You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2017.

AUGUST 29, 2017

It is with sadness that we would like to let everyone know that our faithful dachshund Mozie passed away yesterday afternoon.  He was 14 years old and lived a good life, so we can’t be too regretful.  We brought Mozie and his father, Shubie, down to Haiti on a Missionary Flights International cargo plane in 2006.  They adapted to their new living conditions very well, especially since we had brought with us the crates that had been their homes in Milwaukee.  I think they only thing they really missed were carpeted floors!  We even fed them imported dog food from the US and they thrived.  Shubie died about 3 years ago at the age of 16!

Even as he aged, Mozie always seemed like a little puppy, ready to play with anyone who would pay him any attention.  We had to warn our visitors that if you play with Mozie once, you’ll never hear the end of it!  His age caught up with him this past year, though, when he developed severe cataracts and couldn’t see well.  He recently lost his appetite and, with it, his strength, until he passed away quietly yesterday afternoon when we returned home from work.  He was a faithful friend and companion and we’ll miss him.  Bless you, Mozie!

Mozie younger

Mozie in better times.

 

 

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AUGUST 21, 2017

With its high heat and humidity, Haiti is not an ideal place to visit during the summer months.  But, for the sake of our spiritual ministry, a hardy intergenerational group from Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee and Town North Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Richardson, TX sacrificed their comfort for a week of work with us and some of the local churches near our clinic.  The Eastbrook Church team consisted of Geri Koterman, team leader, and the Riebe family – Alan and Katherine and their teenage children Josh and Charis, all of whom visited here in 2016.  They added newcomer Laura Meyer this year and she was a great addition to the team.  Geri’s grandson, Josiah Rogers, had been with the team in 2016 and he came back this time with his father, David Rogers, who is the pastor of Town North Presbyterian Church in TX.   They were accompanied by Joel Aguilar, who is an elder in their church.

Eastbrook logo wear

The Eastbrook/Town North team poses in front of the clinic with FHH logo wear from the FHH store!  From left to right are Katherine, Geri, David, Josh, Josiah, Alan, Joel, Laura and Charis. 

Josiah was adopted from Haiti as a 2 year old and we were thrilled to see that he continues to be interested in visiting and helping the country of his birth.

Josiah and David
Josiah and his father, Pastor David Rogers

 

One of the advantages of visiting in the summer is that the Eastbrook/Town North team could minister more to the young people in two churches near our clinic.  With school out of session, there was more opportunity to involve children of all ages in VBS activities and leadership training discussions, which they did for two days in the Duchene church and for two days in Doudouche.  Both churches had been destroyed in the hurricane, so the groups met under tarps amid the debris.  They had ministered to the same two churches in January 2016 and the contrast between the visits was striking!  But, the Lord’s word was studied and lessons were shared in spite of the stark surroundings.  Activities for the children included Bible stories, music, crafts and discussion and, in the afternoons the group did Bible study and discussion with the adults.  They even had crafts for the adults, which they all loved!  Haitians and Americans felt blessed and we were very glad to have our spiritual ministry expanded in this way.

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During VBS, the children made paper lanterns to illustrate that God is light in their lives. They each got to color designs on their lantern paper to make it unique.

 

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The children proudly hold up their lanterns.

 

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This colorful parachute made for some fun games!

 

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The older children participated in small group discussions regarding teamwork and leadership, led by Pastor David.

 

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The adults get serious about their crafts!

One of the highlights of the team’s visit was the showing of the “Jesus” film in Creole on the front porch of the clinic on Thursday evening.  Over 100 people from the immediate area around the clinic attended, including many children.  It was the first time we had shown the film in Gatineau and it was very well received.

 

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The clinic benches are nearly full as local Haitians watch the “Jesus” film.

 

The following day, Friday, we hosted a 2 ½ hour long worship service to which we invited 11 of the churches in the area around our clinic.  Each church came with 10 – 15 members and they each presented a musical number during the service.  Local musicians were present to provide musical backup and they were joined by team members Laura Meyer, playing guitar, and Josh Riebe on the bongos.

 

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Josh and Laura help out the keyboard player during the worship service.

 

There were congregational hymns in addition to the special music by the churches, Scripture readings and prayers by some of the pastors from the churches.  The service was led by Adrien Jean Jacques, our clinic chaplain and registration clerk and the worship was led by Anderson Joseph, husband of our clinic nurse Vetelie Charles.  Over 200 people attended, some of them standing for the entire service.  It was considered to be a huge success and the pastors are already asking that we make it an annual event!  Much thanks to the Eastbrook/Town North team for helping us out with the service and for Pastor David Rogers, who gave a wonderful message.  Everyone felt truly blessed.

 

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Anderson Joseph leads the congregation in songs of adoration during the worship service.

 

Standing room only

The front porch of the clinic was packed with people on benches and extra chairs were set up along the sidewalks.  A tarp hangs down from the roof to block the sun.

 

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One of the 11 church groups performs a song for the audience.

 

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Pastor David preaches the sermon as Delice Dorvil translates.  The theme was “Hope in the Lord” based on Lamentations 3: 1 – 24.

