First off, we are all doing very very well and we love it here. We purchased an address in Florida with a company that makes private flights to Haiti every Thursday. They will deliver letters for free and packages cost us $1.60 per pound to receive. Once they go through customs, they are then sent to the company’s private hanger, where someone contacts us and lets us know it’s ready for pickup. We then send a driver to Port-au-Prince (1 hour away) to pick up our things. I had a few things shipped using this company before we moved here and it all went smoothly and took about 2 weeks all said and done. If anyone would like to send the girls or us letters, snacks!! (protein bars, etc), or anything else we would welcome that :)
3170 Airmans Dr. #2060 MOG
Ft. Pierce, FL 34946
Our first week here has been great. We are all settled into our home, we got our Haiti phone numbers and internet set up. Normally there is not electricity during the day where we live so wifi doesn’t work then, but we are trying to work it out to where we have it on for a couple of hours in the morning that way the girls can do some of their schooling online (as well as keep the fans going so their little brains keep working :) We have A/C at night which is something we all look forward to every day :) Our little bungalow is maybe 50 yards from the ocean. I have always wanted to live on the beach, but never in my wildest dreams think it would be Haiti.
I have been working in the pharmacy clinic this week, shadowing a gal who is leaving in a few days. The prescriptions get handed to us and then we fill them and tell the patients who are waiting how to take them. Probably the biggest challenge is reading the doctor’s handwriting lol. It’s true. I’m not sure if the schedule will allow me to continue doing that a few times a week or not (because they are open in the mornings but I home school the girls in the mornings), but I love being in the clinic. Today, we had a young boy, about 10, walk all by himself to get his finger checked out. It was severely swollen with tons of fluid build up. He had probably gotten bit at night by something a few days prior and it just wasn’t taken care of properly. They needed to drain the fluid out of his finger, but they needed to give him lidocaine first. Poor little guy was screaming and crying he was in so much pain. I was holding his hand and at one point just had to hold him down as the doctor sliced his finger open. I asked the doctor to wait a little longer for the lidocaine to take affect (and they did give him a lot) but the boy could still feel everything. The doctor wasn’t convinced he could feel anything so he just continued on. I felt for the little guy….I can be swimming in lidocaine too and it doesn’t do a thing for me. It has just never numbed me very well. As he was screaming and crying I locked eyes with the boy, just held his hand and started singing and that seemed to calm him down. I told him it would be over soon and that he was being so brave. There are moments when you have to be strong for kids, but I was definitely holding back tears. Most everyone in the room was.
One thing that had me slightly worried was when a patient’s name would get called because their meds were ready, people are so desperate for medicine and help….any medicine….that they would just say they were whoever’s name we just called. One of the workers would ask again and make sure, and they would just lie and say they were the person. There’s no way for us to verify it’s really them! There are so many people at the clinic, it can be loud and crazy, babies screaming, etc. We decided that we need to ask them their age (to verify against what we have on their chart) as a way to try to make sure it’s really the patient. Just the whole ordeal had me a little panicked: people getting the wrong medication, wrong dosage, and it ultimately not helping them because they don’t understand not all medicine is the same. There is an American nurse who has been working in the clinic for about 2 months and she has some great ideas on how to improve the system there and make it run more efficiently. I am really glad she is there. In Haiti, if you have the education of a nurse in the states, you are essentially a doctor here.
Tass’ role is still being figured out. There are several ideas on where to place him and what to hand him and we are just waiting direction on that. The two women here running this organization & ministry are very understanding that we are a young family and that as a mother, my priority is my girls. Tass will be doing most of the helping and serving, but we tell the girls every day we all play a role. Tass reminds them each morning, “be thinking about how you can help someone today”. Our girls love going up to the orphanage. We do that everyday with them. Ellie loves the babies and toddlers. Lilah has a few buddies, and I gravitate to the older kids. I am building relationships with each pre-teen there…we are teaching each other Creole & English and I just love spending time with them. There is something special about each one and I can’t wait to get to know each of them more.
One of the biggest adjustments has probably been food schedule. Back home, the girls and I are used to snacking throughout the day….eating maybe 5-6 small meals. With the 2 abdominal surgeries I’ve had, I legitimately can’t each large meals otherwise I am in a lot of pain. Here, there are 2-3 large meals per day. So trying to get our bodies to adjust to that has been a little difficult. We’ll try to eat as much as we can, but then a few hours later are starving. Or we’ll be up at night hungry. Hopefully we can get out to a market soon and find some snacks for our room, but in the mean time it’s been a little challenging. But each time one of us complains that we’re hungry, I try to remind myself or the girls to just look across the street and remember that most of them haven’t eaten even half of what we have.
Let’s see….what else….my parents dropped us off and helped us get settled which was a huge blessing. They are planning to come back in March. Voxer works great here so we stay in contact that way and are also able to text between iphones over internet.
Ultimately we just want to come alongside this organization here and help advance their efforts in the community. A new school is being built…three times the size of what they have now I believe, and they are also hoping to finally put the roof on the new elderly home by spring. Having 4 walls up of your own space is great, but a roof makes all the difference with the sun. Please pray for the funds to complete that for these elderly men and women.
Everyday I come across something that shocks me, excites me, saddens me, makes me nervous, makes me happy, hopeful, etc. It’s a lot of emotions all at once, and I hope that I don’t become accustomed or numb to things the longer that I am here.
Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement, and for those that are keeping us here by supporting us monthly. It means the world that we are able to be here and help this community. What a privilege it is to be called to Haiti. I know many would love to be able to be here and help serve but not everyone is in a position to be able to just pick up and go. We are grateful that we have the privilege to be able to do just that. We will update as often as we can xxoo