Friday, April 26, 2013

High Fever

Last night, one of our new little girls had a very high fever!  At 6:00 pm it was at 104.1  Yikes!  I have never seen a child with such a high temperature.  She felt burning to the touch.  I knew we had to get her temperature down and racked my brain for ideas.  We bathed her, put a cold washcloth on her belly, put an icepack on her forehead, then on her back and in her armpit.  We gave her acetaminophen every 4 hours.  

Many Haitians use plants to cook soups that have healing properties.  I told Lynoue about her fever and asked if there was a special soup people made in Haiti for fevers.  Haitians know a lot of herbal remedies for ailments.  Lynoue said she knew what to do.  I went to check on Betline and Lynoue came in the room.  She brought her into the bathroom and held Betline in her lap.  She undressed Betline, put a clothes washing tub on the floor between her legs, and used a bar of lye soap to wash Betline’s hair.  She lathered it up, rinsed it out, and repeated this 3 times.  She rubbed the soap on her belly too.  Betline was saying she was scared that she was going to fall down and Lynoue kept reassuring her that she was holding her safely.  After the 3rd lathering, Lynoue did not rinse out the soap.  She left it in her hair and Betline slept like that through the night.  This morning her fever was at 100.4.  Thank goodness it had gone down some.  Poor little girl.  She’s 3 years old and malnourished. 

I picked up her test results at Mission of Hope to discover she is negative for malaria and typhoid.  These are the most common ailments in Haiti when someone has a fever.  In America, one may just have a fever.  In Haiti, a fever is a sign of something worse.  Maybe her body is fighting an infection?  We will keep researching to try to find out what is causing her high fever.  This afternoon, she broke out in a rash all over her body.  We are pumping fluids and trying to get her fever down.  Please pray for this sweetie.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Morning with my Gran Papi

I saw Ofane sitting on the patio waiting for Noty to clean and change his foot dressings.  I sat with him and we talked together.  He was telling me he needed a few things for his house.  He needed a lock for his toilet because he went to use it and it was dirty.  (In Haiti, one’s toilet is not in the house.  It is outside and others may use it and not keep it as clean as you would like.  Many people cover their toilet and put a lock on it so others don’t use it.)  I gave him a padlock for his toilet and he was so thankful. He also said he needed some Fab (laundry detergent powder) and soap to wash his clothes by hand.  I told him that I had more macaroni (Ramen noodles) for him and he asked for more powdered juice packets.  I love Ofane.  I call him my Papi.  He is like a grandpa to me.  He brings a smile to my face every time I see him.  

I watched Noty re-bandaged his foot and saw how Ofane helped her.  He would open the packages of gauze, squirt the wound cleaner on the gauze, and squeeze the antibiotic cream tube.  What a little helper!  Every once in a while he would look at me and make a silly face!

After getting all bandaged up, Ofane needed to wait for Jonas to come back in the Kubota in order to get a ride home.  I asked if he wanted to come sit on my porch with me.  He was grinning ear to ear and loved that idea.  He was a little hungry, so I brought him a peanut butter sandwich and a freshly blended mango-banana smoothie.  Yummy!  We sat outside together in our hand-made chairs.  They are made out of banana tree leaves. 

I asked Ofane if he knew how to play Dominoes.  He said, “Mwen remen!”.  He loves to play Dominoes.  I brought out a tin of Double 6 Dominoes and we arranged our bench in front of us like a table.  We each took 7 dominoes and started playing.  Playing games with him reminded me of playing games with my grandparents.  Ofane is like a Gran Papi (Grandfather) to me.  We sing together, talk together, dance together, and make goofy faces together.  We are both looking forward to playing more games of Dominoes.

Ofane is the kind of man who brings joy to others.  People light up around him.  He is expressive, smiley, and full of energy!  In his presence, one feels special.  He loves people for who they are.  Ofane is one special man.  He has taught me so many lessons about what it means to live in each moment…to cherish those around me…to love.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blood Draws

Those of you who know me, know that I pass out when I have my blood drawn.  I can't watch the needle pierce my skin when I get a shot.  I even get light-headed when I visit those who are sick in the hospital.  Despite all of this, I love to care for those who are sick.  I enjoy tending to their needs.  But, never imagined myself overseeing the medical care of 59 orphans.

