Today is Black Friday. A year ago I was sitting in my aunt’s house shopping online for Christmas gifts. This year, I’m sitting on a couch in Haiti watching Teri kill the multitudes of spiders we have everywhere with a fly swatter. Did I think I would be in the spot a year ago? Not at all, but it’s amazing how God orchestrated the whole thing. We had Thanksgiving dinner here last night complete with Turkey, the biggest turkey legs I have ever seen, chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salad, cranberries, stuffing, gravy, rice and beans, fried plantains, pumpkin pie and probably one or two other dishes I don’t remember since there were so many. I don’t come from a large family and this was also the largest number of people I have ever spent Thanksgiving with, think the Cosby show, plus the Brady Bunch, plus the Waltons, times 10. Canaan was honoring M. Gerard Jean, one of the teachers in the school, who had been teaching for the past 30 years or so. The night was complete with several skits by the school and songs by the choir. Hardly a day goes by before something happens and I think to myself God really has his hand on this place. Last night was just another example of God’s blessing here.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
This past Tuesday was a slow day for Mamba. It was also a gorgeous day outside, breezy around 80 which felt like a cold front swept in compared to the normal high of 90s. The weather sometimes can be a deterrent for coming but Sarah, the lady that runs Clean Water in Pierre Payan, said it wasn’t raining so the Mamba kids should come. It’s Thanksgiving week here at Canaan but the holiday isn’t recognized in Haiti so we knew that wasn’t the reason. In any case, by 10 we had seen all the kids that had come so far and decided to go next door to check in on the new clinic’s progress. A team from New York came down last week to start tiling the floor and the guys here had continued the tiling this week. They had progressed to the xray room and the hallways when we walked in and were putting some gravel like sediment down on the floor. After touring the area for a bit we went back to the Mamba room and found a woman waiting for us with her boy. This little boy was probably around 9 or 10 months old and I remembered once she started talking I had done her son’s weigh in and check up with her last week. I looked over her chart and found the long list of notes on the back page I wrote from last week. “Mom wasn’t feeding Mamba correctly. Explained how to distribute Mamba. Told Mom to give 8x a time.” She should have known by now how to feed him correctly as he had been in the program since August which was way too long in itself. As I picked him up to weigh him I was really hoping that he had gained weight after our long discussion last week. I knew it wouldn’t be good news for her if he hadn’t. His weight over the past several weeks fluctuated only slightly. He rarely gained and when he did it was only a small amount. I put him down on the scale and read off the weight to put back on this chart, 7.05 kg. No change. I sat back down and asked her if he liked eating the Mamba. “Oh yes,” she said. I asked her if she liked the Mamba. “Yes, I like it too.” I knew then she wasn’t giving it to him. Elise came over at that point and looked at his chart. I told her the woman was eating the mamba too. Elise asked her if she had other kids at the house. “Oh yes,” she replied. “Do they like Mamba?” “Yes, they like Mamba too.” I didn’t know her home situation. I didn’t know if she had a husband or family to help provide for them. If it was anything like the other stories in Haiti she was probably alone trying to feed her children herself. We knew she couldn’t continue in the program. The Mamba wasn’t for her family; it was for her son. But how could you blame someone for feeding her hungry kids?