Friday, April 24, 2015


... Of a busy Friday! 
If you stopped by to visit us today,  
You would've found lots of people waiting outside, and inside, and Frè Adolf finding dossiers and charting people's weights! 
Then Kindra busily working at getting the many blood pressure patients through, Dr Felix, Mis Leda, Mis Marquis, and Mis Whitney consultanting patients, then on to the pharmacy to find our Pharmacist Zita working hard to keep up to the many people.  I stopped in a couple times to help her, but I also had some bandage patients to do.
  The last while, our number of patients has been we had around 105 patients! 
I decided to added ramdom pictures of sad and happy faces! 
  I've called Haiti my home for the last almost 5 months, but now I plan on returning back to the states. My dear friends here are asking if I plan on coming back sometime soon, and I keep telling them "Bondye Konnen" God Knows! 
-Mis Ellamae

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Long Days, Little Nights

Sometimes it's not the roses you need to stop and smell, but the stories you need to stop and tell.  I'm just not sure where to start and where to stop, cause it seems like so far everything that started happening a few weeks ago hasn't really stopped in between one thing and the next. :)

I don't think I can adequately condense three intense weeks into one bounded blog post.  There's simply an overwhelming quantum of details surrounding every aspect of every experience to be able to thoroughly explain why we've all been such negligent bloggers lately! :)

I'm remembering Tonton, a young man who came in with severe malaria a few weeks ago who died in our hands, just seconds after Hans had gotten an IV started in him.   I think what made me cry the most was how his family was so accepting, telling us it wasn't our fault, and thanking us profusely for all we did, leaving us with a gift of bananas.

And then the very traumatic delivery we had the next day of a 16 year old's first baby after another nearly sleepless Rara-filled night, and just how gratefully I cried that afternoon that, weak as it was, the baby was finally born and lived!

There's been so many experiences like that.  But it's definitely not all been death and drama.  There've been lots of very enjoyable cases too, like stitch jobs- from chins to shins and everywhere inbetween!  After holding so many people still for us to stitch, and getting such a close up view of the whole process so many times, Julien took on the last stitch job and mended like a pro!  :)

We've also been dealing with cholera again the last few weeks.  Just a slow but steady trickle of patients that has kept us busy keeping up on changing IV bags, dumping buckets of wormy diarrhea and vomit, and spraying everything and everyone in sight with Clorox water!  

I vaguely remember hearing the disrupting beep of my alarm this morning and desperately tapping the snooze, picking right back up where I left off in the very strange dream I was having of treating some lady whose legs looked like fish scales and were completely rotting off.  

She was beyond treatment though, and next thing I knew, a policeman rushed in, urgently informing me that we must send her home immediately because she was a part of the FBI and for some reason it was dangerous for us to keep her cause there were people after her.  She was oddly well and with it for how sick she was, emphatically affirming that she was indeed some very dangerous person...

It seemed like only seconds later that my mind surfaced to a rather relieving reality when Kin and I heard Hans' voice outside our door informing us that another cholera patient had arrived at clinic.   At least we can deal with cholera patients and not have to worry about them being some dangerous wanted person that we need to send away! :P :)

Kin and I looked at each other very groggily and then doubled over laughing out of sheer fatigue.  We knew last night that we'd have to pay back this morning for our night.

We had gotten a very relentlessly urgent sounding knock on the gate a little past 1:00am.  As I ambled out there to investigate, they hurried me up calling, "Come faster, come faster!"  "We have a really sick person at the clinic with cholera, and he's not talking!"

By the way it sounded, I was sure whoever he was must be nearly dead, and I sprinted off to pound a rock on the tower outside Hans' second-story bedroom to wake him up, and then ran back to our house to get Kin.  

A few minutes later we arrived breathlessly at the the clinic to find a 22 year old guy who did indeed have cholera, but thankfully wasn't nearly as dead as we'd expected to find him! 

We were slightly disgruntled, but decided we'd rather them take it overly seriously and come beat our gate down in the middle of the night than to wait too long and come too late. :]

It didn't take us long to get an IV started and give meds, and we were all back in bed somewhere around 2:00am.  But Kin and I weren't exactly feeling sleepy after all the adrenaline from our early jog!  

We decided that since it seems we're too busy to talk during the days anymore, that we might as well get it in at night!  And we did.  :).   We talked and laughed til we cried, about everything.  Even what we would do if we got cholera and were the ones running like open faucets... :].   It was good to laugh.

