Sunday, October 30, 2016


Hi everyone, this is "Poppyseed," (Bryan Bartow). In the picture below is Kerline. Kerline has "CIDA" as it's known in Haiti.

A few years ago, Kerline had a baby in the local hospital, and it did not survive. We felt so sad for her and her loss, and paid her hospital bills and got her started in a small business. She called me SOO excited about her apartment she had rented, and the new "ti komes" she had begun. Her little business flourished and she began to live life again.

Months later, she had another systemic attack and wound up in the hospital. Al the money she had earned and saved got swallowed up in medical bills, and she again found herself in abject poverty again. I got a call in the States from a mutual friend that told me of her plight and once again, we were able to help her get on her feet again. She again was elated and made it work yet again.

Just a couple weeks before the hurricane, Kerline fell ill once again. She survived not only another attack, but the hurricane as well. This was her on the day we gave her another start-up! She called as soon as I got to Port to tell me she had a new apartment, and was heading out to buy the remainder of her goods to sell at the local market.

I had to ask myself as I hung up the phone.....will she make it? Will she die if she falls ill again? How many times should we help to keep rebuilding her life? One day, I thought, it'll get her. It will be her last trip to the hospital. The last time she'll pay a medical bill. The last time I'll hear her weakened voice on the phone. Never give up. Never stop trying to help people live the best life they can while they have time. It choked me up to think of the inevitable. One day at a time...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"It Mattered."

Edo and I wake up at 4 to take him to the bus station. After I drop him off I soak in every last ounce of Haiti I can.

I open my window in this van and the warm breeze hits my hand. The dust and smell of smoke. Trash. Colors. Shops. Motorcycles. Cars. Lights. Beautiful faces. Beautiful teeth. Ragged clothes. Fancy clothes. Crazy driving. They zoom around a cop with his lights on and cut him off. I. Love. Haiti. Airport is here. No. I breathe in the last of Haiti and enter the air conditioning. The last sounds of horns honking, music blaring and people yelling are drowned out as the doors close behind me. Here goes my transition into the states.

I feel like a zombie. What am I doing here? Why am I here? Why didn't I just stay? Nothing in me wants to be in the states. Nothing in me wants to be here. I walk through the airport, tears streaming down my face. I don't know if people stare. I don't care. Only a month and I'll be back. My heart is broken for Jeremie. My heart is broken for my people.

There must be a mistake because my seat is in first class. This doesn't make any sense. I ask the stewardess if this is correct and she confirms it is. I sit in this plush seat. A small bottle of water waits on my armrest and the stewardess brings me juice. I want to cry and punch someone and be thankful all at the same time.

The woman sitting next to me looks miserable and clearly doesn't want to talk to anyone. I'll decide. She needs to let it out. I start to talk to her and she's still cold towards me so I take hold of her hand and she starts to cry. She tells me she is a foster parent and the day she left for Haiti two of her children got adopted. To deal with that heartbreak and how Haiti is right now would be too much for anyone. I hold her hand and pray and sing over her. She cries and cries and talks it out and soon I start to tease her. She goes from tears of sadness to tears of laughter and we laugh harder and harder. The women in front of us turns around and glares at us. We laugh even more. The stewardess says she is going to bring everyone breakfast.

Remember Mugsy? The blan on the bus from Jeremie?! He's right behind the first class seats sitting on this plane. I ask the stewardess if I can buy him breakfast. She says no, but I can buy him some chips. Wow. I'll decide what I can and can't do. She brings me a huge plate of food and when she turns around I promptly pass it back to Mugsy.

She tells me I can't send food "back there," like the people in first class are so far above the others. How embarrassing. I tell her I'll do what I want. He is so grateful. I'm really grateful for this plane ride. I'm grateful for Ginger next to me and Mugsy munching away in the back. I'm grateful for my wonderful friends and family back in Haiti and my friends who have been so encouraging back in the states. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you to my man for being so supportive. For always being encouraging and for knowing I need to do what I'm called to. I couldn't be more grateful for all that you are and all you have been to me. Thank you, all of you, for reading this blog everyday. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your donations and your prayers. Thank you for your encouragement.

