Monday, May 31, 2010

Braden’s Zami

Creole word for the day: Zami (pronounced zah-mee) which means friend.

Meet Merihta (pronounced Meh-ree-tah).  She comes every day (M-F) to help us with the kids.  She is the reason that Rob and I are able to focus on language learning every morning.  We have a tutor come to our house from 9 to 10 AM and then we try to focus on studying individually from 10 to 12.  She doesn’t speak English, so she is especially great for the kids language development. 

Tessa calls her “my friend” and loves to play a game she made up called “hide the X.”  Drew often does his own thing playing outside when Merihta is here.  It’s Braden who especially loves hanging with Merihta.  She pushes him around on a two-wheeled bike (making him think he’s a big boy), lets him sit on Daddy’s motorcycle, and helps him color (the boy is obsessed with coloring right now… well, scribbling.)

Braden wasn’t thrilled with the whole idea of hanging out with Merihta at first, especially since he knew Mommy and Daddy were still at the house.  But he’s come around—I think he thinks she’s his best zami!

These pics were taken last week.  I think it rained the entire week and, used to being outside almost all day long,  the kids were getting restless inside.  I had made them a “tent” in the living room before she even got to the house that morning.




Helicopter Landing

I have no idea why this helicopter landed in our neighbors yard two weeks ago, but Drew and I enjoyed watching it take off!



It kicked up a lot of dust and dirt taking off!



Drew “posed” for this one :)



Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Different Kind of Bug…

It was here.  The Sunday I had been looking forward to from the moment we made the decision to move to Haiti.  I went to bed Saturday night looking forward to our first visit as a family to an RMI sister church.  Even better, we were going out to visit with a team visiting from the US.  I couldn't wait to worship; couldn’t wait for the kids to see what it was like in a village for a few hours.

(Warning: what is to follow is not for the faint at heart)

Braden woke up that morning smeared in poop.  Just cleaning him and his crib up took 15 minutes.  We threw away the pajamas and a pacifier.

Drew woke up complaining that his belly hurt.  This is where my heart hurts.  We decided to go anyway.  Often, he says his belly hurts or he’s tired when he doesn’t want to obey or do something we want him to do.  This morning, he didn’t want to get dressed.  Sometimes he gets carsick and knew we were going to be driving on rough roads for an hour (although he hadn’t yet gotten carsick in Haiti).  We should have listened to him.

About 15 minutes from the church, Drew threw up on me.  Then a few more times on the side of the road.   Then about 5 or 6 more times outside the church within the first 10 minutes of being there.  I knew this was more than carsickness.

The team stayed, but someone drove our family home.  Drew threw up again a few miles from our house.  This time into a bag.

He laid on the couch when we got home and I put on a video for him. I soon realized he had a fever.  All he wanted to do was go to bed.  So Tylenol, a throw-up bowl and bed it was for him.

Tessa decided to continue watching the movie (Cars) and not long after that I saw she was asleep.  That was VERY unusual.  I pick her up to take her to bed and she’s got a fever.  Tylenol for her and bed.

This is where it the next 24 to 36 hours gets blurry.  Soon, Rob is shivering (in Haiti) and asking for a blanket.  Yup, 102.9.  Ibuprofen for him and a nap on the couch.

Meanwhile, Braden keeps having diarrhea, but is as happy as a clam.

I turn the A/C on in our room and Rob goes to sleep in there once the fever breaks an the chills stop.  Drew wakes up a little and I send him into bed with Daddy in the A/C.  Ibuprofen for him cause his fever is still high.

Between checking on Drew and Tessa and changing Braden’s nasty diapers, I check on Rob.  Only to find out he’s been vomiting… and having diarrhea. 

I have no idea when Tessa started vomiting or when Drew and Tessa started in with the diarrhea, but they did.  I literally was going from one person to the next, cleaning up after them or caring for them.

Sometimes I get cranky when members of the family get sick.  Like they ruined my plans.  Halfway thru that day, I had to laugh at the situation and thank God for giving me a heart of love and patience that day.  I prayed in that moment that I’d really be able to love my family with everything that I did that day.  And He sustained me.

I got a little more seriously concerned for Drew around 11 PM and Gary McLaughlin and Amy Long drove us over to the clinic.  We were home within an hour with antibiotics for him and assured he wasn’t dehydrated—yet.

Tessa ended up sleeping in my room with Rob and the A/C all night and I slept with Drew in Tessa’s room and we turned the A/C on for the first time in there.  It was a long night.  I was up with either Drew or Tessa every hour to hour and a half—diarrhea.  On each pass thru, I made Rob drink something and see if he needed anything.  I think he got the short end of the stick.

