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."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Christmas Wish - James Joseph

***Disclaimer - The following post has pictures of a medical condition called Bladder Extrophy with complex hypospadias.  These pictures are meant to bring awareness and to seek assistance of medical treatment***

James Joseph Chapter 2:

Today in church one of the visiting missionaries talked to us about names.  We have a lot of visitors and teams that come in and out to Canaan and for them trying to learn 60 plus kids names, plus another 20 staff names and 11 missionary names (good thing the dogs and pigs don't have names) often you get asked multiple times while they're visiting what your name is.  She went on to say that though she may have to ask us more than once what our name is there is someone much more important who knows our name.  

Someone who never forgets our name.  Someone who has engraved our name on the palms of his hands - Isaiah 49:16.  Someone who knows the exact number of hairs on our head - Matthew 10:30.   Someone who knows to the second when we arise.  Someone who knows all of our thoughts even before they're thought - Psalm 139:2.  Someone who knows what will happen in our life.  He knows our plans for our future - Jeremiah 29:11. 

This is what I shared with Mamma James a couple of weeks ago when she stopped by the clinic one Tuesday afternoon to talk and say hi.  God has a plan for James.  God knows what He's doing.  I assured her that we haven't forgotten about her little one, that there were are still are people praying for James and searching for a way to help.  Multiple people have spent the last six months trying to help James get to the states for surgery.  Though there have been many doctors and hospitals that have been contacted we have not been able to find both a doctor and a hospital that will accept his case.  Concerns that he's not in immediate danger to not knowing how long his case would take were some of the reasons why he wasn't being accepted.  It's hard to hear these reasons knowing full well that if this child was born in the States or Canada this problem would have been worked on a long time ago.  

It is comforting to know however that old and new friends are still fervently working and helping out with this.  After seeing a picture of James I posted on my facebook page a good friend who used to live in Haiti wrote me about wanting to contact doctors in her area about James.  She and her husband had been praying about helping patients that needed to come to the states for surgery.  Just last week there was a team of surgeons visiting the mission next door and I took James knowing they wouldn't be able to do the surgery but hoping to make a contact.   We are waiting to hear what God has in store with these leads. 

About a month ago at 5 am for a week straight I awoke with a heaviness on my heart for James.  The burden I had to pray for him was over powering.  As I laid in bed, I prayed that God would open a door for James, that there would be a doctor and hospital willing to take on his case.  That the doctors I did contact would respond whether it was with good news or bad news.  

Dear friends, I am still praying for James.  I ask that you join in praying for him and for his Mom as well.  I don't know who reads my blog (except for my friends and family), but I ask that if you read this you share this post with your friends, post it on your facebook, email it around, share it in hopes that someone connected with a pediatric urologist and hospital will see James and be able to help him.

That conversation I had with Mamma James that Tuesday ended the same way it has with all our other conversations.  Bondye konnen tou she told me.   

God knows...He knows it all.


James at his Mom at one of our hospital visits

Frontal view of James

James 14 months

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mamba Updates

Though it has been several weeks since I last wrote our programs at Canaan and Rousseau continue to flourish and grow in numbers.  Medika Mamba merged with Plumpy Nut this summer and in turn they came out with a new design and size.  These smaller bags are easier for the parents to give out, less messy, and ensure a more controlled feeding amount.  With the old bags we would tell the parents as an example to give the kids 9 spoons a day verses with the new bags we're able to tell them to have them eat 3 a day.  I'm also a big fan of these updated bags as there's less chance of ants and bugs getting into them.  A big plus over here as ants seem to multiply like mosquitoes. 

The new 92 gram bags on the left verses the old ones on the right

We have several sets of twins in the Mamba program as well as this first set of triplets.
A mom brought her triplets in to be checked after hearing about our program.  All three were malnourished and put into the program.

Several weeks ago Douvena came into our program as a referral from our clinic.  Thirteen months old she barely weighed thirteen pounds.  Barely week enough to sit up on her own she was one of the worst cases I had seen.  Afraid that she would have trouble swallowing the Mamba we supplemented her first week with milk and told her mom to add water to the peanut butter to help her swallow it.  Five weeks later she was back to a healthy weight and graduated from our program.

Want to know why I believe in this program so much?  Take a look at her pictures.

More before and after pictures of another graduate.

A recent graduate enjoying a bag of the Mamba. 