Sometimes that's all you can do about the kinds of situations you find yourself in down here!  And after seeing so much diarrhea lately- or dire rears, as some around here refer to it, it's usually the first question out of our mouth for every sick person that comes through the clinic gate, as to whether or not they have it too.  ;]

Anyway, we did go back to sleep a little after 4:00am, and that's why we laughed so hard again when we heard we had another cholera patient this morning.  We were remembering our night, and wondering why in the world we ever stayed awake and talked!  

Thankfully we had an amazingly easy clinic day, and other than another cholera patient that arrived this evening, we had a very quiet, peaceful day with no emergencies!  I even snuck in a long nap, which is no doubt why I haven't fallen asleep yet.  :P.  But the nap is definitely wearing off, and I'm feeling very ready for another.  :). 

Thank you all for your prayers!  I often wonder on a day like today, when everything seemed almost strangely peaceful, who all is praying! :). Please pray that the cholera will end!  We heard today that the number of cases is on the rise right now, so we're trying to get a game plan in place should we need to deal with it in a more large-scale.

One random pic, Hans and Julien getting their hair done at a friends' house where we went for a meal after clinic the other day...:)

All for now...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Enter German dentist...Exit rotten teeth....

"Mis Mali....My head hurts, I can hardly sleep at night because my teeth hurt so bad." an old lady tells me as she stuffs more cotton balls into her ears. "Show me mami,"I smile at her as she opens her mouth as wide as possible and quickly reaches in with her not-so-clean- fingers to point out to me the one that hurts. All I can see a row of black stumps. I sigh..."If only I was a dentist "but I am not. So I grab my pen and quickly jot down and anti-inflammatory drug and tell her that I'm sorry but that's as much as I can do.
 This story is repeated many times over in a week. Some have large rotting abscesses, some can hardly chew their food, some have stumps that are ready to fall out.
  Rho had a patient that desperately needed a good dentist. Whitney has a pregnant lady that has a tooth abscess, Kindra has an old grandpa that has so many rotten teeth that we wonder how he can even chew anything. There has got to be someone who would help us out. I scratch my head trying to pull up a kind-hearted dentist. "Oh yah, that's the one." A German dentist that I met while I lived in S.A. I run home and talk to Donavan and Thea about him. Thus begin the long process of realizing one of my dreams.
  We( staff&Haitians) rejoiced when Ewald (the dentist) agreed to come down and work for 10 days. He sent down a wonderful dentist chair ( made in Germany):) to you Germans I congratulate your smarts when it comes to manufacturing portable dental chairs.:) I

Thankyou so much Ewald for buying this amazing dental equipment and to your church for praying and helping.
Ewald Martens and his daughter Debbie arrived on the 27th of March. All the way from clean, precise, Germany to the reckless, filthy, beautiful, scenic, hurting, land of Ayiti.
The Haitians were extremely happy to have a dentist. The lines waited, holding their cheeks and stuffing cotton swabs in their ears.(Don't ask why they put cotton swabs in their ears. Ewald was mystified by it and asked every one of them why they did and each one had a different answer.;)Hans assisted him in the morning and also David. I was amazed at how everyone pulled together to make this dream come true. A big thankyou to everyone involved. There was sterilizing every night, Kindra kindly did it for me as I came home from work at 10:30 pm and was too tired to stand. Janell who brought some yummy sandwiches down for Ewald and I. Julian who kept the power on and even assisted the dentist for a short time! Kara and Eugene for being patient and keeping the food warm on the stove for us. Whitney for releasing me to work in the afternoons. David for the coffee and chocolates:) Ellamae for helping the other nurses when I was too busy to leave the dentist. Donny and Thea for your very timely words of encouragement. Mesi Bondye.
After some hard work...these rotten teeth came out!! The patient smiles widely and reaches out to hug the dentist. Ewald claims he has never been hugged by a patient before. To all of you who hate dental thankful because w/o dentist you would be in the same shoes as these people!:)
After pulling out all the bad teeth..

Hans and Ewald at work!

Degage...Ewald learnt the meaning of this word in one day!! 
A work of art. A well made filling. A happy patient.

tools of the trade...these tools I'm sure felt
loved and needed like never before!
Ewald and I taking a 5 minute lunch break before calling in the next patient.

Estandy's beautiful smile after having filled
the black cavities that glared out between
his front teeth.


We were so excited when Hans pulled up on a motto
in PAP and had the dental unit all the way from
Doc. Ewald and the patients that were waiting for dental care. But it was 7:30 and
we needed to get our luggage packed. They were not too pleased but understood when they saw how
shaky his arm was getting from pulling too many teeth and at how tired I looked.
God has been incredibly good to us. A lot of Haitian's can now sleep well at night. The needs are great but we cant focus on that. As long as we keep helping the ones that we are able too.
"I will not change the world, Jesus will do that.
But,I can change the world for one person .
So I will keep loving that one person at a time."-Katie Davis
-Mis Mali

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Darkness Before Dawn

Breathe.  Just breathe.

