Saturday, December 17, 2011

And Jesus said, "...Go and sin no more."

Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her,"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."

Many were impacted by the story blogged on September 22nd about a young lady resorting to prostitution to feed her two young girls.  Although Lifeline began as an organization bringing relief to Haiti by meeting the basic needs of children, they have expanded to offer sustainable change to adults and communities as well through the trade school and other programs. 
The young lady of the Sept. 22nd blog is named Kettma St. Pierre.  After talking to Donald, the three of us girls: Michelle, Adrian and Candice decided to work with Kettma, not just on her immediate needs but for a better future for her and her children. 

When Kettma came to us, we addressed the immediate needs of food and medical care.  Kettma had TB but could not afford her medicine so we bought it for her.  Her baby girl Jenima had been very sick and one day was even in and out of consciousness.  We prayed for healing and sent money with Kettma for her to take the baby to the clinic.  A few days passed before we were able to do a follow-up with Kettma but before we even called her, she came to our door to tell us Jenima was well!  She hadn’t even had to buy medicine or get further tests, she just got better.  Kettma said it was our prayers that healed Jenima. 

We figured out with Osmy how much rice and beans we could give her to last a month.  Each time she came to us, we gave her tap-tap money since she lives a few miles from Lifeline.

Our first few visits met the most pressing needs and if that was all we did, we were likely to see her a few months down the road once again resorting to prostitution to feed her family.  So we began to work on a long-term plan.  There are no jobs open at Lifeline so we couldn’t give her a job.  But just as we began brainstorming microloans and business ideas, Kettma broke in and said she had an idea.  Through Celissa translating, she explained that she wanted to start a small store selling used clothes.  She could buy the clothes in Port au Prince and sell them here in her village.  All she requested was a loan to start up.  With the help of Donald and Christian Bunse, who sees this as the first of many such projects with women like Kettma, we came up with a plan.

We first required that she get an HIV test and bring it back to us before we continued working with her so that we could know what needs had to be addressed.  She took weeks to bring us the test so we were very worried that she tested positive and was ashamed.  When she brought us the unopened test results, we held our breath; we had been praying and meeting with Kettma for over a month and had heard there were rumors about her having HIV because of her rapid weight loss.  We opened the test from Sada Clinic and have never been so happy to see the word “negative”. 

Next we drafted and translated an official loan contract.  We met with Kettma two days ago to go over the loan and terms of the contract.  We could provide the loan and she would pay back the specified amount each month.  Her mother and grandmother, both widows, were present to hear.  Her mother said she was so thankful for this opportunity for Kettma and wished there were more people like us to help young women and widows.  We later met with her pastor.  We are aware that the issue is more than just financial and that she needs spiritual accountability to grow and succeed.  Her pastor said he’s known her all her life and is so thankful we are helping her.  He prayed over her and promised to continue watching over her as her spiritual father.  He asked us if there was a way we could help other girls in Kettma’s situation.  We said this kind of work is new to us but we will continue to meet and pray together that God will provide a way for us to help more girls like Kettma. 
Yesterday we took Kettma to the market in Port au Prince to get some things to start the store.  She chose to buy nice shoes to resell since around Christmas time people like to get new shoes.  Later we’ll take her back to buy some boxes of used clothes to sell as well. 

It has been exciting to start this journey with Kettma.  It hasn’t been easy and his has taken some work to instill some foreign values that she seems to have gone without.  Such as not asking for things from multiple people or sneaking extra shoes from our storage room (she tried to sit on them so we didn’t see).  She is a good girl and is trying but I think she’s been in survival mode for so long its gonna take a while for her to develop the pride of working for herself.  Right now she calls us her mamas and says she won’t do anything without permission.  This is better than stealing from us I think but we hope as she grows and learns, we can be more like partners and less like parents.  Keep praying with us for Kettma and for other girls like her we hope to reach in the future with similar microloans and discipleship programs.  We do have a sewing class and are starting a paiting class soon and both of thses will help to provide women with a skill they can market.  Praise God for creativity and new opportunites. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lifeline Garden!

Lifeline's new garden is here!  If you read the "Kathy and the Compost" blog a few weeks back, you've been anticipating our garden!  The time has come to plant.  After weeks of composting, the soil is ready and according to the locals, its the season to plant.  A couple weeks ago, plantains were planted on the back part of the garden, and last week a fence was put up around it to keep the goats out.  Cayil, our employee in charge of the garden proudly planted the first seeds today with a friend of his we hired for the day.  We planted squash, radish, eggplant, watermelon and okra this time around. The kids who have been helping Cayil in the garden made signs with me to label the areas of the garden where each vegetable is planted.  We are excited to see the children learning about gardening, Cayil taking leadership and a long anticipated project in motion.  The gardens at Lifeline in the past have apparently been ravished by goats or other wandering neighborhood friends.  This time, we're hoping the fence will do the job of keeping unwanted snackers out.  Along with the trench composting in the garden, our compost bins are getting hot and black and ready to spread as fertilizer to our trees all over the mission.  The trees have been growing slowly and looking a bit scraggly to be honest so we're excited to see the home-made fertilizer work its magic.
Keep all of these exciting projects in your prayers.  We are currently brainstorming ways to recycle the water used to wash the canteen to water the plants.   We'd like to cut down on water wasted during the dry season.  The people living outside the gates are also not fond of our waste water that flows past their houses, causing a bit of a stink.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Carpenters from Iowa!

