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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry belated Christmas and Happy early New Year, friends, family, and readers! 

Many of you may be looking for ways to help others in a tangible way in the New Year. Let me present a way for you to do so. I have a wonderful friend here in Haiti named Fritz who is the manager of our ministry. I have known him since I started coming to visit and work with Maison de Lumiere.  In 2004, right when our boys' home started, Fritz moved in and began overseeing the care of the first twelve boys. Fritz's parents died when he was young. He was raised in one of the roughest, most violent areas in Port au Prince, called Cite Soleil. Fritz worked hard doing many different jobs to put himself through school. He now has a lovely wife, Magolie, and two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Tassia. Magolie is also pregnant right now. Fritz is the oldest of eight siblings.Right after the earthquake Fritz took in all of his extended family members who had lost their homes. At least, if not more than, twenty people moved into his home and into his yard in tents. For months they remained there while they searched for new places to live. A few months after the earthquake one of Fritz's sisters who still lived in Cite Soleil suffered what appeared to be a stroke. She was hospitalized for a time then Fritz began to pay for her housing and care when she moved in with another of their sisters. She continues to require full care and cannot speak. Over a year ago two visiting nurses and I paid a visit to her home. You can read about that visit here. Fritz took in this sister's two daughters, Jennifer and Ruby. This last spring other family members decided to move Jennifer and Ruby and their mom into another relative's home further away from our neighborhood. Fritz was heartbroken and worried for their health and safety. Eventually he learned that whoever they were staying with was abusing the girls, as well as their mother when she attempted to cry out against them. In order for Jennifer and Ruby to move back in with his family, Fritz needs extra financial support for them. As the oldest child in his family, he financially and emotionally supports each of his younger siblings and their families. In addition to working for our ministry, he has a business out of his home where he sells water, food, and dry goods. Yet taking in these two girls again is an extra expense he cannot afford at this time. If you would like more information about Fritz and these girls and/or would like to sponsor the girls, please leave me a comment on the blog sharing your interest and a way for me to contact you. Mesi Anpil (Thank you very much!) for all the ways you have supported those I care about here in Haiti! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Driving....can make you insane

Last week I drove Ensa and her mother to a clinic in Petionville, which is only a few miles up a hill from my house, but it can take an hour or longer to get there with traffic. I took Anderson, one of our boy graduates, along with me to help me navigate and make me feel safe. I knew already that he's not the best at navigating...but he's better than nothing and always provides entertaining conversation. He is willing to ask for directions. We started out the morning with him calling the doctor to ask for directions. She told him a landmark then said for him to call back when we arrived there. Thankfully he knew how to get to this location, a church. After that we pulled over so I could call the doctor. Two attempts and she didn't answer. I pulled over to the edge of the street, but cars honked furiously at us nonetheless.  We had not been given the address or the name of the clinic when we'd called her earlier in the morning. She had given Anderson a general area. We could no longer stay in the intersection so I picked a direction and drove off. Finally, the doctor's assistant called back and Anderson spoke to her. With confidence he told me where to go. Then, silence. "Where do I turn?" "I don't know," he responded. I called the doctor's office again and Ensa's mother spoke with her. Same result as with Anderson: we turned a bunch of times and then were lost again, as we looked for "Thyle Market," which the office claimed was nearby. And she was told the office was named "Citi Med." I pulled over again and a female street vendor offered to get in the car to show us where to go. Upon arriving at "Citi Med" we were told they did not know the doctor we were looking for. Another phone call. NO, its not Citi Med, its called "Omni Med." Are you kidding me? Again, we drove in circles looking for a market supposedly close to the office, but this time we were told it was called "Star Market." Ensa's mother gave directions to me from the back seat using hand signals. That doesn't really help when you're trying to avoid hitting other cars and people. You can't look behind you. I frequently told her to say "Right, Left, and Straight" in Creole and she agreed to, but then I began to wonder if she knows her right from her left. Anderson would tell me where to go two seconds AFTER I had passed the intersection. A few more phone calls, being told to look for "Big Market", and praise God we found it! When we pulled up the lady who had been giving us directions shook her head in wonder and laughed at us. Thanks so much.

The doctor, a rheumatologist, was very kind and thorough in her examination of Ensa. Hospital Espoir had been unable to figure out why she continued to have fevers and pain even though she received treatment for her diagnosis of typhoid. All of Ensa's symptoms and clinic picture led the doctor to believe she has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She started Ensa on three times per day Aspirin which Ensa seems to be responding to. She had labs drawn last week and the results should be in in the next few days. We are very thankful that it seems some answers are being found for her.

Thank you very much to those who donated to Ensa and Mikerlange's medical fund! Mikerlange seems to be gaining strength and her skin is completely cleared. She has a follow-up appointment with her HIV doctor next week. Both she and Ensa and family attended our annual Christmas program on Saturday. 

Ensa all dressed-up for our Christmas Program

Thank you and blessings to all of you, for reading and for supporting these girls!

P.S. My friends and coworkers moved into the apartment below me. Last week, in preparation of them moving in, a couple of painters came by to paint. When my friends saw the apartment the day before it had white walls...dirty white walls, but white walls, nonetheless. They assumed that when the owner said she would have the walls re-painted they would be re-painted white...right? No. Wrong. Pink. Pepto-bismol pink. I shouldn't be surprised, because this is actually a  popular color here. At least my dining room is a muted shade of pink. I am so blessed.

P.P.S Yesterday I was talking with two ladies who were staying for a few nights at our guesthouse. They spent most of last week at a hotel downtown. A fancy-schmancy nice one. So nice that it had mice running in and out of holes that the managers or maids stuffed with newspaper. So nice that someone working there provided them with a billy club as a weapon to kill the mice. How would you like that for your first trip to Haiti? Here's some mice to entertain you while you sleep and here's your weapon to kill them. Wow. So thoughtful of you. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I have two lovely friends visiting since last week: Lexie and Paula. We used to work together in Seattle and they have been to Haiti numerous times to help with my organization and a couple of others. Thankful for you both! Both ladies blogged about meeting Ensa. I will use their links to update you: 

*Since these were written, I heard that Ensa had bone X-rays performed (most likely of her arms and legs) that showed no abnormalities. She is continuing to have fevers despite being on antibiotics. When I go see her today (hopefully) I will be given the phone number of a specialist to call. Hospital Espoir wants to discharge her today- despite her continued fevers- because they don't know how to help her any further. Please pray for answers! For her healing! Also, thank you thank you thank you to the generous people who have contributed to paying for her care and to those who have contributed to our general medical fund. You Are Awesome! 

Off topic: I have been so pampered lately. A few weeks ago my favorite chiropractor, a friend I met here three years ago (the guesthouse flooded when we first met. A few of us were electrocuted. It has bonded us for life), came to visit with her church and adjusted my back. One of her teammates gave me a haircut and to-die-for head massage. Is this what heaven will be like? Today I got my bangs trimmed by another visitor and my hair dried (oh, glorious heaven!) Jesus, you are so nice to me. Thank you for providing amazing people to love us!