Friday, June 30, 2006
No generator until AT LEAST next Thursday. The old one will take until then (minimum) to be fixed and the new one will be in customs longer than that. Nothing happens fast here ... and I mean nothing.
The two very small ones we are using now, allow us to plug in about three or four items at each house. We cannot run them more than about 8 to 10 hours a day. So, we will be limited on computer time as we attempt to conserve fuel for other things. I am proud, the troops are rallying and we are staying positive, but as Americans we are basically accustomed to a washing machine and showers ... so prayers for our toughness, patience, and moxy are appreciated.
The meeting with the birthmothers was very touching. The high points were how joyful they both seemed to see the kids so big, strong, happy and healthy. Hope's mom spent a great deal of time thanking us for getting her out of Haiti for her surgery. Isaac's mom is a smiley lady and LOVED to see Isaac with his brother that is about 20 months older than him. It totally freaked us out to watch them play. They move the same, they run the same, their heads are shaped the same. I felt like my face would break from smiling.
The similarities between the birthmoms and the kids were striking ... much more so than when the kids were babies. It really was very good. Hope and Ike were interested for as long as you can expect a four year old to be interested ... they did pretty well we thought.
We made a plan with them for dropping photos at the end of August and at that time we will have John set up another meeting for the end of this year.
I have so many more details and interesting developments, but time is not allowing for all of that right now. Details later ... for now here are four of the many photos we took.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Now that Troy is back, I can safely say, I HATE when he is gone. I used to bawl when he left for Madison for five days. That was when I had eight million sources of entertainment and family right at my fingertips. Having him six hours of flying away, instead of six hours of driving ... that is NOT for me. All of this is just to say, Hurray God for bringing Troy back healthier and happier. God is good.
We have learned that our dead generator needs to go into Port for some love from the professionals at their location. 16 small men were able to move it to the truck this afternoon. We will bring it in to get some love tomorrow. One cyliner bit the dust. It only started with two. No good. For now we have two tiny generators. The Hoppa's have one and are doing all the refrigeration for both families. We are mainly eating foods that don't require refrigeration. Now that we've got our own small generator too, things are looking up. Of course, we have excellent priorities and have used our new found power source to get on line.
My granny died this morning so I really wanted to be in touch with my family and this (on-line) is the best way we can do that.
The new generator that God dropped in Lifeline's lap at just the right time, may be a bit longer. Customs has a way of keeping the stuff you really want. The stuff that does not matter at all, will fly right through customs. Murphy's Law or something. We have decided not to estimate when we will be fully functional again, that way no one gets disappointed.
The hardest part of our lack of a big generator is the water thing. Most everyone in the Livesay family enjoys a shower one time a day. 98 degree days encourage that level of dedication to bathing. Right now we are getting five gallon buckets from the hand pumped well outside the gate and using that for dishes and "bathing," if you want to call it that.
The laundry situation will be dire by the time a generator of any size returns to LaDigue. Not sure what we will do, but I don't think I am woman enough to go wash them by hand in the canal with the village ladies ... who knows, maybe I will surprise myself. It would make for good laughs for the Haitian people. Luckily, Troy arrived with six new pairs of underwear for Isaac, so he is all set up.
Tomorrow (Friday) is the day we go meet both Ike and Hope's birthmothers at noon. Troy has never met them, I did once in 2002. We are hopeful that it will be a positive experience for everyone. Isaac and Hope seem happy about the plan to go meet them, we still don't know how much they really get it.
We will be in Port a lot this weekend but will do our best to update the blog as internet access and time allow. Have a really good weekend!
~Tara, for all of us
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
When we first moved here, Troy told me that one of the very smart mechanic-type guys from the first mission trip looked at the generator and said "You must be on the mission field, because there is no reason that thing should be running."
We have heard countless stories of things that should not work ... miraculously working. From generators to vehicles, all kinds of things chug along supporting God's work.