My friend Demie sent me the starfish story for encouragement and I haven't been able to stop thinking of it. Thousands of starfish were washed ashore drying up as the tide went out. An old man was picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the ocean. A man came up to him and told him there were thousands and it didn't matter if he threw them back. The old man picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean and said, "It mattered to that one." One by one. This is all we can do when it comes to helping someone. Every life matters. Every person. Every heartbeat. Be the old man because everything we do, every penny we give, matters. It matters to someone. It could change a life. I was blessed enough to watch lives changed and saved. Thanks to YOU. Do not forget. Throw your starfish. One by one. One. By. One.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Pain of Comfort

It is time for me to go. I have to return to work. I cannot express how grateful I am for the company I work for. Matrix has been unreal. My boss told me to take as much time as I needed. It's actually because of him that I wrote this blog. He encouraged me to write and so I did. They have taken such good care of me and continue to do so. I will be back in the states until the job is finished and then back to Jeremie I will go for as long as I can. I am on the bus to PAP leaving my family and friends and the team behind. Edo accompanies me on my adventure and I am grateful for his company.

I meet a sweet blan (white person) on the bus named Mugsy. He came to Jeremie all alone because he said God told him to go. He had never been to Haiti. He doesn't speak the language. He slept on the floor of a random persons home and loved on people all day. He is a sweetheart and I'm so proud of him for doing it all alone. Go Mugsy! 

We arrive after a long drive and Edo takes his first hot shower. Beforehand he said he didn't think he would like it but he changed his mind afterward. He couldn't believe they gave soap and towels for us to use. I hear him turn the water on for a moment and turn it back off. This is the way we shower in Haiti to conserve water. You pour water on yourself and then lather up and then rinse off. Bucket showers. It was neat to know he did the same thing here even though he didn't need to. There's plenty of water here and we are paying for it. But he still turned the water off to lather up and then turned it back on quickly to rinse off. 45 minute showers are nonexistent when you have to haul every cup of water you use. When it's my turn to jump in the shower, the warm water hits the top of my head and I just want to curl up in a ball. I want to cry. I want to get on the bus back to Jeremie. The shock of a small comfort like warm water. Going back to the states is going to be hard. Too hard. We eat dinner. Edo swims in the pool. I climb in my bed early to go to sleep. I'm tired. These sheets are so clean. This bed is so comfortable. I'm so undeserving. My people are in Jeremie. They're still sleeping on cement and dirt floors. What am I doing? Why am I here? Why am I leaving? I try to clear my head. I'm leaving in the morning. I'm leaving in the morning. I'm leaving in the morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bus Tickets to PAP

Mackenzy takes me to buy a ticket for the bus to PAP. We go to every single station and they are all sold out. He says there is one more and so we go to check and she says she is sold out as well. I look at him hopelessly and he looks at me with a mischievous smile on his face. He leans over the counter smiles at the woman at the desk and starts flirting with her. He is charming and a smooth talker. Suddenly she finds two seats on the bus and sells them to us:) Mackenzy is hilarious and the best. Haiti oh sweet Haiti.

Dieudonne. How can I even begin to describe how much I love my Papa. He is kind. He is gentle. He is wise. He is strong. He told me this is the best time I've ever spent with them. He said I made him laugh and he can't wait for me to come back. I love him like a father. 

My real dad is so amazing. He is incredible. He is a a lot like Dieudonne. I think the world of my real dad so, for me to call Dieudonne Papa is huge. I will miss him. He keeps me steady and focused here. He is always encouraging and he gives me good advice. I will miss Mama Clanide. I will miss Claeme. They are my family. I will miss Papa so so so much.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Please Don't Forget

Poppyseed brought me the sleeping bag for Makenzy and I can't wait to bring it to him. I leave the group and Jacques takes me to see Mackenzy. James and Chansley are there too and Judy. I talk with Judy and then she leaves and I give Mackenzy his sleeping bag. He immediately takes it out and gets in it. He rolls across the floor in it laughing so hard. Back and forth he goes laughing harder each time. I am dying laughing.

