Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Update on the Cholera Outbreak

Hey everyone! Just wanted to write a little blurb on what is going on here in Haiti. As I'm sure most of you already know, there is a cholera outbreak here in Haiti that started this past Thursday in St. Marc. Mission of Hope is about an hour and a half drive south of St. Marc, but the last update I had was that there were 5 confirmed cases in Port-au-Prince as well, which is about 45 minutes to the south of us...basically, it's all around us now.

I'm mostly writing this blog to let you all know that I am doing well, and everything is good at this Mission at this point, but also to ask you to pray for us. Things can change really fast with these sorts of infections, especially with the current living conditions in many tent cities and overcrowding in villages. But God is bigger than it all, and as my friend Vena has said over and over again to me lately, He is "more than good." So, please pray for us here in Haiti. Please pray for protection for the Haitian people, for our staff, our visitors and everyone involved in trying to bring this outbreak under control. We had a prayer time yesterday and the thought I had was how merciful God has been to Haiti so far. So many are shocked that it has taken this long for an outbreak to occur, and really, it's only by His mercy that He has spared so many, and kept them from so much illness and disease. He really is good like He says He is.

Today in church one gentleman did a little public health announcement for the church, and it was so encouraging to see! I feel like a lot of Haitian people are nervous right now about what could happen, but it's good to see them follow instructions to wash their hands, and one of my friends even joked that we shouldn't shake hands anymore, but just fist-bump. I'm a fan. So ya, I'm doing well here, and things are not so out of control where we are right now, but we are prepared. On Saturday morning we took the Gateway team that is here with us to the inpatient ward and got everything set up in case patients started coming. We haven't had anyone come to us yet, but I have a feeling that when the clinic opens tomorrow morning, that could change!

But that's that for an update. Thanks for the prayers!

Oh, and here's a picture of my friend Vena - she's actually leaving tomorrow morning for the Dominican Republic to go to school there. She has a sponsor paying for her to go to college there, and is aspiring to be a pediatric doctor!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back to Life in Haiti

So here I am, back in Haiti once again! I've been back for just over 2 weeks now, after my lovely break at home in September. It was sooooo good to be back in Canada, to see all my friends and family and just relax for a couple of weeks. It only felt odd to be home for about the first week, but I soon got over that! There were a couple of things that stuck out to me, some I expected, others not so much. 1) It was freezing cold for least I thought so! 2) A car gives so much freedom - you have no idea! 3) Coffee is simply one of those wonderful gifts of God given to us. 4) My nephews are the cutest kids EVER! 5) Cold, fresh milk is WONDERFUL!

Another thing that stuck out to me during my time at home was how much I missed everything in Canada, despite its freezing cold weather. I never really fully appreciated the beauty of fall because it was always when school was starting, and that's all my obsessive mind could handle. But being home I just kept glancing at the trees to try to find a bright red one, purposely walking over dried leaves on the sidewalks and driving along the Niagara River to take in as much of its beauty as I could. Ahh...

The time was over too soon, but it was so good. And I know I'll be back for Christmas, so it wasn't so hard to leave with only 10 weeks between.

So back here in Haiti I've jumped right back into the swing of everything. It's been so good to be back, with teams slowing down at least for the time, school starting back up for all of the kids (we're busting at the seams with 2200 kids), and just hanging out with all of my friends here. The biggest part about living here at MOH that I have loved is the community we have. There are about 8 of us girls here right now all in our 20's, a new family (the Mazur's) that moved here in August, and then a couple of missing people to be added back to our numbers in the coming weeks. Just having a place to relax, throw random dance parties, and eat yummy "log" is so beautiful. I'm learning from my time here how much we as humans are made to live in life giving and life checking it can be. Everyday here I feel challenged in some new way, whether it's to consider what my purpose is in life, or to really listen to what God is speaking to me, or to simply calm down and take a break if I'm becoming too ridiculous. Community is good. Not easy or painless, but good.

A couple of quick stories to share about some stuff since being back in Haiti. The little girl, Angelie, that is living at the Hope House since she was abandoned at the clinic back in May, is standing!!! She still needs a bit of help to balance, but she's fully weight bearing and growing so well!!! I love her more and more each time I'm with her. When I ask the kids in the Hope House if she's bad, they all say "Yes!". You can't hold her in church without her screaming at the top of her lungs at least 5 times, but she is so full of life and smiles! She's also starting to do all the normal "baby" things like clapping her hands, waving bye-bye, trying to talk but only talking jibberish. She's doing so well though!

Soon after I came back to Haiti as well, all the students I'm friends with and know were excited and telling us all that they had passed their government exams. It's fun to see how excited they are about moving up in school. Kedesh is in his last year of high school, Vena is going to be moving to the Dominican Republic at the end of the month to start college to become a paediatrician, and a bunch of the kids have new uniforms as they move up to the green and white for high school, and Richardson is starting at our school this year. It's going to be a good year!

I also got to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving here in Haiti (who woulda thunk?!). Samaritan's Purse has a campus just about 2 miles down the road, so a bunch of us Canadians and honorary Canadians for the day, jumped into Rachel's Haitian truck and went to join the party feasting on turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, followed by a refreshing swim in their pool. Here's to Chaiti!

So that's life summed up here, for now. The Christmas countdown might start soon...or is it still too early for that?!