Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The biggest question answered

I love this question!

Is there anything you need or that I can donate for you trip?  The answer is absolutely!  We are currently collecting many over the counter medications for our clinics, as well as baby and children clothes.  Here's a list of some of the most requested items:

Hydrocortisone Cream
Lotrimin Cream
Adult Mulitvitamins
Prenatal Vitamins,

Tylenol Children's Elixir
Children's Ibuprofen suspension
Chewable multi vitamin (no gummy vitamins please!)

Body soap
Travel size shampoo
Antibiotic Ointment
Zip lock bags (any size)
Empty travel size containers
Flip Flops

Handing out donated flip flops to the orphans

I am also accepting donations towards the cost of this mission; with my fundraising goal being $1000.  Donations will also be used towards purchasing prescription medications.  Checks can be made out to myself or Red Rocks Church with Haiti-April in the memo line.  If you need an address, just message me.

Personally, I am well prepared for this trip.  However, I do need a couple of items to make the most out of my trip.  Believe it or not, I don't have a stethoscope!  If anyone has an old one they would consider donating, I would greatly appreciate it!  I would love one that I could dedicate solely to mission trips!

Also, since we will be spending a few days in the mountains, I would love to borrow a simple point and shoot digital camera that uses regular batteries.  On my last trip, my rechargeable battery died and I missed out on many beautiful photography opportunities.  Since we will go 3 days without electricity, I want to be prepared this time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The harsh reality

Ok, so I've covered how this trip was made possible through my amazing, graceful husband.  And then I explained our "plans" for the first few days.  Now on to the end of the week...

Hopefully, we will have arrived safely back at the orphanage by Thursday.  Thursday is perhaps the most challenging day for our team.  On Thursday, it won't be the endless line of patients to see, the language barrier, the culture shock, the heat or the bugs that challenge us.  It will be looking into the eyes of starving, dying children.  As I type, it seems harsh, but it's the truth.  It's ugly and uncomfortable; but it's the truth.

We will be venturing even further outside of our comfort zone and into what can only be described as "hell on Earth" as we go to Mother Teresa's Hospital.  This discreet building is hidden behind locked gates and surrounded by classrooms.  Inside, there are cribs and cribs lined up in a dim, dark room.  Inside the cribs lay children who have been hospitalized for numerous reasons, but mostly undernourishment.

I have been anxiously awaiting to go back to Mother Theresa's.  On my last visit, I feel that I was more desensitized to the crying children than my teammates.  I mean, I deal with crying babies, sick babies ad babies with IV's all the time at work.  What was so different about this place?

It wasn't until I went back to work that this experience slapped me in the face.  Early during our shift on that fateful night, the RN's were weighing, assessing and feeding babies.  It's generally a busy, loud time during my work day.  But as I was helping with various tasks, the crying in the NICU brought back vivid, horrendous flashbacks of Mother Theresa's. At that precise moment I realized how big of tragedy I had witnessed in that cramped, hot building.  I left the unit and cried until my heart went numb.  The Lord has been calling me back ever since that shift 18 months ago.  I need to go back and be willing to offer myself to these children.  The hospital is operated by amazing nuns who happen to be nurses, so I won't necessarily be offering medical services.  But I can hold, I can love and I can (and will) let my heart ache for these children.

And since you can't go to Haiti and not spend time in a tent city, on Friday we will do just that.  I'm not sure of the location of this tent city; but am sure that the tent dwellers will appreciate our medical advice and supplies just as much as they have in the past.  I'm curious to see if there are still residual injuries/illnesses from the 2010 Earthquake.  I'm also curious to see the progress and hopefully the reduction in the quantity of the tent cities.

Saturday, we will say goodbye to the new friends we made in translators, orphans and workers at the orphanage.  We will gladly trade out mosquito bites for hugs from our children.  We will fly into Miami and be disgusted by the gaudily amount of bling in the Airport jewelry store.  It will take every ounce of self control for me to not trip the debutante strutting around in her Christian Louboutin's. And another piece of my heart will be left in Haiti....

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our plans...err...make that "Ideas"

We have "finalized" our plans while in Haiti.  I must put finalize in quotations, because nothing ever seems to go to plan on that island!  In my two trips I have experienced flight delays, missed flights, stalled Mack trucks blocking our path, car accidents, civil unrest and being on lockdown, and that's just a few of the obstacles!  So, maybe it's better to say that we have an "idea" of what we are going to be doing on our trip.  As Dave said on my first mission, "We plan and God laughs".  Apparently, God laughs a lot during mission trips!

I leave Denver Friday, April 20th. (BTW, I will need a ride to the airport if you'd like to send me off!)  That night, I'll reacquaint myself with the floor of the Miami airport and try to get some sleep before our plane departs for Haiti early in the AM.

Sometime on Saturday we will arrive at the orphanage.  I am so looking forward to our arrival.  The orphans line up and graciously kiss our hands while our hearts instantly melt.  I'm looking forward to see how much everyone has grown, especially my buddy, Wadson.  I hope to see Julissa, who suffers from a chronic illness, healthy and smiling.

