Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Real Hope For Haiti Gives Me Real Hope.

In my time in Haiti I have had the blessing of meeting and forming relationships with many different mission groups. One has stood out to me far beyond the others.
Real Hope For Haiti is a clinic in Cazale that provides a variety of medical services to the surrounding communities. These services include, but are not limited to, health care education, preventative medicine, pre-natal care, primary care (including treatment of infectious diseases, hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, etc.), limited emergency services, minor surgeries, wound care, as well as limited lab services. The clinic also dispenses medicines required for the treatment of the illness that is presented. If the clinic is unable to treat a patient due to the complexity of the case or lack of resources, the clinic refers the patients to a larger regional health center.
Real Hope For Haiti also runs a rescue clinic which is a facility provided primarily for young children who are treated in the clinic and are diagnosed as having 2nd or 3rd degree malnutrition as determined by the United Nations. After the clinic nurses treat the patient and educate the parents/guardians on malnutrition, a decision is made with the parents/guardians of the malnourished child as to whether to admit them to the RC, which is an extended care facility. The RC is a place where these severely malnourished children receive 24 hour medical care and a regimented diet, until they are a proper weight and healthy enough to return home.
** information provided by http://www.realhopeforhaiti.org/?page_id=2
Currently 5 of our children are being treated at Real Hope For Haiti, you can read about them here. When the need was brought before them there was no hesitation as to weather they would help or not. They did not care that they were children from an orphanage, they saw a need and they stepped up to help. I can not tell you how much I have learned from the attitude of love and service that I have received from Lori and Licia. Knowing that those kids are in the very best place they could be is an incredible comfort to me.
One of our babies, Anel is currently at RHFH and is very sick. I am so glad that he is there receiving the care that they can give. Please, pray with me for Anel and Lori and Licia as they care for him.
Anel's First Smile Dec 2010 (3) Anel
Just a few months ago I read this post, written by Licia, that brought me to tears. I am so incredibly inspired by the compassion shown by this organization.
Today I hope you will take the time to visit their website and learn about the work that they do. Perhaps you will find it in your heart to make a financial donation to them. They are funded by the generosity of others and while many of us will never be able to do things as huge as they are, we are still called to serve. A can of formula to feed their children can be purchased for just $5.00, no amount is too small. Will you help provide for them today?
Visit Real Hope For Haiti to donate.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Haiti 80

I guess it’s time to tell my version of the story of the day that changed hundreds of lives. Quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of, and yet at the time it seemed so incredibly ordinary. Perhaps it came from the mixture of shock and exhaustion, both emotional and physical, but when I think back I can’t remember realizing just how huge that journey was. It’s incredible that it’s been an entire year. Almost unbelievable. I remember it so vividly. From the sound of the crying that filled the plane to the smell that filled the immigration room where we waited, it’s all so perfectly clear.

I arrived at the airport on January 20th on what was supposed to be a quick overnight trip to accompany 50 children from another orphanage on a flight into Miami. I had debated whether to go or not. I remember being terrified of what it was going to be like on that drive down. I remember slipping on my sunglasses and staring at my hands for most of the 45 min drive. I remember the internal struggle not to look out the window while at the same time being almost unable to tear my eyes away. I remember the shock of seeing the Caribbean Market. I remember seeing this.

The airport was like something out of a movie. We drove around the building to a gate guarded by a UN tower. We waved our American passports out the window of the car and were immediately led past the lines of people and inside. The entire runway looked like a war zone. There were helicopters and huge c130s landing and taking off and uniformed troops from Canada, the US buzzing everywhere. I remember shock over the short uniform shorts of the French men. I remember telling myself that this was real, over and over again, I felt that foggy feeling of being in a dream and knowing that I wasn’t.

We sat for several hours before the plane that was to take the children out landed. By the time they arrived we learned that the orphanage had already been evacuate on an earlier flight. Instead Moriah and Brandon prepared to return to GLA with the truckloads of relief supplies while I was asked to fly into Miami and help with the humanitarian parole efforts there. The choice still haunts me. I can’t say I wish I hadn’t gone, but I can’t believe I left. And I had no idea that when I did, I wouldn’t be coming back.

The next two days in Mami were a blur of phone calls, pacing the airport and panic attacks every time the building swayed with a landing plane. In all the days surrounding the earthquake these are the only that I don’t remember clearly. All I remember is hiding in the bathroom and crying, a lot. And hearing that on the morning after I left there was a 6.1 aftershock.

After 2 days in Miami we got the call that the children had been granted their humanitarian parole. We quickly arranged a flight in to pick them up.

In between the running I sent a text to my parents. It read, “ get some diapers, size 2 and get to Miami, your baby is coming tomorrow.”

From that second on the trip meant just a little more to me. I was bringing babies to their families and from that was built my very own. God works in amazing ways.

When we arrived in Port Au Prince it was dark. It felt like forever while we waited for them to open the door and lower the stairs. I waited, not to patiently, to step out and start breathing again.

