My mom visited Haiti for the first time this week! If you know me, you know how much this meant to me. I actually was able to spend a day in Miami before she arrived then we flew down to Haiti together.
In Haiti I, along with most foreigners I know, feel constantly dirty and sweaty. A dirty missionary. Most Haitians dress very nicely even if their outfits aren't expensive. You should see how they get dressed up for church or a party. During the two weeks leading up to my stay in Miami, my housemates (Lucas and Alicia Simmons, Kaitlyn, Matt, and I) joked about what I would do while I was there. How many showers would I take? How many lattes would I buy? What would I do with my time there? Here's the stats: one shower upon arrival, one upon departure (I thought about more, but I was too lazy to move from my king-sized hotel room bed!); one nonfat eggnog latte upon arrival and another upon departure; when I walked into my hotel room, I giggled in excitement and threw myself onto the bed, then burrowed under the covers to watch tv and read books for the duration of the afternoon. I dragged myself out of bed long enough to take a walk to buy Thai food then found myself once again cuddled up to watch a good episode of Dateline NBC. Anyone else love a good Dateline Mystery? I confess I was a total sluggard that afternoon.
When I found my mom in the airport (the Miami airport is massive) the next morning it was a lovely reunion after 6 months since I'd visited WA state. It was a delight to fly into Haiti with her- especially after having not flown into Haiti with anyone in at least 4 years. She was a good pillow too.
Each morning I tutor Junior, one of our older boys, for the GED which he'll be taking in a year or two. He has the opportunity to attend a bible college in CA. My mom played with Estaline and spent a few days helping a visiting occupational therapist to work with Estaline, while I tutored Junior. In the afternoons we ate lunch with the kids, attended the feeding program, and she assisted me at the medical clinic. This week seemed particularly eventful...even more than the usual for Haiti.
Cindy planned a "quick" trip to Epidor (a sandwich/McDonald's type "fast-food" restaurant) for Joy, Brittany's mom, her friends Linda and Ashley, my mom and I. As we were attempting to pull away from the guesthouse, two of our girls, Katiana and Cherley, asked if we could take them to pick up the materials for their uniforms on our way back. They assured me they knew how to get there. Again, the words left and right were left out of the directions and a pointing finger was used. However, they got us there with only one missed turn. When we turned around, Cindy, driving the truck, was nervous that we wouldn't make it up the steep hill in the manual transmission truck. With lots of prayer and maybe a bit of fear on my mom's part, we were able to make the hill and the turn. This was my mom's first good look at the traffic and crazy driving of Haiti.
After a normal, run-of-the-mill medical clinic where my mom helped me, I went out for a nice, leisurely run with Kaitlyn and some of our visitors for the week. Less than a block away from the boys' home Lucas and Matt drove by us and let me know that Emilien, one of our graduating boys, had been trapped under fallen wood while they had been at the lumber yard. He felt light-headed and had pain in his hips, but his vitals were normal and stable, he was not having nausea, he was able to walk, he had no abdominal or chest pain, and didn't believe the wood had fallen on his head. More of the story was revealed though once we were at the boys' home. Emilien had actually fallen out of the truck and then the wood had fallen on top of him. Although his exam seemed normal, it was difficult for his brother and the other boys to understand that since he was having pain and he had been in a scary accident. A visiting paramedic, Phil, and I eventually made the decision that I should take him to the hospital, mostly to reassure him and the boys that he was fine, aside from the pain. Lucas drove us, along with three other boys. I love seeing our kids step up to help their friends! At the first hospital, the doctor wasn't there (!) but he nurses said we could wait for a paramedic who would be coming in 30 minutes. I explained that a paramedic and I had already checked him out but we wanted him to see a doctor. The nurse gave him an injection of a drug called Diclofenac (like ibuprofen) for pain (drugs like morphine or oxycodon are rarely given here and difficult to find) and then we went on our way to another hospital (hoping they would have a doctor!). At the second hospital Emilien was quickly seen and prescribed oral diclofenac. Nothing more than what I would have given him, but at least he was reassured by a doctor that he was fine. The hilarious part of this experience was filling out the paperwork and paying for the visit and the medicine. While Emilien waited for the doctor, Willy B and I filled out paperwork: name, birthdate, problem, etc. The person who was supposed to help us with this, though, was not at her desk near the doctor's office. We walked across the hospital to find her. When we found her, she told us to go back where we were and she'd meet us there. Then, to buy the medication, we needed to go across the hospital to find the pharmacy. We tried to pay for the medicine at the same place we'd gone to originally to fill out his paperwork, which was near the pharmacy, but there was no one manning that desk. Again, go back across the hospital to pay for the medicine. Cross it again to actually pick it up at the pharmacy. Willy was like "this is so stupid" which it definitely was, but I've had to do stuff like this many times at hospitals in Haiti.
Emilien is doing well now and not complaining of pain. My mom stayed back that night with our other guests and staff, wondering if we ever have a normal, planned day in Haiti. The answer is no.
More to come about the other days my Mom was here.