, has kept us hopping.

As always, please remember to keep us and the people here in your prayers.  I can't tell you how much they really do mean to us. 

'Till next time!


Oh, and for anyone who was paying enough attention to realize that I forgot to tell you what happened with the poor fellow I had left sitting outside with a gauze on his foot - Hans bandaged it when he got back from taking the stroke patient home.  So no worries, he's not still sitting down there waiting for me to come. :o)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Creepy, Crawly creatures

..... and smelly wounds. This is what Mali and our crew were greeted with several days ago. Fre Noras came to the clinic Monday morning very disturbed about a little old man he had went to visit on the weekend. He described to us how he had worms crawling out of his wound. That very afternoon Brandon, Mali, Judith ( Mali's sister, our domestic girl while Janell is on furlough) and myself along with Fre Noras made a visit. We did not know what to expect when we arrived. 

We were greeted by a friendly old man who welcomed the sight of nurses. 

Mali and I donned on masks and gloves then set to work. The growth was crawling with creatures. It was unrecognizable as part of the human body. We worked diligently to pick each little creature from its home. Thanks to our additional staff who held bags, handed us supplies, and played music to calm the environment. It was hot and sweaty the smell was beyond description. Mali and I plugged away. It seemed like a never ending task as we kept finding more and more maggots. 

We finally concluded to tie the growth off again and see if it will fall off. We scrounged up what we had "IV tubbing" making a tight knot. I left with mixed feelings hoping the treatment would be effect. What more can we do? 

A few days later, found a second group of us back to visit. This time Hans, Fre Noras, Whit, and I came to checkout the progress. It had not changed much. Defiantly, less maggots but something needed to be done. We decided to start debriding  the dead tissue. Whit and I were pleased with every piece that disappeared. We cut it all off. It was a satisfying feeling to see live flesh. Mesi Bondye!! The dead ball of flesh was gone. How much better our little man will be able to survive. 

I had to think of my morning devotions doing everything cheerfully for the Lord. Many times we have tasks that may not be what we would choose. However, do everything cheerfully as unto the Lord! 

~ Alyssa 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Wrestling Match

...albeit not a very fair one, as it involved six people against one hip.  One very stubbornly dislocated hip that took all we had to put back in its rightful place!   

I'd seen this little old man carried in earlier in the morning to the clinic by a rather jolly looking younger fellow who placed him on the bench outside until his number was called.  I thought he must be really weak if he had to be carried in, but I didn't think he looked sick, so I let him wait and kept on working.  "Probably has diarrhea." I thought to myself. 

But that wasn't the case.  By and by he got called in and one of the Haitian nurses consulting him soon called me into her room to help decide what to do with him.  They said a tree had fallen on him six days earlier, but they hadn't been able to find a way to get him to the clinic any sooner.  

We knew that it'd be much harder to relocate a dislocation after so many days had passed, but we decided to give it our best shot!  The alternative would be a very painful ride out to town where they'd have to try the same thing or he'd likely never walk well or at all again. 

We knew we'd need some muscles for this job!  Hans, Brandon, and David were called and soon showed up.  Alyssa, Kin, myself, and the guys all got into position and we started the wrestle. 

I couldn't help but think of the account in Genesis of the angel that wrestled with Jacob and dislocated his hip with one touch.   And the louder our little man yelled in distress, the more earnestly I prayed for God to touch his hip and put it back in place...

We pulled his leg (but this was no-joke! :-0) a few times, the sweat streaming down our faces, and tears down the face of the poor man.   But nothing seemed to change, except the increased discomfort of the man.  

Feeling a bit discouraged, we all took a break to re-decide what to do now.  Alyssa suggested trying just once more.  We all agreed, and found our positions again with renewed determination.

One, two, three... And again we all pushed and pulled, and again came the tears and entreaties to stop...   "Please, Lord, touch his hip!"  And...POP!   Most of us felt it.  Some of us even heard it.  But we all saw it was back in place!  Thank you Lord!
The man's cries changed immediately from pain to praise!  "It's unblocked, it's unblocked!"  He cried for joy, while we all did high fives!  

We kept him bed rest on plenty of pain pills and then sent him home on his own two feet a couple days later!  I love watching people heal!  It's a beautiful thing God does over and over here, and it amazes me every time!  He is good!

-Mis Whit

Friday, September 11, 2015

Broken Heads and Breaking Hearts

Once upon a time....a not-so-very-long time ago....last night, to be exact.  We were sharing a peaceful evening of counting pills around the table, when - in a rather non-peaceful manner - there was a knock at the gate. 

Somebody that was a relative of somebody else had gotten beat up by something somewhere.

Don't laugh.  And don't bother being exasperated by the complete lack of information in that sentence. 

Well, not a complete lack.  We knew somewhere in a general direction was a thirty year old female, who was somehow related to one of our neighbors. 

So Brandon (side note - my cousin arrived with me when I returned home from home ( side side note - I was home for two weeks to see my family and just returned on Monday) to replace David as the mechanic when David leaves next month - yay! - to my cousin coming, NOT David leaving), Mali, and I jumped on a machine to go pick up this wounded person.

We met a crowd on the trail, carrying a wounded person that Mali was quick to point out was NOT a female.  It was actually a young man that is this neighbor man's nephew.  While not someone that I really know at all, his face was familiar to me, since he lives not too far from here.