That's what I kept telling myself yesterday morning.

My world felt as though it was tilting nearly out of control when I surveyed the large crowd that was waiting for us, with people everywhere reaching out to stop me as I walked by, as I tried desperately to shove my emotions about some news from home down, all the while fighting to function normally on much too little sleep.

I don't do well on too little sleep.

But let me go back to the beginning of the week, so that maybe you can understand where I'm coming from - or better yet, to last Saturday.

We were just leaving Port from picking up supplies for the dentist when Whitney got a phone call from Eugene.  A man had shown up needing a catheter put in.  Someone was found to do it, but Kara was needing to know where we keep the supplies for it.

During the process of calling and trying to follow the directions to the supplies, a girl showed up that was severely dehydrated and from what we were told, sounded like she had cholera.  And a very short time later, we were told that a woman in labor had also shown up.

We all took turns blaming ourselves for leaving as we flew down the road to Petit Goave, where Whit, Mali and I jumped on a small machine with Hans and hurried up the trail, while the rest of the group went on to market to finish our day out with the dentist.

Upon our arrival, we discovered that the lady was in fact pregnant with twins, and that the little girl, while she didn't have cholera, was in pretty bad shape.  After a brief discussion, we all agreed that we weren't comfortable keeping either of them here, and Hans went home to get the bobcat ready to go.

In the meantime, Mali and I got our people ready to go, since it was our turn for a birth and we were the two going with, while Whit worked on prescribing meds for a man with abdominal pain.

All of this was happening over Easter weekend, a time when voodooists all over Haiti celebrate the death of Jesus by participating in raras at all hours of the day and night (this is part of the reason we were all a little low on sleep).  Raras are....the epitome of evil.  Really.  This is supposed to be a family-friendly blog, so I won't go into any details, but suffice it to say, that there are many grossly horrible things that happen in raras.  Is it any wonder that it's hard to sleep when you know that people that you know are out there participating in them?

This particular evening's rara that was happening in front of the clinic was especially hard for me to bear, since there were a couple young men participating in it that we know pretty well from our mini cholera outbreak a while back.  Mali had talked with them about Christ before, and they always declared that they're going to come to church.  Seeing them dancing and chanting with the rest of the group...knowing that they were celebrating the death of a Saviour who came to die for THEM as well as me....wrenched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

When they were leaving, the older of the two walked over to the clinic and came to the window of the office where I was stamping transfer papers for our patients.  When I opened the window, he greeted me by calling me his sister, which he's done ever since I told him once that I only have one brother and he promptly adopted me and told me that I now have two.  When I only quietly replied with, "Bonswa, frè'm", he paused and studied for me for a bit, before asking what was the matter.  Since my tears were threatening to drip down my face by that time, I only choked out a nearly inaudible "Nothing" as I fled the room.

I can't explain the pain that comes from knowing that someone you genuinely care about is celebrating the death of the Someone who is the very reason that you're living.  It's a new kind of heartbreak for me.

I talked with him for a few minutes again before he left, and had so many things that I wanted to say to him about his need for a God big enough to love him in the midst of the evil he's involved in right now, but my traitorous throat closed and wouldn't allow me to say all that I wanted to.  We were also about ready to leave by this time, so I finally simply told him that I needed to go.  Please remember him and his family in your prayers.

Mali and I were discussing the incident after we hit the trail, as we braced ourselves on the back of the bobcat on either side of our laboring mother, while bouncing along.  We both agreed that there was a nearly overwhelming sense of darkness in the air, even though our path was being lit by a rather beautiful moon shining from a clear sky.

I felt a nearly desperate need for prayer, so I sent some of my family a message asking them to join us in praying for a safe trip out to town and back, and that both of our patients would make it out all right.  We knew we'd most likely be driving through more raras on the trail, and while people are usually pretty respectful when we are transferring patients, people that are both drunk and "deviled up" (as I heard someone once refer to the people in raras) are not always reasonable.

