Friday, February 29, 2008


Just to whet your appetite for good stories and cute photos to come...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Clinic day 3

I did more gen consult with Carole again today. At some point during the morning, I took the clipboard away from her and started doing all the interviewing, diagnosing and medication administration myself. Oh, I love it! Later in the day, I helped all the nurses research information about folic acid and pregnancy for the radio program that they run as well as general patient education at the clinic. I played a ton of tag and hide and seek and I think we're going to be telling ghost stories tonight.

I head into PAP tomorrow to pick up my friends Christine, BethAnn and Kendall. I'll get them settled into their guesthouse and go back to the orphanage. I get to see my kids tomorrow ~ happy dance !

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clinic day 2

I spent most of the day in gen consult with Carolle, one of the Haitian nurses. We cared for a 90 year old woman (!) with an inflammed leg and a 15 year old girl who supposedly gets confused and then passes out regularly. We saw a 30 year old man who has seizures and hurt his knee during one of the seizures. When the swelling didn't go down, his wife poured some healing salts and some sort of gas onto the area, so now he has open chemical burns on his skin as well as the internal injury. Many of the children we treated (and even some of the adults) were extremely shy and hardly spoke loudly enough to be heard. Every now and then, however, we would get a little kid like the 10 year old boy who walked in just before lunch. He listed off his symptoms like he was naming all the soccer championships he had won and while we gathered together his meds, he chatted with me about his family and his pets. We sent him home with a puzzle as well as his medications.

My emotions get all over the place when I'm in Haiti. This morning, we saw a little girl who had been burned on 50% of her body when she was two years old and needed skin grafts to survive. She was cared for at this clinic and now, she is a healthy and beautiful 5 year old. Just looking at her and thinking about the miracle of her survival was so uplifting. But the feeling can change very quickly. Later that morning, in walked another 5 year old. When he was little, his mother died, then his father died, and then he started to get sick himself. They ran a battery of tests and eventually discovered that the boy is HIV and tuberculosis positive. His aunt who takes care of him won't believe that he has HIV and so she won't allow him to be treated. It's just a matter of time before he dies. Heartbreaking.

There weren't many patients today, so the entire staff sat down and bagged pills until we closed the clinic at 4pm. I played with the Rescue Center kids: tag, blowing bubbles, dolls, tickling, dancing gayepay and limbo and waltz - I actually got 11 year old Carmelo who is way to cool for that sort of thing to waltz with me! I have little Amos on my lap now and I think he's got a dirty diaper. Eewww!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clinic day 1

I kissed a hundred girls "good morning" and then "good recess" and then "good bye" yesterday. OK, it was only 30 girls, but it felt like a hundred. They are absolutely mortified that I would leave them 2 days after arriving. How dare I? Merline Guillaume made me promise to come get her from her classroom when I left at 1:30pm so that she could say good bye to me properly. Fortunately, Haitian teachers are a bit more lax about maintaining order so neither of us got scolded.

Mr. Zach picked me up from PAP in the mid-afternoon and drove me out to Grace Health Center in Cazale. We arrived in the early evening, so I spent the next few hours just playing with the adorable children in the Rescue Center and with Licia's kids. I'll post photos of all of them when I get back to HFC. Speaking of which, just before I left HFC yesterday I discovered that my laptop was working again. Apparently the problem was not my laptop but the bad electrical outlet I had it plugged into...A very direct and swift answer to prayer.

Today I did paperwork for Lori, the head nurse and shoveled pills into little plastic baggies. The clinic gives people enough meds for a month to prevent them from taking extra meds and selling them on the street. So that means that every day, 3 or 4 pharmacists sit in the back room and separate pills into individual month-long doses. It's kind of therapeutic, actually. I also got to help out with the bandages of 2 foot amputations - I wish I could have seen them pre-amputation. I am told that they were the grossest, smelliest, nastiest feet ever! I assisted with the drainage of a blocked lymph node and with the examination of a knee that has been mysteriously swollen for 2 years. And then I helped Carole, the general consult nurse, with her final 2 hours worth of patients. I really enjoy working with her because it's a great learning experience both for my Creole and my medical knowledge.

It is delightfully cool in Haiti right now. I have hardly broken a sweat all day and I have slept with a sheet every night so far. The kids tell me that it was even cooler in January, but we all agree that this is pretty much perfect.

Well, little Amos is playing with my chair again. He has been itching for me to come play with him for a while. So I guess I'll call it a day and go wrestle small children until bedtime. Domi byen tout moun!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Made it!

I made it to Haiti despite the nasty storm in the northeast and I am so glad that I did! It has been the usual intense joy of seeing the kids again, just being able to hug them and talk with them and laugh with them. I am at the orphanage now after spending the day in church essentially ALL day. The kids are all in bed after getting far more than one good night kiss from me (the rules always get a little fuzzy when I've been gone for a while) and it's very peaceful. I will be heading to bed shortly and tomorrow, I pack my bags to go to Cazale to visit Grace Health Center, the same clinic where my friends and I worked in December. I will return to HFC on Friday.

