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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Last night in Haiti

It always sneaks up on us…our last night in Haiti before we travel home.
Seems like just when we are getting into the swing of things, it's time to get on the plane.

We had a wonderful time worshipping and praising God this morning with the kids at King's Garden, then surprised them with our annual pizza party (wasn't much of a surprise since we seem to do it with them every year).  Anyway, it was a great afternoon of laughing and playing with the kids.

We managed a football game (soccer) in the afternoon as the clouds from a cooling thunderstorm covered the scorching sun.  It was still hot and very humid, but we could play without passing out!  We also had a short volleyball game where we spent more time laughing together than actually playing.  It was so much fun.

The team is in good spirits and we've all been pretty healthy this trip.

Tomorrow morning, we'll go over to the hospital to spend the morning with them, have a short 45 minutes with the kids then over to the airport.

Thank you all for praying for our trip.


The Colors of Haiti

Boujour everyone. We had another blessed day which started with a luscious breakfast including an amalgame of juicy and colorful tropical fruits graciouly prepared by the cordon bleu Evelyn and master chef Dr. Morquette, then we headed off to KaliKo beach. We were delighted to have Dr. Morquette and Dr. Junie join us as they led the way. Our journey to the beach was full of panoramic views, the ocean to our left with diverse shades of blue and hue of green and mountains to our right with green flora, fruits trees...and specially the beautiful people of Haiti going about their daily lives. This one on a motorcycle, that one on a mule, smiling merchants by the road side showing off their colorful harvest... The very efficient monsieur Belaizaire with many hats was also a tour guide as we drove pass the memorial to the victims of the hurricane, the historic town of L' Arcahaie (birthplace of the flag of Haiti) and much more. The beauty of Haiti and its people warm our hearts. We arrived at the beach, got settled and most of us went swimming in the warm water (yes the ocean in Haiti is warm at all time, even in "Winter"). It was also a time of celebration: It was our superhero leader Mark's birthday, Xiaoman's very first time getting in the water... we shared laughters, testimonies… After a week on the field, this day was also a time for rest and quiet reflection. Habakkuk 2:20 "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him"

          Ode pour Haiti
Que tu es belle Haiti!
Haiti, en toi je vois le mirroir de l'humanité
Continue de marcher unis
Bon courage
Que la grace de Dieu t'accompagne
Marches unis 
Bon courage
Tu n'es point seul
Du nord au sud
De l'est a l'ouest
Dieu t'a cree merveilleuse
Nous t'aimons tres fort
Que tu es belle Haiti!

Birthplace of the Hatian flag

Bananas in transport

Welcome to Kaliko

Swim time!

Beautiful horizon


Historic sugar cane boiling bowl

Chika-Chika Boom Boom up in the coconut tree!

Simply beautiful!

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Last VBS Day

Well, it's Friday! Here in Haiti that means our group had our last VBS lesson with the children at King's Garden.

Our VBS team, led by the incomparable Stephanie, has organized the VBS to center on the theme that "God Loves You." We have focused each day on one part of this sentence. First we explored who God is, then love and how to show love, and finally we celebrated "you" and the things that make each of us special in God's eyes. Therefore, today was a wonderful celebration of each kid who came to VBS. 

The VBS has started each day with a rousing couple of biblical Children's songs led (with expressive hand motions) by Jenn. Next, we review the lessons from earlier in the week. Afterwards, we dove into the day's message. Today it was about the subject of God's love; all of US!! This lesson also included the felt board and the creation story, which was a big hit with the children. We also played some games in which the children had the opportunity to share what makes each of them special. As you can see in the photo below, some of us felt a little silly thinking about what makes us special and different.

Our lesson was about "you"
After the games, our group used polaroid cameras to take a photo of each child (there were around 33, including children visiting for the day). Then each child made a heart shape using their thumbprints and stamp pads to decorate the frame of each new photo. 

The children really responded very positively to their personalized pictures and frames. They kept wandering back to the wall of photos throughout the morning to have another look at their picture and the pictures of their friends.
The craft of the day!!!
The afternoon went as usual, meaning the Park Streeters and children played all number of different games, many of which included stories, puzzles, bubbles, volleyballs, soccer balls and today a couple of juggling scarves!

The day finished with another delicious meal at the Morquette's house, which ended with Key-Lime iced cake and Dr. Morquette's famous discussion of Haitian history and culture. Needless to say, the team went to bed with our minds at least as full as our stomachs, and we pray for Haiti with renewed vigor.

As always, we are incredibly grateful for those of you thinking of our team and praying for us and for Haiti. Blessings! 

More photos

Games at the Garden 

Very energetic songs!

At the Garden

Lots of smiles! 

Making bracelets in the shade

Mobile clinic pharmacy team

At the first mobile clinic 

More crafts!

Coloring in the shade

Taking advantage of the shade

Out on the street

Entertaining the kids at the second clinic

Outside the first clinic

Crafts at the first clinic

Ready to see patients

Hallway conference

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Midweek Check In - we are getting tired!

Hi everyone,

So sorry for not writing yesterday - we have spotty internet access.  Anyway, we are alive and well.

