February 21,2017 Another week in the field This week as week we spend here, pretty much proved to be interesting and eventful. Monday we spent at the sister’s house so we could use their internet. It has become apparent that people are not receiving emails that I send from my phone. I don’t understand why, it has always worked in the past but several people have let me know they did not receive my emails. This means I need to take my computer to town where there is WIFI to send an email. I do receive emails, as far as I know, also to post a blog and to down load books to my kindle I need to have WIFI. We have looked into having WIFI at our apartment but it is very expensive and questionable if it would even work. Our batteries for our solar panel are dying, our electricity is very limited. We are turning our inverter off all day, and only have electricity for a few hours at night. We do have some solar lights we use but these too are limited. We hope to be able to replace our batteries next fall when we return to Haiti. We have been given a couple more solar panels and are planning to add them to the system when we get our new batteries. Monday night we received a call from Sr. Pat asking us to pick up Sr. Carmel from Gros Morne she was going to have a mobile clinic in Buchan Richard. Bob went to get her and brought her to the apartment. We had the boxes we had picked up in Gonaives for her and she needed to go through them to see what needed to go to her clinic in Kalabot and what she wanted to go to the hospital in Gros Morne. I then took her to Buchan Richard. I had no idea of what we were going to do really. When we arrived a young nurse was already there and had set up a small pharmacy on a table in the church. Sister started by addressing the people who were waiting in the court yard of the church, she spoke about nutrition and then we had prayer. We saw 29 people I was impressed at how knowledgeable sister was. She is our first nun to have had good training in medical, she has a lot of energy and a real passion for serving the people of RIviere Mancelle.I was very encouraged by her. Wednesday was a day we took to get caught up round the apartment. I used to feel guilty when we had a down day. Now I know they are necessary for our sanity. There is always maintenance as in any home, plus just time to relax. I noticed we didn’t see Mano all day but this is not totally unusual since his stroke. He is able to walk, but he is still weak. That night at dinner Bermond told us Mano had a fever, and was shaking. So we went to check on him, I decided that he needed to go to the hospital. Someone that was not so frail I would have given Tylenol and waited to see how they were the next day, but he is very frail right now. We finished eating and loaded him up in the truck. You have to bring your own sheets, blankets, towels, pillow, bucket everything you may need with you to the hospital. We got to the hospital and took him to emergency. The doctor needed to see his medications; I had forgotten to grab them. So Bob and I had to return to Garcin to get them. This is about an hour long trip. We had stopped and got John Lwi on our way to the hospital so he stayed with Mano. He also spent the night with Mano at the hospital that night. Early Thursday morning we left to find motos to take us and two of the volunteers to Kalabat. The road is very bad shape from all the rain this winter. We could not take our truck. We were going up for an agricultural meeting, meet with the sisters to discuss the schools, and set dates for the Woman’s formations. The meeting was to begin at nine and we arrived after a torturous trip at ten minutes to nine. No one was there, this did not surprise us. Soon people started to arrive and about an hour later the meeting began. Problems were brought up that they had been given solutions for at previous workshops. Sr. Victoria got up and gave this wonderful talk. She told the people that Haiti would never change if everyone sat around and waited for the US to save them. They had been given several workshops and they needed to put their new knowledge to work. She also said that she didn’t have money to give anyone, but she had knowledge that she could share just like us. It was inspiring and something we are hearing from our leaders more and more. After the meeting we went to the sister’s house for some soup left over from the school lunch. We started to meet with Sr. Augustine about the schools but our moto drivers came to get us. It was starting to rain and they were concerned about getting us back. So Sr. Augustine is coming to take sponsored children’s pictures on Thursday and we will finish our meeting then. Because of the rain we went back down the mountain faster than we went up. I had forgotten just how hard this trip is on moto and the road thru the river being so bad. By the time we got to town I was ready to start to cry from all the jostling for over an hour. We got our truck and went to the hospital to check on Mano. He was a little better but had