Wednesday, August 27, 2008


To all those that have been praying for us, Thank You...

Gustav was tangled in the mountains before it reached us, therefore, the winds had dwindled to gusts of 40+ mph. On the other hand, the rain has been unrelenting and I can only begin to imagine the damage He has left in his wake. 

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti...with no waste management or sanitation services you can only imagine what rising water levels must mean!! Please pray for manageable sized epidemics, or better yet, none at all!!

Briefly, on our ride over in the landcruiser I witnessed what you would only imagine seeing in a magazine or the movies. The roads, or what use to be roads, where all rushing rivers!! For those of you that have visited Leogane, all the roads running from the main highway into the city have transformed into funnels for the outpouring of water from the mountains. In some places the water levels exceeded 4 feet!! We have heard from CNP staff in Darbonne that the water levels could be higher and they are experience some difficulties. All in all, the CNP staff, that we know, is safe and sound. But, I have a feeling that the work is just about to begin. 

I didn't have an opportunity on the way over to capture any photos, therefore, I leave you with one of my favorite areas of Leogane (the banks of the Grand Rivye). Thanks again for all your prayers and I will do my best, as always, to keep everyone posted!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Sorry and thanks for your patience...

The Internet situation down here has not gotten any better, in fact, it may be a little worse!! Hopefully some ideas are on the table and they will come to fruition soon!!

As far as what has been going on, there is a a lot!!! I will try to summarize the week with the mobile clinic from Chattanooga and a update of Guerline...

The team arrived two weeks ago from today and let me tell you, it was so good to see some familiar faces and hug the necks of those that have supported me so faithfully!! It wasn't a homemade apple pie, but they brought a little bit of home with them and I sapped it up like a biscuit does with gravy!!

All in all the week was a huge success! The Hospital here is going through some trying times and in order to support them here we began the week hosting a clinic for the city of Leogane right there at St. Croix. The turn out was impressive and actually we had to limit our services to, i believe, 260 patients. The setup was quite comfortable and as always the dental team, Deb Watlington and Alan Crisman, were inspiring!! For those of you that have participated in a mobile clinic you know how hard the dental team always works, and for those of you that haven't I am not doing it justice by briefly describing their efforts. But, let me tell you, at the end of everyday they are the last ones to finish working whether that is because of the lack of lighting, the approaching thunderstorm (which many times they work right through the rain), or because they successfully treated every patient. They are the last ones standing and deserve every bit of recognition for their valiant work!! 

The rest of the week was filled with a lot of hope and a lot of heartache, as most clinics are, but as Mitch always reminds everyone "you can only do as much as you can do and you have to let yourself be OK with what hope you gave." If you focus your thoughts and efforts on the negatives, which it is so easy to do in Haiti because you are surrounded by them, it's easy to lose sight of all the help you gave. I think that it is safe to say that most individuals when they leave Haiti after a clinic week feel pretty beat up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The weather and other elements takes its' toll on the body and then the situation of the Haitian people and the images you see seem to ring your heart out dry. But there again, when all is said and done you must dwell on the fact that without your work think of where the Haitian people would be and with strength from above you press on seeking to give HOPE!!

It truly was a great week, and of course, it was filled with what Haiti always offers: salsa dancing (Deb stole the show one night), french fries and beer, roads that never seem to be remotely passable but somehow you do, walks through riverbeds, tropical fruit and a wonderful week of Haitian cuisine, sunsets that will leave you feeling enchanted, and most importantly humbly spending time with your Haitian brothers and sisters in their world and at their level. All these things are truly a blessing!!

Thanks to ALL that participated and I look forward to the next time we can serve together!!

As for my girl, Guerline, her story is truly amazing and the book gets better with each passing page. I know I mentioned to some of you that I was heading back to the mountains if we didn't see her and/or her mother back at the hospital after her supplies of medicine had been depleted. Of course, they didn't come because they have no money and couldn't afford the transportation to the hospital, therefore, myself, Louis, and Guesly took to the mountains to take her more medicine and to check her progression as her body continues to re cooperate from the lack of nutrients that she went for so long without. 

Once again, there are not enough words to describe to everyone the feeling you get when you round the corner to her house and in that instant that she sees you her eyes light up like the brightest stars in the sky. Her smile was larger than I had ever seen and her embrace was worth any 2 hour hike ten times over!! It is amazing to witness a miracle with your own eyes!! I feel blessed beyond imagination and can only hope that everyone grasps, if only a smidgen, these emotions I am attempting to describe...

We spent an hour at her house playing and feeding her and taking necessary measurements for our records to track her continued progression. She sat in my lap, unfortunately I don't have these specific pictures, and I fed her her medicine. The picture above is right before she crawled up into my lap. Although I still don't speak the language great, the gratitude could be seen from miles away on the mother and fathers face!! Honestly, right now, I am at a loss of words and I know I will never completely describe my emotions of this experience. All I know is I am extremely blessed and thank the good Lord for showering my life with experiences such as these...they are truly life changing.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Safe Water

I know that I have mentioned to most of you being involved in CNP's launching of their safe water program, and with the help of CDC and other programs it officially launched a couple of months ago. As of now we are still learning and developing ideas, but currently our Monitrices from the nutritional program are being supplied with special buckets and a diluted chlorine solution called "gadyen dlo" to sell at a subsidized cost to families in their villages. Of course, in order to control quality of the water and to make sure the solution is being used properly we are training our Monitrices first at our monthly meetings, therein, allowing them to host training classes in their respective villages before anyone can purchase the bucket, top, and solution package.

The two full time employees of CNP that are working with the water program are Evans and Albert (who is in the picture above). Just after I arrived in Leogane, Evans took off for vacation so I have spent most of my time working with Albert. We have been going out approximately 2 times a week to supervise these class/meetings the Monitrices host in their villages in order to educate and answer any questions the locals may have. These meetings are a treat for me. Not only do I get to practice hearing/learning Kreyol from the locals during the meetings, I also get to hear personal stories, threw a translator, about how excited/thankful they are about this program and how the water in the past has made them or their children really sick. 

These meetings are sometimes held in churches and before each meeting they like to sing a hymn and pray before they begin. These times are extremely peaceful for me and although I can't understand the words of the hymn I sometimes recognize the tune and hum along. To be in these mountain villages among these mountain people singing/humming hymns and praying is very invigorating!! 

Usually the meetings last about an hour or so and without fail, no matter their living situation, they always offer some sort of "gift" before we begin our descent of the mountain. On this particular day they sent a child of the village up into the coconut trees to knock down several for us to drink. I have never had fresh coconut juice from the fruit before so it was truly a treat for me to have my first experience with my Haitian brothers and sisters!!

The preparation of the coconut fruit is quite a talent and I was mesmerized by the hatchet skills of the elder of the village who prepared the coconuts to drink. From an outsiders perspective it looked as though he swung aimlessly at these nuts sending the shell, like shrapnel, flying left and right, sometimes catching you in the face!! But it never failed, when he set his hatchet aside and rose to hand you the coconut there was a perfect size drinking whole ready for you to turn it up...and turn it up we did!!

As always I am humbled by the generous spirit of the Haitian people...