This is what he looked liked when he first came in.  Jn Roma's dad came to our Rousseau clinic after hearing about our program from others.  He weighed 6 kilos.  He came for two straight weeks and then didn't show up again until the end of September.  His father had been in a bad motorcycle accident and couldn't walk the three hour hike it took to get to the hospital.  This time he weighed 5.27 kilos. 


Six weeks later Jn Roma graduated!

Jn Roma's before and after pictures.

If you would like more information on how you can donate to the Medika Mamba fund to help save lives like that of Douvena and Jn Roma, please visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Building!

Thanks to all those who helped donate/build/and update the clinic and Mamba buildings.  The patients now have multiple benches to sit on and a new roof extending from the new clinic building to the old clinic.  Instead of having to stand or sit for hours in the hot sun anyone that comes to be seen will now have a place to sit down and wait in the shade.  The new Mamba building has a gorgeous new roof (if you saw the old roof and all the holes in it you would think a roof could be gorgeous too) an extended porch sitting area, a new exit door, new tile (my favorite part, makes clean up a breeze) new steps, and new paint both inside and out!

How the new and old clinic looked before any updates

If you look closely you can still see the tree

A view of the patients waiting to be seen

How the old Mamba building looked before any updates

Even the chickens like the new waiting area


Side view of the building

New paint! New roof!
The first day of using the newly renovated building. 
Mamba patients using the new building and benches

Thursday, September 15, 2011

James Joseph

One month ago I didn't know his name or where he lived.  His name is James Joseph and to get to his house just follow the path down the hill past the clinic, go through the broken wall, watch out for the prickly thorn bushes, take a left, six houses down on the right, arrive at the back door fence.  

One month ago I didn't know who his family was.  Sweet Momma James as I call her who adores her son and her other child a beautiful three year old girl.  

One month ago I wouldn't be able to tell you his life story.  

James Joseph is 13 months old.  He smiles and laughs just like any normal 13 month baby.  He's starting to walk, a little unstable at times, but when holding on to his Mom's hand he's a pro.  His Mom adores him, still breastfeeding, a rare occurrence at his age.  Looking at him you would think everything is fine, except it's not.  

About two weeks after I got back from the States one of the girls here told me there was an American medical team coming to Pierre Payan, the next town over and that James and another girl with wrists problems needed to go see them.  I knew who the little girl with the wrist problems was but didn't know who the other boy was that we would be taking. 

James came to the clinic this summer and a visiting nurse from the States took on his case.  His case is complicated because it's not something that can be fixed with just one surgery.  He has an ectopic bladder, which in short detail means he has an open hole in his stomach which is where he pees from.  His case is extremely complicated and requires more care than available in Haiti.  Stephanie, the American nurse, was working on getting him to the States, but while doctors were willing to help it was becoming a problem to find a hospital who would agree to cover the cost of the very expensive surgery.  

So here we were two American girls, two Moms, and two babies loaded into the truck to visit the hospital to see what could be done.  At the hospital, there happened to be a pediatric urologist on the team who saw James and wanted to help but doors closed again.   

One thing that has been really hard to handle is how much suffering there is in this country that could be treated if there was access to good medical care.  If this case, or any of the cases that I come across, happened in the States we wouldn't think anything of it, but here it's different.  Just yesterday tt Rousseau, one couple walked five hours down the mountain, without shoes because they didn't own any, just so they could bring their sick son to the clinic.  Patients wait weeks, and sometimes months, until there is a  medical team that comes with a doctor on it that can help their ailment.  And the hard part, when you really think about it, is that sometimes help doesn't come for these people. 

So after having the door close again, last Thursday morning I walked down the hill, past the clinic, through the broken wall, watching out for the prickly thorn bushes, took a left, went six houses down on the right, arrived at the back door fence and hollered for Mamma James to come out.  We were going to see what could be done for James today.  

Our first stop was Mission of Hope, a mission about 45 minutes away from Canaan that had a clinic, school and orphanage.  We knew his surgery couldn't be done there but our hope was they could point us in some sort of direction and possibly give us some contacts in the States to reach out to.  After waiting about two hours, honestly not that long as far as waiting goes around here, we finally saw the doctor.  It probably turned out to be his quickest consult for the day because after taking one look at James' stomach he referred us to a pediatric hospital in Port and so away we went.

This part of the trip was somewhat comical because after arriving at the hospital and showing the guard our referral slip he directed us to the reception desk.  The reception desk referred us to the clinic.  The clinic referred us to the emergency section which was past the reception desk who then tried to make us go back to the clinic.  Five sweet talking minutes later we were on our way down the hall to the emergency section where the emergency reception nurses took his information and referred us to the surgeon, who as luck had it, had already left for the day. 

