Thursday, July 20, 2017

Spring 2017- what a great trip!

We had a fantastic spring trip to Lacoma.  This trip was all about community! We really combined our groups with the local groups and became one big family.  We had both a medical team and a construction team and we worked together with the local professionals and volunteers with the single goal of healing Lacoma.

The details are always a little different but the story is always the same.  Every trip to Lacoma brings growth and family.   For some unknown reason this community is home- home to 60,000+ Haitians and home to Peace Love Haiti.  We can't stay away.  The second time that I went there was in the spring of 2011.  The team house was freshly finished and there were still a LOT of rocks there lying around and constructions remnants and garbage.  One morning we woke up at about 6am and there were 20-25 elderly women sitting around outside the house.  "What the heck? Are they here for some free tylenol?" I said to Evey.  We watched them for a bit and soon we realized that they were out there tidying the yard and planting some mangey dying sticks.  This is the desert, and the aloe grows but not much else.   Well, the dying stick that they planted just outside of the team house has grown and grown.  It is about 300 times bigger than any other tree in the yard and now provides shade for our tents- no longer do we have to fry our brains if we sleep past 6am.  Our support for the community and their support for us just gets stronger and stronger.  One love.


The spring trip was fantastic. Our PLH/Sagebrush medical team consisted of 2 RNs,  a veterinarian, an EMT, a dentist, an oral surgeon, and their assistants.  We had Winnie and Milo translating and Kervens running the pharmacy.  We had our Lacoma workers Nurse Fabi and Madam St. Daman doing triage and Fanny and Woodlin doing lab work. We saw a LOT of patients- both human and animal.  It made my heart so happy to have a vet on our team and she was busy!  Once word got out people from all over the community showed up in our yard,  happy to wait in line to vaccinate their sheep, goats, dogs, and cats.  Dr Laura would put a collar on each animal that was vaccinated and I think she ran out of them by the 3rd day.
Medications in our pharmacy thanks to YOU and you DONATIONS
Sheep vaccination day was everyday!
This is what pneumonia looks like 


We had a construction team of 6 volunteers that were working on rebuilding part of the school- the hurricane last fall ripped the roof of a couple of classrooms.  Our team worked with the local workers and the Haitian engineer and got the foundation set for part of a new addition.  It looked like mixing cement in the sun by hand all day was a lot harder than being a nurse....


Another huge project underway was the replumbing of the community's water source.  All the water comes from "up the mountain" and until now I have never pondered what that really meant.   Of course this isn't potable water, but it is the only water.  This water trickles down the mountain through a series of mysterious pipes and there are many sites around the area to access it.  It is the source of the water at the filtration station outside the clinic that 3 Strand Cord and Sagebrush built.  The hurricane dumped boulders on the pipes where this water originates and stopped the flow, so there has been no water in this area since October.  The community (lead by Pastor Gesnel) bonded together and worked long hard hours to replumb the mountain so Lacoma and the surrounding areas could have water again.  Community!
Cool mountain spring!!!

Part of our team!!!







Sunday, March 19, 2017

SPRING medical mission is almost here!!!

We went to southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew.
Diane, Tricia and I flew down in an MAF plane for HERO, a Haitian disaster relief organization. Les and Kervens drove the truck down (even though we were told the roads were not driveable) and met us in Les Cayes.
The destruction was unbelieveable.  Houses, trees, crops, EVERYTHING had been flattened.
Here is a video of the coast along Port Salut....

Anyway,
we had a hard time getting around.  The roads, the rain, uffda.
We made it to several remote villages that had not received any help since the hurricane. Unfortunately, 10 days or more out from the event the crisis relief turned into moral support and counseling as many people were showing signs of PTSD.  People were already replanting their fields, but there will be a big gap in edible food between planting and harvest.  Few mango trees were left standing, all kinds of animals were lost, and the plantains won't be back for a year.

I have a million photos that I will put up eventually.  Our next trip is 3/30- 4/8 and will be to Lacoma as is tradition.  Just I am going from the US branch of PLH, but I am going to meet up with Fabienne and Kervens and a big team from Sagebrush church in Albuquerque.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hurricane Matthew--- go away

We are thinking about everyone in Haiti and Jamaica bracing for the hurricane and hoping and praying that it loses strength by the time it reaches southern Haiti..... the warning extends all the way up to Mole St. Nicolai.
Here is the latest update----

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/01/americas/hurricane-matthew/

The first giant cholera outbreak was just after the hurricane in 2010.  Hurricane Tomas.
We remember because we were there.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What if..........


WHAT IF our religion was each other,
IF our practice was our life
IF prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
IF forests were our church
IF holy water- the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
IF the teacher was life
IF wisdom was self-knowledge
IF love was the center of our being?

~ Ganga White

Friday, September 9, 2016

Plans change with the wind

Hello all!

So we have a big plan change.......  not surprising eh?

The presidential election in Haiti is on 10/12 and, historically, this can mean a bunch of unrest.

Naturally, no one wants to be involved in anything that could potentially be dangerous, so Sagebrush has decided to postpone their fall trip to Lacoma.

What does this mean?
It means that Peace Love Haiti is going anyway.
 
We are changing our dates to October 19-29 and will all fly in together- Tricia, Diane, Julie, Les, and Dr. Mark.  It will be a week after the election and we will be very very safe and so happy to finally get there.

Thanks for all your support~ we love you all!

Oh--- and we have a go fund me to help us raise enough money for the trucks we need to get to Lacoma!!!