Monday was long as well.  Kids getting better, but pretty weak.  Lots of video watching.  It took Rob a lot longer to emerge.  Eventually Cipro, Immodium, Pepto and ibuprofen all did the trick in one way or another for him.

Wednesday night I went to bed and within a half hour, had a fever of 102.9.  The fruit of my labor.  The rest followed.

This time Rob let me sleep, made me drink and fed me ibuprofen and Cipro.   He took great care of the kids even though he was still weak.

This week a different kind of bug wreaked havoc on our home.  I’m sure it won’t be the last time!  This time God’s love and grace sustained us.  I know it will again.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Fun Birthday Weekend!

Sunday was my birthday, and since I’m sure you want to ask, I turned 35.  That number makes me feel old for some reason… don’t know why.  Anyway, it was my first birthday in Haiti and the weekend was a lot of fun!

On Saturday, I went shopping in Cayes with Amy Long, another RMI missionary here who is quickly becoming a good friend!  We took our 4-wheelers up to the Cite Lumiere clinic and took motorcycles taxis into the downtown Cayes market area.  The motorcycle taxi was a fun adventure!  It’s exactly what it sounds like— paying a fare and getting on the back of a Haitian’s motorcycle.  I’ve driven in a car for that ride many times, but there is something different about seeing Cayes that way.

We met Jenn Rogan, another missionary, at the market area to shop.  The streets are lined with stores, but we didn’t really go in them.  We checked out the vendors lining the streets.  It’s kind of like a bid yard sale.  Used clothes, shoes, new stuff too, anything you can imagine lines the streets.  My only purchase there was a cute dress for $2 US for Tessa.  Amy found fabric for some pillows and Jenn purchased a shirt.

Next, we went to lunch at a restaurant right near where we were shopping.  I had Poisson--  fish in a butter sauce—with rice and plantain.  Very yummy!  And, yes, the fish is cooked whole—bones, head, eyes and all.

After lunch we walked over to the area of the market called the “shoe market.”  Here, there are tables upon tables of used and new shoes.  In the main area, they are piled on sheets or blankets right on the ground.  There is not a variety of sizes here in one style!  Much like going to a yard sale, you just look for shoes you like and see if they are your size.  Amy found a pair of cute dressy sandals.

Then we took a motorcycle taxi to another part of town.  Jenn and Amy know this Haitian guy who makes and sells jewelry so we went to check it out.  The stuff he had was really nice—all made out of coconut or shells—and he had a nice variety.  I got a necklace and two pairs of earrings for $5 US.

We said goodbye to Jenn and took another motorcycle taxi to visit one of Amy’s friends.  After the earthquake, Amy made several friends at the Cite Lumiere hospital who had lost limbs on the earthquake.  This particular friend, Regine,  had her left leg amputated a few inches below her knee.  We went and visited her at her house.  Here is where I wished I knew more Creole!  Through Amy, I learned her story.  Her family lives in Cayes, but she was in Port to go to school.  She felt the ground shaking until it knocked her over.  A truck fell over on her leg and then a building came down on the truck.  She said she would have been killed if the truck hadn’t come down on her first.  She’s received a prosthetic leg.  She had a beautiful smile.  I told her I’d know more Creole the next time I saw her.

I started Saturday with a scratchy throat, and by Sunday, I had a full-out head cold.  No fun.  Rob let me sleep in and we were pretty lazy that morning.  I got homemade cards from the kids.  I was surprised that Rob managed to get me a gift and he put a good amount of thought into it!  It’s not like we can just go to the mall and find a gift here.  I got a sewing machine!  I’ve been wanting one for a while—not for anything elaborate, but to do stuff like make curtains.  I’m looking forward to trying it out.  I found out Sat that you can get some great fabric at the market for very little $, so I am excited to look for fabric for the kids rooms for curtains.

My request for my birthday was to go to Rainbow Beach, my favorite.  We went with Amy and Gary & Marilyn McLoughlin.  We had a great time despite the fact that I was sick.  The kids made a sand castle with Rob.  I took Drew and Tessa on a walk and we found a ton of baby hermit crabs at the end of the beach.  We collected as many as we could find.  Drew begged and begged, so we took home 6 tiny hermit crabs, and let the rest go.  We have started working on our “crabitat” and are hoping they make it until it’s all set up.

