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."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Medika Mamba at Rousseau

Four weeks ago we started a Medika Mamba program about 30 minutes away up the mountains in a small village town called Rousseau.  We saw almost 50 kids the first day.  Here are some pictures from the first few weeks.

Our first Mamba patient we put in the program at Rousseau.

Staring intently at the Mamba bag after having tasted it for the first time.

And wanting more...

He was so thirsty from being dehydrated we put him on a combination of milk and mamba.
Letting one of the kids we put in the program taste the Mamba.
Weighing another little baby we put in the program.    

Entering the names into the Mamba book.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This week

It's Friday night and I'm not gonna lie but it's 8:00 right now and I probably could go to bed; but, Amber, one of the girls here teaching math for the remainder of the school year, and Cassie, another girl who just got here a week ago to help out in the school and clinic, and I are all trying to encourage each other other to update our blogs more frequently to update our friends, family, and supporters of what's going on in with life here in Haiti.  So here I sit down in the cafeteria in the dark (it's movie night) with 30 kids watching the Ten Commandments.  Such much has happened this week I don't know where to start.  I really could say that about every week here, because things out of the ordinary and things extraordinary only seem to happen in a place like this afternoon when I was walking down to the cafeteria I saw one of the office workers dressed in dress pants and a nice shirt walking a pig on a leash across the yard...yes TIH.

We were challenged in church on Sunday to pray as a community for Haiti, for it's revival as a country, for the people and so Sister Gladys and the church agreed that at 5 am and 9 pm everyone at Canaan would pray for 5 minutes.  Haiti is hurting.  I see it everyday walking down to the clinic to help out in the pharmacy.  I see the hurt in the patients faces who sit in the hot sun for hours waiting to be seen to feel better.  I see it in the rib showing donkeys that get tied to the flag pole that need to eat grass for three weeks straight twenty four hours a day to fill out their emaciated frames.  I see it in the hungry and scantly clothed kids I met on the daily walks up the mountain hill.  I see it in the faces of the moms that after learning their kid has graduated from the mamba program there no longer is a steady source of food.  I see it in the street boys in Port who wave their dirty rags over the car in hopes of getting a couple cents.   I see it in my little neighborhood friends Maxenne and his younger sister Nephtalie when I ask them how their day is and they respond not good because it's two in the afternoon and they haven't eating yet...BUT God is good and I see joy in the patients eyes after seeing the doctor and telling someone of their aches.  I see happiness in the Moms faces when they come back for their baby's three month check up and their child has gained weight.  I see excitement in the kids faces as I climb up the mountain and shout hello to them.  I see love in Maxenne and Nephtalie's smile when I give them some peanut butter cookies I had in my bag...and so we pray for all of this.  We pray for Haiti.

5:00 am comes real early for those of you who don't know and as I set my alarm every night I pray that I can stay awake long enough in the morning to make it through those five minutes...sad I know, but it's a struggle and so you can pray for that because I've learned I'm definitely a morning person, just not not a morning person before 8.  The first day I think I made it through till 5:02 and the next time I looked at the clock was about twenty minutes later. So imagine my surprise as I sleepily got out of bed, not quite awake and reached down for a bag I left on the floor from the week before.  I had a new roommate.  Couldn't quite tell you how long he had been there, but I screamed and my faithful, skillful, exterminator roommates can running to my rescue.  I'd like to say this was my first encounter with a tarantula but I encountered one in the shower just chilling on a shampoo bottle about a month after I came here..yeah about that....

The most exciting thing of the week happened Wednesday when Elsie and I went up to the new hospital in Rosseau to start a MOBILE Mamba clinic.   I had really been praying for the past month that God would open some doors to start a mobile clinic and do some outreach to reach more kids.  One of the missionaries in town put me in touch with Dr. Gardy who helps operates the Rosseau hospital up in a nearby mountain town and so we touched base about three weeks prior.  He came to the clinic here and we showed him what we do with Mamba and explained how the program works.  He was very interested in starting a mamba clinic up in his area and so we gave him some paper information about the mamba criteria and he promised to keep in touch after talking to his board.  Well this past Wednesday we got word that it would work for him for us to go up there.  So excited.  I added this clinic to the 5 am prayer time and excitedly (did I mention I was excited about this) loaded the truck with four boxes of mamba, two milk cartons, and the rest of the supplies and took off for the clinic with Elise and Joanne, our Haitian nurse that helps me with Mamba.

