Monday, March 29, 2010

March Update

Dear friends and family,

I’m looking at my calendar realizing that March is almost over wondering where the past 3 months have gone. I had good intentions of writing monthly updates to all of you, but since the earthquake on January 12, life has been anything but normal here and finding the time and headspace to write has been very difficult.

First of all, I want to thank you for all of your love, support and prayers over the past few months. I know that my presence here would not be possible with out it. The weeks immediately following the earthquake were very draining emotionally, spiritually and physically and so I know that it was not my own strength that carried me through, but the prayers of others. 

The remainder of January and beginning of February were spent fielding emails and inquiries from friends and supporters of the clinic in Canada and the US as the clinic worked on a response to the earthquake. One of the first things the clinic decided to do, was offer free services the first 2 weeks after the earthquake. In that time, the clinic saw over 2,000 patients as people had already began to migrate back north from Port au Prince. Since then, the clinic has kept its fees reduced to 50% of what they were before the quake and we are still seeing great numbers of patients. 

The reality is that the earthquake did not just affect people living in Port au Prince. Everyone is affected and there is increased financial strain on everyone as they look for a way to survive in a country that was barely holding on before. People have to make decisions daily of how they will use the few resources they have – will they buy food for one meal that day or will they take their child to the doctor to receive treatment for sickness. It is for this reason that the clinic has kept its fees reduced for the time being.

Also, in the first trip that Dr. Manno made to Port au Prince after the earthquake, he identified a tent city in Fort National in a particularly poor area for the clinic to partner with and provide relief to. Since that time, the clinic has made several trips there to provide food, water filters, tarps, mobile clinics and build some permanent structures. This has been made possible with the funds so generously given through the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada and a partner organization of Eben-ezer Clinic called Geneva Global.

In mid-February, the first of many groups to come arrived.  Since then, we have hosted 27 different people in Dr. Manno’s house. People have been here to help with construction on the hospital and some have come as medical professionals to serve in the clinic here and with the mobile clinic in a community in Port au Prince. Much has been accomplished in that time – the interior and part of the exterior of the hospital have been painted, 2 rooms inside have been tiled, and the depot of medical supplies have been organized. Next week a group of 14 arrive and we hope to finish the tiling. Having groups here is a blessing as we provide opportunities for people to engage with and build relationships with our Haitian brothers and sisters and we can see the dream of the hospital become a reality for this community.

Some prayer requests:

  • Pray for Dr. Manno as he continues to serve at the clinic here in Haut Limbe and lead the response in Port au Prince. Pray for strength and guidance in making decisions.
  • Pray for the thousands of people that have migrated north to live with family here as they search for a way to provide for their families.
  • Pray for the staff of Eben-ezer Clinic as they continue to serve.
  • Pray for the Canadian/American groups that have visited and that will visit in the future that their time here may be a blessing to all involved and that relationships will continue to grow.
  • Pray for all those who are involved in hosting groups (Dr. Manno’s mom, cooks, cleaners, drivers and clinic staff) who work so hard to make our visitors feel welcome.
  • And finally, please continue to pray for strength and wisdom for me so that I can be effective as possible here.
Thanks again for all of your support.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Since I've been so neglectful of this blog lately, here are some pics of the past couple of months.

  1. Crossing the Haiti/D.R. border on open market day
  2. A depot of organized supplies!
  3. Painting in the hospital
  4. The Saskatoon Group
  5. My dad and me in Puerto Plata
  6. Winnipeg group relaxing at the beach
  7. Destruction in Leogane
  8. Dr. Manno talking with ECC reps
  9. My private jet from Port au Prince to Cap Haitien

Friday, March 19, 2010

Life is Bizarre

I'm back from Port au Prince.

I don't know what I was expecting, but what I saw was different from what I expected. What stood out to me is different than what I thought would stand out to me, or anyone.

We drove down on Tuesday. The plan on Monday night was to leave at 8 in the morning. At noon Dr. Manno actually had to find me so we could leave - I guess I'm slowly becoming Haitian.

We arrived in Port Tuesday night and stayed at Manno's friends house - such gracious hosts.

Port looked different than what I expected. I guess I expected the landscape and city to look like the north and Cap-Haitien. It doesn't at all. What stood out to me was not the collapsed buildings, but the disparity between Cap and Port, pre-earthquake. The quality of roads compared to here is unbelievable. They had paved roads, with traffic lights, with somewhat orderly traffic. That's what stuck out to me.

Wednesday morning we met up with a delegation from the Evangelical Covenant Church and some reps from Medical Teams International. We made the long trek out to Leogane - near the epicentre of the quake to see a static and mobile clinic, and then came back to Port to see a school that has been converted into a crisis relief coordination centre. At the end of the day it was back to Max's for the night.

Thursday am, we arrived at the airport around 8 and by 8:30 I was on my very own plane back to Cap in 30 minutes. Yep, life is bizarre here.

My friends came to pick me up shortly after I arrived at 9 and the intent was to come straight back to Limbe, but we decided to check and see if a letter was ready at the government building for the release of some supplies that were shipped to us. So, we drive to one gov't building, wait for about 20 minutes, get the letter and then head back to the airport.

We get to the airport, and customs tells us that we need to get the letter authorized at another gov't office. So we drive back into the city to this office. We meet with some official for about 30 minutes in a nice air conditioned office to be told that we need to attach a list of what the contents of the shipment is. So, we get that and he signs the letter. Then we need to go to a 3rd office for another stamp. Once there, they decided they want a photocopy of my ID in order to release the boxes - cause I guess they are more comfortable releasing the boxes to a Canadian??? Anyways, we finally get everything stamped. By that time it's one o'clock and we're hungry, so we grab lunch at the local fast food joint before going back to the airport for the third time that day.

We get to the airport, give all the documents and they finally bring out our boxes. Before we could take them, they of course had to take a few things for themselves. We load up the truck and start our way back, almost. We get a phone call asking us to pick up a student to bring back to Limbe. So we wait another hour to get her and then finally head back home arriving around 4:30. I had left Port at 8:30 in the am - I could have gotten home faster driving.

Oh well, just another example of how nothing goes as planned and everything is just so much more difficult in Haiti.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Catching up

Since February 12, we have had 19 North Americans stay at our house for some period of time. It's been busy. We're at the halfway point. Tomorrow, 8 more arrive from Winnipeg and I think things will wrap up for awhile on April 9 when we drop a group of 14 off at the airport.

Hosting groups is great. It's fun to interact with and meet new people and have them experience life in Haiti. Hosting groups is also tiring. It's a 24/7 job with just a couple hours of "me" time stolen every once and awhile.

Things are progressing at the clinic. When the Saskatoon group was here, the majority of the painting in the hospital got done, and the plumbing should be finished soon. This week, we will be tiling. It's so good to see the progress happening.

This weekend, a team from the clinic will make its first official trip to Port au Prince to provide relief and a mobile clinic to a tent city in Ft. National. The plan is to send a team every second weekend for the next 3 months.

Also, next week I'll be making my first trip to Port for some meetings. I'm sure I'll have something to say about that when I get back.

It has been FREEZING here the past few days. Cloudy and rainy. The other night i was wearing 2 sweaters and a jacket and was still cold. This Canadian has become soft. It was 22 degrees last night and it felt like 5 degrees.

Sorry for the random post, just wanted to update a few things. I'll attempt to do better in the future.