We sit on the floor and talk about Jesus and life and things we did. We talk about the hike to Doko last year and laugh about how cold we were sleeping up there. We talk about our dreams and plans. Ideas for Jeremie. They turn the music on and we dance and we dance and we dance. Spinning around on the floor with Konpa blaring. Laughing so hard. As we dance we forget where we are. We forget the rain and the pain. The lack of homes and food. Big white smiles. Our bare feet sliding across the floor and the music in our ears. There is no place I would rather be. We sit on the floor again and they ask me to sing. This room has a wonderful echo because it's completely empty and so singing in here is such a joy. I sing and I sing. They lay on the floor and Mackenzy almost falls asleep. I love this moment and I soak it in. Singing there's a mountain by Dave Barnes to end the night. "There's a mountain here before me And I'm gonna climb it with strength not my own and he's gonna carry me when I get to weary. Carry me through. Carry me through."

Cafe (coffee) made by mama Clanide. Medical bags packed and ready to go. The crew of boys here and ready to translate. Today is going to be a good day. The team is better prepared after yesterday as far as what to bring. We drive to a town outside of town where there are many people waiting and ready to treat. Jen and I were lost with Delice on his bike so we didn't get to do as much. But Poppyseed said they were all kept very busy. Jay, Jill, and Poppyseed all had a station. Finishing up there by singing Amazing Grace and heading to our next location. Another courtyard surrounded by buildings. So many homeless. So hungry. Desperate eyes watch us. Explaining we are just here for the wounded the crowd dissipates. We set up benches to work on and everyone has a station and a translator. Very organized and clear. The last patient is a girl who had her leg shredded by tin. She had gotten stitches, but her leg was badly infected and needed immediate care. She sits at Jen's station and Jen peacefully starts taking the stitches out. Some have scabbed over and the girl is in a lot of pain. Her hands grip tightly around the bench and she breathes out heavily. Jen has to numb her pain. Each shot she gives the girl is in more and more pain. Jen is patient and gentle. She explains everything she is going to do and Delice translates for her. This poor girl. Afterward Jill cleans it and bandages it. 

Put yourselves in this girl's shoes. You don't have a home. You don't have food. You don't have clean water. You sleep in a room with a hundred other people on a cement floor. You don't even have a sheet to lay on. You've been wearing the same clothes for weeks. It's hot. It's muggy. It's dirty. Flies land on you in the night and babies cry. Your leg is full of infection and you are limping. You don't have any money to go to the doctor so you wait. You are discouraged. You wait for someone to come along. You hope. You wait. You pray. You wait for a miracle. Thankfully this girl received treatment. However, there are hundreds just like her. Do not forget these people. Sacrifice a bag of chips or an iced coffee. Do not forget the suffering and the weak and the needy. I am so grateful for everything you've done. I truly am and so are these people. But don't forget. Don't forget. Please continue to help. Please.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Medical Team

The team finally arrives close to midnight. The bus backs over Ruguen's motorcycle. It's pouring rain and we have half a dozen huge heavy suitcases that have to be carried to the top of the mountain. It's slippery but the team is ready for a challenge after being stuck in Port au Prince for two days. We get everything to the top and set up camp in the rain. Finally to bed at 3am after chatting for hours.

6am comes early. It's cool to see people in so close with in the states here in the country I love so much.

I'll admit it is hard for me to open my eyes this morning. The horrible smell of this mattress though is enough to encourage my to get out of bed. It's been raining hard all night and it doesn't seem to be letting up. I have my little line of boys with scrapes and cuts as usual this morning waiting patiently for me. I bandage them up and Uncle Jay teases one by saying he'll have to cut off his leg. The little boy's eyes get wide for a moment and then he laughs.

Judelin, Jacques and Delice are here and ready to translate for the team. We all get decked out in rain coats and Jen and I can't figure out if it's better to sweat under this plastic or be soaked by rain.

