Friday, May 30, 2008

Class of '08

Last night was Alyssa's (my younger sister) graduation. It was weird sitting in the stands watching and realizing three years had already passed since I graduated. Sitting in those seats waiting to get my diploma, I definitely wasn't thinking I would spend 9+ months in Haiti and take 2 years off of school!
Tomorrow is Alyssa's grad party which is perfect timing for me to be able to see a bunch of people after being gone!
Alyssa and Holly Knobloch. Holly and Alyssa are a couple of months apart in age and Mandy (Holly's older sister) and I are 9 days apart. We all grew up together and our families have been close for forever.
me, mom, Alyssa, dad
Also, continue to pray for the women in our women's program in Haiti. Estaphanie is still not doing well and, from the sounds of it, getting worse. Zeus is now in Heaven and no longer living in that horrible hospital. While we were all sad to hear the news I love knowing that he is no longer HIV+ and is as healthy as can be.
Another lady who has been in the program for a long time has a 12 or 13 year old daughter who was raped this past week. Pray for her and especially her daughter.
From what I hear things have been pretty crazy the past week or so. John has been in the states and, in typical Haiti fashion, things are beaking left and right (literally!).
Pray for the McHouls, Lynchs, Tluceks, and Hojaras as they live in Haiti.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Letters from Haiti

Beth sent me this email today with the picture:

I want to do a letter to Jessica, Jessica I love you so much,
I miss you so much, I love you very much. That's it. From Jenny
Dear Jess, I miss you and I love you soooooooooo much.
And I want you to come to see me.
I want to send a picture to you from me. From Kesline
Uuuummmmm, I love you so much.
I want to do a letter for Jessica. I love you so much Jessica. from Ali
Jessica, I want you to come back. From Jenny and I love you so much
Hey Jess:We are up in the apartment. I am attempting to study chemistry for my midwifery course and the girls are doing "crafts". We all miss you and love you very much. Love you much, Beth
I miss them! and was so happy to get that email!

Monday, May 26, 2008

For Molly and Joyce!

videoI've had this video since my trip to MI in February but haven't been able to get it to post. Adeline and Lovely arrived in MI just before Christmas and live about 20 minutes from me. Before I went to Haiti I babysat for their 4 other siblings, Conner, Elly, Jonah, and Ivy. Adeline and Lovely are doing amazing with their family. Their english has improved a lot and it's so great to be able to see them here!

This video is for Molly and Joyce who work at the Toddler House at GLA. Adeline and Lovely ask me about them whenever I see them.

Molly and Joyce-Sorry it took me so long to get this posted! I hope you enjoy it!

Soccer, Soccer, Soccer








This past weekend I went to the Detroit area for my cousins' soccer tournament. Thankfully we had warm weather during the day. Mid 70's and sunny! I even got pretty toasted on Sunday from being at the fields most of the day. Guess I don't need to be at the beach in Haiti to get some sun :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maren Jae






I don't know what to write about since life in Michigan isn't nearly as exciting or different as life in Haiti so....here are some photos :) This is my cousin, Maren. She'll be 2 at the end of this month.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A bit of Haiti in Michigan

all of the kids
Peterson and I

Kaylana, Kendra, and I

Culture Shock?

I thought that I was going to get hit pretty hard with culture shock when I came home but it hasn't seemed to bother me yet. A friend told me to give it a couple of weeks...she thinks I'll be a mess.
I've been surprised at how easy this transition was. I still miss everyone in Haiti like crazy but I'm not near as emotional as last time.
As I was driving to the Haitian Gathering today it was the first time since leaving that I was emotional. I wasn't sure if I was ready to see all of these Haitian kids running around without having "my" kids there. It made me wish I was seeing everyone in Haiti. The day turned out to be great and I loved spending time with all of the kids and getting to talk with many of the families.
It's amazing to see how much the kids have grown and changed since leaving Haiti. They are all doing amazing.

