Monday, August 22, 2011

Kez's Haiti life

I realize that my blog can be a bit confusing with all the people and places I refer to, so here is a quick summary of my life.

My real name is Keziah but everyone calls me Kez. I grew up in Boston and attended nursing school at Northeastern University from 2003-2008. In 2007, I lived in Haiti for the first time, a 5 month internship at an orphanage called Hope for the Children of Haiti (HFC). I mentored the 60 teens there, learned Creole and fell in love with working in Haiti. Back in the US for my last year of college, I traveled to Haiti 4 times, visiting different sites and looking for a more medical place to work. During the summers, I started working at Chop Point camp in Maine, first as a counselor and then as the nurse, a job which I’ve done for 5 years now and which I truly cherish.

The HFC girls

My Chop Point mini-family

When I graduated in 2008, I moved to Dorothy’s, a home for malnourished infant and toddlers, specifically my little AIDS baby, Johnny J. I worked several days a week with an American PA who taught me much of what I know today, I started to lead youth group at church, and I began doing the Ravine. The Ravine is a project started by Sherrie Fausey, an American who runs an English school for impoverished children in a ghetto of Delmas 31. She wanted the children coming into school to have the best possible brain development which means good medical care as babies. So she has a medical check-up program which I have been running for her since 2008 with a community health worked named Wisnal. That year, I started traveling periodically to Gonaives to do clinics and met the Brooks, the family who founded Much Ministries, my current affiliation. I made my first connection with the US military when the USNS Comfort came to Haiti in the spring of 2009 and I got involved at QCS, an upper class school where I occasionally substitute taught.

Me, Johnny J and other kids at Dorothy's

Working in the Ravine

My first trip to Gonaives

In 2009, I moved into the Shoebox (my apartment) on Delmas 91 and started working for Angel Missions Haiti. I continued the Ravine but also started doing medical visas for AMH, hosting medical teams, coordinating medical training exercises for the US military, and running a small clinic on Delmas 24. I grew more involved with the youth group, partnering with an American named Marc. I bonded with the little kids in Delmas 91, especially a little boy named Frantz. And I got to know my neighbors at St Joseph’s, a guest house and boys’ home directed by Bill Nathan, a young Haitian who is also on the AMH board and who became a good friend.

The roof at St. Joseph's before the earthquake

The Shoebox

Marc and youth

On January 12th, 2010, an earthquake devastated Haiti, killing an estimated 300,000 people, including over a dozen of my patients and Haitian acquaintances. St. Joseph’s was destroyed, nearly killing Bill, and damaging my Shoebox on the way down. My life became a movie-esque nightmare as I took care of victims and tried to obtain provisions for my community, Dorothy’s, and other friends. Things progressively returned to normal and I spent the rest of 2010 and the spring of 2011 working for AMH with a young woman named Sendhie and a man named Edjour. In June 2011, I resigned from my position at AMH and came under Much Ministries.

Earthquake victim

Earthquake destruction

So here I am, back in Haiti in the fall of 2011, living in the Teacup (my new apartment), still doing the Ravine, the clinic at Delmas 24, and the youth group. I am also going to be teaching an ESL class, traveling to Gonaives whenever I can, and caring for the needs of the tent city where my Delmas 91 neighbors have been living since the quake.

And that is Kez’s Haiti life in a nutshell.


tomgranowitz said...

thing #1) i call you keziah

thing #2) stay safe

Savannah Rice said...

Hey Kez, it's Savannah Rice. Uh, there is a lot I could say, would like to as well, but I'll try to keep it short. I really was hoping to visit you and everyone from Chop Point that means so much to me, but I didn't get to. I was pretty disappointed that I wasn't able to go to camp this year, but it came as no surprise. Mom and I have 2 foster kids now, and that sure does keeps us busy! I was really happy to see you at the fair when I was volunteering and again later.(: I hate that I only got to see you for a few minutes, but still was very happy to see you nonetheless. You cross my mind all the time. You are one of the biggest inspirations to me. Believe it or not, you're a really important person who has come across my life. I know you have the very affect on hundereds of other people. I feel so blessed to have been one of them. I keep you in my prayers often, and I truly do love you.