Saturday, March 28, 2015

Slippery Trails and Happy nurses

Wow, another week of Clinic is behind us! Having seen lots of different people and each one having a different story to tell, what should I really blog about was my question when I saw my name on the list for blogging today. I decided I'll tell you about visiting our one workers family.     On Thursday after Clinic was over for the day, Fré Adolf invited all of us nurses to his house for lunch, it had rained in the morning so we all knew that the trails could be slippery. But we also knew it would bless Adolf and his dear wife! So we quickly went back to the house and grabbed a few things then we where off, Fré Adolf was so pleased that we where actually coming. The trail was indeed slippery at place, but the view was awesome. I just had to think how Mighty a God we serve to create such beautiful mountains and valleys. After we arrived at their house we where served a soup, which was very delicious! 

We all where full by the time we had finished the soup, but we soon discovered that, the soup wasn't all they had made for us! Soon they served  us Rice, beans and sauce! Our visit soon had to come to an end as it was time for us to make the 20-25 min hike back home. 

Here is Kindra cleaning our blind neighbor mans foot, while he was enjoying listening to Music on her phone. He soon was humming along, as the tears ran down his checks! 

Mis Ellamae  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bad Brains and Broken Bones

  This has been an amazingly uneventful weekend considering how crazy last week and the weekend preceding it was. I believe God kindly answered our prayers for a little break from the more serious emergency cases that are brought into the clinic during off hours. The whole Saturday and Sunday not a single new patient was packed in on a cot.
  Friday the 20th I came back from buying beans in the local market to find a young man who had been staying at the clinic for a few days had just taken a turn for the worse. He seemed to be having complications of typhoid fever which had spiralled to the point of delirium and a severely altered mental status. The nurses felt like he really needed to be transferred out to town. Also waiting at the clinic was an elderly man who had apparently fractured both bones in his forearm. He kept up a cheerful attitude as I splinted his arm despite his obvious extreme pain. We made plans to transfer both of these patients to the hospital in Pètit Goâve as soon we could.
  After tying a tarp over the back of the utv because of the threatening  rain clouds we loaded both patients up with one family member apiece and proceeded to lurch down down the rocky trail. Upon arrival at the hospital both patients were checked in and an x-ray was ordered for the man with the broken arm. Of course we had to wait for the x-ray tech to show up from his house, but never mind that because the x-ray actually was completed successfully and revealed both the radius and ulna bones cleanly broken midshaft. Petit Goave doesn't have orthopedic capabilities most of the time so they sent for an ambulance to transfer him to Port au Prince. Let me clarify that the standard Haitian ambulance is little more than a Toyota landcruiser with a stretcher in the back and a chauffeur to drive it. A far cry from the advanced ER on wheels that I have been used to dealing with in the states. Anyway, I got the old fellow (still grinning from ear to ear despite his stressed out, worried looking wife ) sent on his way and was happy to receive a mostly unintelligible phone call from him the next day reporting that he was on his way home and had been taken care of. Its always a relief to find that a patient has actually been seen and cared for at a receiving hospital since so many times they never seem to find the help they need.
Last night a 24 week pregnant lady was brought in who was having a few contractions and seemed to be planning on delivering her baby prematurely. Thankfully after some medicine and a night of rest the crisis seemed to have passed.
  It is easy to start feeling depressed when one is surrounded by such a seemingly endless river of needs and requests. So much pain, sorrow, and heartache that people bring our way in the hope that we will be able to help cure it. It is a constant fight to keep in mind that God is still in control and has a plan for Haiti and the rest of the world. He has not left us alone though, and He sends us  reminders daily that he's still here by our side through whatever may come our way. He's still victorious!


Note: this post was written Monday night but due to technical difficulties was not posted till Thursday


Friday, March 20, 2015

Every Good Gift from God.  Every night of refreshing sleep, every strengthening meal, every encouraging song or word just when you need it... 