You have seen that the generator has given us a few scares since we moved here. The most recent problem has to do with a cylinder that sticks ... but there are only two cylinders so having one stick is not leaving you with much to work with. Last night it seemed to hit a major wall. We all lost power for good around 9pm (and water comes to us via a pump that requires power.)
HERE IS THE COOL PART...Lifeline had been praying about funds for such a large purchase and we had been praying that this generator would keep going until the large purchase could be made. God heard all of that and answered in a surprising way this weekend.
My uncle retired after many, many years teaching and asked that people consider donating to Lifeline. One very large and many other donations were made ... totalling the GIFT OF A GENERATOR!!!
That happened Saturday, the generator gave out Monday ... God knows all about this stuff. He sees our needs and He provides.
Worst case senerio, we go without power for a week or so .... but the gift came at the perfect time and God provides. For now, as Troy shared ... the Hoppa's have a small generator running to their house to give them lights and a refrigerator (no internet).
I would have stayed ... but, no husband added with no lights, no phone, no computer and no water was more than I could handle. I have a breaking point. The kids and I are at a hotel in Port where they can swim until it is time to get daddy at the airport tomorrow. Once Troy is with us we can handle our lack of modern convenicences much better.
My favorite conversation of the day, before I go back to my semi-icky hotel room...
Eddy- Tawah, Tawah ... I hear you that you want to come to Port. But this, it is the pwoblem. The soccer game is at 11am and the bad guys will do bad things during the soccer game because they know the UN is mostly Brazilian and won't be doing their job man. Okay, so don't come during the soccer game.
Me- Okay Eddy, I will wait.
Eddy- Okay Tawah. You tell Troy to get back to you his wife, it is not nice for him to leave you liek this. You can get him some Toro and then he will be so glad to be home.
Me- Okay Eddy. See you later today.
Eddy-Okay, whatever it is I can help you with it Tawah you just tell me because I am here this is my cone-tree and I want you to keep touching me because my job is to help. Call me when you leave, okay Tawah?
Me- Got it. Okay. I just want to come because I have no water to bathe my stinky children. No lights either.
Eddy-Yes, I know, you are a missionary. Missionaries need lights and water. They are not Haitian. It is okay.
Thanks for lovin us ---- we love you all back. More when we can ... Tara
Monday, June 26, 2006
Then, it was hard to know what to do about the abundance of Mangos ... it is very bad to throw away food in a food-poor country, but we did not know if "re-gifting" was going to cause hurt feelings. We forced ourselves to eat as many as possible, then we swore our cleaning lady to secrecy and had her carry out the Mangos under the cover of night. ;-) No, not really but we did tell her to keep it quiet.
We are now into Watermelon season, a fruit that is loved by most everyone in the family. This morning Pastor Rony surprised us with this honkin' melon.
(Photo of Davis and Casey Zachary)
We told you about the Zachary family doing ministry in Cazale. The son, Casey is one of the silliest guys you can meet. While we were there he had all the Haitian people laughing with the silly things he says. He moved to Haiti when he was Britt's age and then left for college and work and finding a wife. He is waiting for his wife to finish medical school and then, Lord willing, they will return to Haiti to work with his dad and sister's.
Casey tells the Haitian people when they ask why is Creole is so, so good, that he actually is Haitian and that his mom dropped him in a bucket of bleach so his skin turned white. Our Haitian interpreter at Lifeline laughed at that for 20 minutes on our ride home.He kept saying "that guy is so funny."
The other day Casey (who is back in the States after a short visit here last month) wrote this to us, we got a kick out of it because his delivery is so funny --- but it is also true!
Casey Zachary wrote:
Glad to hear that you have kept in contact with my sisters. I am so very proud of them, and they don't often get contact with other missionary families.
I love Haitians and know you do to. Keep dishing out the Big Jesus Love like its you job, because well, it is.
They desperately need more space and have a dream of a larger clinic, they currently work in cramped quarters. Please join us in praying that this dream will become a reality for them in the near future. Bondye Kapab!
