Good News!

Good news. Hospital Corporation of America has just added us to their list of charities that they will match employees donations!

We have attempted to be included with other companies in the past but have been unsuccesful.

We have learned much about the process, so any of you who have asked about your employer in the past, please contact us. We will contact your employer and resubmit our request.

Thank all of you for your generous support.

We promise you that we are working diligently with your donations to bring hope and change to the people of Riviere Mancelle, Haiti.

Blessings, Bob and Denise

Update on Sleepless Nights

Update on Sleepless nights.

After the woman, Mariana, rejected our offer to drive her to Port au Prince, she came back to request help, after it was too late in the day to travel. At 4:00 the next morning the family found other transportation to a different hospital located in Mirebalais. This is a very good hospital, but did not have the specialist Mariana needed. Denise and Anita, an American friend and co-worker, had researched where Mariana would be able to get the care she needed.

Mariana went to the hospital and died the following morning.

We have seen the family since and they do not seem to have ill feelings. However, they came to the house and pleaded with Denise to drive to Mirebalais to bring the body home for the funeral. The family told Denise that they could not find any one else to do this.

This would be a 4 to 5 hour trip each way and the country is in turmoil. There are daily demonstrations, and travel is not secure.

The trip needed to take place yesterday, Wednesday. It would require leaving at 4:00 a.m. in order to be back for the funeral at 3:00. Also Tuesday afternoon the casket needed to be picked up.

Denise felt strongly that we needed to do this. I on the other hand did not feel that this was our responsability. I think that we are here to serve the living, and that we had given all we had to help Mariana when she was alive. Denise thought that this was a spiritual need for the family.

After discussing and praying about it, I agreed to make the trip on the condition that the polical climate calmed enough that we would not be exposing ourselves to unneccesary dangers.

On Tuesday morning there appeared to be a lull in the demonstrations and we sent word to the family that we would make the trip. I had meetings in the morning and we planned on going to town in the afternoon to pick up the casket.

When I returned at noon, Johnny and Bermane went to the family to tell them we were ready to go. The family had made other arrangements………

The church was overflowing.

Our first week by Denise

First Week January 20, 2016 This trip started out with problems from the beginning. The plane in Nashville was delayed an hour because it had to be deiced. Arriving in Miami just as our connecting flight to Port Au Prince was leaving. Mimi airport is so large that you need to take a train to reach the different gates. We were told to go to our gate and our plane had just left ( this is gate D 24). At the gate they told us to go to gate D 37 to change our reservations. So back upstairs with all our carry on (max allowed) back on the train down the escalator to D 37. Very long line. We noticed there was a phone number you could call so while waiting in line Bob was able to get us on the next flight leaving in 25 minutes. So back upstairs on the train to D 25. When we arrived at the gate the flight started to board. There was no time for lunch, we had left for the airport just after 4 in the morning and it was now noon. Upon arriving in Haiti the sky bridge would not function so we sat on the plane and waited for a stairway to be brought to the plane. After descending we took a bus to the airport and went upstairs to immigration. Three flights had just arrived and they had two people working the line was hours long. Finally they opened a second booth so we moved slightly faster. Then down to baggage claim, only two of our six bags made it on the flight. We have a nurse practitioner Cecile Muller travelling with us , she is French so she went with me to baggage claim to report the missing bags. We were told Miami reported the bags were sent to Port Au Prince and gave us a paper with the missing bags numbers on it. The next morning we returned to the airport and two more of our bags arrived on the next flight. We waited at the airport for the next flight and found one more bag. We need to head for Gros Morne so we left the paper with a friend and he would continue to watch for the last bag. As of now we still have not found our bag. The items in the bag do not necessarily have great monetary value, but we can only bring what is absolutely necessary so they are being greatly missed. Because of our limited internet we will have to return to PAP to file a missing bag claim. We left for or apartment and had an uneventful trip home. We were welcomed by many people in the village and promptly went to bed. The next morning a patient was brought to us who had a large swelling in her throat, her left breast was swollen and her left arm. We left right away for the hospital in Gros Morne. After much waiting we saw a doctor who wanted x-rays. The x-ray machine at our local hospital is broken so we had to take the woman and her family to Gonaives (an hour away) for the x-rays. When we arrived it was 1;00 and the x-ray tech was out to lunch, the hospital thought he would be back in maybe 25 minutes. We had paid for the x-rays so I suggested to Ceciel we go and get lunch, the lady had many family members to stay with her and in Haiti 25 minutes could be two hours. So we went and had lunch, when we returned they had just finished the x-rays and we returned to Gros Morne. It was then about 5:00pm. The doctor was angry that one of the x-rays were missing and wanted us to take her back to Gonaives the next day, we explained we had just arrived and had not even unpacked our bags yet. The family said they would deal with the additional x-ray. The Lady was admitted to the hospital; we paid for her prescriptions and returned home around 7:00. The family asked us two days later to take the Lady to another town for surgery, but we were already scheduled to meet with Fr. Gracia in Kalabot and could not. The family arranged transportaition, but was told this other hospital could not help and to take the mother to another hospital outside of Port Au Prince run by an American Dr, Paul Farmer. I contacted my friend Anita ( who has worked in Haiti for 7 years) she said it was an excellent hospital but it was very hard to be seen there because of so many people go there for help. She contacted another Doctor she works with in PAP and he said we should take her back to Gonaives to get her stabilized and he would see her later in the week. So Monday morning we loaded up the lady and her daughter and took her to Gonaives after driving another patient to the hospital in Gros morne. While at the hospital we asked for the x-rays and lab results taken the week before. The doctor there basically told us not to bother with the lady, the lady had cancer and was going to die. This was assumed with no cat scan, or any other real testing. We took her back to Gonaives emergency; they did not even see her. They told us she needed to go to PAP there was not any specialist working at the hospital. This woman was having great difficulty breathing and swallowing because of the size of the tumor in her throat. Bob and I talked and decided we would have to have a plan to go to PAP with her. So I called my friend Anitia and we stopped at her house on our way back to Garcin. She made arrangements that a Doctor that could do a biopsy would see her Wednesday morning. I called Mathew 25 to see if they had room for us and possibly give us a break on the rate of the stay because the family had no relatives to stay within PAP. All was arranged and we were packed to leave on Wednesday, then the woman said she did not want to go. She was afraid to die in the truck on the way. She went back and forth three times, and then said no she would not go. We told her it was her decision but if we cancelled that was all we could do we could not offer any further help. At 5: oo that evening her daughter came and said her Mother had changed her mind and wanted to go. We had cancelled the rooms, and the doctors appointment. It was too late to leave for PAP at that time because it is not safe to travel at night in Haiti. Many people in the village were angry with us. We explained many times all of our attempts to help. I worried all night and try to decide the best course of action. Bob and I talked about it and Cecile and I talked about it. We were afraid if we went through rescheduling the lady would back out again. We also have meetings scheduled on Thursday in Kalabot that would be hard to cancel at this time. But God has a way of working things out and this morning we were told the family found a driver and took their mother to Dr. Farmers hospital at 4 in the morning. I pray she was seen and could be helped. We also have been transporting the twins to the hospital. The little boy twin seems to have a heart defect. He will need to be seen by a pediatric specialist. I , with the help of friends seek out the right place to take him to see if we can find him help. This is not to mention on our way to town on a day to use the internet Bob and I came upon a young woman on the side of the road, she had many people around her. We stopped to see if we could help. I tried to find a pulse and could not find one. There was another woman with her holding a crying baby and a little boy next to her. It appeared they were traveling. The woman was indeed dead, she was going to the next town because her mother had died. We dont know why she died, or if these children were hers. Medical in Haiti is so lacking. The people cant afford to go to the doctors or clinics until they are in serious condition. Then without all the modern tests and equipment there is only guessing as to what is wrong and how to treat. I dont have any answers just prayers.