not had any food. We went and bought him food and returned home. Friday I was so sore from the trip to Kalabat I just worked on research for the woman’s workshop and took it easy. Bob went to town to check on Mano and to go to the bank. They said Mano could leave later that day. Bob waited around and then came back home, John Lwi would call when Mano could leave. About seven o’clock we got word Mano could leave. Bermand and Bob left to go get him. But when they got to the hospital they were told, no he could not leave; poor Mano was all dressed sitting on his bed ready to leave. He did need more medication so it was a good thing Bob went so he could buy it for him. Saturday morning Bob and Bermand went to the Center and I did laundry. We then got a call that Mano was ready to come home. So when Bob returned we went to town to get Mano. We brought him back home then went back to town to meet with Pushen a volunteer that is going to help me with the woman’s workshop. I still have a lot to do to arrange these workshops. The first one will be on February 28th, and one at our Center the day before we leave on the 7th of March. Thank you for your interest and your prayers, Denise
February 12th, 2017 A week in the South of Haiti Our good friends Elwood and Anita got new jobs in the South of Haiti. They are in the process of moving to a new compound there. An apartment is being created in a school building. They needed help not only with moving some of their belongings but also in making the apartment livable. Bob and I agreed to come and spend a few days to help them. Saturday morning we got up very early and left Garcin to pick up our friend Pevwa to take him to the airport. Then proceeded to Elwood and Anita’s to load our truck with the things they had ready to move. The truck when loaded has a much smoother ride but around curves over 80 kilometers it gets a little swimmy, so we had to drive a little slower than them. They went ahead they need to get building materials from Port and were afraid the stores would close early. We called Anita when we got to Port and arranged to meet them after dropping Pevwa off at the airport. Bob helped Elwood decide how much plywood he wood need for the cabinets and they got other items they needed. We had thought we would go all the way to their house but it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon and we still had another 4 to 5 hours left to drive. Bob and I decided to stay the night in Port and go the rest of the way Sunday. The trip was uneventful; we listen to an audio book and enjoyed the scenery. The south of Haiti is much flatter; there are mountains off in the distance but not like where we live. The Caribbean is beautiful and in the south you are much closer to it. This was my first time in the South of Haiti. We arrived at lunch time and were greeted by our friends; they had Mary and Martha with them who are two young Amish girls that come to visit every year. They are truly a delight, they have very good Creole, are very helpful and wonderful cooks. I had offered to lay the tile in the apartment. This is something I enjoy doing and have quite a bit of experience with. But when looking at the apartment nothing was level, there were bumps in the floor and the shower walls were either concave or convex. The way I know how to lay tile you start with completely flat surfaces. It was decided they would hire a Haitian tile setter for the job. To fix the surfaces to be flat would take a lot of time and money. Bob agreed to help them get started on building the kitchen cabinets. Monday was a work day Bob got started on the cabinets; I chiseled some cement off the floors to prepare them for tile. On Tuesday four young Amish men and two young ladies arrived. This proved to be a very interesting week to live with the Amish. The girls took over the cooking and cleaning. It was like out of a story book coming into the kitchen seeing them cook with their long dresses and caps. The young men went right to work some helping Bob and some building tresses for a Church roof that had blown off in the Hurricane. I learned many things being with these wonderful young people. The Amish women never cut their hair their whole life, not even trim it. They don’t use zippers. They sing a lot, beautiful hymns. Because they have lived in community their whole life they have perfect harmony. This experience has made me think a lot about my own faith walk. The concept of not living in the world, the concepts of the clothing I choose to wear. Many, many things, I haven’t even processed all of them. I guess I feel like we are all called in different ways. In the Catholic Church we have monasteries were the monks have chosen seclusion, each of us has to find our path and follow it. I don’t think there is only one way to worship God, or only one path to his kingdom. It is a wonderful to experience the different parts of the body of Christ.
Sorry the last time I tried to post this I made a mistake. I am at Mathew 25 and have internet so I will try it again.
