02/ 22/ 2018
Time Flies when you are very busy
Well a lot has happened since the last blog. Here in Haiti Carnival or we would be more familiar with Mardi Gras is a very big event. The schools close, hospitals only take emergency patients, banks close ect. The school we live on top of had their own Carnival. It was very fun, many of the parents came, and there was music, dancing and lots of food. We were happy to celebrate with the community.
Last week there was visitors at the Sisters house from Tennessee, we had met them last year when they visited and also at the warehouse when they brought supplies to the shipping container. Along with other people who were also visiting the Sisters invited Bob and I to a gathering to socialize one evening. It was very fun to sit around and talk in English. While sitting and enjoying conversation I started to get chilled, then I got colder and colder. Bob is always like a furnace so I started to get closer to him. I was hoping the woman he was talking to didn’t take this as a sign I was jealous, but I just was so cold. Soon I said to Bob we needed to leave, by then my teeth were chattering and I was shivering. When we got into the truck for the first time I turned on the heater (much to Bob’s dismay). My head was pounding and I felt very nauseous. The ride home seem to take forever and when we got home I went straight to my room put on warm clothes, took Ibuprofen and got under blankets. I had a high fever. I went through mentally when the last time I was exposed to mosquito bite, it had been over a week (malaria has a three day gestation period). I felt pretty scared, because I could tell by the fact I couldn’t get warm my fever was only rising.
The ladies had dinner ready and Bob and Bermond ate, I didn’t want anything except water. After dinner Bob and the ladies came in and the ladies prayed over me, when they touched me they were concerned because I was so hot. Bob got a cold wet wash cloth and bathed my head. I then thought to take Tylenol. That and the prayers seem to do the trick five hours after it started the fever broke. I still had the headache but no fever. The next day I was fine. I have no idea what it could have been.
The water project that we help start a few years back seems to be back on track. The water committee came to our apartment to work out the final details. They walked over the mountain before Mass on Sunday. They attended the Mass in Garcin then we met after wards. I prepared a breakfast for everyone. It was another example of how baffling any machine no matter how simple is to the Haitian people. We have salt and pepper grinders. Bob showed our guests several times how to use them but they could not grasp the concept, we just did it for them.
After breakfast we worked out the rest of the details and the water project should have started this week and should be completed in a month. We are very excited for this community of 1800 people that they will have water available and will no longer be drinking the river water. Thank you to all the people who contributed to make this happen.
On the 11th of February Alex our vanilla agronomist came from Cape Haitian to give a demonstration on stressing the vanilla plants to make them bloom. We have five plants ready to bloom that he stressed and several more that he took out of the tree to get them ready to stress once they are a little more mature. Alex carefully disconnected the vanilla from the tree he attached a sturdy stick about 10 feet long crossways on the tree, then draped the vanilla plant over the cross bar. This was to make it easier to pollinate the flowers when it blooms. He then cut off a couple of feet of the growing end of the vine (these cuttings we have planted). The vanilla should flower in late April early May, and then the plants will flower again in September and October. The beans will take nine months to mature, so our first crop we can expect to pick in February and March of next year and the second blooming should produce next June and July.
The next morning while preparing to start my day the ladies came to get me, someone from the village was there to see me and was sick. I went out onto the roof and there was this little lady. I greeted her and ask her what her problem was? She turned around lifted her skirt and dropped her drawers to expose this white and brown blotched sphere about the size of a softball. I felt like this was above my pay grade. I photographed it and told her she could get dressed. I asked her how long she had had this. She said three years. I had to wonder why she decided today was the day she would deal with this problem. I thought maybe this was a prolapsed uterus or rectum but was not sure. I gave her 250 goudes to go to the hospital (about 4.00 US). Because it was Carnival time the hospital wasn’t accepting patients that were not emergencies, so later in the week she went. She brought me back a letter and receipt for the visit. The letter told me that it was a prolapsed uterus and she would need to see a gynecologist. I am now looking for a gynecologist to help her.
For the last several years I have been the one to give ashes on Ash Wednesday to the people in our village. One of my friends from church asked if I would come to her house and give ashes to her husband. This year the new priest for the new parish was having a service in town to celebrate Ash Wednesday so we loaded up the truck with many people from the village and attended this service. Father gave his permission for me to visit the sick man and gave me ashes to take; I had pix with me so he also gave me Eucharist to distribute to this man.
On Thursday Bob and I went to the Center, we are finishing the pavilion by stuccoing the interior walls; we went to pay the workers and check on the progress. They are doing a wonderful job. This does add acetic value but also strengthens the walls. After we left the center we went to the Olima’s house to distribute the ashes, have a little prayer service and give Eucharist. We parked on the road and then had to walk the rest of the way, Bermond was with us so he showed us the way. We were welcomed, chairs brought out and Mr. Olima came out. He is very thin but looking healthier than I have seen him in quite a while. We prayed the Our Father and I distributed ashes to him and his family that was present. There were several small children; they were quite interested in all that was going on. Then we said more prayers and I distributed Eucharist to the adults and Bob and I. We then sang a hymn together.
The Olima’s have asked us in the past to help them build a new house so while we were there they wanted us to see how badly they need a house. We completely agree that they need a new house their house is eaten by termites and one good wind will blow it down. But we don’t have funding to build people houses (we know three other families that really need a new house). The Olima’s do have a foundation built for the new house, when Mr. Olima got sick all the money they have has gone to his care. It is very sad.
Saturday we left for Port Au Prince. We had a few things we needed to do there then on Sunday we traveled south to Anita and Elwood’s to spend a few days with them. They live close to the hospital our friend Maxo is in. On Monday we visited the clinic Anita hopes to open next month. She truly has a gift for the sick and it is her true passion. They have done a lot of work on the building and it will make a wonderful Clinic.
We then went to St. Boniface hospital; Anita gave me a tour of this incredible facility. We then went to the Rehab portion to visit our friend Maxo. It was unbelievable how good nutrition and rehab has changed him. The last time I saw him last August and he probably wasn’t far from death. Now he has weight on him, his upper body is pretty muscular, and most of all he has hope. He told me he plans to return to school when he gets out of the hospital and plans to study computers. If I had not accomplished anything here in Haiti the change in this young man’s life makes all the effort well worth it.
Tuesday was spent enjoying our friends and we were involved in a conference call with the PTTA advisory council. It is always interesting to hear other people’s opinions on working with their twinned Parish. Bob is also looking for warehouse space to rent in middle Tennessee for the shipping Container.
I am sorry this has been so long we have had a lot of problems getting to a place to use internet. I wanted to get all this out before we leave Port Au Prince.
Thank you for your interest and your prayers,