17. June 2010 05:30
Today was a long day but a good one. We started very early to dig the ditch to drain the footers for the hospital. They have been under water for three or four months now, almost since they were dug. Since the backhoe broke down last week after digging about 15 feet of the 50 to 60 feet needed, and the bobcat had another flat tire, we ended up using the bulldozer. Derrick, an engineering student who came in with the Campus Crusade group, worked with me all day to try to get the job done. I was very disappointed when I realized we were not going to finish before I had to leave tomorrow but was very touched when Marvin, Steve, and Dennis from GAIN, and even Dave with Mercy Chefs came out with shovels to try to help finish. It was obvious we still would not be able to finish today since it was clouding up and looked as if it would rain very soon so we called it a day. Steve seemed to understand how important finishing this task was to me and assured me he would get a crew together tomorrow to finish.
So much has been done in the last two weeks. The bathrooms added onto the back of the school building are almost finished and are being used. Meals are being cooked and served in the new dining hall. A shed is being built to house the generators. Teams have gone out frequently to deliver food bags to IDP camps. A water filtration system was brought in and installed by some of the Campus Crusade staff and students. (The system had been developed as a senior project at their college, they had taken the concept, made improvements, and set it up at Chambrun.) It is so good to have access to unlimited safe water to drink on site without carrying in 5 gallon bottles every day.
Today turned out to be my final day in Haiti. I had expected to travel home sometime over the weekend, but flights being what they are, tomorrow is the day. It has been a challenging but rewarding trip. God has been ever so faithful. He has given strength when things were difficult, wisdom when knowledge was needed, and comfort in the difficult times. Praise God!
15. June 2010 05:07
Doctor Bill and the rest of the dental team leave early in the morning to return home to the Indianapolis area. As usual for Bill, he put in a long last day in the clinic before having to clean, pack and store equipment until he comes back in October.
Several repeat patients were seen in the clinic for dressing changes including the woman who came yesterday with the badly infected foot. She told us today that the thorn she had stepped on had gone all the way through her foot. It is looking better already but it will be a long process for the healing to be complete. We also went to the village of Chambrun to see a little boy who had been burned on Friday and treated on Saturday but the mom had not brought him back to the clinic. We found him playing with a stick outside Myrta's house. He was naked again, the dressing was gone, and more of the blisters had opened and left raw flesh. The mother allowed us to dress the burn again although I don't think she thought it was necessary.
The Campus Crusade team is now eating in the new dining hall. It seems huge compared to the school building where they were eating. The windows are not in yet but with the breeze able to blow through from any direction it seems to be the coolest place in Chambrun. The meals are being prepared by volunteer cooks from Mercy Chefs. I had never heard of them before but after seeing (and eating) what they can prepare in such rough conditions, I am a huge fan. Dave, the current chef, is a very caring person who pays attention to the slightest needs and likes of the people he serves. Since he found out I was craving milk, he has had an ice cold glass of it waiting for me each day.
Jeff, Debby and Brandi went to an IDP camp this afternoon with the CC students to deliver food bags. It was a camp we pass every day on the way to Chambrun and it seems to be one of the poorest in the area. We thought, the first few times we drove by, that it was an empty camp because there are no tents. The people are still living under sheets, tin and cardboard. There is still a great need for tents in Haiti.
Please remember the team members traveling home tomorrow. They are tired, but it's a good tired. Our devotions last night were from Ecc. about a time to build, a time to mourn, a time to laugh, ...they have experienced all of these things in such a short time and it may take some time for some of the them to process.
14. June 2010 02:12
Today began with another lively worship service at Chambrun. The tent was full and overflowing with worshippers. Pastor Pierre introduced the Nehemiah team, which was fine, then had us sing a song in Creole that he had practiced with 3 of the team members this morning on the way to church, not so fine. Fortunately he sang with us and then had the congregation sing with us. It sounded much better once the Haitian voices joined in.