I have seen more than I could have ever imagined in Haiti.  I have witnessed children pooping worms, getting their teeth pulled due to deep concave holes from cavities, vomiting, heads covered in fungus, gaping wounds, infected eyes, cracked open heads, and all kinds of ailments from tonsillitis, scabies, skin infections, ear infections, typhoid, malaria, and the common cold.  I have seen past the ailments and have been able to care for the child who is sick.  I hug them, love them, talk to them, and tell them they will be ok.  I make silly faces, I hold them when they are scared, and I try to make them laugh.

Recently, I brought some of our new children to a nearby clinic to have some lab tests done.  The lab tests tell us more about the child's health.  Often we do not know the quality of life the child has had prior to coming to live at our orphanage, so we don't know what kind of health conditions they may have.

The lab technicians are my friends since I frequently go to the lab with our children.  I knock on the wooden door to the lab and open it.  I say, "Bonjou!" (hello) and Younelle and Geurda turn and look at me with a big smile on their face and say, "Bonjou Kati!" (Hello Kathy).  I talk with them briefly about what lab tests need to be done and I sit with the children on the old fashioned vinyl blue chairs that are lined up by the wall.  Last time, I held a little girl who didn't want to have her blood drawn.  A friend of mine showed me how to hold a child so they can't wiggle during a shot/blood draw.  I'm so glad I know how to help the little ones now.

It's amazing to me how God gives me the strength I need to help these children.  I still can't believe I hold them and calm them when they are getting pricked by a needle.  I can't believe I look in the toilet and when I see a worm, I can identify what kind of parasite it is and can give the child the proper medication.  I am not afraid to give a child a scabies treatment.  I can examine a child's throat with a tongue depressor and know if the child has tonsillitis or an infection.  I pierce clues (kind of like a huge puss-filled zits) and drain the puss before applying antibiotic cream and a band-aid.  I clean wounds and bandage kids up.  The children call me their nurse and sometimes call me a doctor.  

Some have come to me with an owie and have said they want to be the nurse, to clean it and bandage it all by themselves.  I sit with them, give them a pair of gloves, and ask them if they know how to clean their owie.  They tell me "Wi, ou te montre mwen" (Yes, you showed me).  It's so cute to watch them play nurse, as they clean their wound, put the antibiotic cream on the band-aid before putting it on their owie, and carefully remove their gloves the "nurse" way with one inside the other.  They watch me closely!  We smile and I tell them they are a good nurse.  I love helping them.  I can't imagine a better way that God has used me in Haiti.  He has shown me how to trust Him.  In everything...even the things that I didn't think I could do.  It is during the most challenging moments that God reminds me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phillipians 4:13).  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sometimes all I hear is a whisper

Life is complex.  Full of choices.  How do I know that what I am choosing is the path that I should take?  How do I know if I am living a life in God's will?  When I feel a tug on my heart, is it God's voice?

The song Oceans Will Part by Hillsong has been a great reminder for me to trust God.  This song has carried me through some challenging times while I have lived in Haiti.  God has a plan in everything.

Sometimes it is difficult to discern God's voice.  Especially, in the midst of chaos and questions.  While I have been in Haiti, I have questioned so many times what to do in a specific situation:  when a family comes to the gate and wants to give us their child to care for, when a child is sick, or when I am thinking about my future.  So often, I wonder, Lord what should I do?  How should I help?  What is your will?  Why can't I hear your voice?

God has been teaching me that I need to trust Him in all circumstances (proverbs 3:5-6).  When a situation arises that is complex and new to me, I need to pray.  I need to open my heart to the work that the Lord will do.  I need to pray for wisdom and guidance.  I pray for a peace that only God can give (Philippians 4:7).  I have learned how to trust.  Sometimes that means being patient.  God has led me through so many challenges.