Everyone is packed and ready and we head out in the rain. Down the mountain to check on the little boy who has the ear infection.

It looks so much better right now but Jen gives him antibiotics to finish it off and we bandage a few wounds. The boys come around to pick us up on bikes and we head to the hospital. We pray and sing and tell them we'll be back with medicine for Cholera. Still pouring rain we drive through mud and trash. So much rain. We arrive at a courtyard surrounded by large cement rooms. People without anywhere to sleep come here to stay out of the rain. I'm guessing between two and three hundred people. We set up our clinic in one of the rooms and are immediately mobbed with so many people. Yelling. Anger. Disappointment. Hope. So many different emotions running through so many different faces. The crowd the team. It's so dark in here due to the dark sky and lack of windows.

Sweat. Dirt. Infection. The crowding and yelling is out of control so the boys start kicking people out. Jay, Jen, Poppyseed, Jill and I clean and bandage everything we can. There are some nasty wounds and some not so bad.

All need care and cleaning. I often forget that crowding and yelling and pushing isn't normal for the states and I hope the group isn't overwhelmed. Everyone's physical injuries have been taken care of and we go to a local restaurant to get some drinks and take a little rest. Jay is wiped out so he and dad go back to the house. 

Jen and Jill are up for more so I take them with me. Go to the orphanage. Jill loves on kids and Jen busies herself checking on kids and the caretakers. The baby with prolapsed rectum is crying but everything looks fine. Jill snuggles her. We visit Manel and his family in their house in the side of the cliff. It's good to see how far they have come. More wounds to bandage. Hike up to Dieudonne's.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Full Day

I took Lovena's stitches out this morning and it was perfect. I had a little tiny pair of scissors which are extremely dull and they have been unable to cut anything since I've been here. I pray the scissors would work and they do! They actually cut the stitches. I know this seems like a small feat but to me it was huge. I even specifically asked Jen (part of the medical group coming) and my mom to bring me little scissors because I haven't been able to do what I've needed to. And yet they worked for me today. Thank you Jesus. Claeme handed me all my supplies and cut tape and gauze when I needed it. She is my little helper today. Lovena's leg looks perfect and I am happy for it. I visit the sweet family of 10 and look at her foot. It's totally healed with no infection. Yes. Judelin and I go to town to buy a tarp for his aunt and uncle in the mountains literally sleeping with nothing. They said they were squatting all night in the pouring rain huddled together. I stay behind and tell Judelin to bring the tarp to them himself. I try to do as little gift giving as possible. Haitians helping Haitians. People in Port au Prince sent their clothes and food. Excellent.

Papa and I go to Yvrose's house to borrow her truck to pick up the medical group at the airport. The group consists of Poppyseed, Jill Freeman, Jen Rayder and my Uncle Jay. They will be here in 30 minutes and I'm super excited. There is so much for them to do. We are on our way when I get the phone call from Poppyseed. There is too much rain in Port and they won't be able to leave today. Shoot. My heart sinks for a minute but not for long. They'll be here in the morning if God wants. I see Makenzy and Edo at the "gas station," and Papa and I get gas.

I pretend to be helpful in the kitchen cooking. We laugh and talk about life. I tease my friend for being fat and she teases me for the way I hold the knife to cut the bañan. Haitians are honest. Don't ask if you don't want to know but sometimes they'll just tell you anyway. I leave my cooking for a little boy at the door waiting for me with blood dripping down his hand. He cut a good piece of his finger off and the skin was hanging. I clean it and cut some of the skin away but all of it hasn't died yet so I'll wait until tomorrow. I clean it and bandage it. Another boy comes and I take care of his foot which is infected. I have to cut dead skin away and scrape all the dirt out. He sits silent and strong. Tough. I love that people are coming all the time to Papa's house for me to care for their wounds. Some green and terribly infected and some just splinters. Every single one of them matters. They all matter to me and they definitely matter to Jesus.
Night comes and Judelin takes me to see Madam Tom. Afterward we are about to go home and Edo comes to meet us in town. I get a call from John Draxton from Williston ND saying he's in Jeremie and wants to meet up. We drive to their hotel and meet up with them. He is with his Haitian friends and two blan girls from the states. We all went downtown and had dinner together. We talked and laughed. It was awesome. John is kind and his heart is good. The girls they brought are wonderful. I tell them Edo and Judelin can bring them back to the hotel so they get a Haitian motorcycle experience. They are elated and as we zoom through the streets I can hear their giggles and see their smiles. They had a rough day and I'm happy to see them laughing and loving everything. Olivia is their photographer and she is impressive. Excellent humble spirit. She will go places and I would take her along with me ANY DAY in Haiti. Jacques, Judelin and Edo come to take John, Megan and Olivia to the orphanage. We sing and they brush their teeth. The girls and John jump in and snuggle the kids.