There are lots of people in Haiti doing really good work with pure motives, the Zachary's and the McHoul's are the two closest to our hearts...so please pray for them as they come to mind.
TROY, where is the love? Write something to us, pleeeeease.
They have basically confirmed that it is/was DENGUE FEVER.
Dengue takes quite a while to be done but Troy is finished with the worst of it. The Haitians call it "La Fyev zo Kraze" or "the fever that breaks the bones" ---- so what Troy experienced when his hands were in so much pain and were clenching into fists was exactly that ... break-bone pain.
Right now he says he just gets tired easier, sort of like he is 81 years old instead of 31 and he has a lot of skin irritation and itching. The fevers have stopped coming and going and he is no longer sick to his stomach. He also said the body aches are improving every day. He felt well enough yesterday to go to our Minnesota church and play guitar and sing during worship so things are greatly improved. We are thanking God for that and expectant of a time of good health.
There are not that many mosquito-borne illnesses left for him to try out anyway. ;-)
He returns to Haiti on Wednesday, leaving Minneapolis early in the morning and arriving to Haiti at 4:30 in the afternoon. There are at least six people here that are pretty excited about that.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Young missionary Children who love 60's folk-rock music ... what could be better?
Noah has listened so often that it appears he is taking on Art's likeness.
In Rochester, MN, Troy once met and actually went to Burger King with Art Garfunkel.(That is a fun story but I will mess it up.) When I was 9, my cousin Shey and I had an amazingly artistic, well choreographed dance routine to "The Sound of Silence" so it is only appropriate that our children share our love for all things S&G.
This is a photo of Paige and her friend Caroline. They are both 11.
This morning Pastor Rony came up to our house to find out "When is Mr. Troy coming home?" We told him and he nodded approvingly. He said, "I cannot have communion today because I forgot to get wine. We can have it next Sunday." Calling what is served for communion "wine" would be a huge stretch. It is more along the lines of a really strong, maybe old, Viks 44 cough medicine, mixed with Bactine Anticeptic. The label on the bottle has a big muscle guy lifting a huge barbell. It is a strange beverage.
But, in a country where the wedding celebration drink has rubbing alcohol in it, it is not surprising that the communion beverage burns your esophagus as it goes down. These people are MUCH hardier than us! We are off to church now. Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Today was supposed to be sort of a mellow day. It did not turn out that way. This morning I decided to take the Lifeline translator and go find Krispe (fka Tropical Ulcer) to try and start fresh with treating his leg and to give him a Love Bundle and check up on him.
The walk over to his village is beautiful, there are two ways to walk there. One way is a wide path and the other way is this tiny single file path in the middle of weird bushes and trees...it is sort of like being in a jungle. Of course, I did not have a camera! It was so strange to walk on a clean and quiet path, no garbage, not very many people ... it was a neat experience.
Krispe agreed to help me try to help him with his ulcer. We will start fresh tomorrow with a new unna boot (a medicated wrap) that will stay on for two weeks. I am honestly hopeful that this time around might bring better results for him.
Later in the day we went up to the river to swim. Paige, Isaac, Tipap and I all went. It was fun and the water was refreshing ... basically all around good fun ... UNTIL, a man and his donkey passed by us and the man walked ahead, ignoring his donkey. The man allowed his nasty donkey to not only walk on our clothes, where they laid on the side of the river, but the donkey also took a dump at the moment when his butt was directly over Isaac's shirt, Paige's shorts, my shirt and one towel. That donkey has skills. The worst part was the long walk home without those clothes to wear. No good.
Later in the afternoon, I cleaned up a few simpler wounds and listened to some of the Brazil soccer game being broadcast in Creole on a transister radio. That was interesting. Not long after that the Haiti soap opera showed up.
Every other day is a lot for this new stitcher. Especially when it's 'all in the family'. This afternoon, the niece of the lady with the terrible cut on her knee (from Thursday) came. The problem isn't just the fact that two people in the same family needed stitches all within two days of each other. It's the drama behind this second wound. Our first domestic.