I walked onto the tarmac and watched as van after van drove towards us. Each was filled to the brim with  wide eyed children. I prayed they would understand. I heard the nannies singing songs that were familiar and comforting. For as long as I live I will never forget the incredible strength in those women that night. As they smiled through their tears and proudly carried their babies to their new life, in those minutes I learned more about grace and love than ever before.

We sat on the runway for more than an hour before we were cleared to take off. We split up, 6 kids with one adult for each row. Those tiny little bodies seat belted into overwhelming seats. While we waiting we passed out cookies and water bottles and changed countless diapers. I watched the faces of the kids who understood and I was stopped in my tracks. What could they possibly be thinking.

When we finally landed in Miami we filed off of the plane and into a small immigration area. It took almost an hour for them to check each child against their file. When the last name was called I naively thought that we were finally done. I had no idea.

After the initial processing we were lead into a small, glass walled room where each of the children were processed by immigration officials. One by one, 81 flies were checked, 81 children were fingerprinted and 81 photos were taken. For 8 hours and 11 minutes we waited. No one had any idea that we would be in there for soooo long. The parents were waiting on the other side. 

Finally everyone was finished and we set out on the last leg of our journey. With a baby in my arms and a small hand held tight we walked those final steps. There were cameras and flashbulbs everywhere and I remember being incredibly annoyed. Why wouldn’t they just leave these kids alone, why couldn’t they just let them be.

When we arrived in the waiting room there were snacks and clothes for us to change the kids into . While Dixie spoke to the parents I took my last moments to hold “my babies” before they belonged  to someone else. As my tears began to well the children who were old enough gathered in a corner of the room and began to sing. They proclaimed the words that they had countless times before, goodbye my friend, pray for us.

Those welling tears began to fall. It was finally time. One by one I watched babies I had loved placed in the arms of someone who loved them too. One by one they went until finally, it was my turn. I took a precious 21 pound boy in my arms and brought him to parents who had waited and prayed for him. As I handed him to his new dad I didn’t quite let go, instead I wrapped my arms around both of them and soaked in this new version of the family I used to know.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear Little Girl

It’s not fair, the life you lived.

I am so sorry.

I’m sorry that you were hungry. I’m sorry that you were sick. I’m sorry that you were lonely. I’m sorry that you knew so much pain.

I’m sorry that you never blew out the candles on a birthday cake, or spent an afternoon visiting a zoo or a park.

I’m sorry that you lived in an orphanage instead of a home. I’m sorry that you put yourself to bed at night. I’m sorry that I couldn’t sit for hours on end, just me and you.

I am so sorry that I cannot remember if I kissed you goodbye when I left. I’m pretty sure I did because I said goodbye to everyone but I can’t remember the last moment I held you in my arms. My heart aches for that memory, for the knowledge that I assured you that you were loved. I can’t believe I can’t remember.

I’m sorry that the pain of this life consumed your time here. I’m so very sorry.

Jesus, please come and take this world away.

Because she deserves to be known…

So often, when I am home I have nothing to write about. And then I do, and I wish I didn’t.

Esperanza Oct 2010 (12)

El Esperanza Desrosiers, 3 of Leogane, Haiti died Friday January 21st at Foyer Des Petitis Demunis. (The Home Of The Forgotten Children)

Esperanza was born January 1st, 2008 in Port Au Prince, Haiti. The daughter of Wydeline Antenor and Pierre Richard Desrosiers. She was brought into our care, and into my life on September 18th 2010.

Epseranza was a beautiful little girl who loved to tease and laugh. In her short time in our home she became one of the most precious people in my life.

Never without a smile and always ready for a hug or cuddle, Epseranza brought joy into every moment we shared.

Esperanza enjoyed playing with dolls, dancing the Waka Waka and eating Chico.

Esperanza was proceeded in death by her wonderful nanny Olise and a baby “brother” Joubens.

She is survived by her mother, Wydeline Antenor of Port Au Prince; father Pierre Richard Desrosiers of Leogane;

Esperanza with Papa Oct 2010 (2)

She is also survived by caretakers  Sherley and Jeanel Morin of Leogane; “Brothers”  Daniel, Djerry,  Garbens, Jean Ketson, Samuel, Sebastien, Anel, Woodlely, Dorlens, Gup and Joseph; “Sisters” Achlie, Bianka, Kimberly, Lina, Nahomi, Bedia, Dapheline, Elange, Enose, Lovelie, Miranda, Richelande, Rose MiLove, Sherley, Wangline, Ema, Mia, Medjina, Mina, Rose Bertha, Rose Guerlande and Jeraldine.

 Mina, Medjina, Enose, Esperanza and Rose Bertha Dec 2010 (2)

My heart is broken. I wish so badly I was there. I am so homesick, for that house, for Leogane, for Haiti and mostly for Heaven with our sweet little girl.

Sweet baby, you were loved!

Fly to Jesus.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Moving Forward

This week has been one full of discouragement. As the one year anniversary of the earthquake came it seems that the common theme was that of pessimism. The houses that haven’t been rebuilt and the tent cities that are still standing. While those topics need our attention and must be addressed, they do not need to be our focus. Sometimes you need to look at what HAS been done. You need to see hope. There are wonderful beautiful things that have happened in Haiti this year.

