Port au Prince

Port au Prince
"He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Psalm 40:2

Friday, August 26, 2016

Back home

After our adventure at the airport on Monday, we enjoyed another (unexpected) lovely night at the Morquette's home.  We were so grateful Mark was able to reach him and that he was able to come to the airport and rescue us!  The only person I felt bad for was the Morquette's housekeeper who had cleaned all of our rooms and washed our sheets (by hand) and there we were again!!  Of course she was gracious, as were Dr. Morquette and Junie and we truly enjoyed one more evening of their company.  Many of the team members reflected on how well we were taken care of during the "inconvenience" of the extra night, and expressed that others on the flight may not have had such resources available to them. 

Dr. Morquette told the taxi to be at his house at 6:30 am the next day to take us to the airport - and if he was late we would already be gone.  He wasn't kidding, that taxi driver was late, and we piled the entire team and all the luggage into Dr. Morquette's truck for what we hoped would be our final trip to the airport.  Mark and Danielle sat in the back with the luggage.  Pretty much everyone on the team wanted to ride in the back, but Mark and Danielle got there first.

 Don't they look happy? 

When we arrived at the airport a little before 7:00am, it was total chaos again at the Jet Blue counter.  The line was incredibly long and it was very noisy.  The only thing we could do was get in that line and wait... again!  A couple of hours and two more security lines later (including Danielle getting chosen for a thorough screening) there we were back on the plane and this time we took off and finally completed our direct flight to Boston.   So, here we are again in the land of air conditioning, seemingly unlimited clean water, air and every possible convenience at our finger tips.  My prayer is that we will never take these conveniences for granted, and will always remember that much of the world lives without even the basic necessities.

Au Revoir Haiti

I think I can speak for the team when I say we are happy to be back home, but a piece of our hearts will always be in Haiti with the children of King's Garden and the people we met at the mobile clinics.  It is a tough, wonderful, surprising, challenging, complicated, breathtaking country to visit - I learn so much every time I go.  I am already looking forward to the next trip, I have so much more to learn.


Monday, August 22, 2016

We'll try again tomorrow...

Today we were supposed to leave Haiti for Boston, but things didn't go as planned.  An altercation on the plane escalated and some unruly passangers had to be removed by security after making verbal threats to the flight attendants.  Then after that dust settled, the flight computer had to be rebooted so the pilots shut down the engines and restarted the plane.  Finally after 3 hours we were taxiing out to the runway when we were stopped because flight control informed the crew that they had now passed the point where they would be able to complete the flight to Boston and stay within their legal flight time allotment.  So we stopped on the tarmac for them to figure out a solution.  After another hour or so, they cancelled the flight and took us all off the plane and we went back to the ticket counter where we joined the chaos of trying to reclaim our luggage.

I guess we're getting off the plane

What do we do now?

Patience in practice

The team was in great spirits the whole time…playing word games, passing out candy and chatting it up with our fellow travelers.  The laughter was welcome in such a stressful situation.  Dr. Morquette came to our rescue and carried us back to his home where a delicious meal was waiting for us.

We are so thankful for all the prayers on our behalf during this stressful day.

We'll try again tomorrow...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Images of our trip

Mobile Clinic (Part Deux)

Recap from Thursday:

What a busy day!  We took off this morning to do another round of mobile clinics, this time in Korfu, a city about 2 hours west of Port-au-Prince.  It was fun to travel to another part of Haiti and experience more of their culture.  Clinic took place in a local church and we made make-shift examination rooms with curtains in the hallway.  We were able to minister to over 100 Haitans and provide medical care.  We saw patients both young and old with a wide variety of illnesses, many of which stemmed from poor water quality, lack of food, and/or poor education.  

Make-shift examination room

After a long day at clinic, we had the opportunity to spend the evening out at a wonderful place called La Reserve.  We enjoyed a spectacular dinner with live jazz music as we reflected on the day.  


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kalico beach!

Good evening!

