Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pinterest craft

So...some of you may or may not know, I now work night shift at the hospital (7pm-7am). I've been so absent from my blog lately and it's kind of a reflection on how absent I feel in life. I literally am up all night and asleep all day.

So when I was looking at crafts on Pinterest (I'd let you follow me, but I have my real name on there...sorry!) I decided to make this. I saw a really cute owl cartoon and couldn't resist. The idea is that you paint the bottom layer a solid color and then place the stencil (owl cutout) and sticker letters over top and spray paint it. Then when you remove the stencil and stickers, you have the background color peeking through. Then I decorated my owl with puffy paint to give him character.

Just had to share!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Sometimes sobbing on the kitchen floor is where I have my best conversations with God.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

So this week is Chelsea's 100th week of Ten on Tuesday. Join in to participate in her giveaway!
1. How do you take your coffee?
With flavored syrup (or flavored cream), half/half, and sugar. Or anything Starbucks, basically.
2. Do you prefer soft or crispy chocolate chip cookies?
Warm, soft, and gooey. Yum!
3. Do you wear a belt everyday?
I used to. Like no joke, wore a belt on my jeans daily. Now I don't. Who knows why.
4. What is your favorite color combination?
Blue, green, and brown. Tis awesome.
5. Do you like sour candy?
Sure. Once went through a whole bag of warheads at a friends birthday party once. We were bouncing off the walls.
6. How often do you do laundry?
Ehh...every 2-3 weeks. I own lots of underwear and have no problem wearing jeans and t-shirts on a regular basis.
7. Did you ever wear braces?
Yes, when I was in 2nd grade. Not for my teeth really, but for my jaw alignment.
8. Are you good at Roman Numerals?
Sure, I guess.
9. What is your favorite form of social media?
Facebook? Perhaps Twitter.
10. How do you feel about chin dimples?
Just another variation in human appearance that points back to the image of God.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Joining in for Ten on Tuesday again this week. Check out Roots and Rings to join in, too!
1. eat chocolate covered grasshoppers or this freaky squid thing?
I'm slightly bemused by the squid thing; almost curious enough to want to see it in person. However, I'm generally not a fan of seafood so I'm thinking raw squid is probably not for me. I've already been there, done that, got the pin for eating a chocolate covered grasshopper. I'm not exactly aching to do it again but I suppose that would be my choice.
2. never see another movie or never watch TV again?
Pretty much my life already: I don't have cable. Granted I do watch some shows online, but I'm way too hooked on movies to give 'em up!
3. be a superhero with a lame power or a supervillain with an awesome power?
Superhero with a lame power. Even a lame power is a power. If it meant I could flush the toilet with my mind, hey, it's more than I have now!
4. eat only salty snacks for the rest of you life, or only sweet snacks?
Oh gosh, I have a super sweet tooth so sweet snacks. Besides, doctors are always trying to convince people to cut down on their sodium intake, anyway.
5. never read another book or never hear another song?
Oh man. I'd like to say neither on this one but I'll refrain. This might be a loophole but let's go with never read another book - listen to them on tape!! Haha. I love music too much.
6. be a whale carcass remover or a sewer inspector?
Well this one is easy. I quite like whales. Sad that it'd be dead but still kinda cute in an oddly stinky kind of way. But if you want to see the not-so-wise way of removing a beached whale, check out this video. Now that is icky!!! Plus, imagine the diseases one would encounter as a sewer inspector. NO thank you.
7. have no electricity or no running water?
Hard one. I think I'd go with no running water. Having experienced both situations in Haiti, I think I'd prefer to keep my fan running (and charge my laptop, of course!) even if it means bucket showers and "doing business" in a hole in the ground.
8. be a dog or a cat?
Oh dear. Let's just make this simpler and say be MY dog or MY cat. My dog is ridiculously dumb. I like to call him pea brain, lovingly of course. My cat has the whole family whipped. She gets let in and out as she desires, she gets fed when she wants to be, and even lets you know when she's done having you pet her. My fluffers is quite ornery but she's my baby and she is treated quite well! I'd be her.
9. always be hot or always be cold?
Hate this question! I tend to get cold easily and generally like the room I'm in to be warmer than other people do. However, being hot just makes me sweaty and fainting-prone. And you can always add layers when you're cold. But who wants to wear a parka to bed? Can I just say "moderately warmish" and call it a day?
10. be forced to watch all 3 High School Musicals on an endless loop, or the Twilight movies?
I've never EVER had any interest in High School Musical. High school is bad enough, must you add singing and cheesy dialogue to it? Twilight (though I never thought I'd say it) actually has some minor substance to it...if you count the he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not scenario "substance". Plus I can just make fun of the terrible acting and call it a day. =)

