Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Place: Lamardelle
Time: 5:12pm EST
Song:  Neon-Chris Young

Today was somewhat of an odd day.  I went with a group out to Lamardelle to do…..well truthfully we didn’t know what we’d be doing.  We had been in touch with a group called Enfants de Jesus, or Infants of Jesus.  An orphanage of sorts.  But not really an orphanage.  These children are more like foster kids.  They don’t know where their parents are; whether they’re alive or not.  But it’s a bit more than that.  This organization helps to run a clinic as well as oversee the education of the children in their community.  It’s all very confusing to me and I shall not attempt to explain, I apologize.  What I can tell you is that we ended up teaching a group of 20 individuals on a variety of topics.  Those who were present were teachers from the school and individuals who were connected with the clinic in this area. 

This organization that is funded by a group called….  Is actually one of the more impressive communities I have visited while in Haiti.  They have a doctor who works at the clinic full-time.  They have a functional pharmacy that they can give medications to the patients.  They have nurses and other support type individuals, including those we taught today.  The school is quite impressive, holding approximately 500 students grades K-7.  These children are fed two hot meals a day; breakfast and lunch.  This is very significant because this allows families to be able to feed their children, allowing them to keep them.   Quite often in Haiti children are sent to or dropped off at orphanages because families simply can’t support them.  The children appeared to be healthy and well cared for.  It was definitely a first to see how incredibly self-functioning it was.

This trip has been a bit introspective for me.  This isn't a first.  Not the first time being on a trip like this has caused me to evaluate my life, and not the first time I've had these thoughts or feelings in the past month.  I’ve thought a great deal about many things.  I have not come to any conclusions or decisions about any of those things, but I’ve thought of them nonetheless.  So I suppose that’s good right?  A lot of self-doubt.  About abilities, knowledge, future and the like.  My head is somewhat of a jumble.  How's that for vague? Eh well.

A couple of other firsts…. I have some mosquito bites on my butt and I’m really at a loss as to how they got there.  Also I just washed my underwear in the shower….

Even on the fourth.....a couple of firsts.....

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013
Place: Noitre Maisson Orphanage
Time 4:47pm EST
Song: I Need You Tonight-Backstreet boys

Today I went to the Noitre Maisson Orphanage to help teach the caregiver school.  We put together a curriculum and present it to caregivers so that they can teach and care for the children.  This specific orphanage cares for children with mental and physical disabilities.

What did I teach you ask?  You really want to know?  Well my topic today was range of motion.  Many of these children that have physical disabilities need a lot of physical therapy and work.   They end up with contractures and become severely deconditioned.  These children are incredible.  They’re amazingly sweet and loveable.  They want to play with you and want to be held and they’re so excited to see you.  They instantly grab a hold of your heart and they just don’t let go.  Two little girls instantly latched on to me and each time I went to set them down I was met with a lot of crying and clutching.  It’s heartbreaking; there is no other word for it.  This is not to the discredit of the caregivers.  They do the very best that they can, and they do a wonderful job.  I was impressed by their dedication to these children.  They had an eagerness to learn and apply the knowledge that they were receiving.  They asked questions regarding specific children and their specific ailments and what they could do to better care for them.  One thing these trips give me is hope.  In the midst of the poverty and the heartbreak you find people who still genuinely care for and love others.  As exaggerated as this may seem, I often find myself disenfranchised with the world and wondering if there are people out there that do things just because it’s the right thing to do; just because someone needs them.  They do it without a thought of “What’s in it for me?” or “What do I get out of this?”  Here I find these people.  I know they’re out there in my “own world” as well, I just need to be better and searching them out.

This is usually the hardest day for me out of everything that I do.  A couple of reasons make this one of my areas of struggle.  First, I hate teaching.  I’ve been told I’m rather good at it, but I definitely do not feel that way.  It’ is simply something that’s difficult for me.  So I should probably work at it eh?!  I don’t know whether it’s feelings of inadequacy or self-consciousness but I feel ill qualified.  Which I know is ironic because I’m trained and I have a degree so I should feel in some way able to teach something to these people.  Regardless, every time I go, I have bouts of anxiety.  A second reason this is difficult for me is I arrive and I see these children and I see all of the things that they need and require and I want to help them and provide for them all of these things for them, whether these needs be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.  I can come and provide teaching and foundations but I always leave feeling a little bit empty because I know that there is so much more that needs to be done.  I say it every year but it is always a challenge to reconcile oneself with those feelings of “not doing enough” or of inadequacy.  It is definitely a challenge to convince yourself that you’ve done enough, that you’ve given all you can and that that is okay.  I consistently struggle with those feelings.  I constantly ask myself “What have I really done?” “Did what I do matter?”  “Did it make a difference?” 

