Sunday, April 25, 2010


Sometimes, because I live with these kids, and see them every day- i forget how far they have come. I forget how much they suffered. I forget what a miracle each of them are. I forget why I feel so close to each and every one of them. Then I randomly go through my pictures and think to myself oh my gosh... how could I have forgotten.

Briana came to RHFH shortly after I got here, in September. She was d.i.s.g.u.s.t.i.n.g... emaciated, scabby from her scabies, and miserable. She had a fever all the time. I remember taking her a couple times up to my room and just sitting being with her. Struggling to hold and love her. She was not cute. She was not cuddly. She didn't smile. She had diarrhea and skin infections oozing. She was the second kid that I have come across in Haiti that took conscious effort to love.
I think of God, and how he loves every single person on this earth without fail. Think about that... there are a lot of nasty people in this world. There are a lot of people that straight up reject Him and He still loves them. How many times do I do stuff for selfish reasons, or out of complete ignorance and he still loves me. And I think of how many times I fail to love like He would. How many times I pick to spend my time with people I enjoy loving. The thing is, that's not what life as a Christian is about. One of my struggles is keeping people in my life that aren't people I have a lot in common with. I don't always work to have relationships with people for the sake of loving them. In the states I hang out with people I respect, look up to and in general people that I naturally like. I don't always reach out and try to be a friend to anyone who I don't "click" with because, well... that's uncomfortable. And I like things comfortable... but honestly, how many people can you truly affect if they aren't out of your comfort zone.
Briana was out of my comfort zone. She was hard to spend time with- it was not enjoyable for me. One of the day staff in the RC, Jocelyn, spend most of her time holding Briana and talking to her, loving her, feeding her. She loved Briana with the same love that God has for us. Briana is now one of the chunkiest little girls in the RC. Constantly smiling, and has come so far developmentally.
The staff here are angles for doing what they do day in and day out. Loving someone without feeling love for them at first is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Berlancia was my first experience with that. I was asked to take her all day every day when I volunteered at GLA. She was failure to thrive, she was not attaching to me like my other kids were. She was hard to love. It took patience, lot of time and perseverance. Berlancia ended up to be the best thing that ever happened to me. She changed my life and who I am. 9 months with her and I knew how it felt to love unconditionally- like God loves us. That is how Briana was loved by Jocelyn, and there is no better proof of God's love than the current pics of her:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Welcome to Cazale!

We almost always have bananas in Cazale- and they are SOO good. There's also almost plantains- best described (by me) as the banana's brother. They are really good boiled in soup or flattened and fried.
Breadfruit is known as the "poor man's" food, but only because there is an abundance of them. I think they are delicious- they have the same texture as potatoes but have a unique flavor.
Mangos in Haiti are absolutely amazing. If you think you have tasted a mango and you've never been to Haiti you are mistaken. So come in mango season and see for yourself!!
Random picture of cactus follows:
Hope your Sunday was relaxing and rejuvenating for the week to come!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Handing out dolls

We received 2 bags full of handmade dolls to hand out to kids, so yesterday I went back to Lori's and let each kid living there pick one out. Then I took a walk with Dalissa- a 6 year old living back at Lori's house and we handed them out to kids we came across on our walk. At one point we didn't even have to walk because so many kids were finding us! Each child got to pick their new doll- all of them had a different idea of which one was most beautiful. A couple kids were timid, and wouldn't come to me to get their doll so Dalissa picked one out for them and I sat and watched as she got to give the child their new toy. I noticed that she would always pick out a doll that matched whatever color that child was wearing if they didn't want to come to me. So cute :)

Lots of time and love put into making these dolls. Thanks to everyone who takes and effort to make things for the kids... they are much appreciated and well used!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Catching Up with Witlene and What I Love Today