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 years ago today

Well, yesterday really. September 11, 2011 seems like an eternity ago; nearly half my life! Yes, folks, I had just turned 12 on the day the twin towers crumbled and New York fell apart. I don't know what it is about major life and death events that make people so keen to reflect, contemplate, and re-live but that's what everyone is doing today. Is this what people do on the 10, 20, or 50 year anniversaries of things like the bombing of Hiroshima, the Titanic sinking, D-Day in WWII, and the disaster at Chernobyl? Talk about where they were the exact minute something big happened, such and such occurred, and so and so died? Heck, my parents can still recount what they were doing and where they were when Kennedy got shot. I can't even fathom being more involved in the situation; it hurts to take on these massive emotions of other people. So I'll retell my story...'cause that's what people do, right?

When the first plane hit, I didn't know about it at all. I was walking to the bus stop to go to middle school, oblivious as can be. I remember walking into home room with Ms. Schmidtmann and nobody was talking. The TV was on but that was normal because morning announcements would start soon. But as I glanced at it I immediately knew something was not right. A plane was flying into a building, and another building was smoking. I was highly confused. Was this a movie? Then my teacher started talking about what happened while we were being transported to school and we all stared wide eyed at the screen. I had just barely gotten there in time to catch live footage of the second crash. We did nothing that day. We went to all of our classes but no teachers even tried to teach. We just kept watching replay after replay of the horrific "accidents" and slowly learning that it wasn't an accident at all, but an attack. I got home from school and immediately turned the TV on there. Mom rushed into the living room and told me to go watch in her bedroom; she didn't want my 5 year old brother seeing it. The whole house was somber that evening but I remember asking a jillion questions. Yes, it is true, I had no prior knowledge of the Twin Towers.

Other things I found out about that day:
1) George Bush Jr. (then president) was actually speaking at an elementary school in my hometown when it happened. He knew about the first "accident" before he went into the classroom but one of his advisers whispered the news of the second crash and "America is under attack" while he was reading a childrens book to a classroom of 2nd graders. In order to not alarm the students, he continued on to finish the book but hastily left afterwards to be whisked away into a secure holding room to keep him safe.
2) While I was working for the VA last year, curiosity struck me and I asked about their perception of the attacks. I was informed that the hospital was placed on lock down and there were snipers posted on the roof tops. This shocked me for some reason but I suppose it makes sense.

I will never forget this day. It's an important day to remember. But I think the months and years afterward is what deserves memorializing even moreso.

So in ALL of these events that afflict human kind, lets remember caring, cleaning up, risking, loving, reaching, helping, growing, and healing. It's not America vs the world; it's not even America vs terrorists that matters. As Paul Farmer once said, "The only real nation is humanity. I would argue that it would be God's Kingdom but that's a whole 'nother story.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It's that time again...when I randomly link up with Chelsea's Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your favorite brand of shoes?
Oh man! So many! See my shoe post for more details.
Flip flops- Kinos
Sandals - Chacos
Sneakers (aka my nursing shoes) - New Balance or Asics.
Running shoes - Vibram FiveFingers
2. How old were you when you learned to tie your shoes?
Probably some time in Kindergarten. I remember being scolded (which was probably just a gentle encouragement, in reality) by my teacher for asking her to tie my shoes all the time.
3. How do you feel about freckles?
Love them! Don't have many myself...mostly just a random smattering on my arms and legs.
4. I can count to ten in ___ languages.
Four. English, Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole.
5. What is your favorite store-bought ice cream flavor?
Hmmm. I love me some Blue Bell Mint Chocolate (on sale of course!). But really, Mint Choc Chip is my go to flavor, no matter the brand.
6. Were you in ballet or gymnastics as a little girl?
I was in gymnastics for several years and LOVED IT! I wish I had stuck with it for a little longer; my flexibility is severely lacking. But at 5' 9" I'm pretty sure I'm way too tall to be competitive, anyway.
7. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
Grover! My mom used to have a big board we used to do puzzles on with a picture of Grover. And we had a life-size Grover doll that was my mom's as a kid, I think. He definitely holds the most memories for me.
8. What’s your bedtime?
Whenever I'm tired. Over the summer it was 12 or 1am. Now that I'm working 12s, I've been going to bed at 10 or 11.
9. Do you have any jewelry that you wear every single day?
My earrings. In my lobes I have my mom's gold studs from when she first pierced her ears in college. In cartilage I have a hoop (R ear) and a bar (L ear). I also have my watch on 99.99% of the time.
10. Who is the bug killer in your household?
Me! After taking that bug class before I graduated, I got quite used to creepy crawly bugs. Now my roommates call me when they spy an icky bug they can't get. Not to say I like it but I don't mind it.