For some strange reason, my computer charger is not charging my computer. I am using Bryn's computer right now, and will continue to do so as needed, but that will limit the amount of updates that I do while I'm here. I may end up doing like I did in December and posting all the stories after I return to the States.

Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me and the kids! They are all doing really well and living the HFC life with lots of giggles and tickling. We love you all!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prayer requests

I leave Boston tomorrow and I arrive in Haiti on Saturday morning. I would really love to have your prayer support during my trip. Here are specific requests:

- that my flights will leave despite the snowstorm predicted for tomorrow
- for several serious talks I have to have with the kids - that they will understand!
- that the prayer journals my friends and I have been working on will help the kids grow in their faith.
- for safe travel within Haiti
- for ripe mangos
- for safe travel for my friends Christine, BethAnn and Kendall who will be coming at the beginning of March

Thank you so much for covering us with prayer!


Envision a red-headed orphan singing, "Tomorrow, tomorrow!" at the top of her lungs.....that would be me right about now. Tomorrow at 8:55am, I will be deplaning on the blistering hot tarmac of Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport. One customs line, one baggage claim, and one luggage check later, I will be walking out of the airport and into the arms of my kiddos! Not all of them - that would require a school bus - but Michaelle has promised to send a few along as my welcoming committee. It's going to be great.

But before we get there, I have to get through another of the longest days of my life. There is nothing in the world that causes me more anxiety than international air travel. And this trip is a real winner since I have to take the subway to the Boston bus station, the bus to New York, the subway to LaGuardia, a plane to Miami, and after a night in Miami, another plane to Port-au-Prince. And did I mention that Boston and New York are both getting snow all day today and into tomorrow? Oh yes, I am thrilled about my travel plans.

My mantra for the next 24 hours: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exams again

It is exam time at HFC again. Please pray for our kids to pass with flying colors. Emmanuel told me last night that his first 2 exams "just didn't feel right." That's not a good sign. Miscardet is upset because the nannies won't let him study on the roof after dark (for safety reasons). He says that there is just too much going on downstairs to be able to focus and really study. "But I'll pass," he told me very confidently. "I always pass." At 10:15 last night, Bernadin was still in the boys' dining room studying for his chemistry exam. I'm telling you, these kids put me to shame with their serious study habits. They will get their report cards back next week when I am there - I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it or very apprehensive about it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Scissors and paper and glue, oh my!

A bunch of my wonderful friends from Northeastern University spent 3 hours last night helping me put together prayer journals for the kids. Each kid will get a journal with his or her name on the front, a Bible verse specific to him or her on the back, and 9 weeks worth of Bible study questions and guides to prayer on the inside. Putting one of them completely together takes a very long time so I have quite a few left. My Bible study mates will help me put more together on Tuesday and then I'll have Wednesday and Thursday to rush through the rest of them. My good friend Christine drove me around all afternoon yesterday getting supplies for the journals, so that the kids can decorate them further when we get to Haiti. We also bought a whole lot of candy and then my journal-decorating friends brought us several more bags! I am looking forward to this trip more and more!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just emailed off my Valentine's Day wishes to the kids via email and photo. Thank you, Bryn!

Last Valentine's Day, I was living at HFC. I spent hours making individual valentines for each of the girls. Exhausting! But well worth it since they were tickled pink to receive a card from me. They kissed me and thanked me over and over again, and several of them sent me little notes to tell me that it was the first time they had ever received a valentine. The younger girls had made valentines in their classes at school, so I was given a whole bunch of those - red hearts with gold glitter outlines, attached to the top of red straws sort of like a flower. I still have several of them.

I didn't have time to make a valentine for each of the boys, so instead I made one big valentine for each of the 4 boys' rooms. I gave them the valentines and some candy that night and they were also very excited. They glued the cards to the walls in their rooms, so needless to say, they're still there. Junior Vandomme gave me my biggest Valentine's Day surprise. He had told me several days prior that his dream was to have someone give him chocolate on Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I had no chocolate and I didn't have the opportunity to go out and buy some, so I made a note to get him some at the next opportunity. Well, at recess on Valentine's Day, Junior appeared at my door and handed me a chocolate! Lamarre's wife, who owns the candy stand in our courtyard, must have bought chocolate for the big day and Vandomme wanted to give me the best thing he could think of. I was deeply touched. You know, you go to Haiti thinking that you are going to teach the children about love, but they end up teaching you a whole lot more than you could ever teach them!