We came up to our first one that was spread across the trail, and as we called ahead that we were transferring a maladi and it was urgent, they slowly shifted to the side enough for us to squeeze by.  We no sooner than got partway through the crowd, than four or five of the guys started half-jogging behind us, yelling and looking at us with such hatred in their eyes...I told Mali later that the only time I've seen people here look that angry was that time up by the helicopter - but then it wasn't aimed at me personally.  As we were coming out of the crowd, Hans started speeding up and a couple guys suddenly decided to see if they could catch a ride on our machine with us, running after us and grabbing the tailgate to pull themselves up.  Mali promptly stomped on the fingers of the guy closest to her, who let out a rather sheepish laugh as he shook his stinging fingers.  The guy on my side didn't take his punishment quite so well though, and as he released his hold with the hand I stomped on, he raised his other hand and brought the rock that he was holding in it down on the tailgate in an attempt to hit my foot that I had braced there.  Thankfully, he almost entirely missed, and just barely brushed one of my toes.

Mali and I looked at each other with big eyes, and I couldn't help but say that I hoped we didn't bump into this particular group again on our way back up, since I wouldn't have put it past that young man to chuck a rock at my head if he saw me again.

Thankfully, we only had to drive through one more rara on the trail, which we passed without incident.

We arrived at the hospital in Petit Goave, where Mali and I took the woman back to the maternity ward while Hans went with the girl to Ti Goave's equivalent of an emergency room (hint: it's not like the ones you may or may not have seen).

In that whole hospital, there was not a single doctor.

The nurse back in the maternity ward did an ultrasound, and agreed with us that there was in fact two babies in there.  She also sweetly informed us that they couldn't deliver them since they didn't have a doctor.  We left the woman in her hands for a minute while we ran up to see what Hans had figured out about the girl.  They actually had an ambulance that was leaving right then to make a transfer to Port, and we were told that they could transfer the girl to Grand Goave's hospital if they wanted to ride along, so we decided to send them with the ambulance, then go back and pick the lady again to transfer her to a hospital in Leogane ourselves.

After a hurried switch of vehicles at Pastor's house, we were once again flying down the road, while the lady's woi-ing seemed to intensify every few minutes.  It was now sometime around eleven o'clock.

We passed a couple more raras on the road without event, and reached the hospital where we transferred our lady into the capable hands of the nurses there.

We now turned our tired bodies toward home again, and retraced our path back to Pastor's to reclaim our bobcat before heading back to the trail.  We paused at the bottom of the trail and turned the machine off so that we could say a prayer for our safety before coming back up, since we knew we no longer had the safety of being able to say that we were transferring a patient.

And, yet again, God proved himself a worker of miracles, because, at a time in the night when raras are usually more prevalent, the only one that we saw was already off the trail.  I glanced over my shoulder at the small group that was standing on a ridge overlooking the road just in time to see one of the shadowy figures hurl a rock in our direction - aimed at my head, I was sure. :o)

We had no sooner than got home, cleaned up, and fallen asleep it seemed than I was awoken by a knock on the gate.  I pried my eyes open enough to see Whit getting ready to leave and I rather groggily asked if she wanted me to go down to the clinic with her, but she told me to sleep and that she'd wake up Ellamae.

It wasn't until the next morning that I found out that that they had had a total of ten people come in with diarrhea between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Well, I had planned on giving a quick run-down on the last week when I started this post on Thursday evening, but since it's already rather lengthy, I don't really think that that is such a good idea.  I'm not sure, but Whit may still write a post to fill you in.

If she does, she can tell you about the sixteen month old who puked up seven worms, one of which was nearly ten inches long.  And the sixteen year old girl we did a paracentesis on Friday.  About the four separate runs that we've made to the hospital in Leogane in just over a week.  That I inserted my first IO on a little girl that was so dehydrated that her little veins just wouldn't stand up.  She could talk about all the beautiful work that Ewold was able to do for the teeth in this area whilst he was here.

She can tell you about how much we're missing Mali since she left with Ewold and his daughter Debbie on Thursday morning for a three week furlough.

She may NOT mention that my eldest sister just had a beautiful little baby girl named Makenna.  How completely sezi I was when I saw the message saying that she had had it while I was at clinic this afternoon.  How I danced down the trail showing every single person that I happened upon my new little niece's photo and nearly popping with pride as they all exclaimed over how pretty and big she was.  She really is quite perfect, just for the record. :o)

These last two weeks have been rather hectic and stressful.  We've had a lot going on at clinic, it's rained nearly every day, and the whole Easter thing is just...tiring, and on top of all that, stuff happening with my family back at home and not being able to be there with them.  Hans and I were talking this morning, about how crazy it's been, and how the last two days have been so much calmer and even somewhat sunny, and he mentioned how they say that it's always the "darkest before the dawn".

And we're praising the Lord for that dawn.

Well, I'm gonna wrap this rather lengthy epistle up now.  Thanks for the prayers, and for caring enough to make it all the way to the end of this post. ;o)

May each of you have a wonderfully peace-filled and inspiring Lord's day tomorrow, and God bless.


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...