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

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Update on the Spring

Well, things have a way of being fluid.....

Our spring plans have changed and the May trip to Lacoma is being postponed until fall.
We are still going in April though!
Out of our control.  
Many factors have gone into this decision.  Some changes here on the home front have forced us to postpone our 2nd Lacoma trip of 2016 until fall.  When I look at the sketchy nature of the elections that are scheduled for exactly when our trip was planned, I feel like it may be a good thing.

Here is something that was written on our blog years ago.... I can't remember where it came from but it rings so true!

"When you care enough about strangers to leave your comforts behind to help,  something inside of you happens.  You discover that life is not what you have, it's what you give away."

Love to you all from team Peace Love Haiti

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spring trips are brewing!

Thank you so much for all these years of support- we love you!

We will be joining forces with the Sagebrush team (from Albuquerque) from April 8 through the 19th and will zoooom up to Lacoma!
We will support our regular patients and also hope to do some mobile clinics as well.  There are no roads of course so we will just head out to the remote areas on a couple of dirt bikes.   It will be amazing to help those that are not mobile enough to walk into "town" to come and see us.
Does anyone have a mostly decent backpack they are willing to donate for the mobile clinics? We will need 2 backpacks for medications and supplies.

PeaceLoveHaiti returns to Lacoma in May with a small but mighty team... Dr Grace and Julie Louise will be providing the medical care along with Kervens and Marc translating and running the pharmacy.   We need some big suitcases and also items from the Dollar Store like PG kits, clotrimazole and hydrocortisone cream,  sunglasses, antibiotic ointment, and lubricating eye drops.  And TUMS!!! Always TUMs.  Everybody loves TUMs.

When is Dr Mark going you ask?
Mark will be going in May too-- with dates to be determined!
He will continue supporting Dr Bordes in Canaan ..... I think the OR must be close to completion.
We hope to have some pictures soon of what the buildings look like nowadays.
Imagine! C-sections will finally be available to this area and we can't thank you enough for helping us get to this level.  We plan to send teams to this clinic sometime soon to help with both medical and surgical interventions and also to provide education for the Haitian medical team that runs this clinic every day.

 I need help organizing the donations in my basement!
Email me if you are willing to come over and spend a few hours with me.......

If words were leaves, would you prefer fall or spring?

Here is a lil video from days gone by titled "QUICKSAND"... filmed by Tricia back in the serious clown show days......

Monday, November 30, 2015

We had a great NOVEMBER trip to LACOMA!

We had a great trip to Lacoma.  We supported the cholera clinic with every single thing they needed- like chairs, bleach, IV's,  lactated ringers, antibiotics, anti-nausea meds, WATER, ORS, cots, buckets, lights.............. yes. Everything.  They needed everything.  Without these supplies so generously donated by YOU the cholera patients would not have lived.

We promise to post pics and tell tales soon!

LOVE and so many THANKS to everyone who supports us!!! 
Especially this trip- it was such a hectic pace to gather everything and leave ASAP that we hardly can remember how it all came together. 

Here are some words of wisdom from Ram Dass:
"When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees.  And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you don't get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying, 'You're too this, or I'm too this'. That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees.  Which means appreciating them just the way they are."

Here is a loooooong really really loooooong rinky-dink compilation of pics and videos from the first few years of Peace Love Haiti that I strung together years ago.  It was missing forever but turned up today~ it does show some of what we are up to when we are down south.   One love. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall trip in progress...... and some not good news from the NW

Day 2 of clinic today for Drs Mark and Greg! (And Bourdes too of course)!
They were busy!
They referred to the day as "malaria and parasite day" and presently they are bringing a woman to a better equipped facility as her labor isn't progressing........ someday there will be a OR right in Canaan and the OB docs will be able to perform C-sections right there and then.
Never give up hope!  Keep trying!!! Spreading love all around the town......

We are very upset with an urgent report from Lacoma today-- there is a cholera outbreak.
We are scrambling to get going ASAP and we need a lot of supplies for IVs and a lot of IV fluids and the truck for more days and more $ for gas and and and..... stay tuned.
Keep praying and send a lot of extra love to our friends in NW Haiti~~~

 This lil pumpkin was born at 27 weeks! She is 4 weeks old today... AMAZING!!!

Dr Mason, Dr. Bordes, & Dr Widstrom--- twa bien Dokte!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

AUTUMN----be a LIGHT in the days of growing darkness

A beautiful summer leaves us RECHARGED and ready to get to work......
Thank you to everyone that was involved in the benefit at RT Quinlan's earlier this month- the musicians, dancers, and PLH supporters! It was an incredibly fun night, to say the least.

We are officially a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization!!! Of course we still have a LOT of work to do on that level....and a LOT of funds to raise for our works in progress.....oh do we have PLANS!!

We are helping build an OR at Dr. Bordes' clinic in Canaan--- an OR will allow him to perform lifesaving C-SECTIONS!!! Surgery is not an option for 99% of the women in this area.
Dr. Mark will be heading to Canaan in October to run clinic and help plan how this lil OR can help the largest number of those in need.

Another upcoming trip is our annual fall medical mission to LACOMA!!!
The small yet mighty team of Tricia,  Julie,  Les, & Kervens will be heading up the dusty trail to support our farming friends of the nord ouest.
May seems like forever ago--- and May was the last time any team was there.
Sagebrush Church has a group going there in less than a month- whew! 4 months is a looong time without support1!!  We are so THANKFUL for their faithfulness.

So many people in Lacoma come to us for their chronic health conditions~ we are their primary care providers.  GERD, hypertension, myopia, malnutrition, parasites, and back pain lead the list with many URI infections too- and don't forget way too many cases of typhoid, malaria, STDs and good old-fashioned gastroenteritis.   Diarrhea is still the number one killer in areas such as Lacoma. Imagine if your neighbor dying of diarrhea was as commonplace as the change from summer to fall.

THANK YOU to everyone for all your years of coming along with us to help!!!
Even if we aren't all together physically we KNOW you are with us!!!