I've been more aware of those kinds of gifts recently.  Like this past Monday when Hans, Mali and Mis Joselaine were all gone, and we had an oversized crowd of patients at clinic. 

Kin was swamped with over 30 blood pressure patients, Mis Leda and Marquis faithfully consulted many new patients, Ellamae got pushed a little farther into several new bandage patients and jobs, and Lydia came down and very helpfully took care of all the vitals.  And then there were so many return patients with special appointments, and close to a dozen pregnant ladies!

I found myself almost literally running from one thing to the next.  Once on a trip to the depot to gather several different items, I walked in and found myself staring blankly at all the boxes, meds, and supplies in front of me.

"What did I come in here for?!?"  As I shuffled slowly past shelf after shelf, each forgotten necessity sprang back into my recoiling memory, and each time I grinned and sighed, "Thank you, Lord!"  

Simple things. Like remembering what you're looking for, finding what you need, (which might even be a certain Creole word), or getting to do a check up for a fat and happy baby that smiles at everything you say... They're all gifts. 

And while I'm talking about gifts, I should mention rain and relationships!   Not rain in relationships...:-o.  Though occasionally we do have our share of that, the reward of learning to work together in unity, communicating through misunderstandings, and being loved past our own faults, is definitely a gift I don't take for granted!  I'm sure thankful for our team!   And yes, we're very grateful for the much needed rain last night, even though we're all tromping around in muddy shoes!  :-)

I don't have many pictures right now, but it hardly seems right to post a blog without any!  So here...this was a machete wound that kept Kin and I home from church last Sunday!   The poor lady was chopping grass for her goat and chopped a little more than she planned...:-(

                  Before and after...

Oh boy, here I am again finishing a blog at 11:59pm!  But I noticed today that we missed blogging Wednesday cause Rho's name was still on schedule, so I thought I'd fill in since I felt in the mood to write.  Thank you all for your prayers!  Have a blessed night, or morning, or day, whenever you get this! :)


Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's Saturday!

It's Saturday. Maybe...just maybe...this one will be a quiet one. I had the pharmacy to get restocked before brunch, and I had it about half way finished when I walked out to see what was up with the moto that had just arrived. What I found was not very was a man who had been beaten up for cutting a lady's hand. He was unconscious,he had a head injury, and we knew right away that we couldn't help him here. We had to decide what we were going to do with him.  Hans called Haiti Air Ambulance to see if they would come pick him up, and they were very willing to come. We quickly made everything ready to transport him on the Husky to the soccer field where the helicopter was going to land. 

We arrived just before the helicopter did, but when we arrived, so did LOTS of people. It didn't take long for us to figure out that we had a problem---everyone that was showing up was very upset!  Upset that we were taking care of this man who in their minds is a criminal. We tried to keep everyone back, but more people kept coming. Soon the lady who had her hand cut showed up. 
The helicopter personnel soon told us that they couldn't take the man, for their own safety. We knew that we had to get going, too, for our own safety. 
 The lady's hand had a very nasty cut in it...all the fingers had been cut, and one finger was completely cut through the bone and only hanging on by the skin. After seeing Julian and Kindra off to Ti Goave with the patients, we had a time of prayer at the clinic, grateful for God's protection during a very stressful time.  

-Mis Ellamae 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pains and Praises

Sunday, March 8th~
We're exhausted.  After a few interrupted nights, the past few days (which have also been non-stop) have seemed to warp into weeks in our stretched minds and weary bodies.   They've been demanding and tiring for all of us.  

We've had a number of cholera patients the last week, more people on cots than usual, and a couple births in one night...  And things just keep happening.   I keep reminding myself, "One day at a time, one thing at a time."   

I'm sure my theology can be challenged, but I believe God does give us more than we ourselves can handle, but never more than his grace in us can endure.  And it seems that real weariness comes when we forget to seek and employ that grace.

I was sitting in church today, too tired to sing, so I put my head back, closed my eyes, and just listened, letting my mind wander over the past few days...