Iowa Team posing with the benches they made for churches and schools in the area.

New shelves for the eye clinic! 

Markson with his interesting shelving creation.  

One of the team members teaching Markson how to use the drill.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We missed our blog last night, we were exhausted after dinner.  We all forgot how exhausted new parents are!  LOL  On Dec. 6 we went to a mountain village approx 45-60 minutes riding in the back of an supply truck with all our equipment.  The road was one lane, with an occasional passing spot, with ruts that threw you all over the back end!  I will never complain about my gravel road back in IA again! These mountains looked like some of the Rockies, especially when you are looking over the edge praying you didn't go over!  We all arrived safely thanks to our great driver Osbe! 
People were already waiting for us when we arrived.  We were set up in there medical clinic/school.  No electricity or running water, that day they decided to run wiring for electricity, we were dodging workers and ladders most of the day!  We sat up quickly and got to work.  Most of the people had not seen a doctor for 5-10 years.  Many people had walked for 4 hours to see the doctor, incredible!  We seen 113 people in 5 hours.  We seen many children who were incredibly ill, malnourished, worms, worms, worms,  many pregnant women,  and pneumonia.  We had a lady who thought her water had broken last week and had walked several hours to be seen, sweaty and tired.  We were thinking at first we might be delivering, but she was not in labor.  Many women die during childbirth due to difficulty during labor, sepsis and no help at home with delivery.  We seen many abdominal hernias on children and adults.  We had to have crowd control at the door again, people desperate to be seen trying to push there way in.  People were still waiting when we had to shut down, due to having to have daylight to get back down the mountain.  Heartbreaking when we shut those doors, because people had been all day hanging on to the windows begging in Creole, madam, madam, I have walked all day, please see me, I need to see the doctor! It brought tears to your eyes, but if you started crying you wouldn't stop, these people are in despearate need!
Many of the men stayed back and built shelves for the eye doctor.  He was extremely thankful!  Some men moved rocks from a foundation so they could continue to build on it.  Hot, hard manual labor!  Craig and Jim road in the back of a truck, with Haitian style driving, to the lumber yard to buy lumber to build the shelves.  The first stopped to change the American money at a money changer, which is a man sitting at a table with a roll of bills.  Then on to the lumber yard, which they both said was an aweome experience. 
When we all returned home, we were so excited to see baby David.  Angie weighed him an he gain 5 ounces.  He is growing and doing okay. 
Day 7-We went to a tent city today!  What an experience.  We were set up in there church, which was a scantly put together wood frame, covered with tarps.  We had a few wooden benches, to work with an a table.  Again we got set up and people were there already waiting.  The pastor of that tent church ahd complete control.  Those people were quite, polite, respectful of each other absolutely amazing.  We seen 153 patients in 4 hours, incredible!  I love this whole thing of no documentation!!!!!  Amazingly the kids seemed to be very healthy, and also the adults.  They hear the word doctor and they all want to come see him, and us.  We are different, and they are curious!  We ALL LOVE THOSE KIDS!  They are so receptive, and just love to be close to you and hold your hand!  We passed out lots of tylenol, ibuprofen for headaches, and generalized body aches.  Also vitamins and sunglasses.  We have seen lots of cataracts from sun damage!  During the day we had a few little boys come to the side of the tent that had a large rip in it.  They hung out and attempted to talk with us, they were selling bracelets.  We Learned the one little boy sold bracelets to pay his way and his brothers way through school!  Again Amazing children! The men prayed over all the patients after they were seen, and the team gave shoes to each person.  People were very happy!
We came back and started working on cleaning out the medical supply storage area.  That will take a few days.  We will be staying at the mission tomorrow and running the clinic here and working on organizing the storage room.  The guys will be building shelves in the medical clinic.
Little David was taken by part of the team to the hospital today, with aunt and grandma, to get checked out.  It was a free catholic hospital, and the er had to Ohio residents working in the ER.  They said the see at least two kids a day like this.  They kept him for IV fluids and feedings, the grandma stayed with him.  He has to have someone with him at all times to be able in the hospital.  He is doing amazingly well. We will keep everyone up dated on baby David!  The pictures are not uploading tonight, will try to upload more pics tomorrow!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baby David