Friday, August 19, 2011


God is breaking me.

It has been a rough summer, to say the least. I've lost a number of family members due to various medical issues. My life plans A, B, and C have been ripped from my grasp. I moved out of my apartment without a clue as to where I'd be living for this next year; I was essentially homeless. I've struggled with immense loneliness and depression. I've fought with my best friend and had my heart broken. My eyes have seen many tears. I've skipped church more than I've gone. I've been fighting God.

Last night in the midst of gasping-for-air sobbing, I finally opened my Bible. I hadn't even unpacked it since early August, much  less read it any time recently.

I randomly flipped to Psalm 55 and then to Isaiah 3. Reading these passages just caused me to calm down immensely. Especially Isaiah 3:1. "For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water;...". And my commentary in my ESV study bible says this: God takes away whatever keeps his people from him, but only in order that they might enjoy his glory. It suggests severe deprivation (bread and water).

So God has been taking these things, which are good things, until I pursue Him. He knew I was running so He was taking away all the things I was running toward until I finally realized my complete depravity and desperate need for Him.

Now I can't say everything is hunky dory. I definitely still need to fight through some things and actively remember to read the Word or speak to the Father. It's not easy, especially after fighting it for so long. But it's a turning point. Turning to face God.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Linking up to Ten on Tuesday by Roots and Rings

1. Do you do laundry all at the same time or a load here and there?
I usually do it all at the same time...or at least the same day. Only on a rare occasion do I do loads here and there.
2. What kind of detergent do you use?
For a long time I used All small & mighty free and clear. But just recently I decided to give Tide a chance. I like it but I think I'll still switch back to All.
3. Do you use fabric softener?
4. Do you use dryer sheets?
5. Do you iron your own clothes or take them to a cleaner to get pressed?
I iron clothes maybe once a year. I like a low-maintenance wardrobe.
6. Do you like heavy starch or light starch?
Starch? Who starches their clothes anymore?
7. Do you wash all your laundry at once or separate it?
Eh, it depends. I usually just throw it all in. But sometimes I'll separate out towels and jeans because I don't want the rougher materials beating up my clothes more than necessary.
8. How do you separate it? By people or by colors?
Texture, I guess. And sometimes by color.
9. What clothes get hung up and what goes in drawers?
I hang shirts, dresses, and jackets. Everything else gets folded and placed (read: shoved messily) into drawers.
10. Do you use plastic, wire, or wooden hangers? Do they all match?
Plastic hangers. I despise those stupid good-for-nothing wire hangers! Mine are mostly white but I have random colorful ones that I got from my mom's house. Shhhh, don't tell her! ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My broken but beating heart

So...despite this post right here in which I make my future seem sure and solid, I do not know things. One of the things that I didn't know when typing that post is that a week and a half later I was to receive an email rescinding the offer for me to come to Haiti. I was not provided details as to why - I was merely told point blank.


So there it is: the news I've been avoiding blogging about, telling people about, and thinking about. But it's time. Time to rip off the bandaid that I slapped over my wounds and expose my broken heart to the world.

I've gone through a range of emotions - sadness, confusion, anger, bitterness - none of which I really want to detail out on my blog. But I do want to share the peace that has come out of crying out to God. It has taken many good friends and wise counsel for me to see God's goodness. No, I may not tangibly see the "good" yet but I'm ever reminded of His promises. And in faith, that is enough for now. His ways are not my ways. He knows the plans He has for me. He promises to continue the work He has begun in me unto completion.

So I take my broken but beating heart and I move forward. I seek His face and count it all joy. Joy a midst the sorrow. I do not know yet exactly where I am going or what I'll be doing but I know that in it all, I'll never be alone - my Savior will be with me every step of the way.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shoes shoes shoes

I would never consider myself a "shoe person".  You know those stereotypical women who have a zillion shoes - mostly fancy high heels to go with their posh lifestyle and posh outfits. That's so not me. But I'm realizing that in another way, I actually am a shoe person.

