Saturday, October 19, 2013

The conclusion of our Haiti trip

Hello Family and Church family,
We have arrived safely back to the guest house in Petionville after a very spirit filled week in mission with the people of Zabricot. There are many improvements in some things, many unchanged. The airport has been greatly improved, the guest house has had some improvements as well. There are signs of construction and growth all around. Unfortunately more and more people have crowded an already over crowded Port Au Prince in hopes of resources that may be available in the city, Which has in turn strained the resources. 
The poor, especially those in more remote areas have great difficulty getting basic needs. We found this in the village of Zabricot where we worked this week. It is on the southern end of the satellite island of La Gonave. It is fertile and there are thankfully opportunities to grow things. We had a crowded boat ride to the island on Saturday on a ferry. We arrived in Zabricot on a rough but thrilling ride in pick-up trucks. Sunday morning we had the opportunity to worship with the people of the community. This was done Haitian style with great energy and enthusiasm. A Lay pastor took us for a walk in the community and to visit the Futball stadium. There was a large crowd gathered including vendors. There was a man who was yelling above everyone and we thought he was yelling at us but our translators said he was challenging the locals who claimed they could speak English saying "Now's your chance, the Blanc (white people) are here, show us how well you speak English". We slowly were introduced to the people of the community who welcomed us and shared their excitement for the possibilities of working together.
Pastor Jackie had arranged for us to stay in the home of a local just across from the church. Cots were provided and there was a latrine that had a toilet seat! Monday morning we prepared for the work. Weslynne, a nurse from the coast and the nearest clinic (a 2 hour ride) in Sousa de Phillipe was there to help with the clinic. Men were hired from nearby to lead the construction work at the church. Monday we had our first clinic day and saw approximately 80 patients with the help of our translators (Coz and Peterson), and team members LeeAnn, Gary and Dave and of course the local nurse, Weslynne who helped with triage. Construction efforts included backfilling the foundation with rock moved from a "quarry" carried down a goat trail! Those of us working in the clinic did not get to help with VBS as we decided to continue seeing patients until we were done which was not until about 6:30pm. Jonathan did an excellent job preparing and Coz did a great job translating. We could hear the laughter and cheers from the clinic.
Tuesday we saw many more patients but decided to finish early enough to help with VBS. This day Jonathan planned the story of Moses leading the Israelites through the red sea. (See picture sent....more to come). Some of the activities in the clinic included sharing health kits, birthing kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste, BP checks, treatment for acute and chronic health issues, provision of medications, teaching on sanitation of the water, other health related teaching, vitamins for children, adults and pregnant women, etc. Day 2 of construction included work on the block of the exterior wall of the church.
Wednesday was our final clinic day and we worked until lunch time and had a great time with our final VBS session. The story today was Jesus and the disciples in the boat when the storms came. The children made the sounds of the storm with great vigor and joy. We sang several songs with them in English and Creole. The construction crew continued their work until dinner time.
The food cooked by the four local women included delicious options such as Conk stew, fresh fruit such as mango and watermelon, avocado, lots of beans and rice, fried perch, and the most delicious pancakes we had ever had! Wednesday night we offered our appreciation to the cooks by tipping them and sharing some gifts. We shared the remainder of the donations with Edward the steward of the church including tarps. soccer balls, girls dresses made by the UMW, school supplies and other miscellaneous items. Great appreciation was shared by many, especially Edward the steward of the church who shared that much of the things he thought were impossible for the church were now becoming possible. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve with the people in Zabricot. We would not have been able to do it without your prayers, love and support. We plan to debrief with the staff here including Dr Harbottle of our findings, including water source, agriculture, nutrition and health needs. We look forward to seeing you soon and sharing more with you.
Love, Colleen
Below are pictures from the trip!



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Team has arrived!

We have made it safely to the guesthouse in Petionville. All is going well thus far. It is exciting to see many more improvements and to greet old friends.

We will not have internet access in the community we will be serving. Cell phone use for texting is unlikely also but we will try.

We met with pastor Jackie from the community and he is very excited about us offering a clinic in his church. He was the first born in the clinic that was built by the church some years ago (I would guess he is in his 30s).

We are going to a very remote community that has very limited access to health care, even in Haitian standards. He says the mission of the church had made him who he is and thus he feels called to serve in his home, in a community in which missionaries ministered to him many years ago. He indicated that we are one of the few missionaries who have offered clinic help.

We will be back at the guest house on Friday the 18th. I am available via wifi tonight if you need to contact us.

Lots of love to all!!