I moved into my grandparents basement today which is where I'll be living while working and going to school. I'm so tired of moving and I'm glad this will be the last move for awhile. I also went to my cousin's soccer game and froze sitting outside but it was good to see some more of my family.
Tomorrow is church then back to Allegan for my sister's Baccalaureate. Lots of driving but at least it's a little less stressful than driving in Haiti! ;) My friend made a comment about how horrible the roads are here and that we have so many potholes....HA, if she only knew....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday in Haiti

Monday morning started off fairly normal for my last day in Haiti. I woke up early and got a lot of packing done, did the chores and hung out with all of the kids for awhile, then met John in his office to talk about a project we were doing. I had been talking to Sheila off and on throughout the morning getting updates on Estaphanie and Zeus who had shown up at the gate at 6am. After some confusion they had been sent off to Estaphanie's appt. Sheila had commented on how bad the baby seemed to be doing and around 12:30 we took him from her. He had a fever of 103.3 at 3 weeks old. We could see that he wasn't nursing and she said she had fed him water and some oatmeal type mush. Sheila and I spent the next little while feeding him with a syringe a mililiter at a time but he couldn't even keep that down. He would have coughing fits and throw up everything we had just given him. We knew he wasn't doing good and I suggested Sheila call Dr. Jen. She said to get him to a hospital. (by this time his fever had come down some) So Sheila went and talked to John and when he came down stairs he looked at Zeus and said, "He's dying." what?! I had known he wasn't doing well but convinced myself that he wasn't actually that bad and that he was going to get better. John said he needed to get to the hospital now. As I heard him explain the situation to Junior (John's assistant and the one taking us to the hospital) in creole what was happening I kept hearing him say, "This baby is going to die today if he doesn't get help now."
So Sheila and I jumped in the car with Junior driving and Estaphanie in tow. As we were driving I kept my hand on Zeus' stomache so that I could make sure he was still breathing. At times he would have coughing fits and then not breathe for 4 or 5 seconds at a time. Those were the slowest 4 seconds ever as I willed him to take another breath.

The first hospital we went to wouldn't take us because he was too young. That meant we had to go to General Hospital. This was my first experience there and it was not a good one.
This is how Sheila described the hospital in her blog:
General Hospital is a large complex of many white buildings with forest green trim. It kind of reminds me of an old church camp with a blue and white Catholic church off to the side and people praying at the locked gates. There is one main street inside the complex littered with trash, people waiting, eating and sleeping. While you are there you are responsible to have someone stay with the patient at all times, empty the bedpans and bring in food and water. When you get an actual visit from a doctor and medication is needed you must leave the compound, walk down the street outside filled with pharmacy after pharmacy looking for the meds that you need. There is no a/c, no padded chairs, no clean towels or sheets, you get what you can carry in with you and that is it. So, while you are out it is good to get a bite to eat from the street vendors and a bottle of water and prepare for the long wait.

When you're there, it doesn't matter how sick you or your child is, you wait in line and get seen in the order that you arrived. Let me just say that that is real aggravating when you're holding a dying baby in your arms! At this point Zeus is just not doing well. There were at least 3 times when Sheila and I looked at eachother panicking because he hadn't taken another breath.

We finally got a bed for Zeus at around 6 or 6:30 but that doesn't mean much. There were 30 other patients in that room with IVs running everywhere. From the looks of it, people rarely leave that hospital doing better than when they came in.

While trying to decide what to do while waiting for Lynch's house lady Nedege to come stay with Estaphanie and Zeus we watched a new mom with a tear stained face carrying her dead baby around begging for some one to save her baby. Just before leaving we stood in the hallway talking as 2 people carried out the bed of a baby that had just died. As they turned the corner and tipped the bed the baby just about rolled in to my lap. This is the saddest place I've ever had to spend any amount of time in!

Sheila, Junior, and I ended up leaving Estaphanie and Zeus at 7:30 knowing Nedege was on her way. We prayed over Zeus and knew we had to leave him in God's hands. By the way-at this point Zeus still hadn't been seen by a doctor, still had no IV, and seemed to be going down hill.

You'd think our crazy emotional day ended there but nope. Would you believe that 5 minutes down the road the car just stopped working?! So there we sat while waiting for John to come rescue us.

All Sheila and I could do was laugh...it's so Haiti! I also forgot to mention that when we walked into the hospital Sheila took a step in and did quite the graceful move as she slid through a puddle of diarhea.

Finally at 9:30 pm I was home and heading to bed dreading saying goodbye the next morning.

