Sunday, May 27, 2012

First Week in Haiti

May 26, 2012 WOW!!! I can’t believe I been in Haiti 5 days already. God has already done so much. I have spent these first few days just loving on the kids, getting caught up (as so much has happened, so much is happening, so many changes happening and to come, and so many decisions that need to be made), and starting a few little projects. The past few days have been staff retreat/meetings and yesterday the summer interns arrived. I fall more and more in love with my mission family daily. I am truly blessed to work alongside such Godly men and women who are Christ-Centered in their service. There are huge changes that have recently happened and are happening at the mission and I love how our staff training/meetings have focused around prayer and praying for miracles and circling specific requests in prayer. With that said we as a mission and mission family could use as many prayers as we get for wisdom as we sort through A LOT over the next few weeks. Also prayer to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and that we each would find daily time of prayer and quiet time with God to be filled especially as the summer picks up and groups arrive. MIRIAM HOME: I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet our 12 new kids that we have gotten since I was in Haiti last summer and EVEN more loving on my kids. We are up to 47 kids in the Miriam Home!!! It is hard to believe. I have finally got to see the special education school up and running and Stephanie is doing an AMAZING job with that. I have also got to see the sever and profound preschool up and running and my heart was soooo happy watching the mother’s (caretakers) working with the children and doing therapy and playing with them! I am so excited to teach them more this summer and get them even more hands on. SIMPLY THICK: I have really enjoyed loving on the kids. I started introducing thickened liquids with the Simply Thick that was donated (I can not thank Simply Thick enough!!!). The kids are now not aspirating when they drink and we are working on encorporating 2 drink breaks to be encorporated into the severe and profound children’s schedules. The past few afternoons I have gone around and given each of the children a drink, they were so excited. The child who was most excited was Rosalie who is one of our oldest and most fragile children. It warmed my heart so much!!!! NUTRITION: I have also spent a lot of time the last few days brainstorming how to increase nutrition and the amount of protein, fruits, and vegetables our children receive and what is really sustainable on a regular basis. Currently the children at the Miriam Center are not receiving appropriate nutrition and many of the children are malnourished. My BIG focus this summer is to increase the safety physically with positioning, decreased aspiration, etc. but also increase nutrition. I am EXCITED that I really feel we are making strides in this area. I am taking A LOT of the money that my faithful supporters have donated this year and using it to buy food for our kids and get this nutrition jumpstarted. I am really excited as John Harvey (a pastor from Florida leading a group into Haiti in the middle of June) is not only carrying many supplies in for me but he was also able to book a flight through MFI to fly us in some needed supplies. He graciously went to Sam’s club and picked up food we cannot get here in Haiti and some others supplies and we will be getting it into Haiti by end of June!!! He is also carrying in more Simply Thick for us. :-) FUN FEEDING STORY: I brought chocolate Whey Protein in to trial with the kids. I added it to the milk for their cornflake dinner one night. The kids LOVED it. Natalie (who is Autistic) engulfed her meal and even liked her plate clean. I was feeding one of the harder feeding children sitting next to her. She handed me her plate when she was done. The other children would come up to me and try to hand me their plates when they were done and Natalie would steal their plates and lick them clean :-) It was so funny. Then later when I was feeding another child Den-Den came over and grabbed the Whey Protein container and was hugging it. I asked if he liked it and he said “Wi” which is “Yes”. Unfortunately when I went to order more I realized it would cost 60 cents per child to use this and we are only allotted 23 cents per child per meal. So we had to find other ways to get protein that is sustainable. Also we cannot get Whey protein in Haiti. FOR JONATHAN SAKE: I am so excited to work with these families again this summer but most excited about training the parents and giving them tools to use at home. I haven’t really started working with this program yet but I have had A LOT of fun seeing my families and kids and just loving on them. 2 of my outreach kids are walking!!!!! I am sooooooo proud of them. If you are facebook friends with me I took video!!! One of my outreach boys has an amputated left foot and a club right foot. Last summer his mother had to carry him everywhere and it was so AWSOME to see him walk with his new prosthetic!!! The other little girl who started walking is Sydney. Those of you who have followed my journey in Haiti the last few years might remember Sydney as the little girl that was brought to us who was so tiny and malnourished and we took her into the Miriam Center for ~ a month till we got her healthy enough to go back to her family (this also gave time for mother to get healthy as she was very sick). She has an AMAZING family who loves her so much. Mother that summer asked me to be her godmother. Well long story short she is walking because her mother is constantly working with her!!!! She has a club foot but is walking and is getting strong enough to have surgery on the next team!!! I can’t believe how BIG all my kids are getting both in outreach and in the Miriam Home. WHEELCHAIR RENOVATIONS: I decided the first step to safe feeding is getting appropriate seating and positioning. Today I renovated Walden’s wheelchair and got creative with tape. I also took apart Kem’s wheelchair and found some really gross things living in it!!! :-/ so I bleached the whole thing and will hopefully rebuild it tomorrow or soon. It is so funny though because I had all the high functioning boys out there trying to help me and Kem made sure I knew tonight she was not happy I left her wheelchair undone and the boys made sure to tell me an order that I needed to do the wheelchairs in. I love how the boys take care of their siblings and look out for their needs. I am having fun being creative with DUCTAPE as well. ALTHOUGH I am praying my crates clear customs soon as we have 7 good wheelchairs custom to kids in the Miriam Center, bean bags, Tumbleform feeder seats, trip-trap chairs, and tons of other AWSOME stuff that will be so helpful!!!
Sorry has taken me so long to post this blog May 21, 2012 Well my friends I apologize that it has been a few months since I have sent an update out and here I am writing one sitting in Miami airport waiting to fly into Pourt-Au-Prince. I can’t believe how fast the last few months have flewn by and how much has happened in those few months (especially last 3 weeks). Lets just say my life is surely always an adventure and there is never a dull moment. Not sure where to even start….I guess I will start by filling you in on my personal life. About 2 weeks ago I put in my 2 week notice at work. God made it really clear that I could not do both Haiti and continue working that job. It was very hard to pull out as I had formed great relationship with many of my kids and their families. I had a handful of kids that had made tremendous progress in the last 9 months and it just hurt to let go. I am trusting God to bring a new therapist to take over my caseload who will be able to do even more for these kids and their families. I am still discerning God of where He is calling me to work next year. I plan to work for 1 more year to put money in savings to then be able to move to Haiti for at least a year beginning next summer. I am really feeling the call to be in Haiti for an extended period of time to really get things on the therapy end grounded and to be able to take fieldwork students (I currently have 4 students interested in doing a fieldwork in Haiti). 3 days before I was to leave for Haiti found out I needed to be completely moved out of my apartment before I left for Haiti (I was planning on moving out end of August)…It is a long story why. After a time of freaking out and 3 days of being completely overwhelmed I sit here looking back and can only stand in Awe of God as He showed me just how many AMAZING friends/people He has brought into my life since I moved to Vegas. I had so many friends come and help me pack and move all my stuff into storage. I got very little sleep. So at this point I semi have a job lined up for when I get back (as long as God confirms that is where He wants me) but if I take that job will not start till September 4th which means having ~5 weeks in PA with family and friends. I hope to travel and speak at churches while I am home and raise support as I plan on moving to Haiti next summer. I need to find to be fully funded by monthly sponsors by then :-) If I can get fully sponsored by end of this summer I could just move to Haiti now, which would meet some immediate needs and make me very happy! I mean all my stuff is already in Seriously though, I am putting it in God’s hands. At this point I am just EXCITED for the short 2 months I get in Haiti and what God has in store (though I have absolutely no idea what this summer looks like).