Yesterday, we had another successful VBS lesson at the King's Garden.  There are almost 40 children altogether ranging in age from 4-18.  Yesterday's theme was LOVE.  In the afternoon, all of the children had an annual check up with the medical team.

Here's a picture of some children acting out one way to show love - the idea they came up with was if someone is fighting over the same toy, to share and be kind, which was so insightful and relevant for them.

And some more pictures from yesterday…

kids drawing what love means to them
some of them who borrowed my phone and taught themselves how to take selfies!

more selfies

Today, we went to another clinic to the northeast of Port-au-Prince.  Despite being delayed for 2 hours in the morning due to a flat tire, we stayed in good spirits and the doctors, nurses and translators were able to see about 65 patients.  Meanwhile, I and some of the other non-medical team had a great (if a bit sweaty) time getting to know some of the children in the area - playing games, drawing, and sharing smiles.  

We had an uneventful trip home and even had time to go out to dinner tonight! Dr. Morquette took us to a nice restaurant with some jazz music.  It was fun to see so many different parts of Haiti today.

And now, since I am almost falling asleep and everyone else is already sleeping, it is time to say goodnight.  Please pray for the kids at King's Garden to enjoy and learn at our last VBS day tomorrow (theme: God Loves YOU).

- Jenn

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Travel Adventures: "Flooded" with Gratitude

We made it out to the Mobile Clinic!
Our first day out at a mobile clinic with Dr. Morquette and his team went swimmingly, pun intended. We started the day out as usual, with a delicious bounty of fruits and breakfast foods to start the day. Then we loaded up in 2 vehicles with several translators and Haitian nurses and took off, heading south. We drove through downtown Port-au-Prince and saw the grand market, many colorful Tap-Taps and countless motorcycles as we drove west toward Leogane. We reached our destination and patients were already lined up, awaiting our services. We set up the clinic, complete with an alphebetized pharmacy and an incredibly efficient triage. We saw patients in 3 exam rooms ranging in age from just over 1 year to 89 years old. One of the workday's hilights was a 4 year-old who looked terrified until Bella reassured him that he wouldn't be recieving any shots. After this news he was a completely changed boy; all smiles. A rather low point in the clinic day arrived when an infant began vomiting unexpectedly in the waiting area and measures were taken to stabilize the situation immediately. (Disclaimer: this post was written by the Pediatric specialist on the team, which is why it may seem kid-centric). 

The real fun, of course, didn't begin until the group thought the day was almost over. 

As we loaded up the vehicles, we could see dark clouds rolling in. Sure enough, just as we reached the outskirts of Port-au-Prince the skies opened up and released a deluge. I'm talking BIBLICAL amounts of water out there. The streets around us began suddenly to flood, and we anxiously watched the muddy water rise higher and higher around the cars. 

The passengers in the van watched as a van going in the opposite direction stalled in the water, and another van came tearing around, scattering rain-soaked pedestrians as they frantically tried to escape the flash flood. Motorcycles on the road started to look more like jet-skis as the traffic slowed to a halt and the water line continued to shoot upwards. 

All of a sudden, Dan looked down and noticed that water was flooding the van. Almost all 4 inches of the step just inside the van door was flooded with foul-smelling water!!

talk about a flooded engine! (PS not our van)

 Our heroic van driver, Belizaire, was quick to action. He reversed out of traffic and tore up a side road towards the mountain. We drove a couple of minutes up the road before traffic blocked our path again. Belizaire reversed down the hill again and stopped at a road we though was completely blocked off by large white stones and rubble. A second look revealed that it was not white stones but rather a pile of live goats which were creating the obstacle to our progress, and just as we noticed them the goat owners began lifting the goats up by their bound ankles and slinging them out of the way to clear our path. We squeezed through the minuscule opening and continued our journey home through winding, soaked streets and alleys.

it's raining goats?!
We arrived back at the Morquette's house an hour or so later, the whole drive taking almost three times the time it had taken us that morning. We regrouped with the members of our team who had been in separate vehicles, and hugs were shared all around. Later we sat down to another lovely meal prepared by Evylen and enjoyed stories by both Drs Morquette of their adventures driving in Haitian floods. Finally, we had an abbreviated team meeting before turning in for a rather later-than-usual bedtime. 

We so appreciate your prayers and concern for our group and for the Haitians we are working with and those we are serving. Dr. Morquette, who was driving his truck through the flood, let us know that he was praying to God to guide us home through the storm. We thank you for adding your prayers to his and helping return us safely to our (very) warm beds.   

Pictures from Haiti

Story time in the shade!

Celebrating 40th and 1st anniversary!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday in Haiti

This morning we had the pleasure of going to church with the Morquettes and hearing Dr. Juni preach.  After a lovely lunch, we went over to King's Garden and had a fun time spending the afternoon with the children there.

Having fun with the kids...

Puzzles and card games!

The team is excited to officially start our work tomorrow morning.  We'll start at the Garden with a Vacation Bible School that focuses on "God Loves You".  In the afternoon, we'll do a mini-clinic at the hospital to do the annual check ups on the kids as well as games and other activities.

The basketball backboard in the Garden playground is broken, so we are hoping to get it fixed while we are here.  When fixed, it provides a lot of play and exercise for the kids.

The team is feeling well and ready to go.

Remember to keep us in your prayers.