Right after service we went to Myrta's house for the dedication ceremony. Dr. Bill shared a short message of dedication and the house was prayed over. Myrta's three daughters were there to take part in the dedication. As soon as we finished, we passed out the dresses that had been sent in by a group called "Little Dresses for Haiti". They are very cute, simple dresses made from colorful pillowcases with ties at the shoulders. Myrta's daughters received the first ones then a woman from the village, who knew all of the children, lined them up based on who needed them the most. When we had given out the last dress there were still little girls in line who did not receive one. The need is so great in this little village, as well as the rest of Haiti, and there were quite a few children who had nothing at all to wear.
Just as we were getting ready to leave the village a woman came to us and asked for help with her foot. We looked at it and asked a few questions then took her back to the clinic to clean and dress the wound. She said she had gotten a thorn in it about two months ago and it had gotten infected. She also said she had gone to a doctor last week who had bandaged it and given her a shot and that it actually was better than before. When we got to the clinic Debby asked the Campus Crusade students if any of them were medical students and did they want to watch what was happening in the clinic. Quickly, 7 students came in, put on gloves and masks and helped with handing us the supplies we needed when we asked for them. None of them was allowed to be "hands on" and only one made a somewhat hasty exit. It was funny though when the woman basically told me I was being too gentle and took the gauze pads and scrubbed the wound herself. Dr. Bill gave her some antibiotics and she is supposed to come back tomorrow for a dressing change.
Tomorrow we are hoping that Jeff, Debby and Brandi can go to an IDP camp to help with food distribution. The rest of us will stay at Chambrun so Dr. Bill can see some dental patients and those needing dressing changes ( The woman with the infected foot we saw today, a little girl who cut her finger with a knife when she was cutting meat, and a 2 1/2 year old boy who was burned when he spilled hot coffee on himself.) can be seen as well.
Our little team is doing well physically, emotionally and spiritually. It has definately been a week of highs and lows. God is so very good.
WARNING: The next picture is the little girls in Chambrun with their new dresses but the second one is the lady's foot and it is quite graphic.
13. June 2010 05:20
I could not do a blog yesterday because it was a very difficult day. We went to the beach with the Campus Crusade students from the U.S. and Haiti for what was supposed to be a day of relaxation and enjoyment. Tragically, we were only there a very short time before one of the Haitian students, who could not swim, had to be pulled from the water, not breathing. His CC brothers and sisters worked for almost an hour to save his life but in the end, God chose to take him home. Please pray for those involved in trying to save this young man. Most of them were young college students themselves and have never experienced anything like this before. Please also remember this young man's family in prayer as they struggle to deal with the loss of their son.
Today the Nehemiah team went to the village of Chambrum to paint Myrta's house and get it ready for her to move in. We are planning a dedication ceremony for tomorrow afternoon and hope to have everything ready for her to spend her first night in her new home tomorrow night.
When we finished in the village, we went back to the mission and helped pack food bags to be taken to IDP camps on Monday. It was quite a sight to see the students with their assembly line of bags, rice, health kits and water bottles working like a well-oiled machine - well almost - but it was good to see how they all worked together, different ones stepping in when and where they were needed to accomplish the task.
God is good. He is in control and He gives us the strength to get through the difficult times.
11. June 2010 07:13
This was another interesting day on the mission field in Haiti. With one of our mottos being: "There is the plan, and then there's reality." we were not exactly surprized when Dr. Bill (dentist) was pressed into service to work on the water heater again now that the necessary parts are here. It was not long though before he was called to the clinic to sew up a lady's leg and finger that had been cut open when a glass Coke bottle had exploded. We also treated a young Haitian man who had hit his little finger with a hammer last week, had lost the fingernail, and it looked as if it was beginning to become infected. A couple of the Campus Crusade volunteers were not feeling well and were helped as well. Our team had planned to stretch fence and finish a house in Chambrun but it seems God has other plans.