Take for example, the iron market…

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January 2010

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And now.

Look at these following scenes from Port Au Prince, last year and now…

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Things are happening in Haiti and I am so very thankful for this article for the reminder!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ayiti Bel, Day 12

The sweet little babies.

The most beautiful part of this entire country. The most beautiful thing in the world.

The very passion that I live for every single day.

 

The hope of the future.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ayiti Bel, Day 11

Living in Leogane has granted me access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s amazing to me that you can pass through a gate and on the other side of a wall, lies another reality.

101_4167 Beach August 2010 (7) Sebastien's Day At The Beach Nov 2010 (35) At The Beach November 2010 (1)

I love the looks on the kids faces when they jump into the water for the first time.

Daniel and Lovelie At Beach Nov 2010 (12)  2009 01 10_6531Sebastien's Day At The Beach Nov 2010 (24)Beach with older girls Oct 2010 (1) 

I love living here!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

He Is The Same

I tell myself that a lot. That the God I serve is the same today as He was last year, when I flew into Haiti with no idea of what was coming. He hasn’t changed. Everything else in my life has, but not Him. My God is the same as He was before the my world was shaken.

Last week I was listening to the radio and a song came on that I had never heard before. The phrase was repeated, Jesus please come, please come today. For the first time in my life I found my heart aching for the possibility. There was no fear or dread or frantic thought of the things I have still to do. Just a longing for that day, when this world is finally over. No more being torn by the life I left behind. No more crying for the pain of this world and my helplessness to change it. No more missing babies who I have held, or people at home. No more aching for anything because every perfect moment in this world has paled in comparison to what is now eternity. I long for that.

Exactly one year ago today I flew back to Haiti with my heart full to the brim. 2 days later I stood outside in a concrete yard while aftershocks rocked the ground and my entire life’s work flashed before my eyes. As I lie on the ground that night surrounded by the even breathing of sleeping babies, a seed that had been planted almost 2 years earlier began to grow. As the roots took place, though the pain of their burrowing I was content and fulfilled. In the last year as that seed has continued to grow, through the moments of fatigue and yearning I have learned so much about what my purpose here on earth is to be. Even in the last few weeks, as that purpose has become more clear I find myself clinging to the simplicity of why I continue on and who gives me the reason and the strength.

Something inside of me cried out, subconsciously to “Jezi” when that earthquake hit. The first words out of my mouth were His name. That call did not diminish when the morning light opened my eyes to the devastation around me. On the contrary, in the last year I have turned to the only hope that still stands. Through tears of sadness and moments of anger and despair, I have clung to the Lord who sustained me. Because faith, being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see, is burrowed deep in my soul. Faith is my God, Who is, Who was and Who always will be.

Ayiti Bel, Day 10

I wish I had pictures of food that didn’t include me in all my Haiti glory :) Don’t let the greasy hair and dusty face kill your appetite, the food in Haiti ranks right up there with the beach and babies in my mind!

Port Au Prince August 2010 (76)

Sugar cane.

Port Au Prince August 2010 (75)

Papitas!

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Mangoes!!

Port Au Prince August 2010 (77)

And of course Toro, I get a lot of grief from the staff at our house for drinking a drink “for men” but it is sooo yummy!

I love going out and buying griot, chicken and banan pase. I love the pickliz and rice and beans… I crave that delicious oil fried food!

My sweet friend Emelyne, sent me a photo of a plate of street food but somehow in the last week I deleted the email and lost the photo! What a wreck! So sorry Em, thanks for helping me out!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ayiti Bel, Day 9

Degaje, it means to “make do” to work with what you have. No one does that quiet like a Haitian.

I’ve seen ladies keep and reuse items that I wouldn’t even think twice over throwing away. From using empty formula cans to measure rice and beans to planting flowers in Clorox bottles. A Haitian is resourceful and finds uses for anything and everything.

Each cell phone I have ever seen in Haiti comes equipped with a built in “torchlight”. You will need it. No power? Degaje.

Every single day I go outside our gates and I see children playing with toys they have built out of items they found. Water bottle cars with caps for wheels and rolling tires to run alongside. There is fun to be had, if you make it happen. Degaje.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ayiti Bel, Day 8

There aren’t really photos to show you the faith of the people of Haiti.

The best I can hope for is to paint a picture for you.

A picture of a group of people who will raise their hands in praise on the worst day of their lives.

A picture of voices raised for hours in song to the God they love.

A picture of faith, believing in that which you can not see.

A picture of parents who have taught their children how to pray and to praise… actually, I do have a few pictures of that.

Kids at Church October 2010 (7)  Kids at Church October 2010 (10) Kids at Church October 2010 (5)

Oh how I love the unshakable faith of these beautiful souls.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ayiti Bel, Day 7

From mountain huts.

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And private family homes.

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To beautiful stonework that makes up century old forts.

Ft Jacques & Dance Party (68)IMG_0647

And glamorous hotels.

IMG_7940 Out and About (5) Out and About (4) 

The architecture and buildings in Haiti are gorgeous!

Haiti-3-Presidential-Palace-Port-au-Prince-Dec-7-2003