Overall, a great weekend of “girl time” and “family time.”  I feel blessed.  Now if only this head cold would go away…


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ughhh… Bugs… I’m needing some prayer…

I am really getting sick of bugs.  I like to think I’m adventurous and pretty brave.  I like to think I roll with the punches pretty well.  I did move to Haiti, after all.  But I have to admit to you that the bugs are really starting to get to me.  ALL the bugs, not just the big ones.

Drew just woke up from a nightmare, and when I was taking him back to his room, I saw something crawling slowly in front of his door.  My contacts were already out for the night, so I thought it was a small tarantula and called Rob (who was already sleeping) to come out and kill whatever it was.  Well, it was a scorpion. 

I am feeling discouraged tonight.  We all have a new round of bug bites (mosquitoes or gnats or no-see-ums, I’m not sure).  I can’t get away from the moths and beetles.  The constant line of tiny, marching sugar ants in my kitchen doesn’t help either. 

It’s really all part of life in Haiti.   In general, I’m okay with that.  Tonight, I wish I could escape from the bugs.  Just give me 24 hours without bugs!

One thing I am sure of, is that we are in the right hands… God’s hands.  Any number of things could have happened tonight with that scorpion.  Drew or I could have stepped on it… I’m sure you can think of other scenarios.  But we didn’t, in spite of the fact that I couldn’t see very well.

So while I am discouraged, I also feel protected.  Protected by my God, who loves and cares about me and my family.  I just need some prayer and encouragement.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Favorite

I just had to blog my favorite picture.  This was taken our first full day in Haiti, at sunset.  It really captures the sense of adventure, excitement and hope we all felt that first day at our new home.  I think Rob is a pretty amazing amateur photographer, don’t you? 



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Visit to the Hospital/Clinic

Tessa gave us our first reason to visit the Cite Lumiere Clinic today.  Of course, Rob is away on his first overnight trip.  He’s at the Zanglais Retreat Center with a team from Gainsville, FL who was out visiting their sister church.    About an hour after he left, I hear Tessa screaming.  I was outside by our depot and she was by our front “porch” door and shut her thumb in the iron gate door.  Her thumb was shut in the hinge side and the gate had latched.  Josette was closest to her and had to unlatch the gate to get her thumb out.  Looking at where her thumb was later tonight, I have no idea how she didn’t  completely crush her thumb.  I could tell right away I needed to take her to the clinic to see a doctor--  her thumb was already blood-red from broken blood vessels and looked flattened.  It was all I could do to take a deep breath and stay clam. 

Since Rob was away, I had to think pretty quick about what to do.  We have a large staff with RMI here, but anyone who could help me from RMI was with the team headed to Zanglais.  I called RMI missionary Amy Long, since I knew Rob wouldn’t be at the retreat center yet.  Her roommate is a nurse-practitioner at the clinic.  She couldn’t get a hold of her, but did get a hold of Karen Martin, another missionary here who works at the clinic.  I knew where the clinic was (only 1 to 2 miles from our house) but had no idea where to go when I got there, much less speak the necessary Creole!  Karen agreed to meet me at the clinic and Tessa and I hopped on the four-wheeler and drove up there.

Today I am especially thankful.  Thankful for people willing to drop everything to help me—Karen was awesome!  Thankful for a good medical clinic so close by.  Thankful that the US surgeon, Dr. Bill, who comes in once a month for a week, was there to look at the X-ray.  Thankful for a well-equipped hospital/clinic (for Haiti, anyway) that was able to do an X-ray on the spot.

Tessa’s thumb has a “clean crack” in it that Dr. Bill said should heal well.  She has it wrapped in gauze and tape to act as a splint for the next few days and Dr. Bill said he’d figure out some kind of splint for after that.  Tessa was a little scared, especially at the clinic, but she really was a trooper and I am proud of her for being so brave.  She doesn’t seem to be in much pain.  Would you pray with me, that over the next few days the pain would be minimal and that her thumb would heal well?  Praise the Lord with me for His provision today!



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Our Swimming Pool

Here are some pics of today’s fun…  Our new swimming pool!

IMG_3588   IMG_3577



Tessa was the funniest!  Her little personality is starting to really shine as she gets closer to 4 years old!  She was singing nonsensical songs as loud as she could the entire time in the “pool” and trying to make us laugh with her poses.  Most of the time, she just laughs at herself!

Overall, it was a fun day, and the kids stayed cooler.


Visit to Les Rois Church School in the Picot District…

Here is a video I shot out at Les Irois, Haiti.  If you want to see what this school looked like before, watch this video. 

In this video, you will see some Haitian scenery, the school construction progress, as well as me crossing the river to get to Les Rois Church/School.