I have a few high heels but they get one maybe once a year. I'm just too dang tall to wear them. Plus they hurt my feet, my knees, and my legs. Pain is not beauty in my eyes, that's for sure! Give me flip flops or give me death! Just kidding.

So how am I a shoe person, you ask? I have some unique shoes. They all have different looks, purposes, and styles. And I love them all!

My unique shoe collection began many many moons ago with a pair of Kinos. If you have heard of them, I'll give you a cookie. Or not. But they are a sandal/flip flop company in Key West, Fl. It used to be that you had to buy them straight from their sweatshop store in KW but now they have an online order thingy. I think that's cheating. My first pair were black Australiano flip flops bought directly from the store. They lasted me SIX years of almost daily use before they finally died. On my most recent trip to KW, I purchased two more pairs. I have a new brown pair of the Australiano (they don't make them in black anymore) and a seafoam blue pair of Lili flip flops. They're still pretty darn cheap but back in the day, you could get a pair for anywhere between $5 and $10. Love them!!

Taken in Gainesville, FL

Next came my TOMS. I'm pretty sure almost everyone has heard of TOMS by this point, but they're definitely still unique. I hopped on the bandwagon early with my one and only pair of TOMS. They're olive green and green/blue plaid. Again, they don't make this color anymore. They're super super comfy - feels like wearing slippers all day! But I wore them once in a torrential downpour and they haven't been the same since. They don't get a lot of use anymore, due to said water issue, but I'll still kick around in them from time to time. Plus, my purchase provided another someone in need with a new pair of shoes - how can you beat that?

Taken in Northern Wisconsin

Up next are my Chacos. They are probably my current favorite pair of shoes. I like to refer to them as my all-terrain sandals. They were on my feet for 2 weeks straight in Haiti (even in the shower!). They've held up to hiking, biking, river fording, and tons of walking on campus. One of my friends backpacked around Europe with only her Chacos! They're super adjustable with a single strap that weaves through the shoe...and they're is plenty of arch support for you over-pronators out there. There will always be debates about Tevas vs Keens vs Chacos and I'm hands-down on the Chaco side, all the way!

Taken in an airplane

Taken in Les Cayes, Haiti.

My newest addition to my shoe collection, and what is currently on my feet, are Vibram Five Finger Sprints. I've had them for 2 days so far and pretty much love them! They were definitely a bandwagon and impulse buy but so far I'm satisfied. My best friend has two pairs and finally convinced me they're not as silly as they look. My first ridiculously short run in them (to break them in) has left me with painfully sore calves but I've heard that's normal when learning to barefoot run.

Do you, my fair readers, own any of the above shoes? Do you have any unique shoes that you absolutely love? Any must-have shoes that never leave your feet? I wanna know...though my wallet might not ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is this real life?

Despite my previous post and me having the faith smaller than a teaspoon, I am on the road to Haiti. Thanks be to God!

Many of you know about my most recent trip to Haiti. For those who don't, please read these here four posts but also know that I was traveling primarily to learn about the organization (MTI) that I might be spending 10 months working with. The Lord taught me a great number of things in those short two weeks I was there. I faced some gigantic decisions that seemed insurmountable. But here I am, ME...planning to move to Haiti in August.

Had anyone asked me any number of years ago if I would be a missionary, I most certainly would have laughed in their face. I'm the queen of comfortable. I love air conditioning, hot showers, ice cream, and pillow-top mattresses. Oh and a bug-free home! And yet here I am, willing to happy to give these things up for this calling. A true testament of how God loves to break us from ourselves!

This next year will certainly bring great struggles and pains but I have no doubt that it will come with great joy and love. I will be living in Les Cayes, Haiti (on the southern peninsula) and working in the hospital at Cite Lumiere. In the back of the first floor is the PT/rehabilitation clinic in which I will work most often. Upstairs and in the front is the inpatient hospital, where I will see burn patients and do wound care, along with hopefully seeing/helping with a myriad of other things.

I will be working with teams from America but I will be, more excitedly, working with Haitian clinicians as well. I hope to spread the message of joy and hope to those that don't know it or don't understand it. I pray for God to be working and doing big things in Haiti. And I desire to be just a small part of that!