This is Witlene. I met her in Indiana while she was out on a medical visa getting a tumor removed from her head, and I was there watching 1/2 of Rebekah's kids while she was at make-a-wish Disney World with her older kids. Witlene is hilarious and adorable and I had fun getting to speak Creole with her while in Indiana while I was feeling so homesick for Haiti last year. She's very educated and so is her family; they all live in Port-au-Prince. Their house fell in the earthquake but fortunately none of her immediate family died. She was attending college and her whole school collapsed burying almost all her teachers and classmates. She is waiting for an opportunity to go back to school but can't find anywhere yet- she is 27 years old. She wants 2 kids - twins (boy & girl) and wants to get pregnant after she gets married to her boyfriend when she's 29 so she has her kids when she's 30. Today she came to pick up meds that Rebekah gave to me to bring back for her when I was picking up Denel on my way back to Haiti on this last trip back. She spent half the day here and we got to talk and I showed her around... she had never heard of Cazale before! It was fun catching up with her and getting to know her better.
She was showing me pictures that Rebekah had taken and posted on facebook- she told me how much she loved the black and white photos. So we took this pic and I opened my editing program and let her go at it- this is the end result :)

I love the fact that I know enough Creole now to be able to get to know someone more than how they are and their name and the simple conversations needed to take care of kids. I'm just getting to the point where I can go and sit with the patients at Lori's house, or the staff in the RC and just talk, joke, and be friends rather than being the white girl who visits once and a while. I'm nowhere near completely fluent but I get by :) They teach me words and are always patient explaining stuff to me if I don't understand. They tease me and I tease them. The longer I'm here the more I understand about the people, and the more they open up and treat me as an equal. I love that.
I love that people no longer move out of the way when they see me coming.
I love that, while I still am the white girl, most people in the community know me as my name now instead of "blan" (white), even if I've never met them.
I love that when I go hang out with the patients at Lori's house they no longer all ask me how my day is and rather they ask me how long I can hang out.
I love that kids that used to be scared of me are finally coming around and wanting to sit with me and take walks.
I love where I'm at and I love the fact that God put me here.
I love that I have bad/sick days because the next day everything seems 10 times more beautiful.
I love my family.
I love that my sister and I are starting to grow as sisters and become good friends.
I love that I have NEVER felt alone because I was raised knowing Jesus is always there, no matter what.
I love knowing I have so much to learn about life and God.
I love the fact that I have such amazing friends who support my (weird) life-style, and are there for me after months of not hearing from me.
I love that I feel like my life can go in whatever direction I choose, and I hate that other people don't have that luxury. I love that I have the option of helping others gain that luxury... I hate that I don't daily take advantage of the stuff I have been blessed with by blessing others. I love that God is giving me direction and showing me what I need to do to better help others...

What do you love today?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Admitting Children into the RC

Just thought I'd go through explaining the process of admitting a child into the Rescue Center. Today Yolande Pierre came through the clinic. Her Dad brought her because she is swollen. He did not understand why she was swollen. Her mom stayed home with her 3 siblings.

Benita, one of the nurses in the clinic mostly takes the infant/children patients that come through clinic... Usually the parent does not come with the intention of leaving their child at the RC. Many of them do not know their kid is sick because of malnutrition. Benita always educates the patients on why the child is malnourished- and if he/she has kwash, what makes them swell up. There are handouts passed out informing the parent of what kind of foods are best to prevent this (foods with high protein) and finds out their history... if she thinks all the parent needs is time to get back on their feet, or if the child will die if they aren't admitted, Benita talks to the parent about the RC. She tells them it would be a temporary placement for their child to heal and that once they are healthy that they will be sent home. If the parent agrees to leaving their kid with us Benita comes and gets one of us. After seeing the child and questioning the parent we either admit the kid or have Benita talk to the parent about how they can help their child get well. This decision usually depends on how much space there is in the RC, how bad the kid is, and the situation/attitude of the parents. If we think the kid isn't that bad and that education was enough for the parent to be able to care for the kid usually we hold off on taking them right away. They are always told to return if their child doesn't get better or gets even worse. If the child is bad enough to admit we take pictures of the kid, and pics of whoever brought them and then take them to the RC where Riclane, the head of the day shift in the RC admits them.

There is a form with any/all info we would need about the child (full name/DOB/hometown/cell number of parents/# of siblings etc) and the parents are told to come visit their kid often. Once that is done the child is bathed and officially "in." :) Most of the kids have a hard time adjusting at first (duh) but within a couple days to a week are smiling and happy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I know for a fact a lot of my families and friends donated to this- can't tell you how much I appreciate you all supporting Haiti right now. I love you all.

Kervenson update

When Kervenson came in I wrote this post:

Today, I took these pics:

Bit of a different kid, huh? Kervenson is the sweetest little guy ever and was the worst kwash case I have personally seen. It's been encouraging seeing him healing- what a fast transformation. It's truly amazing what the human body can tolerate and come back from in such a short amount of time.
Matthew 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oh hello good looking...