The weekend following Valentine's Day, I pulled out my secret stash of Sweethearts, those little Necco candy hearts that have messages on them. My wonderful mother had bought 2 bags of them and sent them down when my father visited in early February. I distributed one bag to the girls, translating each heart as I handed them out. Then I went to the boys' house to do the same. I thought that they would poo-poo my girly candy, but instead, every single boy crowded into the living room and fought over those candies. I tried to maintain some control and assure that everyone got an equal share. With some messages, I would hand it to a kid because it seemed to fit him (Mikenlove got several "U R Cool" ones, Miscardet who was always stealing my phone got "Call me", Peterson got "You rock", Jacques got all the "My Hero" ones, and so on). The funniest were the hearts that said "Kiss me." I would yell out "Bay m' yon bo!" and the boys would literally dive at me, kissing my cheek, my arm, my hand, my knee, my foot - whatever they could reach. Whoever got to me first received the candy. It was quite a night. And I am fully prepared to relive it when I get to Haiti in 9 days.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We love babies


Decorating for ChristmasGetting ready to go to the office

Hanging out at the seminary

Why is my name on her shirt?

In Kez and Nikki's room

Waiting to go to soccer

Peterson and Christmas decor at the boys' house

During Christmas dinner

Setting up the sound system

Singing along

Thank you

The kids says thanks to the groups and individuals who sponsored my team's trip:

My unit at Children's hospital
My nursing class

My home church

The French Rotary Club

A very generous alum from our university

15 days

I will be in Haiti in 15 days. Is that ridiculous or what? I just told the kids tonight. Stephanie let out this wild whoop when I told her and Peterson went, "YESSSSS!" Bernadin was a classic response. "I'm coming in 15 days." Silence. "Well, I'm excited that you're so excited, Bernadin."

Apparently, the kids were being trouble-makers when they were using the internet, so they have all been banned from it for an indetermined amount of time. If they want to write anyone, they have to write the message on paper and give it to Bryn to send for them. I gave the girls a lecture over the phone about being respectful and mature, but they insisted that I punish them myself when I come. Kattia requested a punishment of being allowed to eat nothing but chocolate and Stephanie wanted a punishment of chocolate and cookies. Good plan. I asked what they would do when they got sick to their stomachs and started throwing up all over the place. "You're the nurse," they answered. "You just give us meds and we'll be fine." Actually, they said that they have been playing nurse and that when I come, they will go back to Boston in my stead so they can do my job and I can stay at the orphanage. Another good plan.

If you have letters or gifts that you would like to send to the kids, please email me ( so we can arrange that.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

He is just too sweet

I received the following email from my darling Duckhein today:

"Hi. Mwen pi renmen ekri an angle kounye a le mwen sou net, li pi fasil pou mwen, wi. (I prefer to write in English now when I'm on the net, it's easier for me, really.) Eske ou toujou kontinye vomi? (Are you still vomiting? I got food poisoning last week.) Did you ask the doctor if they're used to be afraid when they see someone who's sick as you told me last night? I think they will say yes. (I am doing a rotation in the ICU and he wants to know if we ever get scared.) Don't forget, when you come you will give me all your money and when I will be a rich man, I will help you in all you do. (Result of a conversation about whether you need to be rich to be happy and what God says to do with your money if you are rich.) I cannot write so long. Bryn tell me to write short, but you know I love you and you are in my heart.
I love you.
Your good friend Duck"

Friday, February 1, 2008


Haiti is the poorest country on the Western Hemisphere. Things that you and I take for granted - food, clean water, an emergency room, roads, electricity, toilets, police - are things to which some Haitians will never have access. People there live in abject poverty, poverty so severe, that they would give up their children if it meant they would have a chance at a better life. Their pain, their sacrifice are what have placed 60 amazing boys and girls at Hope for the Children of Haiti. And their parents' wish has been granted: those children do have a better life.

When we walk in the streets of Bolosse, our children are the best dressed. Their clothing is usually not torn and it generally fits them correctly. Instead of chewed up sandals, our boys wear sneakers or cleats to play soccer. They live in a home where they have plumbing and running water more than half the time. They get to go to a private school that is equipped with chalkboards, books, pens, notebooks, and sturdy desks. Three times a day, they get a meal placed in front of them. On school days, they each receive a morning snack of crackers or popcorn. When they are sick, nannies accompany them to the doctor's or stay overnight with them at the hospital. 7 janitors protect them from potential threats in the street. They even have CD players, a television, and a playstation.

But more than that, the children have hope. They have hope because they know that they have friends and sponsors who will see them through secondary school and who will support them into the career that suits them. They have hope because they know that the family of brothers, sisters, nannies, teachers, aunts, and uncles of HFC will be there for them. They have hope because they believe that they are not alone: God is with them and always will be. That is the greatest difference between the HFC children and their friends in the street. When our children think of the future, they have hope. "And hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit." (Romans 5:5)