Archive for June, 2011

conversation. . .

yesterday morning i joined a long term staff member as he was taking a young mom to be checked for tuberculosis.  this woman was recently diagnosed with HIV and has had malaria and really is just losing weight.  the trip was to general hospital here in port-au-prince and he was also going to talk with a pediatrician.  i went to general hospital almost ten years ago and i was curious to see the difference, the reality after the earthquake, so i went along.

this mom is really shy and sweet.  this was a bit of our conversation at one point while we were waiting. . .

she was negative for tuberculosis which was great, but her weight loss is then for other reasons.  i was asking her if she was eating.  she said – “i eat some days, when i have the money or having something to eat.”  there are probably many days she doesn’t eat.

she said, “people have left me when they have found out my sickness.  i hope that when i raise my daughter and love her as she grows that when she is old enough to understand what i have, that she won’t turn against me too.”  she continued, “i am trying to raise my daughter well and teach her the things she needs to know.  like to put on her shoes.  i know she needs to wear shoes and i have taught her that, now as soon as she wakes up, she doesn’t even walk around without her shoes on, she immediately looks under the bed for them, she knows not to walk around barefoot.  i am trying, i hope to raise her well.”

that conversation has stuck with me since yesterday morning.


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iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  proverbs 27:17

today i went with a couple who are long term here in haiti and a few others to visit an area where there are a variety of iron artisans.  okay, i know it really isn’t iron they are working with, more like steel barrels that they flatten out and cut designs out from and make beautiful wall hangings, jewelry, bowls and the like.  (but for the link with the verse and the idea, i will think about it being iron!!)

ever since i got the call last night to ask me if i wanted go, my mind has been going to the verse in proverbs that talks about how we as people sharpen each other.  the picture above is one of the artisans.  he is holding the metal in place with his feet and then hammering out a design with his sharp tool (i think those might be called chisels, or something like that).  i asked him if he has ever cut his fingers, to which he said no and the other guy next to him said it was because he is actually lazy.  i guess if you are a hard worker you cut your fingers all the time.  who knows, but i think he should be careful with his feet and his torn up shoes!!

anyway, back to the one person sharpening another thought. . . i will admit it and am pretty sure that i already have before; i am an extrovert.  the other night talking with a couple who run a guest house here, we were talking about how i don’t like to live alone, eat alone, really to be alone and we were trying to rate our own personal introvertedness versus extrovertedness on a scale.  it was pretty funny as i thought about them and others and tried to put myself somewhere along that scale!  i don’t have to be the life of the party, but i do like to plan parties, be at them and just in general be around people!!  i love relationships, talking, processing, doing life with people.  i believe that God made me that way.  He gives each of us our own unique likes, dislikes and personalities, but He doesn’t just make us the way we are with no room for change.  we are in many ways like those steel drums that the artisans work with every day.  as we go through life many times we take a battering here, a little change there, an encouragement there, a kind word here, a harsh conversation every once in a while.  we as people sharpen each other.

the end result is hopefully a life that sings of a beautiful work of art.  like this piece of art made from a steel drum our lives can be beautiful.  lives full, full of joy and peace.  i believe the Lord made us to live and be in community for that very reason.  our lives together sharpen us, change us and create us to be the people God has for us to be.

i am extremely grateful to the many people in my life that have served to sharpen me.  those who are willing to listen, give advice, cry together, laugh together, make memories together.  some of those people are in the states (like my roommates below) and many of those people are in haiti.

i am grateful that the Lord created us in such a way to be an encouragement to each other.  community can be a challenge.  after having served for 9 years with one mission and now making new relationships, connections and friends i realize how much a shared history brings to a friendship.  being here in haiti makes me miss my friends from my life here tremendously, those that i have known for years and years, those that i have watched their families grow, those that have cried with me and i with them.  but i know and trust that the Lord is building and making new relationships here at heartline and will continue to do so wherever i am because His desire for us as a people is that we are sharpened into the people He desires us to be.

He makes beautiful things.

He makes beautiful things out of the dust.

He makes beautiful things out of us.

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plans. . .

(this post was written last night 6/22/2011)

today did not go exactly as planned. . .

that isn’t too much of a surprise considering i am in haiti where things many times go awry and plans that are made seldom seem to come to fruition.  today’s plans were not grand or too far reaching, they were just to see 3-4 pregnant momma’s from the prenatal program and get their full history, exams and lab work completed.  that would have made a pretty busy morning, but that isn’t exactly what happened.  one woman showed up.  the haitian staff who was going to help me and is the one who knows more how to do the lab exams was going to also be late, which turned into her really not coming because her daughter got bit by a cat and she spent the morning at the doctors.  we will just do the lab tests tomorrow.

needless to say my morning did not go as planned.  it worked fine because i used the time to get ready for teaching the prenatal class tomorrow and felt like i got a really good grasp on what i want to do with that time and those expecting moms.

isn’t that how our days go sometimes. . . not exactly as planned.  wait a minute, isn’t that how our lives go sometimes.  we make our plans, we have our ideas of what should or shouldn’t happen and then that isn’t exactly how it always works out.  life doesn’t always work out like you expect.

you might not have expected such a horrible illness, a job loss, a. . . you can fill in the blank.  you might have expected to not have a hard marriage, to not be single at this point in life, to have already had children. . . you can again fill in the blank with your expectations and plans for your life.

the other night i had a wonderful opportunity to talk on the phone with a super dear friend of mine.  (the fact that i said super dear means she is pretty special!)  she was sharing about a recent loss her and her husband experienced.  they have expectations in their lives that have not been met.  she was sharing about how for a time this loss caused her to just not want to be with the Lord.  then she realized that she was truly missing something, she was truly missing the Word He had for her every morning.  she knows that the Lord guides and directs her and she began again to seek Him in earnest and He was faithful to her in her seeking.  i am grateful to her sharing because she challenged me to seek the Lord in earnest in the morning for what He has for me each day.

the morning after our conversation i was particularly drawn to a verse in Psalm 138:8.  it says – the Lord will accomplish what concerns me.  your lovingkindness is everlasting.

that was the Lord’s word for me that morning.  HE will accomplish what concerns me. . .

those expectations, those plans for my days, my week, my month, my life, those are what concern me.