 

Cherlie giving thanks

A white sheet and plastic table cloth made an impressive background for the speakers at the worship service.  Here Cherlie gives thanks to everyone who attended and to the Lord for blessing the service.

 

Team with staff

The Eastbrook/Town North team poses for one last photo with the staff of Centre de Sante de Gatineau after the worship service.  Top (from the left):  Miller (driver), Josh, Gemi, Guy-Johns, Adrien, David, Viel, Alan, Joel.  Bottom (from the left):    Ti Madam, Katherine, Cherlie, Charis, Laura, Vetelie, Josiah, Katie and Geri.

 

It was a very blessed week and we thank our Milwaukee and Texas friends for supporting us in our ministry in such a vital way.  Praise the Lord for all of you and for our Haitian brothers and sisters who were so appreciative of our time of fellowship together!

AUGUST 7, 2017

 After ten years of hearing that it was going to be fixed, we were thrilled a few months ago to see the beginning of construction on the road up to our clinic in Gatineau.  Parts of it are being paved, and the rest is being graded with drainage ditches being built to handle the heavy run-off from rains that normally ruin roads up in the mountains.  Or so they said!  As is often the case here in Haiti, after about a quarter of the work was finished, word had it that the money had been used up and everything came to a standstill.  We’ll leave it up to you to figure out where the money went!  We’re still hoping that work will resume and that one of these days, the 15 mile trip up the mountain will take only 30 minutes, instead of more than an hour.  Stay tuned!

One of the side benefits of the road construction is that we were able to get the heavy equipment operators to make a new entry onto our site, widening the entry road so that we can eventually put up an entry gate and retaining walls along the road.  Here are some photos of the work in progress:

Road grader making new entry road onto our clinic site

New entry road on the right with previous road on the left. The roads not meet and go down the bridge.

 

Looking at both entrances (1)

Large area where both entry roads meet, looking back towards the main road. This is where the new entry gate will be built eventually.

 

BEWARE THE LIST!

I don’t know how other physicians feel, but whenever I see a patient sit in front of me with a list of their complaints, I groan inside.  It means that we’re going to be talking for a while and I need to make sure I respond to every one of the issues they present.  The patient has obviously taken time and effort to compile this list and wants to be sure that every one of their concerns is addressed.  It’s all very understandable but seeing the list automatically evokes negative emotions in me.  I think it’s because the list takes away the spontaneity of our conversation and, rather than being able to control the conversation, I’m controlled by the list!  I have to say that it is one of the refreshing things about working in Haiti; most of our patients are illiterate, so there are no lists!  Or, so I thought.  You can imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when one of my patients held in his hand a LIST!  Only, this wasn’t any ordinary list.  The patient is a tailor and repairs upholstery on chairs and motorcycle seats.  So, his list was actually written on a piece of plastic upholstery material!  I had to laugh and, of course, I took a photo of him and his list.  It was especially funny to me because he’s a long-term patient who we know very well.  I guess this time, he had so many things wrong, he wanted to be sure he didn’t miss telling me about them all!

Patient holding his list, written on upholstery material

 

MAKING SOMETHING POSITIVE COME FROM A DISASTER

We are privileged to have a partnership, of sorts, with Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), which is a mission organization located just north of Port-au-Prince.  CAM supplies us with medications and other medical supplies that help us greatly in our medical ministry.  After the hurricane, they distributed various relief materials and have been helping to rebuild houses in several communities outside Jérémie.  They also sent two large gas-powered long saws to help communities cut up logs that were downed by the hurricane.  We heard they were in a community near our clinic and convinced them to bring their saw to our site and cut up logs for us and for people in the communities around the clinic.  Well, come they did and they have been busy the past week cutting up over 30 logs each day for people who are able to bring them to the site.  The wood includes mahogany, veritab (breadfruit), mango and other wood commonly used for making doors and furniture.  Some of the logs are so heavy, it’s taken up to 15 men to carry them from their community to our clinic.  Some of the logs are being rolled down mountain slopes to get to us.  And, once they are cut, the planks are carried on their heads back home again.

 

Site of saw (5)

Our staff helped the CAM team set up their saw on a flat area of land near where our clinic was located. A tarp keeps the sun and rain away.

 

Arranging log on saw (1)

The CAM crew arranges the log on the saw to prepare it for cutting

 

Cutting the log into planks (1)

CAM short-term worker Josiah runs the saw all day, cutting the logs into planks

 

Finished planks (1)

Pile of planks after being taken off the saw. The owner of the log is responsible for taking them home.

 

Carrying planks home (1)

Young boy helps carry a plank back home

 

Cherlie looking on

Ever the supervisor, Cherlie looks on as the saw team does its work.

 

Log to site

It takes a team to bring one of  our logs to be sawed into planks

 

Logs to be cut

Logs remaining to be cut at the end of the day

We’re grateful to CAM for this wonderful service to our communities.  To give a little perspective on the enormity of their contribution, here is a photo of local men cutting a log into planks by hand, using a long saw:

 

Sawing planks

Cutting a log into planks by hand

 

It usually takes several days to cut one log into planks and the quality of the work is dependent on the skill of the worker.  This is one case where we’re willing to put some people out of jobs in order to benefit the greater population!  Thank you, CAM!

 

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