We loaded him up on our machine to carry him back to the clinic, along with the two rather ashamed shirtless men that had been his chief carriers.  They had apparently been bathing when they heard a cry for help and they didn't take the time to get fully clothed before running to his aid. 

Upon our arrival at the clinic, we were able to get our first good look at our patient.  A young, totally unconscious man, who - if you were to believe the local gossip - liked to fight. 

It would seem this evening's fight got a little out of hand, and that he may have picked a fight with the wrong guy, judging by the size of the lump on his head. 

We were in the midst of taking his blood pressure and doing a quick assessment, when he suddenly started seizing.  Mali and my eyes met, as we both wondered out loud if we should call Donny to ask him how he felt about us making an emergency run out to town. 

Donny said that he thought that that would be fine, if we thought it was the best call for our patient.  We agreed that we weren't comfortable keeping him at the clinic here, so Mali started in on a quick stitch job on the cuts on his head, while Brandon and I worked on getting everything else ready for a run out. 

Most of the rest of our crew showed up before she finished, and were there to see us off as we braved the mob outside the clinic.  Everybody pushed in to see the guy on the cot, and his MANY distressed family members all had opinions about who the two people allowed to ride along would be. 
As I squeezed my way through the crowd to climb on the machine, I saw one of the two men that had been carrying him off to my right (now shirted), raising his hand and saying, "Thank you, God".  I told him he should also tell the pushing crowd to step back a bit, to which he instantly responded by yelling instructions (COMPLETELY ignored) to the crowd to move back; after which he looked back at me, shrugged, and went back to thanking God.

We finally just cranked the machine up and started moving, and people slowly moved out of our way as we went.

Just as we were starting down the trail, our patient suddenly seized up again.  His father (and the rest of the relatives still pushing and pulling around our vehicle) thought that his son had died, and started up a death wail.  Mali, who was on the back of the machine, hollered at Brandon to "Go!", and we took off. 

Once we got far enough away to be out of reach of the crazed crowd, we paused long enough to ascertain that our patient was, in fact, NOT dead, reassure his father, wait for his cousin to show up with his father's phone, and secure the cot to the machine. 

From there we headed out for town in earnest, and made good time due to the completely - and somewhat eerily - empty trail.  We called the ambulance just before we reached town and asked them to meet us at the Ti Goave hospital to transfer him straight to Port. 

We arrived to find the ambulance waiting, and after a smooth and swift transfer, we found ourselves back on the trail for home.  We once again made good time and arrived home sometime after midnight, where we all made beelines for our waiting beds. 

We were on our way to the clinic this evening when we saw one of this young man's cousins on the road.  Mali asked him what he had heard about his cousin today, and he said that he had started talking, so we are thanking God for that. 

Oh, and what the fight was about?

A phone. 

Not a $500 smart phone.  No, not even that.

Just a cheap, tiny little phone. 

Sometimes the absurdity of what the people that we risk our lives for risk THEIR lives for....just doesn't strike me as funny.  Mali and I were discussing it this evening and she made the comment that seeing these young guys get themselves in situations like this is heartbreaking.  And it is.

They have so much potential, and yet they choose to throw it all away for the whim of a moment, or in a sudden flash of anger. 

Please join us in praying for a revival in these mountains - that our small community here could be a beacon of light, piercing the darkness around us and proclaiming Christ to everyone who sees it. 

That when they see us, they would not just see blans; but that they could see the light and love of our heavenly Father shining in and through us.  Because THAT'S what we're here for. 

For HIS glory.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Still Small Voice

Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). The crashing thunder, the stars in the evening sky, the creeping caterpillar, are all signs of God's creation. He has created these for His glory and honour but do I take the time to stop and enjoy it? Do I stop and listen to what God is saying through His creation. 
Today during clinic, I was thinking of how God speaks in a still small voice. Is it through the small boy who comes in with blood pouring down his tear stained face? A little, boy who needed a hug before I started his bandage change. When I finished the bandage change, he gave me a much-needed hug in return. 
Nene after his bandage 

What is God telling me through the little grandma who came in nearly fainting. She was very weak due to not eating recently. She has no one to take care of her and can barely provide for herself. I examined her and found nothing medically wrong. I gave her two protein shakes and let her sleep. When she awoke, she bounced off her bed with new energy. She wanted to talk to anyone around. She was seeking company and one who would listen. Even though I could not understand nearly everything she had to say, I listened to her stories. When she had finished, I gave her a few things and sent her home.
The little grandma 

A few hours later, I returned to the clinic to check on a few patients. I was surprised to find the little grandma back again but this time curled up on the floor beside her now occupied bed. She awoke. I asked if she was planning to go home. She told me she would leave after she had a little sleep. Since it was getting late to send her home, we made her little bed. My heart longed for her to have company and someone who would take care of her.

God also shows us His care by answering prayer. LW Clerment the little boy I mentioned in a previous post will be meeting with the Cardiac Team next week. Thanks for your prayers and continue to pray that he can receive help.  

Thanks for your support to the work in Haiti. 

P.S. This is a little glimpse into clinic life through my inspiration. Maybe someone else will be inspired to share more soon :)

Update from Marla

This post is written by Marla, almost a month ago and I made a mistake and didn’t get it posted. I’m sorry. Enjoy her words almost a month l...