The story came out that the lady with the cut arm (photos below) (BEWARE) was arguing with her EX Father-in-law, she apparently said a "bad word" --- He got angry and they were pushing each other, then he picked up his sycthe (used to cut crops, a curved blade) and took a swing at her arm. You will see below how that worked out for her. We knew there was a story behind the injury just based on the tears ... the mom of the cut girl was crying a lot and the cut girl seemed to be crying out of sadness more than out of pain. It was sad. Jason prayed for her before we got started.
Right after I got up and tip toed around this huge house listening and checking on everyone I heard Noah whining quietly for me. "Mooooomy, Mooooomy" so since there is a big empty spot in my bed I got him out of his crib and brought him in with me. It was just before 3am.
He acted like someone forced him to drink four cups of coffee, he was NOT tired. He is a very verbal kid and tries to talk a lot, we just don't understand most of it. Last night he had more to say than anytime in recent memory. I cannot remember all of it ...
Noah-Mama, I am sleeping in here with you?
Me-Sure honey, let's go to sleep.
N-It is dark in here mama?
Me-Yes, it is so we can sleep, let's do that.
N-Mama, daddy is dead? (No idea where that one came from!)
Me-No, remember dad is just in MN with grandma and papa.
N-Oh, oh-tay (he refuses to say OK)
Me-Let's go to sleep now honey.
N-I am gonna sing Mama. (proceeds to sing a made up jibberish song for five minutes)
At that point it was about 3:20, I heard another noise and had the fast heartbeat thing again. I knew it was just me being a freak. I layed there scared, trying to calm my thoughts and then said "Jesus, Jesus" sort of to calm myself down. Noah said, "loves me." I laughed out loud at him and that fueled him for further conversation.
N-You think I am funny Mama?
Me-Yes, I do, now let's sleep.
N-I am sleeping with you Mama?
N-I wanna go see Ikeeee Mama. (never Isaac, always Ikeeee-long on the E)
Me-No, we are sleeping now. We are not waking him up.
N-(sits up, wrestles around tries to have a dance party on the bed punches me HARD in the bridge of the nose)
Me-(yellping in pain) I am gonna need to put you back in your crib. I want to sleep.
N-Oh-tay Mama. Shhhh Go to Sleep!
Me- Right, that is wha-
N(cuts me off) SSHHHHH! Quiet! I'm sleeping.
45 seconds of quiet
N-Rub my back Mama.
Me-(rubbing his back)
Me- (falling asleep after about five minutes) (Hand goes still)
N- MA, WAAAKE UPPPP! Rub my baaack!
Me-(rubbing his back another five minutes)
Me-I am not talking anymore Noah.
N- Mama, Peanut said "stupid head" (Peanut is the dog and stupid head is an irritating new phrase that he learned from the big boys.)
Me-Peanut said that? I am gonna have to talk to her about that.
N-Oh tay you can Mama. Peanut said it.
Me- Noah, for real, I am done talking now, I want to sle-
N-(cuts me off again) QUIET, I am sleeping Ma... Shhhhhhh
At about 4:15 I looked at the clock for the last time. He was snoring like he has Porter genes or something. Dad, you would have been proud.
Friday, June 23, 2006
We had a really nice time at the beach together this afternoon. Friday is good because there is not weekend traffic.
It would have been JUST us if it were not for the speedo-wearing, stare-too-long, strange acting, picture taking, Brazilian contingency of the United Nations force. They are stationed in Haiti to ... to... to... protect us? Hummmm. The beach was fully protected from political unrest and bad-guy activity today.
There is no reason why anyone other than a Olympic competetive swimmer should ever wear a speedo swim suit. No reason. Do they really look at themselves in the mirror and say, "Yeah, yeaaaaah ... that looks gooooood, I will wear this to the beach." Paige and Britt were particularly questioning the wisdom in wearing a white Speedo.