Sleepless nights…

Tonight I am up later than usual because, simply I can not sleep. We had a medical emergency that has not gone well, in fact that is what is keeping me awake.

I finally decided to get up and write a blog about it. Basically, we, (mostly Denise) have been working with a women in our community for probably six months.

Denise has been transporting her to various hospitals, paying for expenses, etc. It has finally been determined she probably has cancer.

However to be sure we need a biopsy done. Over the last several days Denise has contacted numerous medical professionals to find out where we can have this done.

We finally located an American doctor in Port au Prince who would be willing to see her tomorrow. His only opening. We made arraignments to drive her to Port today, so that she could be there first thing in the morning.

Our big hold up was where could we spend the night. We were in a meeting with our peasant farmers, when we finally got word where we could have lodging we could afford. We left our meeting and came back to our apartment to pack.

We packed and were ready to leave when the lady we have been helping sent word that she did not want to go. After several discussions with her and her family, she agreed, and then, she refused again.

This was after she was told that this was the only option we had left.

After she refused, Denise called all of the involved parties and cancelled.

Later, concerned people in the community came to us, angry with us, because she had changed changed her mind again, and now we could not do anything.

By this time, if we could reconnect all of the arrangements, we would be traveling after dark.

Not only is it extremely dangerous to be traveling in Haiti after dark, we just received reports of violent demonstrations taking place in some areas where guns were being used, with people being killed.

All I could say to the people that were angry and expected more from us, was that we all are given free will. If we reject grace, we have to live with our decisions.

We are all very overcome with sadness. How much more does God grieve when he offers us his grace and we say "NO".

God’s mercy on us all, Bob and of course, Denise (She is the one who worked so hard)

Back in Haiti

We arrived safely in Garcin around 7:30 Monday night. We would have been earlier, but we stayed until the last flight of the day from Miami arrived at the airport. We were rewarded with the three of four missing pieces of checked luggage. Hopefully the last pieces will still show up.

When we arrived at our apartment we were pleased that the batteries were charged up so that we had lights. Our water tanks were dry, I think that the water was used up watering the container gardens on our roof.

Tuesday morning Johnny and I installed the solar panels on the roof. Unlike previous trips, everything went smoothly and our system is functioning normaly. The water is a different story. The spring capture above the village is leaking and does not collect enough water to fill the reservoir. The only way to fill our tanks is to close off the water to the village long enough to fill the reservoir. Then we can open the valve to our tanks and fill them.

There is an organization called OXFAM that is planning on rebuilding the spring capture. They plan on charging for water to fund the project. We had to agree in order to be tied into the system when it is complete. That is not a problem for us, but we have observed that this system does not generaly work with the peasants. What most likely what will happen is that people will tap into the piping wherever it is exposed, usually destroying the whole system. We shall see.

Tuesday is also the day there is clinic here in Garcin. This Tuesday, a women came with a very high fever, over 105. Denise and Cecile took her and her family to the hospital in Gros Morne. There, the doctor wanted exrays taken but their exray machine was not functioning. So, Denise and Cecile drove her to the hospital in Gonaive, an hour further.

There whe was exrayed and they brought her back to Gros Morne. When the doctor took the exrays from the envelope, there were only two of the three needed. Denise told them she could not drive her back, so arrangements were made to have her transported by taxi. It was almost 7:00 by the time Denise and Cecile arived back home. There is much more to this story. I am sure that either Denise or Cecile will elaborate.