Isaiah 30:21 - Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mamba Day

(Written last week) A lot has happened the past couple of days.  I’ve been getting settled in, reconnecting with the kids and staff, and hanging out with Ashley, Kendall, and Elsie.  Ashley is here for one month to take care of Chevy, a mamba baby that ended up staying here at Canaan for a couple of weeks while he gets better.  She leaves Saturday and I told her she should change her flight to stay another couple of weeks.  Kendall has been here since August working at the school teaching the first grade class.  Both have been great fun to hang out with.

Yesterday Elise and I went down to the clinic so she could train me for the Mamba program.  There was a lot to go over but Elise did a great job explaining everything especially with the refresher course in the metric system.  It has definitely been a while since I had to do anything with kilos, centimeters, milliliters and milligrams.  Which on a side note, if anybody coming down wants to bring an electric scale for babies and adults that reads the weight in kilos that would be much appreciated.  Being a kilo or centimeter off can determine if the baby or toddler can be admitted in the program or not; being exact is key. 

(Written this week) Tuesday was my second week doing Mamba.  It definitely went a little smoother than the first.  I was more comfortable with the scales, books, and the routine that goes into checking and evaluation the kids.  I’ve been communicating to the parents in my broken Creole and Sarah and Joanne have been a big help explaining things when I get stuck.  Sarah and her family live down the road at Pierre Payan, about a 10 minute drive.  She’s been coming every week to help out with Mamba day.  Joanne is one of the nurses at the clinic.  She’s a sweet lady and is coming to the English/Creole class at night.  I’m glad she’s there to help out with cases that require more medical attention. 

It’s hard not to be affected emotionally by all the kids that come in for Mamba.  Everywhere you turn there are kids that are hungry, sick, and without clothes.  I can’t imagine what it must feel like as a parent to want to be able to feed your child and to not be able to.  It’s hard to think back to being in the US and how wasteful we are as a country.  I’m ashamed to admit I never thought twice about throwing food out.  The saying there’s a starving kid in the world was only a saying at the time; now it’s a reality. 

Let me tell you about two things that happened that touched my heart.  The first thing happened last week on my first Mamba day.  There was a young woman who couldn’t have been more than 20 that brought her young son in for his Mamba checkup.  She had walked two hours down the mountain to bring him down there.  Elise and I reviewed the file and noticed that he hadn’t been gaining much weight over the course of the past couple of weeks.  In the middle of Elise explaining to me what happens with cases were the child is not gaining enough weight, the mom interrupted our conversation with tears streaming down her face. “Si te plait, est ce qu’ou ban mwen quelque choses a mange.”  Please, can you give me something to eat?  She herself was hungry.  I looked stunned at Elise wondering if this was a normal occurrence.  She herself looked a little stunned and she later told me it’s very, very rare to see a Haitian so emotional.  Generally they are very stoic with their emotions.  Elise gave her the name of someone at Canaan who she could talk to about getting food.  I remember thinking back to my devotion that morning and how the author talked about how God is always with us.  Does this starving woman think that God is always with her?  She was supposed to come back this past Tuesday for a Mamba checkup but didn’t.  I prayed that she would know that God does provide and is with her wherever she goes.

The second thing happened the following week, again on a Mamba day.  We saw kids all morning as they came in for their weekly check up.  One of the last patients of the day was referred to us from the clinic.  He was 7 years old but looked like he was 4 or 5.  We weighed him so he could start the Mamba and sent him to the hospital for a TB test.  He weighed 35 pounds.  There are many more stories like these everywhere you turn.  I am so thankful that there is a Mamba program at Canaan.  I am thankful that we have generous supporters from back home that can buy the Mamba and other supplies for the program.  I am thankful for a place like Canaan where kids can grow up in an environment of knowing Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

3 days!

I've never blogged before. In fact, after going to college where writing papers seemed to be a weekly occurrence, and grad school where I learned how to write papers in my sleep, I never thought I would start a blog.  But, I thought blogging would be a great way to share with everyone what's going on before leaving and and the adventures I'll have while I'm there.  I meant to start this earlier but things have been a little crazy and hectic at the moment with getting everything organized and ready for the trip.  Things I never thought to think of suddenly spring to mind and get added to the list of things to do.
I had an absolutely amazing and wonderful going away party in Charleston the day before driving up to Virginia.  It was hard to say goodbye to my dear friends but I felt so blessed at being able to spend some great quality time with those that have become so precious to me over my last eight years in Charleston.  The highlight of the night was getting Derek's going away present, a hand held yellow chicken that squawks when you press its stomach.  Derek had a party one time at his house and as the night was winding down it turned into a music jam fest.  I started out playing the trombone, true story, but since I never learned how to play the trombone my instrument quickly became this yellow squeaking chicken.  I found great amusement with my new founded friend that I received an email a couple of days later asking if I knew where this chicken was as it was missing in action.  I assured Derek I hadn't taken it though I wouldn't have minded had it someone found its way to my house.  My new chicken is coming with me to Haiti, it might end up with it's very own calendar one day.

I am now in Virginia spending the week with my parents, sisters who come tomorrow, and Maddie (my dog) before flying out Saturday morning.  I've had a great, but busy week.  I spent some time this afternoon packing and organizing what I brought up to Virginia.  One of the good things about Haiti is you only need one wardrobe, summer.  It's a lot colder here than in Charleston and I'm looking forward to getting back to the warmer weather.  I miss walking around in flip flops, and was so cold the other day I almost put on a winter hat when I went outside.  This is quite different than the 85 degree weather I left in Charleston.  I never knew so much went into moving, especially moving out of the country, but I have learned lots and am now a pro at what needs to be done; the key is lists and then more lists. Three days till I fly out!