I have a few clingers and I kiss their sweaty stinky heads. A little girl has a hernia and they are going to take her to the hospital. No word from Poppyseed. I wish the medical group was here. Lord please help this little girl.

I take the group to eat and John buys everyone breakfast. He says there's a truck with $25,000 worth of food in it and we might be able to take some. I talk to the blan that brought the food and he says he'll probably be able to give us food to distribute. Which means my friends and their families will have food and we will have extra to bring to the mountains. Praise the Lord. Answered prayer. We go to where the semi is and it is chock full of rice and beans. Edo immediately jumps in to help followed closely by me and then Judelin, Delice and Jacques.

There is quite a ways to walk and we haul sack by sack. I have no idea how long we spent but as soon as I would see the men tiring I'd dance or sing and cheer them on. We haul bag after bag. I feel strong and am never tired. I'm even able to sing loudly through the hallways to keep peoples spirits up. I am so proud of my friends.

They are absolutely incredible men. I love them so much. Every. Single. One. They help without question and work hard for what they have. They are all working in hopes they can bring food to their families and I am proud of them. I'm thankful I grew up hauling grain bags and hay bales. They tell me I work like a man. I laugh and tell them God gives me strength.

It's true. Joshua 1:9. Strong and courageous. These men certainly are. Man they're amazing. After we finish working, the blan says he won't be able to give us any food to distribute. I can see my friends hearts sink and I hope they aren't too discouraged. John and Megan give me money and I'm able to give each of them some money. I am so grateful and they are as well. Little by little. Thank you John and Megan and Olivia.

The "crew" has to go their separate ways. Jacques to see Kati. Edo to fix his mom's house. Judelin takes Delice and me to buy a tarp for the sweet man who's house is completely destroyed.

He has a meeting and so Jacques takes us to bring it to Numero 2. I check on the girl with a fever. It's gone. Thank you Jesus. The old man is elated to have a tarp for his house. He's so so happy. He hugs his tarp and smiles a huge toothless smile. Can you imagine being him? Can you imagine being that grateful for a tarp, so grateful that you raise your hand to the sky and say, "Thank you Jesus." I can't imagine it. I can't.

We go visit Kati and hang at Jacques' for a little. We talk about fun things like their love lives and dancing and food. Colors they love and what they want to do with their lives. Their dreams are wonderful and beautiful. I love them. Delice asks me to go to his house. We walk through tight alleyways passing people who talk about me thinking I don't speak Kreyol. We arrive. His mom is sitting washing clothes and his dad is cooking. They stare at me for a moment and then immediately tell me how happy they are to see me. I "help" her wash clothes as Delice changes and cleans his shoes. I am honored to be here. There's no better way to put it. I am honored to sit here in my friends house. I am honored to meet his family. How lucky am I to be friends with these people. I can't even begin express my joy. I bought a case of Prestige for the medical group coming tonight. They weren't able to fly again today and so Poppyseed got a truck and they were on their way. I'm sure they are dying to be here. I am excited to see them. Poppyseed needs to be here. He's the best. I've wanted Uncle Jay to come for years and now that he's actually coming I can't wait to see him. He's gonna rock. Jacques and I carry the case up the mountain. They'll be happy. Hopefully they'll arrive by 9. I have the crew ready to pick them up on their bikes as soon as the bus gets close. Sorry I haven't written. I've been busy and by the time I lay down I'm wiped out. Thank you so much everyone. Your encouragement is unreal. I feel undeserving but I am grateful. More grateful than any of you know. You keep me upbeat and strong which in turn helps me encourage my friends. Team is an hour away hopefully. Claeme looks at the sky and says "look look! Look at that little star in the sky! It's moving!" I told her it was an airplane and she gets even more excited. She screams excitedly and says "airplanes can see through the sky because they have those red lights!" It's the little things. Papa looks at me as we sit drinking tea and says he is going to miss me because he's gotten used to me being here again. Mama says she can't wait for me to return. Thinking of leaving leaves a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Papa wipes his eyes and we sit quiet for a moment. I forgot I would have to leave at some point to go back to work. My heart is full here. My heart is happy. I am completely content. We are a family now. We eat together. We cook and work together. I take Claeme when I have to run errands.