HE will accomplish those things.

the frustrations, the hurts, the broken places, those are what concern me.

HE will accomplish those things.

the placed where i feel i am lacking, where i am weak, where i stumble, those are what concern me.

HE will accomplish those things.

i am so grateful that His lovingkindness is everlasting!

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Start with some Haitian Coffee

Add some bread from the Dominican

Add some french butter

Top it off with some nutella!

For a very international and wonderful treat!

Probably the best toast ever!


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color. . .

Mauzeline's Creations

I am very grateful for a Creator who loves color.

Widelene’s Creation

A Creator who created unique individuals who can also create beautiful things.

Marie Flore’s Creations

 I am grateful for a world full of Color!

My Creation for dinner - Red Cabbage and Avocado Slaw



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sad stories. . .

today after a bit of a long day and things not going today at all how i thought they would i have been thinking about the reality of life here in haiti. i have been thinking how many sad and difficult things can happen in a weeks time, really sometimes even in just a days time.  i haven’t even been here a week and many difficult things have already happened.

so a little re-cap of the week –

tuesday – i talked with a young mom about how she really has no place to live and where she was living was just not safe for her anymore.

thursday – in the midst of doing pre-natal visits especially with one patient i was reminded of the extreme need here, this mom was and continues to live in a pretty desperate situation as she tries to provide for herself and her family.

friday – a mom went home after a post-partum check up to a house that is for the most part far from a house, but merely a shack made from what she and her family pieced together.  see a blog about her here  – http://johnmchoul.wordpress.com/

that night after a group of us went out for pizza, we were on the way home and there was a pretty large crowd gathering and a UN tank.  the traffic was forced from two lanes into one and as we passed you could see that someone had been stoned and their body was laying on the side of the road.  a pretty gruesome site.

today –

i thought today would be a pretty low key chill saturday, i knew i had one post-partum mom coming for a blood pressure check.  other than that i was planning on reviewing some of my color matching ideas for working with the sewing and jewelry ladies, doing some laundry, some cleaning, some reading. . . that was my plan, but that is not exactly what happened.

instead one of the program women came in because she had thought her water broke at some point last night.  i had her lay down, got her something to drink as she was pretty hot from having walked a good distance to get here.  then i began to try to gather all the things i needed to check her out.  had she been close to her due date and her water broke, great, let’s have a baby!!  but that was not the case.  this mom was preterm and so this obviously raised concern for me.  i tried to listen for her babies heart beat because on thursday at her prenatal they thought they had heard two and that she had twins.  the problem was that the only heartbeat i could hear was one that matched with hers.  meaning that the doppler was picking up her heart rate, not a baby.  i kept listening and listening and switched dopplers a couple times because they were being a bit tempermental and staticky!  then i looked and it appeared for sure that her water had broke.

now what?  the facility here at heartline is not a hospital and that is what she needed, an ultrasound and possibly an induction if these babies for real were not alive.  so we took her to a local hospital.  we were just getting back from that trip and she called and said the hospital had told her that yes the babies were dead, but that they couldn’t take care of her and she needed to go to another hospital.  in situations like this i always feel like i am playing telephone because the patient is telling me what the doctor had said and somehow things always get confusing, so we just headed to pick her back up.

we took her to another hospital in hopes they would have the means and doctors to care for this situation.  i just got a phone call from the dad saying that they had done another ultrasound and yes the baby (yeah it was only one) was dead and that there was some mass or deformity and that they needed to do a c-section.  he kept saying, is that okay with you.  i told him of course it is okay, whatever the doctors there think is needed.  then i realized, he isn’t asking if it is okay with us, he is asking if we are going to pay the bill for such a procedure?  there is no way that he would have the money to pay for such a surgery and without that assurance who knows that it would or wouldn’t happen.

please  be praying for this mom – madeline and her family as they deal with this loss, and that her surgery goes fine and she heals well.

please be praying for the families and those involved with such a violent murder friday night.

i realized today again that God has truly been good to me in giving me a time away from the reality of life here in haiti.  what a blessing that the Lord has given me the last few months of green pastures.  you can read about my struggle with this gift He gave me in a previous post (https://melissainhaiti.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/rest-in-the-time-of-cholera/)  i am grateful for the healing and restoration i feel from the realities that i had faced for years of working in haiti.

i know that haiti will always be hard, life here, medical care here, trying to make a difference here is a huge challenge.  a challenge i feel ready for because of the Lord’s healing work in my life for which i am so grateful.

i pray that the comfort He has and continues to be for me will be a comfort for others facing grief and sadness today.

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today i worked with the heartline women who make jewelry.  they make some really cool fabric beads and bring them in and we worked on coordinating them with other colors and beads.

mauzeline made this great necklace today and here we are modeling some of the earrings she made.  they make the hoops out of tampico (juice) bottle caps.  i am learning a whole new set of vocabulary.  the words for jewelry making in creole are a bit different from the words for delivering babies.  (just sayin!)

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