Lost in the current of my own swirling thoughts, I felt moderately interrupted and equally annoyed when a friend with arms aching from holding her sleeping child so long, came and plopped the child into my arms.  

I rebelled inside.  Doesn't she see how tired I am?  Does she just assume I'm always thrilled to hold her child?  I knew I had a bad attitude.  That got me thinking about being a servant.  A real, unselfish one.  

Really, you can serve people night and day and still be selfish.  You can selfishly want people to notice and credit you.  You can secretly admire your own abilities and then entertain feelings of self-worth, honor, and even pity, for all you do.  And you can quickly shift your focus from meeting the needs of others to sympathizing with your self for how much you have to give up.

I think that's the ditch I was finding myself in, sitting in church, thinking about how tired I was, and feeling like the world around me owed me something for it.  :/   I felt reproved in spirit, finding myself praying once again for a real servant's heart, one willing to let self die without demanding, expecting, or even hoping for a tombstone of honor or recognition...

Tue, March 10th~ 
What a day!  A very bittersweet one.  Our dear alto-singing, coffee-drinking Rho, heroic head nurse, faithful friend, inspiring example, selfless servant...and much more to those of us who have lived with her for the last 1 1/2 years (or at least a few good months for some:), has said goodbye to our Aylege Haiti team to go back to school in the States!   
(Rho with a goodbye gift from Donny and Thea, and a bow that we thought looked fitting;)

We got up at 3:30 this morning to say goodbye, shed our tears, and see her off.  Fre Nores was there too, seeing his wife off to town with Hans and Rho, and he asked if he could pray before they left.  

He seemed so much like a Papa right then, his own tender heart hurting to say goodbye, but strongly and so gently encouraging those of us left behind to dry our tears and take heart.   "Oh, it hurts!", he told me at clinic today.  "My heart is sad!" "Rhoda was such a good nurse!"

I thought I was done crying after we had slept a few more hours and got ready to face a new morning.
"Father, please give us an easier day, one without so many people!" was my prayer as I headed down the path to the clinic.

"Oh, thank you Lord!" I sighed gratefully, when I saw a very small, peaceful crowd waiting outside!   I noticed several times throughout the morning what a peaceful day it was, and I wondered if Rho had prayed for that.  :)   

Kin and I walked into her room at the clinic and found ourselves wiping a fresh falling of tears.   But they weren't just sad ones.  

I sensed such a comforting peace straight from God that gave me assurance that no matter what situations we find ourselves in, He's going to take care of us.  

"See?" I told Kin, "I asked God not to give us more than we could handle today, and he gave us about half as much as we'd been getting when Rho was here!  He knows I can't take as much!"  ;).  

It was a beautiful day.  Tomorrow might be different, but we don't have to fear or worry what might happen, because we trust in God to give us what we need, when we need it.  

Wed, March 11th~
Another beautiful spring day in Haiti!  Last night was the first in a long time that I got hot enough to throw back some covers!  It's amazing what a difference just a night or two of uninterrupted sleep can do to make the world feel like it's still spinning in the right direction!  :)

The crowd at clinic was very manageable again, for which I was again incredibly thankful for!  Especially since we've been getting through the last week with one or two of our Haitian nurses instead of three!  Today there were two, and it sure helped! 

We've seen some sad and sickening results of negligence lately: grossly wormy wounds, rotting flesh, reeking with such an overwhelming stench as to send your nare nerves into panicked shock ...
Despite the horrendous condition and smell, I had to laugh when I walked into the room and saw the mask that was creatively used to mercifully shield the dear old man's view as the Doc and Mali pulled out worms and cut off the flesh of his very neglected leg wound! 

But how we love toothpaste, and Kin's friend who shared the ingenious tip of putting a dab between two masks!  No matter how strong the opposing smells assailing, the toothpaste is an effective defense, a stomach-saving breath of fresh mint!  
I couldn't help but add a picture of this face behind the mask!  :)

Well, it's almost midnight, and I'd have long been in bed on time  if I hadn't decided to get my blog post done on schedule!  But such is life in Haiti...keeping one schedule usually upsets the next...;)

So goodnight!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"God did it", so we better would, too!