Papa says he remembers taking me to town on his moto when I was little and as he watched me take Claeme he said his heart was happy. Tears fill my eyes and I'm not going to pretend to be tough. I love my family here. I'm going to miss them. I have a few more days. A few more days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tears of Joy

Today starts with Papa and I buying supplies in town. Rice and such. We get to the bottom of his mountain and the chain on his bike breaks. Couldn't you have waited to break until we reached the top of the hill? The bike is loaded down with gallons of cooking oil and boxes of soap. Not the lightest of items. I pick up two boxes of soap and Papa immediately tells me I won't be able to carry them. He should know me better than that ;) Sweat dripping down my back. Too stubborn to stop. I make it to his house and make Climee (Dieudonne and Clanide's daughter) walk back down to carry oil with me. She's a fat little kid and needs to walk. We go up and down the hill carrying supplies. When all the supplies are at the top Dieudonne fixes his chain and goes to get the rice.

 He has to make many trips, but while he is doing that we have set up a nice assembly line. We measure out the rice and put the gallons of oil into smaller bottles. We put the soap, pat tomat, and bouillon in little bags and make up nice little kits of food. Everyone works diligently and happily. Dieudonne is tired from hauling back and forth but we are almost finished. We tell the whole mountainside they can come for food and they come and stand and sit in line. Papa has a list and he writes everyone's names down and how many are in their families and then he gives them food. We were able to feed 566 people today. How awesome is that! Thank you so much everyone! I leave for the giving of the food part because it feels cheesy to stand there as a blan (white) and give food. They don't need to know who it's from. I go to Numero 2 (area where they block the road to the airport) with Jacques to check on a girl with a high fever. I bring her some aspirin and talk with the family. They are super sweet. I'll be able to check on her again tomorrow when I go to the airport to pick up the medical group. Jacques lets me drive his bike. There's lots of greasy mud but I haven't killed us yet...or crashed. Driving back to Jacques' house. We run out of gas on the way. I thought I was failing as a driver but it wasn't the case. Three places we checked didn't have gas. We finally find a place. Keep in mind the gas you get in Haiti for your motorcycle isn't a gas station. It's old rum bottles full of gas sitting on wooden tables, usually under an umbrella. I buy some water and my little street rat friends find me and hug and kiss me. One little buzzard gives me a kiss on the lips and is so proud of himself. I leave my little troublemakers with Jacques to go to his house. Kati says she has a present for me. She comes out with a beautiful purse made out of wrappers from Haitian crackers and candy.

I have tears in my eyes and want to cry but I keep it together. I hug her and we jump up and down with excitement for this present. These are the Haitian people. Yes, there are the thieves and liars, but that's everywhere isn't it? For her to take the time to get me this present, for her to think of me in the midst of this peaceful chaos is humbling. I am so grateful and blessed to have her as a friend. I hold my purse and we talk about different things. She wants to learn to crochet and when I return I will bring supplies and teach her if she hasn't found someone else to teach her by then. We talk about her family. We sit on her bed because they don't have a table or chairs. These are my friends. These people make my heart happy. Rain is going to fall and rumor has it that another hurricane is coming tonight. I hop on the bike with Jacques and as we drive through the streets I let the tears slide down my face leaving streaks through the dust. These are happy tears. Tears from being overwhelmed by love for my friends here. There's no place on earth I'd rather be.