The name of the beach is "Wahoo Bay" it is really cheap to get in and if you don't eat in the restaurant you can get out of there for about $12.00 U.S. While Britt and Ike were out chatting and swimming together Isaac said, "Britt, what is Wahoo Bay's middle name?" To which Britt quickly answered "Stanley." Isaac is kind of a sucker, so from here on out the beach is "Wahoo Stanley Bay."
Onto more serious thinking-
My Uncle Rick is big on metaphors. He is a wise old Pastor and he is a pro at drawing out beautiful illustrations and tying things together in a neat package. I am a novice, but because I am all introspective and soul-searchy, I enjoyed this metaphor that jumped out at me today.
We had moved to the pool to escape the icky UN guys and their speedos. At the pool Noah wanted to cling to me and walk around in the shallower end. After a bit he saw that Isaac was leaping from the side of the pool into the water and was having a lot of fun doing it. I asked him if he would go to the side so he could jump to me.
The first few jumps I had to actually be touching him before he would jump to me. After about five times he gained some confidence, he would jump into my hands as long as they were very close to his body, within reach of his jump. "Do it again Mama, do it again ... " he said.
Five minutes later he was willing to trust me even if my hands were not visible ... I could let them sit down in the water and before I knew it he was flying through the air towards me.
At a few points I was distracted by Isaac or Paige needing me to watch their tricks. It did not matter, even if I was looking off to the side. I went as far as to turn away from him to test if he still trusted me enough to jump. Without hesitation, Noah would fling himself in with total faith that I would catch him, even though he had no visable/tangible proof I was in control and ready to help/catch him.
"Again Mama again, again, again."
I am sure that is how God wants us to be. I think He wants us to trust that even though we don't see Him, even though we don't always feel like He is watching us, even when we think He might be busy with other things, He wants us to trust Him.
I believe He wants us to have fling yourself into the air kind of faith. KNOWING that He is there to help us, to catch us ... to save us. Again, and again, and again.
Written by Britt & Tara
A few things have hit us in the past few days. God used Lori and Licia to help us see things the way HE sees them. We are really glad He did.
The two situations in which they spoke to our hearts...
We were feeling discouraged over Sophia's birth family not being very kind to us. We were bummed out that they were complaining to us about our help not being enough. We would even say we were angry with them earlier in the week. Licia and Lori wrote these words that were a great reminder:
... It's sad.....and frustrating. We know how you feel. Do the best you can. It's really up to the family... Help them if you want to and feel called to... Do it for the Lord. Love His children despite their families...
That was simple enough advice ... but we needed it. We were busy being annoyed that they were not thankful. That is NOT what it is about. It is good to have mature, experienced friends to help us remember what it IS about.
2."Tropical Ulcer Man"
First, we realized that not calling him by his name is kind of rude and mean. (We all did it.) His name is Krispe. I (Britt) was so frustrated that he does not follow instructions for dealing with his ulcer. I wanted to give up on him. In my discouragement, I wrote to Lori about it. She said a bunch of good things.
Pieces of Lori's email: A lot of people think these kind of ulcers are done with voodoo powder and it's a curse someone put on them. That makes it hard to get him to talk. It could explain why he changes his story - or, at least why he isn't very clear in his explanation. This also makes it hard for them to seek and follow treatment because they feel that they will not recover until the person takes the curse off or until someone pays the voodoo guy more $ than the original curse-maker to remove the curse. Don't be discouraged. Keep on trying. You're his only hope. If you give up, he will too. I have also found that people with these chronic leg ulcer have extremely low self-esteem. He has probably had it forever - open to bugs - infected - smelly - people look down on him - he just doesn't care anymore. It's been so many years since anyone has looked at him like a real person. He's given up. Try to find something he is interested in and work on improving his self-esteem/image. It will help him to know you care. It will increase trust and compliance with your treatment. Just a thought.