January 30th 2017 A week at the hospital Monday morning at breakfast Bob and I discussed our plans for the day. It seemed we would have a quiet day to get caught up with things around the house. But within minutes we were told our friend Emmanuel (Mano is what we call him) was very sick. Mano lives here on the compound he is in his late seventies, at one time he was the school director. He is educated and likes to read. We have gotten several books for him, he spends most days sitting on the roof reading and listening to his radio. He also watches the activities in the village and has many visitors that he offers advice to. He is well loved and respected in the community. I went down to check on him and could see he needed to go to the hospital; he was confused and very weak. I thought correctly he had had another stroke. Bob and I loaded him up and one of the ladies who works for us took him to the hospital. The hospital here works very differently than in the US. You pay for each service or supply as you receive them. So you receive a paper from the nurse for the consultation and go to the cashier and pay. Then you get an order for labs and medication (which includes IV fluids, needle, IV line ect each item needed), you return to the cashier to pay for the items then go to the pharmacy or lab to get the items. The week in the hospital cost about sixty American dollars. I can see wisdom in the process, it is a hassle but on the other hand you don’t have to buy things that you don’t need or can buy elsewhere for cheaper. It took all day to get Mano’s blood pressure down. He continued to be confused and had problems standing. Bob and I stayed with him until evening, family members where contacted by Fr. Jadotte who happened to be at the hospital. The family came so we went back home. The next morning I returned to the hospital with several people from the village. We took turns sitting with him. Many people came to visit him it was wonderful to see how loved he is. All day I had several people wanting me to give them money; it gets really old “Blan Blan give me a dollar”. Two ladies even were hitting me (lightly) asking over and over again. Then they got a baby from somewhere and thought this would change my mind, but no I felt like they didn’t really need money from me. That evening I was sitting with the ladies who had come with me and a person I did not know started with the Blan Blan. One of the women with me said “her name is not Blan her name is Denise”. I was thrilled, she stuck up for me. Luckily this person did not want money she just wanted to tell me I had nice hair. Wednesday we had a meeting with Sr.Augustin , who is in charge of the five schools we support. The meeting was supposed to be in Atrell which is about half way to Kalabot. Geri a volunteer for the sisters who speaks excellent Creole went along to help us with translation. We waited at the school in Atrell for quite a while then the school director came and we talked with him. We discussed the changes to the school lunch program. He was thrilled and said he would go and talk with Sr. Augustin right away. He had assured us Sr. Augustin was not coming so we drove back to Gros Morne.We took Geri home and used there facility’s. Got back in the truck and started to leave as Sr. Augustin pulled up on a moto, so we were able to have our meeting after all. The meeting went very well. I had been at the hospital before going to Atrell so we left and went home after the meeting. Thursday Mano was released from the hospital. Bob and I had a APWOKAPRIM meeting at our center that morning, so Bob went to Gros Morne early to get sister Pat and to let the hospital know we wouldn’t be able to pick Mano up until late afternoon. The meeting started late but did seem productive. The problems of the weevil in the sweet potatoes and mites in the millet were discussed. The people also asked for help buying seed, and suggested a seed bank. Sr. Pat has tried having seed banks in the past but has not had success. The idea is the people receive seeds for free or very small sum, then when they harvest their crop they replace the seeds they were given. Sr. Pat found they did not return the seeds. So each year the seed bank had to buy new seeds. The Agronomist suggested a process were people form small groups and each contribute a small amount of money each month. Then when planting season came they could buy seeds with the money and give each person that contributed some of the seeds. He told the group that there are several of these groups in Gros Morne and they are working out well. The meeting ended with people getting a tour of the center. Bob, Sr. Pat and I left to go to Gros Morne , after dropping Pat off we went to get Mano from the hospital. He was still weak but seemed better. He was well welcomed here in the village. I have told everyone they need to get him up at least three or four times a day, have him stand and walk a little, have him sit up in his wheel chair. The people tell me he is to weak and he needs to just lie down. I try to explain getting him up will help him to get stronger, they think I’m crazy. So I pray for him. Friday we went to Port to pick up our friend Pevwa from the airport. There were a couple of demonstrations that we had to take detours around and caused us to get to Port just on time to get our friend. As we were getting to the Airport there is a big intersection. Traffic is always bad there, so this random guy starts to direct traffic, the problem was he didn’t have a clue. He had all directions of traffic move forward so there was a total deadlock. We had to laugh. We returned home on Saturday and finally got our day off on Sunday. May God bless you for your interest and prayers, Denise a mistake, so there was nothing posted. I am now where I can use the internet so I will try again.