Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day in PdP- Outreach Homevisits

On Tuesday we headed to PdP for the day to do homevisits. PdP is about an hour from the mission. We have around 25+ families that live in PdP and come 1x a week for 2 hours of group therapy! We also have 20+ children on the waiting list for the For Jonathan Sake (FJS) Program that are from PdP. 

Before leaving I made Peanut Butter sandwiches for everyone for a snack because I knew we would be eating a late lunch. The 4 students, Presidue, Carlos and I headed out around 9:30. We got on a tap-tap heading into St. Louis which turned out to be good because it meant we all got a seat although added 30+ minutes to our trip. By the time we went through town…turned around and headed back out of town we had 22 people in the tap-tap!!! I felt like we were playing Tetrus as we tried to fit everyone in plus their stuff…you know the chickens, bags, etc. lol. For those of you who don’t know what a tap-tap is…it is a pick-up truck that they put plywood around the top edges of the bed of the truck to make small bench like seating. So during the ride to PdP I was thinking about my devotion that morning on …… I was also listening to worship music and praying for the outreach visits that would happen in just a few minutes. 

Outreach homevisits are one of my favorite parts of my week. I love getting enter into each of the children’s home. Meet their siblings, friends, neighbors…see them in their natural environment…provide therapy in their natural environments & educate the families more…provide encouragement…share scripture and pray with them…Just a time to love on that child 1:1 with no other purpose for being there…no distractions…It gives that child worth (that we would come to their home…come that far…It brings encouragement to the families…

Since there were 7 of us we split into 2 groups. Group 1 went to visited 4 families and was introduced to a new little girl that needs our assistant seeking medical attention. Group 2 went to visit 5 families. 

I was with Group 1. We started out our day visiting Prisca. It was so wonderful to see her! Prisca has not been able to come to outreach for about 10 months now. She was diagnosed with TB of the liver and has been completing treatments. It was so wonderful to see her looking healthy. She was so surprised to see us (especially me!) She got the biggest smile. Of course I scooped her up to start loving on her! We spent almost an hour at her house. Her mom was not around but we completed a therapy session. We were able to use equipment she has been given for her home program including her braces and PVC pipe stander. She loved playing with the IPAD while working ;-) I mean who doesn’t love the IPAD. Her hand braces were broken and so we were able to bring them back to the mission and I will fix them and send them back to PdP to her. So glad we got to check in with her. We passed her house later in the day and she was still rocking it out standing and we were able to stop and educate mom quickly on making sure Prisca spends some time everyday standing. 

We then headed to visit Dodorah’s mom. Dodorah passed away suddenly and unexpectantly while I was in the states a few months ago. My heart has been aching for this mom…When we arrived at her house she was at church. Her 2 boys went and got her. She was so excited to see us. She did not know I was back and country so was extra surprised. I gave her a great big hug! I was not prepared to share scripture but was asked to. I flipped to Revelation 21 and read it. This is a passage I have been holding onto the last few months. While I was stateside 4 of the children I work with and love went to be with the Lord. Revelation 21 is the passage that talks about A New Heaven and A New Earth. My favorite verse is 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” So thankful the Holy spirit gave me the words to share…I did not make it through sharing my heart with her without crying and vice versa BUT I do believe we both left encouraged. I made sure to let her know that she will always be apart of our outreach family. She gave me a BIG HUG and asked that when we are doing home visits in PdP if we could keep stopping by! 

We then headed to Estelle’s House. Estelle and I have a special Bond. My first week back in Haiti she came to outreach…when she saw me she gave me the biggest smile and said “AUTUMN” in her quite squeaky voice. She is one of the hardest working kids I know (closely tied with Steven! She has made so much progress in the year she has been apart of outreach. Even since I left she has gained so much head control, can weight bear through feet and has gained so much trunk control. Needless to say when we showed up at her house she was beyond EXCITED! We talked for a few minutes and then went to work playing with the IPAD working on reaching/FM control and head control. Her mother was also at church but returned shortly after we arrived. Estelle was a rockstar and worked on standing while playing with the IPAD and did GREAT! as well as worked on walking. Unfortunately while I was at their house I got a stomach ache and really needed to use the bathroom (had the Haitian Sensation…). I hate asking to use the bathroom at outreach homes because many don’t have bathrooms and sometimes it is embarrassing to them. Well her mom was more that willing to take me. She quickly went to work washing a bucket clean and took me to a room with a door (her bedroom) and then demonstrated how to sit on a bucket (in case I didn’t know ;-)…I have not problem peeing in a bucket or the side of the rode anymore but having the Haitian Sensation in a bucket that I was then going to leave for someone else to clean up… EMBARRASSING! BUT I had no choice. I tried to get her to let me dump it somewhere and clean for her but she would hear nothing of it! 

