Monday, June 30, 2014

My New Room/Home

The last 2 months I have been in the processing of moving from my little closet room to what all the missionaries call the tree house. It is called the tree house because their used to be a tree that grew right up through the middle of the house and the ceiling is about 6 feet tall so very short. When I was first offered the move I debated...I weighed the odds and decided if I did a few renovations It would be a good step up especially because it has a bathroom & toilet. 

Below are pictures of the room I moved from.... 

The 2 renovations I wanted to do to the tree house before I moved in was re-paint and tile. So I went tile shopping in PdP (about an hours tap-tap ride from the mission) and picked out brown tile for the floor & beige tile for the counters...

One of my outreach dads (Ralph's dad) repainted my house for me. I really wanted yellow walls but we did not have any yellow paint left from Miriam Center renovations. So I went with orange. As soon as he started painting though I realized the orange was making my room look dark and small. I called Nicholson & luckily he had not picked up the tile yet. I switched & went with brown tile on the counters and beige on the floor. Then I painted 2 wall white and only had 2 orange. Below are the before & after shots of the house. It looks like a different space!!! Especially the shower!

After moving in I have found many pro's and cons to my new space

Pro's to my new house
-Tiled floor- I LOVE LOVE LOVE my tiled floor and how I can sweep it and bleach it and keep it clean and sit on my floor and work on my floor....
- Having my own shower and how nice is that especially when their are groups of 100 people here
- The ability to go to my room and not have people being able to see in on every side, mistaking my room as the girls bathroom
-Great countertops and working space for cooking and the ability to have my freezer in the same room as my stove and food!

- people walking into my house all the time because downstairs and not upstairs (mainly the Miriam Center kiddos. But now have a lock on my door so its better than it was. We are also working on learning to knock before you enter ;-)
- super loud outside my house because the stairs outside is where the kids from the big orphanage love to congregate at night. Sometimes I can't even make it to my house because 30 kids on my steps.
- Its a heat box...thought there would be more airflow than their just gets pretty hot.

I could go on listing pro's and con's BUT all that matters is I love my new room and it is really feeling like HOME. My mom made me curtains for my birthday and Allyson my intern brought me in a fun shower curtain.

I am feeling very blessed by my new space!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PVC Pipe Walker...Stander Blessing Handout

After months of designing…planning…measuring…cutting…building…sewing…We finally had the big walker/stander distribution.


It all started back in December when I got the idea of making a PVC pipe walker for Rosemeldrine and a few other kiddos.  I had purchased PVC pipe connectors in the states & brought them in with me as I had heard it was hard to find connectors in Haiti (which I later found out was not true which ended up being a blessing). I was blessed by having a team that came in and ended up helping me make a model back in February. The first 2 we made were for Ti-Willy and Gildine. After seeing them in their new walkers I quickly realized that so many of the Miriam Home and outreach kiddos would benefit. I made a PVC Pipe walker/stander library to keep at the Miriam Center so that on the spot we could fit a child and have the correct size for them to use. We can have 4 kids at a time in a stander/walker.


We have been using the stander/walkers with the outreach families for the past 3-4 months. They each had a number of the right size walker and during outreach time we would build them a walker/stander so they could practice standing and strengthen their legs. The outreach families got really excited and loved seeing their children standing/weight-bearing through their feet. Soon after I stared getting asked if they could have one at home. I told them that that was my goal and I was working on making them each one for at home. Over the months I got asked A LOT about when. I was excited when I could finally tell them a date.

A LOT of work went into making 35 walkers/standers, seats for on them, sewing 70 boppy pillow covers and cutting up enough old clothes for stuffing for the pillows . I was able to hire 4 outreach mothers to help get each of these pieces done. Ralph’s mom taught Biyonna’s mom how to sew (something she wanted to learn) and together they sewed the walker seats. Ralph’s mom cut and sewed the boppy pillows. Ralph’s mom and Rosemeldrine’s mom put the snaps on the seats and Sydney’s mother cut up all the old clothes to stuff the pillows. Over the months I had many people help cut PVC pipe, glue the walkers together including Nicholson, Johnson, Presidue, interns, mission staff, etc. LOTS and LOTS of time and love went into building a custom walker for each family.

I set up the walker/stander distribution on Saturday June 7th as the Kimmy’s House team would be there to help make the even run smoothly. The day started at 8:00 AM with parents starting to bring their children. I had set up the classroom with mattresses, pillows, lotion, vibrating brushes and a movie. The Kimmy’s House team agreed to do respite care with the kids while I worked with the families upstairs. I was a little nervous at first that the parents would be ok with leaving their kids downstairs but after I explained that everyone there has worked with special needs and I trust them and I know they will take great care of their kids…then they were all good with it.

We all headed upstairs, where I had set up the chapel benches in a circle. They all got to choose 2 boppy pillow covers to stuff with old cut up clothes and then sew them shut. It was fun to sit back and watch all these families fellowship together, help each other and get so excited about helping make equipment that would help their children progress in their therapy skills.


As they were finishing up the boppy pillows I gave them a choice. They could go down & get their children and bring them up for Bible Study or we could wait until after we finished Bible Study. Unanimously they decided to wait to bring their kids upstairs till after. They were enjoying their time of respite away from their children and knew their children were being well taken care of.


Presidue held a quick business meeting to discuss a few important issues that needed to be addressed while so many of the families were together in one spot. We then had a wonderful time of worship together (bongo drums, tambourines and all). I had the following youtube video typed out and translated into Creole as an encouragement to these families.  Their were 5 of us who took turns readying through the 14 points and the scriptures to back up each. I thought it would be powerful but didn’t realize how thankful the parents would be to each get a laminated copy in Creole with the scriptures typed out so they could go back & reference it for encouragement.

