1. Two friends of mine, and former nurse co-workers of mine at Children's Hospital in Seattle, Lexie and Paula, paid me a visit in Haiti for 10 days in July. Together we re-organized the medical clinics, consulted with patients (or as I like to say, played doctor (we have no real doctor staffing our medical clinic right now)), spent quality time in the pool with an ungrateful Estaline, and performed blood tests for a number of our children. Our children think that poking them is enjoyable for us nurses. Yes, this is a grand scheme to torture them, not to protect them from numerous potentially lethal diseases. The best poke and story of the day was on a teenage boy of 16 years. He has a history of running from needles, so I was prepared. I dragged him from his classroom, assisted by other boys who administered some peer pressure. Once he entered the clinic, the excuses began. Finally, he said I could have his phone in exchange for not . I took it. I'm no dummy. I could use another phone...or I could sell it. But, he wanted money for it. Wait, I had the phone in my hands. Why would I need to pay him for it now? Lexie, Paula, and I walked out of the clinic with this young man trailing behind. "Brooke, come on, give me back my phone!" "Why? You wouldn't do the blood tests and gave me my phone in exchange." After this exchange occurred a few times, he knew he'd been beaten and agreed to get the blood work done in exchange for the return of his phone. I couldn't help rubbing it in a bit, though: "That was really stupid to give me your phone!" "Yeah," he said, "What was I thinking?"
Lexie and Paula connected very quickly with the kids. They found humor in their idiosyncrasies and the ways they tease people. I love sharing my kids with my friends, so thank you for loving them too and for supporting me, ladies!
2. During the second week that Lexie and Paula were here, my church team arrived. Melyssa, my traveling buddy from last year and good friend made her third trip to Haiti, along with my pastor and five other newbies to Haiti. They were work horses! The ladies cleaned out our donation closet and depot, as well as spent quality time with the kids and helping at the feeding program. Fred, Mike, Jerry, and their team built houses for some of the MdL staff whose homes were destroyed or broken in the quake, as well as painted and worked on various other construction projects. Jerry, my pastor, also spent intentional time getting to know some of the staff members and encouraging me. Thanks, friends for investing time in the kids, myself, the staff, and for your enormous contribution to building stuff and fixing things!
3. A weeks ago another team from WA state spent a week with us. Two nurses, Julia and Kathy, joined up with me to check on Fritz's sister. His sister, Natascha, suffered a stroke about 4 months ago. Doctors predicted she would die. After being discharged from the hospital in July, he rented a house for her and most of his brothers and sisters to live in (they were already displaced after the earthquake). He hired a physical therapist to come to the house. She did not return after her first visit as she requested a high price for the therapy. Fritz and his wife, Magolie, have taken in and cared for Natascha's two young girls, Ruby (3 years) and Jennifer (7 years). When Julia, Kathy, and I, as well as Fritz, made the visit to Natascha, we brought along Ruby and Jennifer. Usually I can keep my emotions in check when caring for patients. Not that I don't care or am unfriendly, but I don't typically get weepy. Natascha's girls walked into her room and Natascha immediately began to weep. I was pleased to see that she recognized her girls, and she was also able to move one hand and a foot on command. Her muscles are severely atrophied and if her extremities aren't exercised, she will develop contractures. Julia, Kathy, and I showed the family some exercises to do with and for Natascha. Before leaving, we prayed for Natascha. Jennifer and Ruby kissed her goodbye as they all cried deeply. That's when myself, the other nurses, and Fritz all became weepy as well. Seeing the sadness of Natascha and the girls broke us. How long until these three can be reunited? Seeing how Fritz takes care of his family was beautiful.
For Lisa Hojara's birthday (as well as Chef Ron Duprat's birthday. You may know him from the show "Top Chef." He is Haitian and has recently become good friends with Lisa after meeting each other at another Haiti fundraiser.) she created a fundraiser to raise money for Natascha's medical care. Click here to check out the fundraiser and to donate. Click here to see a picture of Fritz's nieces. I couldn't get the actual picture to post here on the blog.