We will go to church (early!) on Sunday morning.  I have seen pictures of the church since my last visit and I can't wait to see the improvements for myself.  18 months ago, the parishioners walked past twisted rebar and up broken steps to worship the lord.  From the looks of it, the church is now in one complete beautiful piece!  

Sunday afternoon we will spend some time with the widows of the Church.  I haven't met this group of ladies yet, but am looking forward to embracing their tenacious spirit and seeing their grateful smiles.

We start "working" on Monday.  We are going to start our journey up the mountains to Cornillion.  This town is past the town I went to previously, Gran Buchon. From the sounds of it, Cornillion is "a lot bigger."  I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but I guess I will find out soon enough!  The last time I drove up this road, I was at a loss for words.  I think I compared it to Independence Pass, subtract the concrete, but add in random rocks of all sizes.  From pebbles to 4 foot boulders, this is a whole new world of off roading.  When you factor in the massive hillside you are on, it fulfills every adventure seekers dream.

There are two churches in this town that we will set up clinics at.  On Monday, we will set up "education clinics"  We are going to cover a variety of topics relevant to the villagers, such as first aid, hygiene, oral care and of course, my specialty, newborn care.  We are making canvases to leave with the pastors that will depict our education.

I don't think I can properly convey with words how excited about this part I am.  I don't think most people adequately appreciate how fortunate we are to have "inherent" knowledge about taking care of ourselves.  For example, we know that we must wash our hands after using the restroom to avoid disease, especially before preparing meals.  As an incentive for attending the education sessions, we are going to give attendees front of the line access at the clinics.  Of course, we will also be providing hygiene essentials (i.e. toothbrushes, soap, etc) to those who come.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be dedicated to running clinics; with a day at each church in the village.  I am expecting these to be two long, tough days.  I hope to be primarily seeing children and treating the common ailments of childhood in Haiti; dehydration, tinnea, jaws and the sort.  I have to brush up on my reading of course, but am so excited to be in a mission clinic again!  Nothing can compare to the array of emotions you experience after providing medical care to the severely impoverished for the first time.

Our group wanted to spend one more night in the mountains, but our Haitian leader, Pastor Ron was not in agreement with us.  He did not feel that we would be able to stay up there that long; due to lack of clean water and even more of a lack of bathroom facilities.  I am a little bummed about this detail, but know to trust Pastor Ron.  All the conditions are less than ideal up there.  Our sleeping conditions alone are enough to make most "uneasy" at best.  And I know that if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of others.  But it's hard.  It's like saying, "we will help you, as long as we aren't too inconvienced."  That bothers me a bit. But again, I will trust Pastor Ron. So we will head home Wednesday after our clinic.  

Wow, I'm only through Wednesday and this is quite long!  I'll explain the rest of the trip later; but I got to get a nap in before tonight's shift!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Beginning of Round 3!!!

I'm so excited to finally be able to say I am headed back to Haiti!  I leave in a few short weeks, on April 20th!  This time I am going back to where my love of Haiti started, at My Father's House Orphanage in Bon Repos, through Red Rocks Church. (Sorry, I can't stop using exclamation points, I'm just so excited!)  I have a lot to do in a short amount of time, but I'm confident that this is God's plan, so will just keep praying and crossing things off my to-do list as fast as possible!

This trip came out of nowhere and smacked me in the face!  I think it's quite the story, so I feel compelled to tell you how this all came about.  A few weeks ago, the night Resource RN, Kendall, came along with the Nursing Sup on his nightly rounds while I was at work.  She looked at me and said, "You went to Haiti, right?"  I confirmed that I had been to Haiti and was wondering how she knew this.  She responded, "I thought so; I'm dating Tony Babb and thought I saw pictures of you with him in Haiti."

Of course, at this point we had an instant bond and Kendall told me she was going to Haiti in April.  I learned of this trip through her and was impressed by their plans.  The most intriguing part involved staying in the mountains for as long as physically possible and going to villages that have never seen health professionals before.  After having to leave so many people behind in the mountains the last time I was with Red Rocks, I thought this sounded like a perfect opportunity to reach out even further in Haiti.

A few days later, I got an email from Tony, asking if I was interested in joining him on this trip.  I told him I would have loved to, but Paul is working out of town for a few more months, so I would have to pass.  A few days later, I was telling Paul about the trip and how I was bummed to have to miss this trip.  Without missing a beat, he responded, "You should go.  I'll work from the office that week and take care of the kids." I couldn't believe my ears!  Could this really work; could I really go to Haiti again and help people who have never had access to health care of any kind?  Was I willing to put myself through the physical and mental anguish again?  Is this even feasible?  Paul seemed to think that it was settled, I would go to Haiti and he quickly fell sound asleep.

However, I was beside myself imagining the possibilities.  I stayed up for a few more hours, just wondering if this would all work.  Would Tony still have room for me?  Could I get the time off of work?  Was I ready to leave the luxuries of the first world again?

It took a couple of weeks to sort out, but it eventually did!  I am on my way....

In the next few days (or hours, if I'm lucky) I'll post more details on our trip, requested donations and other goodies!  Stay tuned!

hint: if you "follow" me; you will get updates on when new updates are posted!