Papa brought a mattress in my tent for me to sleep on. They were all so happy about it and so was I, until I laid down...the smell rising up from this mattress is almost unbearable. I've managed to suck it up, but tonight as I enter my tent I can smell it before I even lay down. Mildew. Sweat. Stink. So so bad. Thanks to my cousin Jenny for reminding me I packed tea tree oil. I dowse my bed and sleeping bag and life is great. The tea tree oil is a little extreme, but it's way better than the rank smell of the mattress beforehand. Praise the Lord for this tea tree oil. It's the little things :)

I wake in the middle of the night to water pouring down on me. I laugh so hard and put the cover over my tent. The rain is out of control. I hope everyone is off the ground. I put all my important belongings in my waterproof bag and try to sleep in my damp sleeping bag. This morning consists of mopping the floor and emptying my tarp. I get 15 gallons of water out of it. Clanide is making coffee this morning which is a huge treat right now. I am very grateful. I am grateful for coffee and that I have a tent. I am grateful that I get to share this time of their lives with them.

New Friends

Swerving through the streets. Bags of rice strapped to the back of the moto and gallons of oil in front of Jud between the handlebars. We are quite a sight. Back to Jacques to put together the little food kits. Each bag has rice, beans, bouillon, tomato paste, and oil which are the basic supplies for cooking here. 

There is a gang near the "airport" and they block the road with trees and wire and rocks so the trucks full of Blan have to stop and then they steal the food. I don't want any problems for our medical group that is coming on Wednesday so I decide it is smart for a well timed gift. 

We give food to each house. These people are more grateful than anyone I've met so far. They hold their bags of rice so close and thank us over and over. They say everyone passes by them to go to the village and they thought they were forgotten. I give a bag of food to a woman in front of her house with no roof and a man is behind her working to clean her yard. He grabs my hand and tells me to come see his house. I follow behind him. He is handicapped and is unable to walk correctly. We walk to his "home." It is just a pile of rubble with some of the frame barely standing. He is left with nothing. He and his wife sleep at different friends houses on their floors. I ask if i can take a picture of him and his house. He stands proudly in front of it holding his machete. 

I don't know how he will ever recover. I give him the food and we go on our way. 

I end up talking to a big group of men and find out most of them are the men causing the trouble. Perfect. I tease them and give some of them food. An older man jerks the food out of my hands and starts leaving. I yell at him and tell him this is the reason no one wants to stop to help. I jerk the food back out of his hands and he is angry and telling me he'll take it back. I grab him and snuggle him in a hug and kiss the top of his head. Everyone is in an uproar and he is too. They decide they like me. I ream them out for stealing and tell them they better not stop our truck full of blan. They say they won't and all is peaceful. They ask me to visit again. I think I will.


Papa Dieudonne is in town. I've just arrived from giving food and it starts to pour. It's windy and raining buckets. We put buckets under the places where the water is falling the hardest. Corners in the tarp and various pieces of tin. Above my tent is a tarp and the water is filling it. It's ripping and if it falls everything in this room will be soaked. I climb up on the roof and inch my way out to scoop the water. I fill a huge barrel and start filling another. Clanide is trying to cook with a blanket over her head. Climee yells with joy at this great adventure. I try to tie things down as best I can for Papa Dieudonne. We sop up the water with a towel and wring it out over and over again as it inches its way closer and closer to my tent. We move their bed to where the water doesn't fall in it as hard. The rain is relentless. I hope everyone is finding cover. We use every bucket to catch water. Papa arrives later and looks around his house. He tells me if I wasn't here he would be discouraged and sad. He said with me here he feels like he has someone behind him, someone here for him. He said I am here sharing his misery and making them laugh. I'm happy to know I mean as much to him as he does to me. I really think the world of my Haitian Papa.

Picture from this morning after I emptied the tarp twice.