Today was a lovely day for team Haiti in Kalico beach - spent the day resting by a breezy beach and enjoying the beauty that is Haiti. Reminded us all of the glory that Haiti once was, and can be, and that we are all praying for. The water was warm as expected, saltier than expected. Unfortunately though, the beach was pebbly - if that's a word - and no sand, but just as beautiful. The beach, and the ride there is gorgeous with the mountainous ranges on one side and beautiful blue beach on the other side of the road, and perhaps about one mile from the entrance to Kalico beach, we went by Obama Beach Hotel. Anyway, another fun thing that we did was haggling for trinkets and one of our members, we wont say who, may or may not begin with an S -sucks at this, but as it turns out grande grande Michelle to be  great at it.  Overall, rather fun day and we left this town as large rain drops begun to descent and the scent of the earth reminded me of Kenya and the coming rain. Anyway, overall we had a great day. One thing that is re-enforced to me every day here is that I need to learn Hatian Creole. Everyone assumes that I do, and they ask the question at least twice each time, perhaps not trusting their own ears when I saw I don't. It is fun to see the surprise on the children's faces when someone who looks like them does not understand them!

Anyway after a game of dominos, 42 with dominos blocks and a game of cards called up and down the river, I am ready for bed.

We will update you more on our previous adventures in the last few days as time allows us to do so, even though they will be late entries.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thank you Sarah Norton/Roland

Dear Friends and Family,

This year I feel blessed to have the opportunity to see patients in the mobile clinics and also to play with the children in the orphanage. We did a mobile clinic yesterday at one of the sites that we were at last year, a primary school north of Haiti. I was able to see several patients that we had seen last year. It is frustrating to hear that the medications that we prescribed were helpful but that they ran out and the same medical problem returned. However, I'm so heartened to see all the construction continuing apace in Haiti. Completely new housing and shops, including medical clinics and pharmacies that were not there last year that will hopefully make our mobile clinics unnecessary sooner rather than later. We are super grateful for all of the support we received for this medical mission. I am especially grateful for Sarah Roland her her pharmacy for donating so many medications for the clinics. We had so many more options for treating patients this year compared to last year and are thankful for all the hard work her fellow pharmacists and technicians put into sorting the donations.

Danielle and Rolf - 2016 with 2015 photo

Today, I continued to have my heart stolen by the children at the orphanage. It was a busy morning learning songs and reviewing from Monday. Followed by a fun afternoon of playing non-stop. However, the most poignant moment was when I gave the children photos that were taken by Sarah Roland (previously Sarah Norton) during the missions trip last year. As much as the children loved the soccer balls, Uno, and Twister, they cherished being given an individual photo of themselves. They gathered around as they were being passed out and after looking excitedly at each others photos they went to place them neatly in their rooms. They then asked to take more photos on my iPhone and went through my photos afterwards asking about my family. They were really intrigued by my video of July 4th celebration in Boston at the Hatch Shell with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in the background. It is always a difficult thing to say goodbye at the end of the day even when I know that I will get to see them again on Friday.

Thank you again to all our supporters! It really makes a huge difference.

- Danielle

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mobile Clinic!

Today was a busy hot day, but I have to say went smoothly for our first mobile clinic day. The team drove in a van and Dr. Morquette's car to the site. The first stop was at King's Hospital where we picked up the rest of our team and supplies - so we had nursing students, a head nurse and 2 translators to add to our team. The stop was quick but was sort of dissapointing for the kids who all ran to us when we got there to play and as usual Michelle - the 'grande grande one" who is so much fun to climb was surrounded by the tiniest kids. Its amazing what joy and love is held in these little kids.

Anyway, the trip took us perhaps 45 minutes to get to instead of the projected 30 minutes because of some traffic and road conditions, but we got there safe.  The clinic was held at a local church and by the time we arrived, there were people already waiting and sitting patiently in benches with numbers ready for us. We quickly set up triage and vital area by the nurses, pharmacy station (we had pre-packed standard medications already last night) and then had '3 examining rooms'. The work went faster than we thought it would, but because this time we were blessed to have 4 clincians seeing patients, and nobody went home unseen!  We praise God for that, and are greatful that He chose to use us to bless His people - for comfort, for healing and to just our share time with them. The other big part of our team helped in the pharmacy with organizing and functioned as our 'pharmacy technicians' doing an excellent job at this - it went so smoothly! The third team members led by Papa Don spent a lot of time playing with the kids waiting, singing gospel songs and distributing a care package for them - which included a 'dum dum'. I have eated these candy, and yesterday learnt their names for the first time!  A patient who attends this church also brought his keyboard and so there was lots of music, laughter and joy to go around.  Our ride back was also so much fun and Papa Don and Dr. Morquette alternated in telling jokes all the way home.