I felt bad for Mamma James, who for umpteenth time that day, told the surgeon's receptionist James' story.  I hadn't realized how many hospitals she had in fact visited, only to be turned away from help and let down.  I hadn't realized how many people either stare, or gasp as if to say what is that, when they see his deformed stomach.
We have an appointment to meet with the surgeon this Monday in Port.  We also have contacts in the States who are working on getting a doctor and most importantly, a hospital, take on James' case, but so far we are still waiting.  I am secretly hoping, and praying, that our Great Physician will open doors for this to happen before I have to take Momma James back to Port on Monday.  I want to spare her one more disappointment.  

Please pray for this family that doors will finally open and that we can find both a doctor and a hospital that will agree to his case.

I've learned that Haitians have a resilient and God fearing spirit.  They always end or begin any sentence that deals with anything pertaining to the future with God willing, or if God wants.   And so for the time being, for now, the plan if God wants is to still take Momma James and James to Port Monday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Rousseau - The program almost doubled in size within the last two weeks as word spread up the mountain that there was a program available that helped little kids gain weight.  One Wednesday a mom from this village brought in her daughter to check who entered the program.  I showed her before and after pictures of kids and told her if she knew of other kids in her town to have them come and we would check them.  The following Wednesday she came back with her sister and niece.  The Wednesday after that ten more showed up who were from the same town that ended up qualifying.  This week about ten new ones were waiting.  All from the same town.  Please pray for this village as almost every kid that entered the program in the last two weeks have been from this one area.  

Recent pictures of the Rousseau program
Sleeping on the scale is better than screaming on it
Baby Regina
Parents waiting for their turn to be called
Checking for a fever
One five year old we put in the program today
Happily sleeping after learning her last weigh in today

Monday, August 29, 2011

What can you do with $98?

"When we have the courage to look in the faces of brothers and sisters whose bodies are malnourished and whose brains are deformed because they have no food, Christ will change our desires, and we will long to sacrifice our resources for the glory of His name among them. " ~ David Platt
Last week Somalia made headlines.  It wasn't the type of headline that any country wants.  They had 29,000 kids dying from malnutrition.  Last week in Montrouis Haiti, at a small clinic on the bottom of a hill we treated more than 50 kids for malnutrition.   The moms were already there eagerly waiting to hand me their crumpled up contract paper letting me know their child was in the program.  Some kids came from the village right next to the clinic.  Some kids came from town.  Some kids came from the next town over, and some kids came from up the mountains waking up at three am to walk down.  
This week we treated more than 60.  Some old faces.  Some new faces.   Faces that are starting to fill out and look healthy.  Faces that are starting to smile.   Every now and again a familiar face coming back for their three month check up.  This week we had three.
Our program seems to be growing every week.  I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  It seems for every kid we graduate we have five new ones.   With this many kids in the program we use a lot of peanut butter.  This peanut butter is helping save these kids lives.  And now we need your help.  
It costs $98 to feed a child for 8 weeks.
$98 to have a kid graduate the program at a healthy weight
Three months later it takes 10 minutes to recheck the kid to see he needs the program again.  His mom doesn't have a job and can only afford to feed him once a day.  We talk again about healthy eating habits.  Picking foods with protein.  
It cost us $98 to get him back to a healthy weight. 
It cost her $.25 for a bag of limes bought as a present for helping her son.
About 60 kids faithfully come every week.
Sixty kids waiting all morning for their turn.
Sixty kids getting their weekly weight check.
Some kids don't like the scale.
Some scream.
Some scream very loud.
They may not like getting weighed but they do like getting to try the Mamba.
Because of your help we were able to open a second Mamba clinic up in Rousseau about 30 minutes away.  Some moms walk three hours to come on Wednesdays. 
This mom at Rousseau told me her daughter loved eating the Mamba but she was sick in her mouth.  When asked what she meant she pulled down her daughter's lips to show me two white bumps barely skimming the surface.  She was teething.
Want to know what you can do with an extra $5? $10? $98?
I do.
Donate to the Medika Mamba fund.
It takes $98 to change a child's life.
$98 to get a child healthy again.
For one trip to Wal-Mart you can feed a child for 8 weeks.
You can help make them smile. 
And laugh.
Help us help the kids of Montrouis and its surrounding community.

To donate to the Medika Mamba program go to