There still are many details to be hammered out. And the huge support raising task still looms in my future. But there it is folks. Haiti awaits. Is this real life?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Call me Jonah

Today, my name is Jonah.

God is telling me to go somewhere.
Literally, go to Haiti. It's not easy, it's not care-free, it's full of work, and pain, and hard lessons.

And I keep running.
I want to go somewhere that's easy and care-free. I don't want to face all of the people telling me I can't do it. I don't want to face my own fears and insecurities that are telling me I can't do it.

I need friends to throw me overboard. I need to be shaken out of my bubble.

Today, just as the sailors threw Jonah into the sea to face God and once again put his faith in Him, my friend is making me stop running. Making me stop and look up.

I have a confession. I'm scared. I worry. I melt into a puddle of tears so easily. I've strayed from the Word. My prayer life sucks. And I'm learning the hard way just how bad I am when I try to go it alone.

I sometimes almost always think I can take care of myself. I can plan my own life. I can do it without help. And it's times like these, when the big scary move-to-a-3rd-world-country things hit that I realize that I'm drowning without Him. I can run as hard and as fast as I can but I won't get anywhere.

So I stop and am dumped overboard in faith that I'll land in God's grace, even when I deserve to sink to the bottom. Just please God, let's avoid the big fish part - I don't even like seafood!

Off to Nineveh Haiti I go!
~ Jonah KEZ

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back to it?

So I've ended up with a decent amount of "spare time" on my hands lately - working nights and having friends who are busy during the daytime. With all of this time I've been doing a whole lot of NOT cleaning my room, which is still a disaster area and half-unpacked from Haiti. TV doesn't capture my attention for very long and Facebook can only be refreshed so many times before I go crazy.

So I'm officially un-officially blowing the dust off of my blog and getting back to it. I recently stumbled upon and was inspired by Taryn at A Peine For Your Thoughts. I just wish I were even a smidgen as funny as she is. Guys, I just am boring! Inspired yet boring - what a conundrum!

So what's a young, not a wife, not a mom, not a anything (yet) girl to write about? I can only write about my cat so many times before people start calling me the old cat lady of the future...though the title might be deserved! ;) I can't update you on future Haiti plans, quite yet, though I promise that I will update you as soon as I can! My photography skills still suck and I'm sure you don't want to look at pictures of inanimate objects while I figure out all of the newfangled buttons and knobs, anyway. Hmmm...

Hope I come up with something, soon! But in the mean time, here's a penny for your thoughts! Ha!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Something to look at

So I graduated recently, right? And apparently people give you gifts for graduating college - who knew? So my wonderful parents kept asking me what I wanted as a graduation present. I really had no clue. I'm bad about asking for things - if I like or want something I usually wait until it's on sale and buy it for myself...or I feel guilty asking for it and just live without it. I batted around a few small ideas and we landed on an SLR camera. I've wanted a new camera for a while - I got my one and only digital point and shoot camera 8 years ago. But SLR cameras are pricey and I felt bad. But after lots of hunting on Ebay and Craigslist, my daddy found the right deal and bought my camera!

So I'm learning about the features and practicing different effects on my family and pets. I'm even guilty of wandering through Mck's blog for tips and ideas. Sigh.

But I wanted to share a few of my pictures...the ones that turned out a bit on the better side of bad. ;)

Puppy on the patio

Momma laughing

Sly kitty

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haiti Part 4 (Final Installment)

Well, folks, this is the last installment for now. My Haiti journey is far from over but these last few stories wrap this trip up.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday brought us back to the clinic. I found my niche as "keeper of the charts" and maintained organization - more like organized chaos. I helped with the patients, to the capacity that I could, and spent the time in between, chatting. Our translators:



Our translators, Bertho, Rony, and Joe were awesome. They were a wealth of knowledge and I loved chatting with them and learning about their lives, their goals and aspirations, their faith, and of course about their culture. It felt like we spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting Haiti and America. We talked about churches, solid doctrine and about voodoo. We talked about marriage and wedding ceremonies. We talked about styles of dress. It was really interesting to unravel more and more information from the story that makes up Haiti. They were all excited to learn of my prospect of coming back. And I'm excited to call them friends! They really are zanmi mwen (my friends)!

