Wednesday, December 29, 2010

M'la (I'm there/here)

When someone in Haiti says "m pa we ou" (I don't see you) - meaning they haven't seen you in a long time, the common response is to say "m'la" (I'm here/there). It means that you haven't been hiding, or away, you've been around. So, if you wonder where I've been the past couple of weeks - M'la!

Life has calmed down a bit here - it's still not normal! We still have 8 - 10 MSF workers sleeping and eating in our house on a given day, but I see them a lot less now because I got a new room! Manno graciously gave me his room downstairs (complete with an ensuite) so that I could have a bit more privacy (and a lot more sanity). He went to the DR last week to see his family. I'm not sure where he'll be sleeping when he gets back, but I'm not too worried. I've moved in and made the room mine and feel right at home!

Christmas was pretty quiet around here - just the way I like it. I have to say, I don't miss the consumerism of a North American Christmas one bit. Christmas here is not stressful in any way. I did come down with a cold a couple days before, so I did end up spending most of my time curled up under my covers in my bed, but the forced rest and relaxation was wonderful. Since the internet was down for a few days after Christmas, I got an extended vacation too - I'm not complaining one bit!

I trust you all had a joyous Christmas and I wish you God's blessings for the New Year! Everyone here is looking forward to the new year with anticipation. We all see 2010 as a year with "anpil pwoblems" (a lot of problems) and believe that 2011 will be better. I pray it is.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Good News Story from Haut Limbe

First Baby Born at Ebenezer Clinic, Haut-Limbe - by Tammi Biggs

Judeline Almonor gave birth at 12:05 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2010. Not only is this baby boy the first baby ever to be born at the Ebenezer Clinic, it is being coined as the first “cholera baby.” Judeline, from Limbe, came in to the clinic on Dec. 8 with cholera. While being treated, she started experiencing back pain. Judeline, already mother of two, was asked if she felt like she was going to have the baby. She calmly replied, “Yes.”

Dr. Manno had her moved to a separate area for her privacy. By this point, Judeline was experiencing contractions 2-3 minutes apart and was dilated to 6 cm. “You would have never known it, though, because she hardly made a sound!” Nurse Travis commented.

Nurse Travis described the next few minutes as follows: “We went to grab a birthing kit. When I got back, I lifted the sheet, saw water and the baby was crowning. In the next moment, I was catching the baby! It was that fast.”

Elio, a young man serving as a translator at the Cholera Center said, “The mom was so strong. She didn’t even make a noise. We just looked and ‘she spit the baby out!’” (A common Haitian expression)

The baby has a good set of lungs and seems to be a healthy eater. There is little chance that the baby will contract cholera and steps have been taken to reduce this risk.

In the midst of so much sickness and even death, it is a welcomed gift of God to be able to share in the joy of new life as we celebrate the birth of this beautiful baby boy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I am in Haiti...

I realize that I haven't updated since I left Haiti a couple of weeks ago for vacation in Florida. Well, I'm back! After a delightful, much needed vacation in Florida with my family, I came back to Haiti on Saturday, November 27. Since getting back, things have not slowed down at all.

The Monday after I returned, my very good friend Shauna arrived with her family to prepare for her wedding this past Saturday. It was great to reconnect with her and help prepare for the big day. We even got to spend a night in Cap at a snazzy hotel, get pedicures, manicures, eyebrows waxed, hair done... all those fun things that help a girl feel somewhat normal in this crazy country. The wedding was wonderful - the bride and groom were happy and all the guests had a good time. It was nice to be transported from the daily goings on of the clinic and hospital.

The Tuesday after i returned, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) showed up to start setting up a Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) in Limbe. With that, they will hope to treat the majority of cholera patients in the area, which will help provide much relief to our clinic. However, with their arrival, they also required accommodations, so our house is now full of a bunch of MSF workers ( 8 or 10 at a time). It's a bit crowded, but they are going to be around for 2 months, so I better get used to it.

The election was on November 29. Any reports I heard were that there was a lot of voter fraud, some violence outside polling stations, many people couldn't find their names on the voter list, there weren't enough ballots, etc.... not a transparent election at all. Last night they announced the 2 front runners - one of which is the candidate that the current president supports. The population is up in arms - they know that it is not possible. Protests started in Port last night and word is there is trouble in Cap as well today. Best advice, stay put and wait it out. The runoff is scheduled for January 16.

And finally, some big news, for me anyways.... I'm engaged! This April, I will be marrying Calvin Christolin. Cal is one of the accountants at Ebenezer Clinic. He's from Haut Limbe and we are looking forward to continue to serve at the clinic and the community of Haut Limbe together.