While at Estelle’s House her mom brought a neighbor and friend’s daughter Mildred for me to see. She had a big lump on her forehead/head. Apparently she fell and hit her head when she was 6. At first their was no bump but about a year later after she fell is when they first saw the lump. Each year since the lump keeps growing causing increased pain and loss of vision in her eye. We were able to take her information to look into where we could send them to get the help they need. Unfortunately my first thought was to come see the doctors with the next surgery team at the mission but apparently she has already been to the mission. Please keep this family in your prayers especially the little girl who is in constant pain. 

After leaving Estelle’s House we went to Nerland’s house. When we arrived Nerlande was sitting on the steps with some of her friends. She got the biggest smile when she saw us! They moved to a new house back in January. Their new room has concrete floors and an outhouse which is an improvement but Nerlande’s mom reports that it is far from Nerlande’s school and they have to pay transportation both ways. Last year we helped Nerlande’s mom start up a business I asked how it was going. She said it was going really well. She actually started a second business and has 13 other people in it with her! She said she changes what she sells all the time and it depends on what is available at the docs and what came in on the boat to purchase and sell. During our time there Yvon worked with Nerlande massaging and stretching her legs, working on standing while playing with the IPAD. Nerlande’s friends watched the entire time :-) At the end of our time we had a time of prayer together. When asked if they had any specific prayer requests. Nerlande’s mom asked us to pray for Nerlande and her as they have been being persecuted ALOT for Nerlande not being able to walk and walking differently. My heart broke hearing this…I mean I know it happens all the time in Haiti but hearing her mom say it and hearing that is is not just mom but Nerlande and people at school as well. We had a great time of prayer together! When it was time to leave Nerlande started crying :-(

We then headed to the restaurant to meet up with Group 2 for a late lunch. Everyone got a chicken dinner. I am always amazed by how much food they give! No worries I did not eat I brought a nutella sandwich for myself ;-) We had a good time of fellowship while we ate. 

During lunch I learned that Group 2 went to visit the following homes. Unfortunately I was not there so I can't give as many details but I know that it was a time of encouragement and loving on the families!!




Momma Valendine is expecting another baby :-)

Her baby sister looks just like her!!!

What a GREAT day!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My New House

I spent my first few days back at the mission settling into my new house. As many of you know while I was in the states my house flooded and black molded. I was no longer able to return to that house and many items had to be thrown away. At first I was really sad because I had just tiled and painted that space last year. I really did like the space I had and well honestly I am not a big fan of change. 

I was beyond blessed by the interns and Stephanie who moved all of my stuff to my new house before I even arrived!!! I was able to jump right into unpacking and settling into my new home. I was reminded that God has a reason and plan for everything that happens including my old house flooding and molding. My new house better fits my needs. I have a big kitchen counter, cabinets to store my food and kitchen sink which is a huge blessing since I cook all my own food. I know longer have to do dishes in the shower! :-) I also have running water!!! Feel very blessed to call this new space my home.

While stateside since I did not know where I was going to be staying on campus until a few days before heading into Haiti. I purchased a pop up tent mosquito net which has been wonderful! As well as a blow up couch that turns into a twin bed. I am so enjoying my couch. I love having a comfy place to sit after a long day to relax as well as in the mornings to do my devotions on. I do miss going onto the roof of my old house in the morning to do devotions and looking out over the ocean…maybe after summer teams are over I will resume that morning ritual :-) 

Their is only 1 downfall to my new house…The long walk up the hill 12-13x a day as I run back and forth…lol The positive side to that though is 

My Kitchen Area

My living Room with my new blow up couch

A picture from when you walk in the door

My bathroom

My awesome new Mosquito net tent

View from my bedroom door

A View of my little closest (only downfall no shelves inside)

A View of the living room from the bedroom

THANK you to everyone who prayed for God to provide good, safe housing situation for me upon my return to Haiti. God has been faithful as always!

A Few For Jonathan Sake Highlights From My First Few Weeks Back….

Re-uniting with all the families and kids!!! I know I missed them a TON! but had no idea how much they missed me in return. Their BIG…LONG Hugs spoke volumes! And their SMILES were PRICELESS!

Seeing so many of the kids progress…so many of them have made so much progress in the 7 months I was gone which shows all the handwork Carlos, Presidue and their families put into their therapy!

Getting to use some of the new therapy equipment with the kids and see their excitement and new found potential/skills!!!!

~Having a Group come and and pray over each of the Thursday and Friday outreach kids/families individually and lead them in a fun time of worship and Bible Study at the end of outreach. 