They then all headed downstairs to get there children and bring them upstairs to get fitted in their walker & make any adjustments that needed to be made. 26 kids were fitted for their walkers. We put each of the kids AFO’s, knee braces on and placed them into their walkers. Only a few needed adjustments made. We made sure that each family knew the best way to position their child and any child that needed extra support we provided the necessary equipment.


We then shared a meal together. The kids had blended spaghetti, crackers, cheese puffs and the parents had Pate and cookies. During lunch I had a chance to sit down for a second and look around. My heart melted as I looked around & saw smiles, laughter, talking, friendships being deepened and HOPE.


When we were all done I had asked Kimmys House team if they would be willing to split into groups & help the families carry the walkers or their kids to their home or to the tap-tap station. Over half of the families needed help getting to the tap-tap station so we all went & helped one family down the hill and to the tap-tap which was a huge blessing to these families. We ended up having to wait a good 20 minutes down at the tap-tap station for a tap-tap to have room for everyone. I always gain a  new level of appreciation for these parents the more I get to walk in their shoes…I mean every week they walk to a tap-tap station to come to outreach (who knows how far) then off-road an hour in the back of a truck trying to balance themselves and hold onto their children (who can be awkward to hold as is because of their disability). Then they carry them a good 10 minutes up a big hill to the mission to outreach for 2 hours to turn around and go home repeating the events to get here…WOW!!!


After we got all the families who needed transportation on their way we split into groups and walked 6 families to their homes helping carry their walkers and or their children and fellowshipping with them along the way.

This day was definitely in my top favorite days in Haiti and definitely on top for the best birthday thus far for me!!! So thankful for God providing to make this day happen in so many ways. Now a few weeks out from the event I am loving hearing how the families are enjoying their walkers/standers in their homes and also seeing the walkers/standers during homevisits.

Bible Lesson Shared During PVC Pipe Handout

After seeing this video about a year ago I knew I wanted to share pieces of it with my outreach families. I found it to be so encouraging and saturated with God's word thus TRUTH. On June 7th during the PVC pipe walker/stander handout I was able to give each of the outreach families a typed out creole manuscript of this. It was powerful to watch them listen & read along and at the end thank us for a laminated copy to take home to refer back to for encouragement!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Therapy Interns The Last 2 Months

WOW… I don’t even know where to start on this blogpost UPDATE… I have been tremendously blessed to have multiple therapy interns and therapy visitors the last 2 months.

Nicholson & Johnson
Nicholson (My Haitian assistant) continues to grow in his skills, love, & passion for the kids. I just love watching him work with the kids, interact with them, & encourage them. All the prayers in finding the right Haitian to be my assistant have been answered. Please continue to lift him up in prayers as he continues to learn daily new things & that he would stay encouraged as many days here are not easy.

Johnson just finished his 3 month clinical with me at the Miriam Center June 13th. He was a blessing to the kids & to the Miriam Center. I love the fact that my dream of training Haitians to be therapist is coming true. He grew A LOT in his therapy skills & I grew A LOT as he was my first therapy student I supervise. I do believe he had a positive experience working with the kids & staff at the Miriam Center. I have 1 week off and then receive my next Haitian student.

Allyson & Leah
Allyson & Leah for 3 ½ weeks in May to intern under me in the therapy clinic. Allyson spent 2 summers ago interning at the Miriam Center & shadowed me as an OT for her pre-requisite hours to get into OT graduate school. The Miriam Center was so blessed by her internship 2 summers ago we could not wait for her to come back! Allyson is currently entering into her Junior year of graduate school. Leah came down with a Kimmy’s House team in October. She fell in love with the kids & is getting ready to apply for graduate OT school. I was very EXCTED to have both of these gals for 3 ½ weeks & facilitate a hands on educational/learning experience for them.

I believe they had a wonderful few weeks, learned a tons, & I KNOW that they were a HUGE blessing to Me, the kids, and the Miriam Center as a whole. They were both eager everyday to get started, to work hard, to love on the kids, to provide quality therapy, and to help in any way they could. The first week they worked together & saw 5 Miriam Center kiddos for an hour & helped with outreach. The rest of their time they each individually had their own schedule. It was an awesome few weeks seeing 3-4 Miriam Home kiddos receiving therapy each hour…seeing progress being made…have 4 students learning, getting hands on experience and growing in their skills…What a blessed few weeks.



Leah adores Job & Allyson Bertho. It brought me so much joy watching them love on these boys! So the last night we had photo shoot with them with the boys :-)

Edie, Caitlin, Bethany
I was blessed in the middle of June to have a small therapy team that came down with Kimmys House. Edie is an Occupational Therapist who has been working at Cincinnati Children’s for years. She came to the Miriam Center 2 years ago & fell in love with the kids. Her daughter Caitlin who just finished PT grad school & is studying for her boards came with her. Bethany does not have any therapy background but works at a preschool. Edie & Caitlin were a dynamic duo team and 4 days shared a schedule treating Miriam Home kids & providing me with treatment ideas. Bethany spent quality time with many of the kids doing 1:1 education activities & therapy. Once again it was so wonderful to walk in the therapy room and see 4-5 children receiving therapy at 1 time!


Looking back at the last 2 months I stand in Awe of how far God has brought the therapy program at the Miriam Center. In the last 6 months we have gained a therapy space, I got an assistant, built a partnership with Loma Linda Universities Rehabilitation Technician Training Program in which I am supervising Haitian students, and I have had 3 US therapy students and 1 therapist visit already with many more planned for this summer. WOW! What a blessing!