We have a God that is all knowing, omniscient (Psalm 147:5).  A God who works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).  Even if at times, we don't understand why certain things happen to us or others, God knows.  He is our healer (Psalm 103:1-3) and savior (John 3:16).  He pulls us through the storm.  Even if the storm seems impossible.  He gives us hope and faith in what is to come (Jeremiah 29:11).  He is victorious!  I am so thankful that he knows my every thought (Psalm 139).  He knows my heart and gives me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).  My heart is to love.  I pray that the Lord continues to show me how to love and serve those around me.

Friday, April 12, 2013


A couple of weeks ago my mom, sister, and I taught the children how to play Bingo!  My niece purchased the game for the children with her own money and was so excited for my sister to bring it to Grace Village.  The children at Grace Village call it "Zingo!".  It was a new game to all of them.  I was surprised that they had never played it before.  We had about a dozen children playing at a time.  My sister and I were the bingo callers and my mom helped some little boys find the numbers.  They sat against the wall on my front porch as they eagerly waited for us to read the next number.  What a blast!  They were so excited when they noticed they had 4 numbers covered in a row.   Their eyes would grow big, some wiggled their bodies with anticipation, many snapped their hands (the Haitian snap), and many screamed with excitement.  When someone had "Zingo" they were ecstatic!  We played many games together.  At the end, they asked when we could play again!  I told them we could play more when I returned from Minnesota.

Last week, I returned from Minnesota.  The children ran to greet me with hugs and kisses.  They were so excited to see me!  Then, they asked, "Can we play Zingo?".  I knew a lot of children wanted to play so I invited them in small groups to play with me.  They were so excited!  I printed a checklist that included each child’s name.  I wanted to be sure I knew who had played and who still needed a turn.  I called them over in groups of 6 or 7 at a time.  Children gathered around the picnic table waiting for their turn.  They would peer over the shoulder of someone playing and get excited when they noticed that their friend had the number that was called.  Some of the older boys helped the younger boys and pointed to the number if they had it.  Each group played 2 games.  I was the caller for the first game and the winner was the caller for the second game.  I had a lot of fun playing with the children. 

Today I was reminded of the importance of spending quality time with the ones I love.  So, often I forget how important it is to live in each moment.  To cherish today.  I get distracted by the business of life and forget how important it is to slow down.  When I slow down, I am reminded of what is the most important.  Bil Keane wrote, “Yesterday's the past.  Tomorrow's the future.  But today is a gift.  That's why it's called the present.”.   

Remember to cherish today! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


On April 4th, I flew back to Haiti.  I had been home in Minnesota for Easter.  What a blessing to spend time with my family and friends.  I was even able to surprise my kindergarten teacher colleagues for lunch on April Fool's Day!

As I flew back to Haiti, I remember looking out my plane window over Florida and saw many large homes with pools and hot tubs in their backyard.  I began thinking about how expensive it would be to live a luxurious life and wondered why someone would think they need so many things to live comfortably.  Then, I thought it would be nice to have luxurious things.  It felt like my mind and heart were in a war with one another.  I am being tugged by the Lord, reminded that sharing His love and truth with others is what is the most important.  Worldly possessions are not important.  But then I get greedy and think I would like to have those nice things.  I want to live comfortably, I want to plan, and to save money.  I want to buy nice things, quality things, so they last a lifetime.  Where is the balance?

In Matthew 6:19-21, the Lord says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.".

I am being challenged to think about what I value.  What do I consider my treasures?  Are my treasures things I can purchase, things that I hold onto in a box, or things that are worth a lot of money?  Or, do I treasure building relationships, time with my family, or sharing the love of Christ with others?  So, often there is pressure from the world on having 'it all'.  To live life to the fullest!  But, then I think if I had everything, and I didn't have Jesus, I would have nothing.  What would life be like without knowing there is a heaven, where I will live for eternity?  Without knowing that I have been created by a King, creator of the all things?  Without knowing that Christ died and rose again for my sins, and the sins of the world?  I am so thankful for knowing that I have a savior that is with me every day...through the good and the bad.  I am so thankful for the grace that He gives me and the unconditional love He provides.    

Below is a picture of the most beautiful rainbow!  It's hard to see in this photo, but it encircles the sun!  When I saw it, I was amazed by it's beauty!  It filled a large expanse in the sky!  It was a reminder to me of all of God's promises and His love for me.  I believe a planet is to the left of the sun too.  Glorious!