3 weeks ago I got another round of students from Loma Linda Universities Rehab Technician Program in PAP for their 3rd level 2 rotations. They will be spending the next 3 months learning Pediatric Therapy under me at the Miriam Center. Their names are Yvon and Steve. Since Nicholson is off at Rehab Tech School now I was in need of new Therapy Assistant that could also help with translating with the students. Due to some miscommunication we ended up finding 2 possible assistants. Carlos (my Haitian Therapist) and Presidue (Haitian Director of the Miriam Center) Spent a week with both of them before I came in and thought they were both a good fit. I decided to hire them both for the 3 month period. They will be educated on everything I will be educating the Rehab Tech students on. They both just graduated high school from Sonlight Academy in PdP which is an english school. Their names are Mary Christy and She-She (this is his nickname ;-) So Really it is like having 4 students right now. It has been a bit challenging at times having that many but GREAT as well. I am excited for the next 3 months to teach, train, and guide these students into a deeper knowledge and understanding of Pediatric Therapy (OT, PT, ST). 



Mary Christy


These first few  weeks have been very busy and mentally draining. I always forget how tiring it is to explain everything you do and why you do it. lol. It has also been challenging to create 6 schedules without overlapping kids and so the kids are in the right space with the right equipment they need to use during their therapy time and that I don’t schedule 2 kids that need the same equipment at the same time. The past 2 weekends I have spent hours working on schedules only to find out the next week that I need to tweak and change things for the next week. Hopefully soon I will get a finalized schedule :-) 

Before coming back into Haiti I made Resource Binders for each of the students full of handouts and resource materials that we will be working through over the next few months. We have education slots built into the schedule on Monday, Wednesday’s and Fridays. So far we have completed the following sections during our education slots…

~Putting on and Taking off AFO’s and Hand Braces- we start each morning (9:00-9:30) putting on each of the kids AFO’s and Braces.

~Massage, Stretching, Therapy Brushing- Then we head to Severe & Profound Preschool and stretch/massage/therapy brush/put on foot AFO’s & hand braces from 9:30-10:00. With the Miriam Home Mom’s helping all the kids get done!

~Sensory Integration Training- we spent an entire day learning about each of the sensory systems (Tactile, Proprioceptive, Vestibular, Auditory,  Olfactory, etc.) and how to determine what type of sensory problems kids have (Hyper-responsive, Under-responsive, Seeking, etc.). This information seemed new to EVERYONE so we spent a lot of time working through it. We then got kids from the Miriam Center with the various sensory issues and they problem solved while working with them to determine what their sensory deficits were. 

~Therapy Ball Training- They watched an NDT Therapy Ball training DVD and then we practiced with a variety of kids with different diagnosis’s at the Miriam Center and practiced the various techniques. They all learned it is much harder to do it than they thought from watching it!

~Adapted Chair Making- we spent an entire day making new chairs for some of the Miriam Home kids. Many of the chairs are in bad shape and we are in need of making new chairs. We tackled adapting 8 chairs on this day. Everyone worked very hard and learned all about adapting a Haitian chair with Foam and Ductape

~YOGARILLA- YOGA has many benefits including (It enhances physical Flexibility, improves low muscle tone, refines balance & coordination, develops motor skills and motor planning skills, develops focus and concentration, provides sensory input, helps calm the sympathetic nervous system, and strengthens respiratory muscles). YOGARILLA is a kid friendly version of YOGA that the kids enjoy doing as they look at pictures of a monkey doing the exercises with them. We have done YOGA with the Friday outreach kids as well as with some of the Miriam Center children. 

~Pediatric Theraband Strengthening- While at the National OT Convention in Nashville I met Francesca Avalli who created a fun Pediatric Theraband Program called Handee Band. She generously donated a copy of the book. This is the material I used to train the students with. The kids had so much fun doing the exercises. Jennifer one of my PT friends came the following week and educated the students on Lower Extremity Theraband Strengthening Activities. 

~Homevisits- We have been on home visits all 3 weeks on Tuesdays. This is a time in which we go to the outreach families homes. See where they live, work with the child in their home environment, meet their family, have a time of Bible Study and prayer with the family and just spend time with them. I have heard a few of the students say that this is their favorite time of the week. 

~Pediatric PT evaluation- We were blessed to have Jennifer a PT from KY who comes to Haiti each year come and educate on PT Evaluations, YOGA, Theraband, Goniometry Lower Extremities and PT educational Handouts. 

~Pediatric Physical Therapy Handouts

~NDT treatment on a child with hypertonicity of the extremities and Hypotonicity of the Trunk

Next week they will be learning hand splinting, have a time to educate some of the families on the outreach waiting list and possibly casting & Constraint Induced Movement Therapy.

On non-education slots they have a caseload of kids. They are getting to be hands on working with all the different Miriam Home children. Carlos and myself go around helping them treat the kids. They also help everyday from 1-3:00 with the outreach kids that come from the community. 

PLEASE be praying for the next few months. Pray that I can teach clearly, pray for the students to continue to be eager to learn, pray for energy/strength/health for all of us. Pray that when the 3 months is up that they will each have a comprehensive understanding and the ability to apply pediatric therapy to a variety of diagnosis. Pray that throughout their time at the Miriam Center they will see and feel the love of Jesus Christ Evident all around them!