Also just to add to this - I went to Haiti to learn an American tradition that if you are the last person at the table to place two thumbs up at prayer time - you say the prayers, so guess what happened……..

Off to pack some medications again and looking forward to enjoying warm freshly baked mango pies with real fresh mangoes!

What I learned from the Kids and King's Garden

NOTE:  This post was meant to go up yesterday (Monday night) so this actually what happened yesterday -

Today was our first full day with the kids - finally!!  We went to their church service at the orphanage on Sunday, but only were able to see them for a few minutes  - today we had all day!!

The animals went in two by two

We started the morning with a VBS at the orphanage.  This year's theme for the VBS is "superheroes of the Bible" and today we learned about Noah.  We started by making name tags and then singing.  We then met Noah, who came to talk to the children about his story.  We are not sure how we were able to get Noah to come all the way to Haiti, but one thing I do know, he looked a lot like Papa Don! (or shoudl I say "Papa" - as all the kids have already come to call him)

Once the children learned the story of Noah,  they acted out the story themselves complete with costumes and props.  There were two masks of each animal, and the children had an especially great time finding their twin to board our ark.

One thing that always strikes me when I am in Haiti with these children is that they are willing to give anything a try.  We brought some animal finger puppet craft kits, and all the kids ages 4-18 were ready to enjoy the craft.  When we handed out the animal masks, everyone put them on and got excited to be in our little play.  There was no holding back, no worrying about not being cool, just pure joy of trying something new and different.  My prayer for these kids is that they will always be open to what life has to offer them, and that life will offer them all good things.

Nicolette and Uno

London Bridges Falling Down...

We also had so much fun just playing with the kids in the afternoon!! After lunch, I opened up a suitcase we had brought that was full of things to play with in the afternoon - puzzles, games, bubbles, beach balls, bad mitten, frisbees, etc.. It was fun to see our team turn into children as they got excited about playing with toys all afternoon.  At one point we had coloring with some of the kids, a frisbee game, basketball and Uno - all at the same time!  I'm not sure who had more fun, the kids or the team!  It's a wonderful thing when God asks you to serve him by playing games with these beautiful children.

We spent the evening  with Danielle leading preparations for tomorrow's mobile clinic.  We prepped medications for the clinic and learned as much as we could from Danielle's experience with the mobile clinics last year.    We aren't sure what the situation is going to be where we are going tomorrow,  we don't know how far it is - we are pretty sure they don't have running water and maybe no bathroom.  But we are trusing God that everything will come together and the medical team will be able to treat everyone who comes to the clinic and us non-medical folks will be able to help wherever needed.  This will be a new adventure for me  and I hope to be just like the kids at King's Garden - open to this new adventure and whatever it will bring.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Back in Haiti

Here we are back in Haiti.  I can't believe it's been a year already.  Our trip into the country yesterday was completely uneventful and smooth.  The direct flight from BOS to PAP is fantastic so not only do we arrive at the airport with no other planes (so immigration, baggage claim and customs are much easier), but it gives us so much more time here in the lovely country.

Moses, Papa Don, Nicolette, Mark, Danielle, Michelle, & Stephanie

We went to church with Dr. Morquette this morning and heard him preach.  It was a lovely church in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.  It took us a while to get there, but it also gave us the opportunity to see how much the country is still in the process of getting back on it's feet.  There are so many new houses, roads and shops, but there is still a long way to go.

The team pitching in to jump-start the van

We have a smaller team this year, so we are planning to stick together and experience both medical and non-medical days.  Tomorrow we start our first day of camp with the kids of King's Garden orphanage.  We are all looking forward to spending time with them again.  We stopped by this afternoon for church with them and a short message from Pastor Snell about faithfulness.  Tuesday and Thursday we'll be travelling to the rural areas to do mobile clinics as a team.

Papa Don bringing the message

We're ready to go, albeit a bit tired, and we're all happy and healthy.
Please continue to pray for us that we'd remain healthy and rested to do the work we are here to do.