Bill has done some dentistry. Yesterday he pulled 13 teeth from one patient and saw several others. And we hadn't put the word out yet that we were there. Our best guess is that people recognized the white beard and hat and knew that Dr. Bill was in town.
Our devotions tonight were about how God had been using us in ways we never imagined when we left home to come here. It fits another of our sayings: "It's all part of the adventure." We come back to Esperandieu's at the end of each day tired and dirty but looking forward to tomorrow when we can go back out to Chambrun and do more. God is truly blessing the members of our small team with health and energy. We feel truly blessed by Him to be allowed to serve here. Please continue to pray for our families back home as well as the on-going work here in Haiti.
9. June 2010 04:23
Today began with another trip out to the site of the former Miami-Dade hospital to get some water tanks they no longer needed. We had to wait several hours for the folks from M/D to get there because traffic was so bad but in the end we did get two of the promised tanks. The NVM team went on out to Chambrun and began an extensive cleaning of the dental clinic so Dr. Bill can start seeing patients tomorrow. While Bill, Marie and Jeff did the final cleaning there Debby, Brandi and Melinda bagan working on cleaning and straightening the pharmacy, including destroying any expired meds.
The new bridge is about finished and work is continuing on the new bathrooms, kitchen and warehouse. NVM at Chambrun is no longer the quaint little outpost it was the first time I came here. So many things are changing and improving. The most important thing to remember is the potential for serving the Haitian people in so many ways. God is truly working through NVM. Please continue to pray for safety and health of the team members.
8. June 2010 06:04
Today brought an unexpected blessing when the Miami-Dade Field Hospital was moved to a permanent site and we were allowed to get most of the plywood and 2X6's that had been used for the flooring of one of the hospital tents. The plywood was in really good condition because it had been sheltered from the rain and sun by the tent. It will be used at Chambrun, after some precautionary disinfecting, for planned building projects. We took 7 of the students from Campus Crusade out to the site to help with the dismantling. They were just a bit surprized by the number of tarantulas taking up residence under the flooring but after the first dozen or so it was no big deal. One of the students was overheard commenting later that "This was the hardest work I have ever done!" It was hard physical work and the heat was draining but again team members watched out for each other and no one had any problems.
The rest of the team from Central Christian in Seymour, Indiana, and Harvest Community Christian Church arrived late this afternoon. The things that made the most impression on Brandi, who is on her first trip to Haiti, were the amount of rubble still in the streets, the children smiling and playing and people going on about their business almost as if the earthquake never happened.
We did not accomplish any of the planned projects for today but we accomplished a good work for furthering God's work in Chambrun and Haiti. We continue to remind ourselves that God knows the plans He has for us and if we are willing to follow His plan instead of our own, we can accomplish far more.
7. June 2010 06:35
Saturday morning we went out to Chambrun to work. With so many projects going on it was not difficult to find a job to do. In the morning I helped plumb in 5 sinks for the ladies restroom being built onto the back of the school building. From there it was out to the bridge where the concrete was being pouring to lend a helping hand with floating (smoothing) the concrete. When that was done I played "go fer" for Dale who was working installing the water heater for the kitchen. (No, sorry, no hot water for showers, only dishwashing.)
The heat is a challenge to being extremely productive without frequent breaks but team members are watchful of each other and making sure everyone is taking in plenty of water. There are about 45 young people here from Campus Crusade working on a variety of projects and the progress is wonderful to see.
Today began with a wonderful church service and the opportunity to cuddle Flamanda, a little girl with hydrocephely who was brought back to the states last October for surgery. She seems to be doing well although she has a cough like so many of the babies here. This afternoon was an opportunity for some down time and a much appreciated nap. Torrential rains again tonight with the roads becoming rushing streams. So many people are still living in make-shift shelters of tarps and bedsheets; and have been doing so for 5 months now. The street vendors are back and life goes on in Haiti but with even more difficult circumstances than before. The strength and resiliency of the Haitian people is amazing.