P.S. I lose something every time I come here.  My first year is was a pair of shoes, last year I left my stethoscope in one of the vans and this year I’ve already lost my water bottle, I left it on the bus….again.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Good Day Sunshine

Saturday February 23, 2013

Time: 8:13pm
Song: Titanium-Ali Brustofski
Place: Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
Book: America’s Game: A History of the NFL
Word of the Day: Heatwave

Technically it is the same day as the last post I wrote, just about 18 hours later.  But, 18 hours is a long time.  I made it into Haiti, surprisingly they allowed me in again.  My flight landed around 8am this morning and at about 11am I was safe and sound in the guesthouse on Avenue John Brown, home sweet home for the next 9 days.  First order of business? Oh you better believe within half an hour my cute white self was poolside soaking in the beating sun and reading.  Don’t despair; hard work will come soon enough.  Today we took time to rest after a very long day of traveling.  Bags were also unpacked and supplies sorted.  Introductions were made.  There are several people this year that I do not know but am very excited to get to know, and those I do know I’m excited to catch up with.  The dynamics of these groups are so interesting.  You would think with groups as large as these (we are 19 strong this year) there is bound to be some personalities that don’t click, while this is the occasional truth, I’ve found that those who want to come on these trips are often laid back, dedicated, and easy going, making for a rather relaxed setting.  We often get along quite well, which is very refreshing.  When I first arrived I was exhausted and wondering how in the world I’d make it through the next 10 days (that’s the optimist in me of course), but after a dip in the pool, a nice cold shower (quite welcomed actually), and some great conversation I feel quite energized and ready to start the week.  Tomorrow brings a mixture of preparation and relaxation.  Church in the morning, which I am so grateful for.  Last Sunday while still in the states Katie told me “I’ve got to get you to Haiti so I can get you to church!” I’ve been working the last several Sundays and have been unable to attend, so I’m quite excited, even if it’ll be in another language.  We’ll meet with our interpreters and then off to the Montana for dinner and the sunset before we hit the ground running on Monday.

Oh yeah I think I’m dehydrated already!  I’m throwing back the water like it’s….well water!  And I still have a headache….and haven’t peed all that much!  You’re welcome ;)

Answer to my question:

On a deserted island:

1.     Album: The Beatles Help!
2.     Book: The Bourne Trilogy (my game, my rules, I can have a trilogy)
3.     Person: Now this changes periodically according to my mood and ambitions of the time, today; Tim Lincecum, because I want to learn to throw a curve ball.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

I'm going on an Adventure! Well, I've been on this adventure before, but each year brings with it new experiences, new friends, and new ideas; it is always an adventure, and I'm excited every time I go.

Time: 1:06 (Florida time, which I believe is more commonly referred to as Eastern Standard Time)
Place: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Song: Yellow Submarine-The Beatles

My flight arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around midnight and my flight out to Port-Au-Prince does not leave until 6:15am, so I thought I'd get these creative juices going.  As I mentioned, this is my fourth trip to Haiti.  My first year was, I'll fully admit, a complete shock and so far outside of my comfort zone that I don't believe I've ever recovered.  But I keep coming back, so something must have happened to, and stuck with, this quiet, introverted, self-conscious Wyoming girl.  I can't resist the pull.  I can't resist the temptation to leave myself and my problems far far away.  When it comes down to it, I simply love these people.  I love their culture, their spirit, the light I find in their eyes and when I realize they are truly happy with the things that really matter in this life.  And I love coming to serve them.  Losing myself in this work.

Things I'm excited for....
1. Fresh Fruit
2. The sun....and the heat....and the moisture (my skin is begging for it)
3. The beach
4. Listening to Creole
5. These cute smiles....

Things that I've had to resign myself to.....

1. I won't REALLY be clean for about 2 weeks.
2. I won't take a hot shower for about 2 weeks.
3. My hair won't look cute (does it ever really?) for 2 weeks.
4. Even though I don't really like it, I'll end up craving pizza just because I can't get it.

Those are all worth it though.

So to end this post I pose a question: If you were on a deserted island and could have with you one person, one album, and one book, what would they be?  I'll give you my answers the next time I write ;)