The email I got this morning from Sheila said that Zeus is still in the hospital and doing ok. Please continue to pray for him and his mom and everyone in Haiti that continues to deal with this situation.

Tuesday's travelling went ok and it was really good to see Debi and Emily when I got off the plane. Wednesday was crazy busy and I was only home for a total of 15 or so minutes the whole day. I have the whole day to myself today to get done whatever needs to get done and just have some down time.
I'm definitely missing my Haiti family and all of the kids and making plans of visiting in December :)
btw-I was welcomed into Michigan by two days of gloomy, rainy weather. sick. Thankfully, this morning the sun is shining. I don't expect it to get much above 60 but at least there is sun!



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

in Michigan and missing Haiti

so I made it...I'm in Michigan. and I have yet to decide if that is a good thing.
You would not even believe what the last 36 hours have looked like. I have neither the energy or the desire to talk about it right now but let me just say if there was any way I would have chosen to spend my last day in Haiti, the events of Monday would not have made the cut.
It's now 1:45 am Michigan time and I can't sleep. I had too much Mountain Dew and a taco from Taco Bell that made me want to throw up. I guess I need to ease myself back into the American ways a bit slower...
For now, I'm off to try and sleep....maybe tomorrow I'll write about what happened.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Last Post From Haiti

I'm sitting up in John's office putting the finishing touches on the Calendar we've made for Heartline and also trying to write an article for the newsletter. The latter is not going well.
My plane leaves Port at 12:35 tomorrow. Please pray that it leaves on time!! because I don't have a long layover in Miami and would really like to get home with out too many complications. I'm sure that wish is little far fetched but I can always hope, can't I?!
This will be my last post from Haiti...I was asked yesterday if I would continue blogging or not. I said yes but I'm not really sure because many people reading this are reading it because I was in Haiti. SO, to blog or not to blog? That is the question! What do you all think???

*edit* this is the article I had to write for John...finally finished!

John has been asking me to write an article for the newsletter for a couple of weeks now. It’s the day before I leave to head back to Michigan and I’m just now starting.
I’ve been struggling with what to write because how do you sum up 6 months in just a couple hundred words?
Many people have asked me what I do here and I usually tell them that I make bottles, do laundry when the laundry lady is off, make milk for every meal, pass out Fab for laundry, and keep the nannies in check. That seems like a pretty easy job. But what they don’t see is that I know that Jenny likes to be the boss. I know that Christopher will throw a major fit until he gets a bottle. I know that Ali struggles to find her place between the older girls and the toddlers. I know that Yvie needs to be held during church because she’s out of her comfort zone. I know that Kembert is a tough little guy but loves to give out hugs and kisses.
For the past 6 months I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to love on and care for these beautiful Haitian children. I’ve gotten to know all of their likes and dislikes. Leaving Haiti and saying goodbye to these little ones is going to be one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to say. In less than 24 hours I’ll hug them all and, through tears, tell them that I love them and am praying for them.

Me and the kiddos


Friday, May 9, 2008

Hunger

The hunger for love is much more difficult
to remove than the hunger for bread
-Mother Teresa

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Zeus

This is Zeus. He's 3 weeks old and very sick. His mom has more than one big medical issue and has probably been through more in her life than I could ever even imagine. Estephanie and her baby boy, Zeus, need your prayers!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Miss Annie Grace



A team from the Livesay's came in to work with us today and they brought Annie with them so I could keep her for a couple of hours. I was so thankful to get to play with and love on her again!

Haiti Ladies

Sheila, Beth, Brittany, me, and Lisa
These are the amazing ladies that I work with!!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Jes IS a part of our family"





The Lynch's have become like a second family to me since they've been in Haiti. They arrived at John and Beth's house the day Annie was born but it feels like they've been here forever :) For the most part, whenever the Lynch's go somewhere I end up tagging along. I'm definitely going to miss their whole family when I leave next week!

Jacmel

sunset while driving home

coal
people bathing and getting water in the stream
go down a little farther and it's a car wash

these fruit stands were all over the mountain

piles and piles of trash by the market
The pictures are very out of order because of the way they uploaded but these are from our trip to Jacmel. We ate lunch at a nice hotel and spent a couple of hours on the beach. These photos are all from the drive there and back.