     Every bed had been full. Wow! We tried to still the panic in our hearts as the realization struck us. But God has been good. Other than throwing a mat on the floor, and losing sleep, it worked out! A few patients were able to leave exactly as we were needing more beds. We read this morning that God commands his loving kindness in the daytime. Can we believe that even when it feels like our plate is overfilled?!  Even if the medicines we wish for aren't available to us?
     We had two bed sore men who couldn't walk. That means that every day we get to clean those wounds out down to the bone...and then, we turn them, give them their medicines, shots, and new bandages. But the one is a Christian, and we became great friends!
      Friday we had a man return after about four months of negligence. He had healthy little maggots gobbling around on his rotting foot. Mali and Kindra and Doctor Felix put on some toothpaste masks and got busy scrubbing, rubbing, and cutting on that piece of meat. Unluckily the surrounding atmosphere had a somewhat foggy scent. And everybody was glad when the bandage was closed up and he could go sit outside. 
    Life is so full of change. The cholera epidemics keep coming and going. We have been obligated to use the "little house on the hill" as a place for their cots.  Hans jumped on his motorcycle and ran out to TiGoave this week to get some more intravenous fluids. He got back just in time. Our last bag of saline fluids was dripping into the veins of a patient when he returned. Please pray that the epidemic would stop. The Red Cross has been trying to get involved this year, and they have showed up several times to help provide buckets for clean water and education to the uneducated. 
    There are so many decisions to make each day in the clinic. Please pray for the nurses as they face life/death crises and need to reach conclusions fast when the options are few. I am leaving for the States tomorrow to follow more nursing education, and I feel my heart tearing apart. I worry about the nurses and staff. Their job is not easy. Their tears fall often. The much needed nights of sleep are never promised. The patient may never respect what they taught them. The gauze might run out when they most need it. Or weather and sickness might keep three of the workers home the same day...and it drains them. Please pray for them! Whitney is in charge. Kindra and Mali are her shoulders to lean on. And then EllaMae is in the pharmacy. 
     We were up to the big hospital in Mirebalais this week. Some of our patients got help. Some didn't. Please pray that Hans would be able to keep courage and spirit in that work. It is a draining drive, and results come slow. 
     I know that the Spirit of the Lord is here. The other day we were so blessed when we saw one patient buying food for another patient. "God did it," was her reply, as to what made her want to buy food for the boy in the hospital. 
    And one of our tuberculosis/malaria patients recommitted his life to the Lord. I wanted to chant my own little "Hallelujah Chorus" when I saw him stand up in church and give his testimony. I was ready to say, "God did it!" 
   On Sunday we clinic workers stood up and sang together one last time before we are separated. I felt like it was closure. Like it was sad. "But God did it",and everything is going to be all right. 
     A patient met us on the trail yesterday. "Thank-you, nurses. If it wouldn't be for you I would be dead."
     And our heart's reply? "God did it." It was a Saturday/Sunday case. We were tired, but God said, "Go."
     Is the God in us so strong that when our bones creak, we can still go out on the porch and spread love to someone because "God did it" for us? 
     Good-bye, Haiti! 
     And to my heroic siblings here, "God bless you. You are a mighty team, and I am extremely proud of you. Love you lots," RO

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Email updates

This update is a little out of the norm, but thought everyone that follows the blog would like this little bit of info!

In the past we used yahoo groups for our email updates. But beings we had some technical difficulties with that we have switched over to over service called "Mailchimp". That being said, if you would like email updates on the work in Haiti, please click the link below, and follow the intructions.

If you have a email only server, please send a request to be added to the list to,

God bless your day!


New Website/Blog!

 This Blog is being replaced!      We're Excited to announce that our new website has launched! The new website has a whole new blog bui...