We hadn't made it more than twenty minutes up the unpaved, bumpy road when another car came up behind us with the Rosseau clinic's decals.  I couldn't who from that hospital was behind us but we had company for the rest of the way up.  Now roads in Haiti, they're a little different than you're average American road, especially rocky mountain roads.  They're not paved, there are no divider lanes, no passing lanes and cows have the right of way; and so up the mountain we trudged until we came to a field where what seemed to be a town gathering because there there must have been about 50 people out.  Some with pick axes, some with shovels, a lot just sitting watching the day's entertainment which was just that until we drove up.  Apparently the path in this area up to the hospital got washed out by a storm and so the only way up to there was through this field which the owner said he was fine with, that was until planting season.  So the ditch part that you normally go across that had rocks in the bottom for support was now blocked by a motor cycle.  Not knowing that was the case I just kept on driving until bamm, tires in the ditch, can't go forward, can't go back, score one for embarrassment of the day.  Dr. Gardy, who was in the car following, came out to help and thankfully Elsie took over from there.

We unpacked all our supplies we brought and Dr. Gardy showed us into one of the consultation rooms that we would have for the next couple of hours.  I'm not sure if I really knew what to expect but after everything was unpacked Joanne, Elsie, and I just stared at each other for a second saying where are the kids.  We didn't have to wait long before we saw our first one of the day, a 21 day old baby.  After telling the nurses that we can only see kids 6 months to 5 years old things started going a little smoother as things can go on a first day.  They brought us a list of kids that were waiting and we decided to have two stations going in order to be able to see all of the kids.   Well long story short, we didn't find any malnourished kids on day one.  All of the kids we saw were of good weight, though one was close to being malnourished and so we gave him some milk to take home.  There were a lot of kids with swollen bellies and so we treated them for worms and told the moms to spread the word that we would be back next week to see more kids.  I asked Elsie how it worked on mobile clinics she did in the past and if this was normal to in one day not have one malnourished kid come.  She explained that oftentimes the moms are embarrassed to bring their sick and malnourished baby in and so it takes a couple of weeks for them to build up the courage to come.  I praise God that we saw about 40 to 50 kids that day and they were all in relatively good health and I pray that next week those kids in the area that are sick and in need of the program come to see us.

One of the Rosseau nurses, Elsie, and Joanne with a Mamba patient

I've been telling people that it's my goal to do mamba three days a week and then go from there.  Tuesday's at the Canaan clinic here and then two days of outreach.  Well God knew even before I did what was on my heart because that afternoon Elsie told me she had talked to a clinic about 45 minutes away and they were very interested in having us come to do mamba there.  Insert excited smile here.

It's been a fruitful week, a blessed week. I'm in the middle of reading a Praying Life by Paul Miller sent courtesy of my sweet friend Cmiller and what a rich book it is.  A thought popped into my head one morning this week at 5 am while praying; what I had been reading and praying to be better and more disciplined at, which was praying itself, was exactly what Sister Gladys asked us as a church community, and me, to do. 

"A praying life opens itself to an infinite, searching God.  As we shall see, we can't do that without releasing control, without constantly surrendering our will to God.  "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10) is actually scary." ~ Paul Miller

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Number 12745

Dawenke on the first day
 Four weeks ago, Jn Louis, Dawenke made a memorable entrance into the Mamba program by throwing up.  He also came in dehydrated.  Just shy of a year his first birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks.  He couldn't walk, couldn't crawl, and could barely sit without looking like he was going to topple over at any moment.  Did I mention he weighed only 11 pounds?  There were probably several reasons why he wasn't getting enough food.  Maybe he didn't have any parents and was living with a different family member or neighbor.  Perhaps his parents, mom, or dad didn't have a job, which meant no money to buy food.  Whatever the reason he was a sick little boy.  I'd like to say this was a rare occurrence, but it's becoming all too familiar.   I remember thinking this was the third one year old that week that had come in weighing almost the exact same weight.  Life is not easy here for many.  If you have no money and you have to choose between clothes and food, you obviously would choose many kids run around with little next to nothing.
Sometimes when the kids come back for their weekly checkup it's easy to see their weight gain.  The moms (sometimes a dad) do a good job feeding their kid.  They give them the peanut butter eight times a day just as we tell them to and it makes a huge difference.  Other times, the kids are a little bit slower to respond.  When the kids weigh next to nothing it's easier to see a difference when they come back each week.
A much happier little baby
Today marked one month since Dawenke had been in the Mamba program.  I hardly recognized him.  His face had filled out.  He was sitting on his own.  His belly had gotten bigger.  He was smiling.  What a huge, huge, difference a couple of weeks made.  He still has a little over a kilo to go before he graduates the program, but he is doing great for where he's at.  Thanks to everyone that helps support the  Mamba program!
Dawenke at week 4