Having Lauren here meant that I now have photos of virtually every aspect of my daily life in Haiti, from the mundane to the exciting.
We have the simple projects around the Shoebox, such as hanging new curtains that my mother sewed for my room, creating makeshift couch cushions from discarded foam, and hauling water from my cistern for bathing and doing dishes.
I walk on average 4 miles every day to get to my various jobs and friends' houses. Port-au-Prince is a dusty, dry, barren wasteland but here and there along my route, these flowers bloom radiantly and offer a little escape from the gray. Sometimes Marc walks with me, on our way to youth group or feeding program, and we frequently have small children following us. Sort of like the Pied Piper...
In my neighborhood, I've been too busy lately to spend much time with the kids, but at least once a week, we watch a movie or bake cupcakes or do homework together. Frantz is still the darling of my heart, even when he skips school and I have to publicly reprimand him.
Quisqueya Christian School, the English school where I have subbed in the past, still offers one of my few outside entertainments in the form of a basketball or soccer game. It's fun to cheer the kids on and to just laugh with my friends.
We recently hired a Haitian nurse named Myrlande. I am training her in preparation for my 2 month furlough at summer camp from early June to August. She has been a great addition to our team and I have high hopes for her.
Things are moving extremely slowly with medical visas, both on the Haitian end and the US Embassy end, so I'm seeing less new patients than I normally do. Despite that, my mornings can still look like this: me, in my Au Bon Pain pajamas, creating a file on a plastic surgery case while my assistant Sendhie chats with the family.
The young woman who used to lead the feeding program at the orphanage in Delmas 75 recently left for school in the Dominican, so they are in a bit of a pinch, especially to find people who can translate when teams are there. I've been trying to go every Monday afternoon and some Wednesdays too, functioning as a translator and facilitator as needed.
Perhaps my favorite part of the week is Bible study. Twelve to thirty teenagers meet with us for an hour and a half, read scripture and ask questions. How should we pray? Is is wrong for us to cheat on exams when everyone else is doing it? God says that we shouldn't sin in our anger - isn't that basically impossible? I love it!
I try to make it down to Dorothy's house to visit with the babies and the animals.
Clinic at Delmas 24 has been hopping! We frequently see more than the 50 patients I allot slots for and we generally have to turn a few away when closing time arrives. Sendhie, Myrlande, and Lucson continue to do a marvelous job running the show. I've been particularly impressed with our blood pressure program - more than half of our patients actually come regularly to receive their meds and their check-ups. For Haiti, that's pretty good.
Construction continues next door at St Joe's and in the house directly behind mine. Sometimes I come home at the end of the day to find the way to my house completely blocked by sand piles. Fortunately, Frantz and the other kids will eagerly help me clear the way whenever we can get our hands on a shovel and a broom.
The ravine is still the ravine. A few of my families recently got kicked out of their tent homes and property owners are threatening to move over a hundred tents next month. It's frustrating because there is no real solution. These people need jobs; from jobs they could earn enough to not be homeless. But where are the jobs going to come from? At least I can assure that their children are healthy. And healthy they are!