When it was slow in the afternoons (we had 2 regular afternoon patients - that's it!) we had some time to goof around and have fun. We taught each other some idioms. They got a kick out of "having a ball". We all tried to rub our bellies and pat our heads. And I taught them the cup game. And much to my mother's chagrin, Rony even showed me what it's like to ride a moto (motorcycles are taxi's in Haiti) in Haiti - very scary and very fun. I'm fairly certain I screamed over half the way home - sorry Rony!

Our patients were mostly the same ones we had been seeing - only a few new ones. We continued to see progress being made and joy oozing from their ear-to-ear grins. Though, I should note, some Haitians don't smile for pictures (even when we ask  them to). It is thought that photos are supposed to be formal and serious and not a smiling occasion. Boy would my facebook be devoid if I only posted formal and serious photos!!

On Monday night I was blessed to have a conversation with MariJo, one of the wonderful women who works in Dr. June's house. By this point I was comfortable holding a very simple and slow conversation in Creole. I was just asking her a few questions about the book she was reading and about her hair - she had recently undone her braids. And while we were talking she offered to do my hair! Now you should all know that MariJo is a bilateral femur amputee and also a partial left hand amputee. She has no legs and only has a thumb and pointer finger on her left hand. I was curious about how this would work but I had seen her around the house and knew she was a very capable and self-sufficient woman so I figured she'd find a way to braid even my "silky white people hair". Sure enough, she did and it turned out great! It lasted two days before the braids came loose and started to look like a rats nest.

Tuesday night we had a big dominoes game. Haitians LOVE dominoes. And they're really competitive. There's so much strategy and "card counting" involved. I really couldn't play very well but I still enjoyed hanging out and playing along. The only problem was that when you lose, you have to clip clothespins on your body (hands, arms, or face/ears). And let me tell you, these were new clothespins that really had some grip to them. OUCH! I lost a lot but since I was a beginner they went easy on my clothespin punishments. =)

Wednesday night was supposed to be missionary church. I actually really wanted to go but we heard some thunder booming a little ways off and the group collectively decided trudging up the hill in the rain was not a good idea. BUT...the rain never came. The thunder stayed off in the distance and eventually went away entirely. But by this point we would have been quite unfashionably late for missionary church. So what did we do instead? Why we went on a tarantula hunt, of course!! We donned our headlamps and checked our heebie jeebies at the door. We were 5 women on a mission! We walked along the road and looked along the cliffs and ditches to see what we could see. We actually found 6 adult tarantulas, 2 babies, and a dead one. Fortunately we met up with a Haitian friend of Kelly's and he helped us capture one! We named him Henry and we all felt confident enough to take a mini photoshoot with him - as long as he stayed within the confines of his glass jar.

How Henry thinks I feel about him

How I really feel about Henry

What an adventure on my last night in Les Cayes, right? Yes, I'm sad to say this was my last night there. The next morning we had a 5am departure scheduled in order to drive back to PaP in order to catch our flights on Friday. Well apparently that thunderstorm came back with a vengeance because in the middle of the night a huge storm rolled in and dumped a ton of water on our little tin roof. Our 5am departure got pushed to 6am, then to 7am, and we eventually left at 8:30am once the rain had calmed down. Dr. June had some errands and meetings to go to on our drive back (at various "villes" outside PaP) so our drive took a while but it was still fun. I'm happy to say that I stayed in the back the whole time and didn't get car sick at all! Once we got into PaP, we took a different route through the city than we had on the way down. We passed some big slums (not Cite Soleil, though) and many many tent cities that are slowly becoming slums themselves, sadly. MariJo traveled with us (she is currently finishing out a 2 week visit the States with Dr. June) and she told us a bit about her childhood. She grew up in Cite Soleil with 11 brothers and sisters and an absentee dad. She told us she loves working with Dr. June but only gets to see her mom and siblings once a year, or so. My heart broke for her but at the same time I was praising God for delivering such a beautiful soul out of Cite Soleil and  offering her a chance to learn and work and know Him.

I have tons of pictures of the slums but I've decided not to post them anywhere online. The tent cities are already plastered in the news and blogs everywhere. But I really feel that you need to go and see the slums (and the rest of Haiti) for yourself. A five minute journey down the road will open a window into a whole 'nother world - one that will shake you to your core. One day, if I get the chance and feel peace with doing so, I would like to visit Cite Soleil or any other slum in Haiti for a day. I might not be able to do much but I can visit, I can talk, and I can learn. Sometimes a friendly face is all they need to know they are loved and there is hope in God.

