Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back in my other reality

I'm back in Canada. I left Haut Limbe on Monday at 8 am and finally arrived back in my house in Saskatoon at 2 this morning. Travelling from Haiti to Saskatoon is no easy task apparently. But that's not so surprising as nothing is ever very easy in Haiti.

To get here, I had to drive one hour to Cap Haitien, board a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, spend the night in Ft. Lauderdale, go back to the airport yesterday, fly to Detroit, on to Minneapolis - run from one side of the terminal to the other to make my connection, fly to Saskatoon only to find out they were have a massive rain and thunderstorm which prevented us from landing and we did not have enough fuel to just wait around, so we fly to Regina, land, refuel, wait for the storm to pass, finally fly back and touch down at about 1:30 am, go through customs and then get home. It's been a very long 2 days!!

It's good to be home - in some ways it feels like I was never gone, but in other ways I feel like I've been gone forever. I turn on the radio and realize I don't recognize any of the songs. I have to consciously remember to put the toilet paper in the toilet, not the garbage. I drove for the first time today in 7 months and was amazed by traffic lights, orderly cars and the absence of honking. I'm confused by how late the sun goes down. Yes, it's been a long time. But it's so good to see my family - my nieces and nephew who have grown up so much!

Tomorrow we head out to the farm for the weekend. We hope to do some fishing - can't wait! It's been so long. After the weekend, I'm off to Winnipeg for the week. I hope I get some time to catch up on some sleep along the way!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

May/June Update

I know that May has be over forever and June isn't over yet, but I wanted to get this update done now because tomorrow 13 visitors will descend upon our house and they don't leave until 2 days before I come back to Canada.

The past couple of months have flown by in some ways. The first week in May, Shauna and I were given a gift of a vacation in the Dominican Republic. It was so wonderful to get away, relax, spend time at the pool and just be for awhile. We spent most of the week up in Puerto Plata, and then spent the weekend in Santiago with our friend Tammi so we got the chance to do some much needed shopping, etc.

We returned to Haiti with Beth, who has visited Haut Limbe a couple of times before. She came primarily to implement the new patient database at the clinic. She was successful and the archive workers are now using the computer database to find patient files!

The last week of May I became ill. At first Dr. Manno thought it was just severe dehydration, but when I got a fever, we decided it was likely malaria. Boo! So I ended up being housebound for 2 weeks to recover. I'm feeling much better now and am thankful for all your prayers for a quick recovery.

This past Sunday and Monday I traveled to Port au Prince with a team from the clinic to do two mobile clinics and to gather pictures and stories of the work that the clinic was able to do there through the generous donations of people in Canada through the ECCC and other donors as well. It was a long two days, but worth the trip. I'm currently writing a report of what I saw and will likely post it soon for you.

Tomorrow, a group of 13 arrive with Randolph World Ministries. They will be doing some lab work at Ebenezer Clinic as well as some other clinics in the area. It will be a full house for the next little while! While they are here, I will be preparing for my trip to Canada and making sure things are in place for when I am away.

I will leave for Canada on June 28. I will be in Saskatoon and Norquay until July 5. After that, I will head to Winnipeg to see friends and family and go to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I will likely head back to Saskatoon on July 12 where I will stay until I return to Haiti on July 22! I look forward to seeing many of you while I am there - let me know if you would like to get together!

Until I leave, a few prayer requests.
Pray for the group that is arriving tomorrow that they will have a safe and healthy time here.
Pray for the clinic staff that are working hard to provide care.
Pray for me as I continue to recover from illness so that I will be healthy for my trip to Canada.
Pray for me as I begin to make decisions as to if I will stay in Haiti past November.

Thanks again for all of your prayers and support!



Saturday, June 12, 2010

Adventures with Parrots

Dr. Steve and Nancy, missionaries who live on the University Campus in Haut Limbe, have a few pets that they absolutely love. These include a cat, 3 parakeets, 2 love birds, and most importantly, 2 parrots who they raised since they were babies. Everyone around here knows that Nancy loves these parrots very much. They are quite beautiful birds, but they do have a bit of an attitude and like to bite people sometimes – so not everyone is as fond of the birds as she.

Anyways, when Dr. Steve and Nancy are away sometimes, Shauna and I have house/bird sat for them. We know how many times to feed each of the birds and change their water. The parrots have a cage that they stay in that we bring into the house every evening for the night. A lot of times when they bring the parrots in for the night, they will let them out of the cage to crawl around abit (their wings are normally clipped so they can’t fly). Nancy has no problem putting them back into the cage before bed by simply saying “step up” and they climb onto her hand and she puts them in the cage. Now, when Shauna and I attempt to put them back in the cage for the night it’s quite a different story. We don’t let them step up onto our hands (because they have a tendency to bite), we use a prop for them to step on to. We usually try to sweet talk them and tell them how much Nancy loves them as we ask them to “step up” onto the prop. This can process can take up to 20 or 30 minutes for us and includes much laughter and frustration for both of us.

Currently, Steve and Nancy are in the States for vacation. While Shauna and I are not staying at the house this time, we still have a key to go over and use the internet in their living room. There are some other people looking after the birds. Thursday morning at about 8:30 I walked over to their house to start my morning work. As I walked up to the door, the birds had already been put outside for the day – this is normal. What wasn’t normal was that both of the birds were climbing around outside the cage. I took my computer to put it inside and see if anyone was in the house – no one there. So I grabbed the prop to try to get them to climb on and put them back in the cage. Amazingly, they cooperated and I got them back in the cage and closed the cage door tightly. I was puzzled by how they were able to escape, but I went inside to start my work.

After about 10 minutes, I looked out the window and noticed that one of the parrots was outside of the cage. I go to investigate and see that the cage door is closed again – how in the world did they open the door and then close it again. I tried again to use the prop to lure the disobeying parrot inside, but it was not working so well and Mrs. Cat was sitting not far away.

I decided it was time to bring reinforcements, so I walked over to Laurie’s house – the next yard over. She knows the birds well and is helping look after them. I told her the situation and she comes and helps me get the bird inside the cage and we bring the cage inside the house for the day. She tells me that the night before, the parrots had gotten out as well and one had flown up into a tree and one of the groundskeepers had to come and climb the tree to rescue it. The poor groundskeeper never climbs trees, but did it for Nancy because he knows just how much she loves them.

So I continue on in my work and after awhile I leave the house (all locked up with the parrots safely inside their cage) to go to the clinic for about a half hour. When I return, one of the parrots is out again! I coax it back into the cage and then look for something to tie the door closed with. I finally find an elastic band, tie the door and it works for the rest of the day. I think that the problem is solved.

Yesterday morning, Shauna and I both go over to their house in the morning and again a parrot is outside the cage! We are puzzled because the elastic is still tied holding the door closed! We do see that the bottom of the cage has a tray that slides out that is a bit loose so maybe the parrots worked together to push it out to escape. Who knows? We get the parrot back in the cage and in the house and give them a very stern talking too!

I never thought that I would have so many conversations with parrots in my life! Oh the joys of living in Haiti!