Check it out!

https://www.gofundme.com/2njhe8qk

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blog Procrastination, part 2

Why is it so hard for me to write a little update on the blog?
It does NOT mean that we have forgotten or are giving up.
We are still as dedicated as ever to helping in Haiti!
We are more determined than ever before.
Maybe it is too hard to think too much about what is happening in Haiti when we are so so far away. Maybe it is too hard to relive everything that happens on every trip: trying to help our patients when there is no treatment available, the amazing landscapes,  the poverty, the flowers, the trees, the sea, all the beautiful people that we consider family that we only get to see a few times a year, the contrasts, the sameness, the faith, the love.
Once and awhile I just shut myself into my own little world and the door locks behind me.

I apologize for not posting a single photo or writing a single word about our April trip.
In a nutshell... it was short but so very sweet.

PLH joined forces with a great team from Sagebrush Church from Albuquerque, NM (again) and Dr. Aquis (the hardest working dentist you will ever meet in the US or in Haiti).  We paired with the unstoppable Fabienne Goutier!  Rounding out our team was a bunch of amazing translators and logisticians, without whom we would not function for a minute.

We saw many patients and Sagebrush installed a gigantic diesel generator.  Now- for the first time ever-  the clinic has power when it really needs it!  And boy does it need power to run the lab, nebulizers, and to see after 8pm.  No more suturing, delivering babies, or starting IVs by head light or cell phone.  Progress!!!

Thank you so much- we could not have helped treat over 500 medical patients and over 300 dental patients without YOU. Yeah, you.  Thanks a million.

Here are some photos......
The generator sends electricity right to the clinic

Waiting to see the best dentist ever

Cute shy ti gason



our HUGE and WONDERFUL team!!!

Sagebrush gets all PeaceLoveHaiti as they head home to Albuquerque

Baby Scale

Our translators are the BEST





Donkey parking only
Bonjou everyone! No shortage of patients, ever

Kids always flock to Kervens- but this is really his son!

Dr Aquis injects some anesthetic before he fills a cavity

Pastor Gesnel hands out some food
Madam Pastor wearing a flashy tshirt!

The best day is a beach-after-work day!



Nurse Fabienne Aquis and Madam St. D help us do everything

Hot diggity digging to bury the cable from the generator
THE GENERATOR!!!


Dreaming about the moringa farm of the future

This is an OLD moringa tree
Moringa flowers- yum!
Haven't seen this since 2010- look to the right to see what it looked like before the earthquake ->
The Palace is gone completely


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter in Haiti

Easter in Haiti is much different than it is here in Etazini (the United States).

3 years ago we were staying in St Louis du Nord for a couple days over Easter- it wasn't safe for us to be out and about the area due to rain and other factors.  We stayed at the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission and our dear friend was the director then.   NWHCM was a GIGANTIC resource for the area at that time.  They fed thousands of people daily and that was amazing.  They housed us and fed us during the huge cholera outbreak in 2010.  They have a beautiful surgical suite for surgical mission teams to come and use. They have an orphanage for babies/toddlers and an orphanage for disabled kids that is still running.  Some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life I met at NWHCM.  Sadly, the mission wasn't all bon bagay (good stuff). Anyway....we were stuck there as I said.

Easter.  Haiti.  Rara bands.  Thunder storms.  Torrential downpours.  Mud.  There were fervent, heartfelt religious ceremonies that we didn't understand happening continually.  All the electrical energy that goes along with the ceremonies and the thunderstorms was hitting us nonstop-- everything was so intense! And we were not working; we couldn't run a clinic during this special time of year.

So this was Easter 2012.  Church started at 730am but people started arriving around 530am after spending the whole night Rara-ing.  We watched the Christian ceremony from the rooftop of the mission- of course the sermon was in Kreyol so we didn't understand the words.  The whole town and both orphanages were in attendance, as well as all the missionaries.  The courtyard was PACKED with people standing everywhere inside, outside, and on the street.   The sermon was intense and the volume waxed and waned as the clouds swirled around, unpredictable....  finally after about 90 minutes the sky turned black and CRACK BOOM!!!! The loudest thunder and the most intense lightening display hit right over our heads. I swear that Tricia's hair was standing on end. The entire congregation- including us rooftop viewers- immediately went running for shelter.   It rained for the next 24 hours.  To be honest, ever since that day I have felt more than a little unsettled over the equinox.

Rara bands are marching bands in Haiti- they have a certain distinct rhythm.  They march for miles and miles, with people joining in all along the way.  The leader of the band is usually a big religious and/or political leader and usually has a whistle and a whip.  They march to celebrate Vodou and to have their voices be heard by everyone.  The bands are active for 6 weeks between lent and Easter and seemingly the night before Easter is the big one.  I have no clear idea how the religions or Vodou and Christianity intertwine during this time- or if it is an African thing that involves the spring equinox-or if it is something more.
The main instruments in the Rara band are the vaksin (bamboo trumpet) and the klonet (a type of horn);  there are also drums,  tcha tcha (maracas), bells, kes (a stick-like thing), graj (metal scrapers), flutes, rattles, and twompet (trumpet).  The leader toots away on the whistle and whips the whip around to clear their path as they march for mile after mile.  This marching can happen anytime during the day or night.  If two Rara bands meet up head to head there will be a confrontation.  We have stitched up more than one laceration from this sort of thing.

We took the MAF Flight out  of the the Nord Ouest! No way could you drive through the rivers