For the rest of my pictures and many more mini-stories that I've not blogged about here, you can visit my picasa album. Feel free to comment and ask questions. And stay tuned - my Haiti journey is far from over!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Haiti Part 3

Thursday and Friday had us back at the clinic. We found a groove and worked, hopefully, to the glory of God. =) Pictures speak louder than words...

All of our patients worked really hard. Most of them have never received physical therapy before coming to our clinic so they love coming. They get to re-learn how to use their muscles to walk, sit, or even squeeze a foam ball. I'm sure anyone who has been to PT before will tell you that it is a TON of work but SO rewarding. The smiles on our patients faces at the end of the day makes me know that they're enjoying their therapy - or at least a little attention and TLC. =)

Although we had only worked two days since our last day off (thanks to Flag Day) we were still all exhausted and happy for a weekend. Really this just meant we got to stay in the workshop and help the orthotist and prosthetist fill, strip, and modify their casts/leg molds.

Don't worry, though, we still found lots of time for fun! On Saturday I went on a walk to my missionary friends' house. They only live about a mile away from Dr. June's house where I was staying. My friend and I walked up the hill, past the clinic, and around the corner. We came to a fork in the road and we didn't know which way to go. I asked (in my very poor Creole) an older man who was sitting in the shade if he knew where they lived. With lots of gesturing we decided which way we should go and we continued on our way. Not long after that fork, we came to another small intersection. I recognized the RMI guest house (where I had stayed for one night on my previous trip to Haiti). I knew exactly where I was but just didn't know where to go. My friend called her friend who knew the area but he didn't answer. We were very downtrodden. It was hot and we were semi-lost. The only thing we could do was turn back. After walking just a few short paces and redialing her friend's number a half-dozen times, he finally picked up. He knew exactly where we needed to go. PTL! We headed down the correct path and came to the missionary housing area. We asked a few MKs who were outside playing which house was theirs and we finally found it! I was very thankful to have found their house and for the chance to sit in the shade and talk a while. Friends and familiar faces are always a welcome respite when traveling in a foreign country. God always knows what we need and sends wonderful people to encourage us!

After our walk we got back to the house and worked in the shop some more. I must not have looked busy (I'm not a good orthotist, apparently) so Cerafin invited me to bring food to some hospital patients. In Haiti, hospitals generally do not provide food (or personal hygiene care). Some hospitals don't even offer medicines - family members must go buy it and bring it back for the hospital to administer it. Anyway, there are a few patients who are in the hospital and don't have family with them. They have been long-standing rehab patients who have grown to know Dr. June. Thus, she sends breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the hospital for two patients, daily. Cerafin is usually the food delivery boy and I was happy to be invited along. Though I had been in Haiti nearly a week by then, this was the first time I had gone upstairs to the hospital. The setting met my expectations (though I must confess they weren't very high) but I definitely had no way to prepare myself for the smell. It wasn't unbearable but it definitely made you cringe a bit upon entry. We chatted a while...actually I sat there and looked around while Cerafin chatted. He doesn't speak English so it's not like he could translate for me. We witnessed a very sad event (which was also confusing for me since I wasn't exactly sure what was going on at first...considering I speak and understand very little Creole). But Cerafin stuck with me so all was good.

Sunday greeted us nice and early. We awoke to the beautiful sounds of the church choir practicing. It was a nice background to get ready and eat breakfast to. The church service was beautiful. There's so much energy and you can really see their joy come alive. It didn't matter that there were several hundred people cramped into a stifling hot room, they came to worship the King...and worship they did! It made me smile as I bobbed to the the beat and worshiped God in my different/American way. I may feel awkward raising my hands and crying out loud but I certainly appreciate their desire to do so...and that they shirk all fear of awkward-ness. Maybe one day I'll get over that.

After church we went on a hike. We made our way along the river and saw many people swimming, bathing, washing clothes, and washing cars. It was actually funny to see it all occurring in the same area. We also climbed some mango trees to get a few mangoes and found a very large and funny fruit/gourd thing that the Haitians call a calbas.

Cerafin helped me cut and empty out my fruit/gourd thing (like a pumpkin). I wanted to dry it out and try to make bowls. Apparently it wasn't ripe yet because it dried all wonky. Oh well, I'll have to try again another time!

Cerafin is such a ham. He loves to goof off...especially at the expense of my poor little calbas bowl.
To Be Continued...