Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cholera Update

Just one year after it was discovered in Haiti and just shy of a year of when Eben-ezer Clinic accepted its first patient, cholera is on the rise again.

Since November of last year, the Eben-ezer Clinic cholera treatment centre (CTC) has treated approximately 3,000 patients. After the initial outbreak, the number of cases began to decrease steadily in the new year and by March or April, the CTC was treating less than 10 patients a day. Over the spring and summer months, the CTC remained open to treat 3 or 4 patients per day with staff from Eben-ezer Clinic and nurses provided by the Ministry of Public Health in Haiti.

In the past couple of weeks, the number of cases began to increase to about 20 by last week. Over this weekend, the numbers surged and we are currently treating 60 patients.

We cannot do this alone. Over the past year, we have received generous financial support from several organizations and individuals in Canada, the United States as well as Doctors without Borders and the Haitian Government and we are grateful. To continue to operate the CTC and provide quality care, we are asking again for your financial support.

We need to increase the number of nurses and support staff in the CTC to ensure quality of care for our patients. Cholera is a treatable disease if caught early enough and given the proper attention.

The Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, one of Eben-ezer Clinic’s partners, is accepting donations for cholera relief.

To make a donation by cheque, please make it payable to: Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada PO Box 34025, RPO Fort Richmond Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5

Please include a note that it is for Haiti Cholera Relief.

To donation online, please follow the link http://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=s12866 and designate your gift to “Haiti Clinic” from the drop down box and write “cholera relief” in the comment box.

Tax receipts will be provided.

Please pray for the patients and as well as the staff and board of Eben-ezer Clinic as we face this challenge again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Plan

First of all, I may be a bit crazy for making a "plan" - I do live in Haiti after all. Planning is not part of the culture here, and if it does happen, it rarely works out the way you intended. But, I have made a plan.

Next weekend, Cal and I will go over to Santiago for a few days. The main reason for the trip is to get my passport stamped (I have to leave the country every 90 days) so that I'm legal. The secondary reason is to have a "break" from Haiti. Even though the DR and Haiti share the same island, they seem to be worlds apart in many respects. Going to Santiago for a few days gives me back a bit of sanity and normalcy - smooth roads, traffic lights, fully stocked grocery stores, hair salons, restaurants, fast internet, 24 hour electricity and a hot shower.

Since I've been in Haiti, I've been making the trip over to the DR every few months and it has been wonderful. Anyways, we are planning to go next weekend. But, before we go, I have a plan. Cal and I never really "dated" while we were dating. A date for us was going to the bank in Limbe on his motorcycle and having a cold drink afterwards - exciting stuff. So, we're going to have a date! It's Cal's birthday on Saturday, our 6 month wedding anniversary on Sunday, it'll soon be the 1 year anniversary of our engagement and since we never really celebrated my birthday together (it was in July) we are going to celebrate - I think there are enough events to justify it.

Since we will be taking the bus from Cap to Santiago next Friday am, instead of waking up early to be there at 8 am, we are going to go to Cap on Thursday afternoon and get a hotel for the night! We are going to go for a nice supper at a nice restaurant and eat ice cream! I'm going to have a hot shower, Cal can watch cable tv. I may even go get my nails done. Oh the excitement!!

Yep, that's the plan. We'll see if it works!

Friday, October 14, 2011

When the abnormal becomes normal

I finished reading Kathie Klarreich's Madame Dread last week. A very interesting read that I can relate to a lot. Kathie came to Haiti in the late 80s and ended up staying to work as a journalist for American media. At one point in the book, after she has lived in Haiti for awhile and visits home in U.S., she reflects on how some things about her life in Haiti used to be abnormal all of the sudden seem normal and she only realizes it when its placed in contrast with her American life.