Dec 5-Our team started at the prayer rock for morning devotions.  What a beautiful day the Lord has made!  We then split up into two groups, part stayed back at the mission to build benches.  They built 19 benches to be distributed to several different churches.  They did an awesome job!  The medical team drove 20-30 minutes away to a nearby school and set up shop in a 3 room school. Some of the team did some VBS activites with the children waiting to be seen and also handed out Love Bundles.  The medical team went to work, in the first small room Angie triaged patients, we ended up seeing 91 patients in about 5 hours.  It became very chaotic, people were trying to push into the room to be seen.  The mission leader talked with the man in charge, and informed him that they needed to talk with the people and get organized or we would not be back.  We went to the bus to eat and then went back.  The number of people there had decreased significantly, people were sitting down and came up to be seen in an orderly fashion.  After triage they stood in line and came in to be seen by the doctor one by one.  The doctor saw the patient with an interperter, the triage nurse gave each patient a peice of paper with symptoms on it and the doctor wrote the medicine needed on the back.  After being seen they were taken next door to the pharmacy where Lari Jo and Darci, with an interperter passed out meds with instructions and education.  Some of the things we treated today were lots of diarrhea, fever, runny noses, some parasites, aspirated a ganglion cyst, & aspirated an abscess on top of a little girl's head. 
Things we saw today that we weren't able to fix were twins with heart defects, an elderly lady with a probable bowel obstruction, and a little eight year girl who was blinded during the earthquake, a door blew out and hit her in the left eye.  It's heartbreaking when you look at these people and tell them there is nothing you can do, or try something minimal and if it doesn't work they really need to go to the hospital.  They will never go to the hospital because it is futile because you need money to be treated, and these people don't have it.
Last and the most heartbreaking, a three month old baby, the team named him David Christian, was brought to us by his grandmother, weighing in at 3.3 lbs.  That is right 3.3lbs!!!!!  He was born at noon and his mother had died by 8 pm that night of unknown causes.  There was no one to breast feed him and the family was poor and had no money to buy formula.  The family was mashing up food and feeding him regular food!  We ended up bringing him back to the mission and putting an IV in and giving him fluid boluses, and feeding him formula with an eye dropper.  I am sure this will be a long night with a baby in the house, getting up every hour or two and feeding him.  I'm sure we will all fight over this opportunity, he is the center of attention!!!!  We have been back to the mission for about 3 hours and just since the fluid boluses and food he looks amazingly better.  We ask that all who read this, to please pray for this little guy!!!!  He is a fighter since he has made it this far and was brought to us today, God has a plan for this sweet baby!

Tomorrow we will go into the mountains to a village with our medical team.       

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jean Fritz Pierre in the Christmas Spirit!

Jean Fritz at the Kalico Resort posing in front of his first Christmas tree!

A close up of Jean Fritz at the Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

IV HOPE for Haiti Dec. 1

Pastor Bob and Jeremiah led a team that finished putting up all the framing for the 2 houses for Pastor Louisainte’s orphanage.  This is where they laid one foundation several days before and the other foundation was already there from a previous trip – that one was the last foundation Filiberto did in Haiti.

The rest of the men finished pouring an 1800 sq. ft. foundation for our guest house behind the orphanage on our new property. 

The farmer who we are paying to take care of our plantain trees came to Ryan and brought him our first profit of $300.  Ryan instructed him on where to plant more trees on our new property so that will be a growing source of income for the orphanage – Ryan thinks it will bring in several hundred dollars per month until we need that property for orphanage expansion if necessary.  Later, he will have him plant other kinds of trees too.

There was a man in the village who came up to Ryan and thanked him for the blessing we are to their community.  He asked if we have any children and when Ryan told him, yes, one little daughter, the man took a bracelet off his wrist that he had just made and told him to take it as a gift for her.  Ryan was very touched by this sweet gesture of gratitude.

In the afternoon, Candice took Sally, Kerstin, Aly and I to a beach resort about 10 miles down the road.  It was very nice, but not Haiti’s nicest resort, there are others, but they are more expensive to get into.  It was SO beautiful.  The water was warm, the sand was lovely, the views were like any other gorgeous Caribbean Island would be.  We felt very spoiled having a snack to share of lobster, shrimp and drank straight out of a coconut that a man opened skillfully with a machete.  Candice said that they bring every team here for an afternoon during their trip to enjoy a relaxing/refreshing break from the work, but also so that we can have the opportunity to see another side of Haiti.  She said that so many people see the poverty and ugliness and see it as a barren land without God.  But God has always been in Haiti.  He made it an absolutely beautiful land that has much potential.  This place that has been ravaged over the centuries due to the consequences of making pacts with the devil and dedicating the country to Voodoo twice over the years and then continually making poor decisions, has the potential to be a beautiful place if they will turn from their ways back to the God who loves them and created them and this lovely land.  Ryan has never been to the beach and we found out that his teams are the ONLY ones that don’t get to experience this because he just wants to get as much work done as possible!  Oh my goodness…that’s Ryan!  He gets tunnel vision when he arrives in Haiti and never stops till the last possible minute.  I realize that when we go to Haiti, it is to serve God and the people and we aren’t there to be pampered or to be on vacation, but now that I have seen it, I will make sure that all of our teams in the future get to experience it too, if only for a couple of hours, even Ryan’s teams, ha ha.