Remember him?
Well he's doing just fine. Not gaining weight as fast as I'd like (because I'm somewhat impatient) but he's pretty darn cute :) He has only gained 2 pounds since he came (almost 3 months ago) but he looks so much better (if that counts for anything). He can't crawl or walk but we are working on muscle tone- he will stand while holding onto something and sit up by himself. He is my life right now- he's been staying up with me and he literally turns circles in his crib at night- it's amazing he doesn't get dizzy. Love this kid...

...and LICIA AND THE BOYS COME BACK IN ONE WEEK!!! I'm a little excited. A lot excited. Very excited. Super excited. It feels like forever since I've seen Trey, Henley and Carmelo. It will be nice to get back into the swing of things!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Step by step

The needs in Haiti are overwhelming and it's hard to focus on where you can help. I say we all take it step by step. Nothing we do will make things get better fast, but if everyone decides to take small actions to give then step by step we will make a difference. Let's start with this...

There are two girls (Fed & Brit) who went out on medical visa in 2008 and their families are in need of new houses due to the earthquake... you can read their stories here:

My challenge to everyone reading is to choose one meal where you would have gone out for dinner and spent five times what the food is worth, and instead invite a friend/couple/family member over and make a meal for them instead. Donate the money you saved to Fed and Brit's new homes- it's a win-win, you get to bless these girls and their families, and you get to bless someone you appreciate by cooking them a meal and enjoying spending time with them! :)

If you are interested in donating toward the costs of these houses being built here is a link to the woman who hosted these girls while they were out on visas. She has been trying to raise the money to make this happen and is just over half way to her goal of $6,000

Thanks for chipping away at the overwhelming needs with me one step at a time.

Some of our surroundings

Right in front of the RC is where lots of action goes on. There are stands selling all the necessities and people selling fried street food (yum!) or cold drinks. This is also the location where you can catch a tap-tap, either a motorcycle or a truck if you need to get anywhere. There is the trash burning station and an area where you can go watch movies on Friday nights. There are always people outside the gate just hanging out and always some sort of action going on.
Also in front of the gate is the river... this is where all the water is pumped from for the clinic and RC. It's such a blessing to have unlimited water! These pics are taken from in front of the new RC, the old location is just down the street.
During the flood in 2008, the bridge from the river was completely demolished. There has been progress made on building up the sides of the river with huge metal cages filled with rocks. This is the current "bridge" used to cross the river. Many people still just walk through the water to get to the other side.

The cages are good for more than just holding up the river... they provide a nice flat surface to dry the clothes after washing them in the river

There is a new bridge being build so people can drive across instead of through. Right now the river is split in half- these guys are riding on the stretch of land in the middle of it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Every Day

Every day I wake up and realize...
what a blessing it is to be called to somewhere that I love so much,
with people who make my life so much better,
and who teach me what true love really looks like,
and what true determination and healing looks like,
and I know that no matter where God takes me in life I will always call Haiti my home and the people here my family. God has given me so much more than I deserve and I will continue to serve him as He leads me....
because without Him I would be lost.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bedtime in the RC

Bedtime is a combination of baths after dinner and putting clean clothes on and all clean diapers and setting up beds for all the kids and putting mats on those beds and putting blankets on the mats and getting the crazy hectic kids settled down and asleep. Some are out cold the second they hit their bed, others are being dezoid (naughty) and running around testing limits. Most nights there are a couple that just aren't that tired right away and I have fun getting to lay with them, and not have all the rest bombarding me. Bedtime is one of the cutest times of the RC... little kids snoring, sprawled out and falling asleep sitting up (you know, where they almost fall over until finally someone lays their head down) :)

Some of the kids snuggle up together, leaving their bed empty... pretty darn adorable if you ask me.

Wilbert was having a hard time going to bed last night...
Deny and Geowel snuggled up and passed out :)
Stanley won the "ornery kid of the night" award last night. He would NOT lay down, problem is he knows he's cute. haha

Amonise is our littlest baby right now and she just started to smile a couple weeks ago, she is precious! She came in with kwash and is on our MM program, and gaining week by week!
Double-decker cribs:

Milienne and Berline were smiling big and literally 2 minutes after I took this they were out cold.

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