There are many times that I forget how "abnormal" life is here for me and it is only when I go back to Canada or when we have visitors here to point things out that I remember what my "normal" life is like. I read a funny comment by another missionary in Haiti the other day. He said "I looked out the window and thought I saw someone walking a dog with a leash and I though it was strange. But then I realized it was a goat, and it seemed normal."

Here are some examples of things that now are "normal" to me:

  • Eating spaghetti for breakfast (I don't do it often, but it doesn't weird me out)
  • Putting toilet paper in a waste basket rather than flushing it down the toilet.
  • The smell of Klorox.
  • Goats, chickens, dogs roaming the streets with no apparent owner.
  • A stray dog running down the aisle of the church during the service.
  • Drinking Coke from a glass bottle.
  • Waiting in line at the bank for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Carrying any purchase or item in a black plastic bag.
  • Leaving parboiled meat in a pot on the counter for 3 days, and then eating it.
  • Buying processed meats like salami or hotdogs from vendors that have no refrigeration and the meat has been sitting in the sun all day.
  • Storing eggs on the counter, rather than the refrigerator.
  • Drinking water out of a little, plastic bag.
  • Seeing 4 or more people on a motorcycle
  • Hearing a radio ad for a bus station who's biggest selling point is their washroom.
  • People sitting on the streets, hanging out, all the time.
  • Piling 7 people in the extended cab of a small truck.
  • Planning my workday based on the availability of electricity.
  • Changing money on the street.
  • Greeting people with a kiss on the cheek.
  • Driving one hour to eat ice cream.
  • No traffic rules.
  • Unfinished buildings, everywhere.
  • Carrying my own supply of toilet paper for any outing.
  • Eating oranges, Haitian style.
  • Bringing my own chair to church.
  • Bucket showers.
  • Making supper by kerosene lantern.
  • Never standing under a mango tree from May to July.
  • Listening to Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys or Michael Bolton almost everyday.
  • Finding ants in your oatmeal and eating it anyway.
  • Saying "amen" after the choir sings in church.
The list could go on and on.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

If she only knew...

So yesterday Cal, Sendie and two other boys who are deaf from our community made a safe trip to and from Gonaives to meet with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to be fitted with hearing aids. The Starkey foundation often have celebrity volunteers with them and yesterday I happened upon a news release saying that Miley Cyrus was on a mission with them in Haiti right now. I had sent my camera with Cal to take pictures, so when he got back, I searched through them to see what I could find. And guess what, low and behold, there is Sendie with Miley Cyrus!

I love that neither Cal or Sendie had a hot clue that they met one of the most famous teen stars in America yesterday. I don't know much about Miley's personal or professional life right now, but I do have to give her credit for her work with Starkey and coming to Gonaives (a hot, dusty city) in Haiti and giving some of her time to help out. I can't speak about her motives, but I do know that in coming here, she was not swamped by adoring fans as no one here knows who she is. It's nice to know that there are some places in the world where celebrities are still just regular people!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


What's going on???

Well, Sendie is on her way to Gonaives with Cal (for the 2nd time in 2 weeks - long story) to meet with the Starkey Foundation to fit her for hearing aids! So exciting, especially since school just started this week and these will help her immensely! I think i saw a press release saying Miley Cyrus is with the foundation in Haiti right now. Hmm - doubt many people here know who she is! Please pray for everyone making the trip as the road from here to Gonaives is quite frankly horrible and goes through 2 mountain passes.

I've been busy contacting potential groups who will be visiting in the next 6 months. It looks like we'll have a number of groups coming and it'll be busy. Pray for all those that will be coming and all of us here that will be receiving them.

The number of cholera patients being admitted has risen lately - maybe because the amount of rain we have received in the past couple of months. Pray for the clinic as they make decisions as to the future of the cholera treatment centre as our funding is almost finished.

In happier news - we've had electricity 24/7 for the past week and a half due to EDH's (Haiti's electricity company) generosity and our inverter system! Yay for a cold fridge, a fan at night and lights! Small things make all the difference here!