So, the lessons for us have been to do the right thing. Don't do it for thanks, just do it because Jesus loves us that much ... so why should we not do the same for others? We are very sure that there are lots of times when God thinks we are not very thankful or compliant either!
Off to the beach now. God Bless you!
We are the manners police with our children. You get nothing if you do not say "please" and "thank-you." I thought it was funny when Noah came up to me to say "Mama, I poooooped ... change it." (a sign that he ought to be potty trained?) Hope, overheard this request and said "Noah, say PLEASE change it!" "You know that."
Other ways we have rubbed off on Hope... She watched Noah pour a glass of water then without finishing it he dropped his cup into the sink. Hope said "NOAH! We pay for that water, you need to drink what you pour." Poor Noah, he has no chance with so many mean mom's around.
We sent 400-some diapers on the container in December. I thought I planned for enough to get the boy potty trained, but we are down to about 12 diapers and he is nowhere near ready. I have looked a few places and had trouble finding diapers here for bigger butt babies ... I'll keep looking, or maybe you have ideas on how to potty train your 27 month old in less than three days?
Troy says that Dengue is Malaria's evil step-sister. He is in MN scratching his skin off...sounds really appealing doesn't it? I am hoping he wakes up and tells us his deep observations about being back in MN and a full list of the food he is eating. My mom is on a mission to help him gain a few lbs. and get his buns back.
We are headed out for a few hours of swimming at the beach, once Noah wakes up from his early cat-nap. "Beach ministry", I think that's what it's called. ;-)
We love you Troy. It is weird to be here without you.
Thanks so much for all the prayers and love ... and encouragement. Our friends and family are too good to us. We always want you to know how much we appreciate each and every one of you!
This lady showed up, obviously in a lot of pain. She had it wrapped up with some old flowery piece of cloth. The only way I can describe un-wrapping these types of things, is like at your birthday, you know that one gift you're just dying to open because you have no idea what's inside. As you see below, this is the present I unwrapped.
She had some bad luck with ... my number 2 enemy (#1 being the machete) - the motosiklet or motorcycle for all you English speaking types. She was riding on the back of the motorcycle (another form of public transportation in Haiti) when she and her driver collided with another motorcycle. She was the only one hurt in the accident and the sweet man who was driving, brought her here and stayed the whole time.
This time around was better, my hands weren't shaky at all (Mesi Jezi!) and just the fact that God was with me the whole time ... close to 90 minutes of stitching. (I am very slow, I know that.)
(comments below each pic)
I prayed first, that helped! She came at sunset, so we sutured in the company of all the night bugs.
Sorry for all those who hate this stuff .... just stop scrolling now.
A little less than half way finished ... took a little break...
DONE & DONE!
She was not very happy when I wanted to do one more stitch at the end but somehow I convinced her that the openness of it wasn't all that cool. So 16 became 17. My mom did a great job helping me while the mosquitoes ate us for dinner.
This lady entertained us with all of her chatter, here are a few of the phrases she repeated over and over: (translated to English) "oh lord, oh god, oh father, oh jezi/jesus. I'm gonna die (used most frequently), I have a problem, do you hear me?, when are you coming? when am I done?"
We hope she was saying this more because of her cut than because of us ... hahaha ... but either way, we cannot really blame her! ;)
Maybe the word is out that someone here can kind of do stitches ... but the word must be out that they are free. ;) 17 was a large time investment at my slow speed ... so here's hoping that we don't ever top it.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
"God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him" ~Hudson Taylor
"God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him." ~Hudson Taylor
These quotes are true... and that is a good thing for me. My faith does not feel so great and I am indeed feeble.
These last few days and even weeks have been more challenging. Just one of those slumps where you feel like you have to try really hard to have a good attitude. I have certainly felt more discontent and frustration than the previous months. Some of it is related to situations here, but I don't get the sense that those situations are the root of the restlessness I feel.
The other day we were driving along, Troy said, "I have no desire to return to a normal job, I could see doing mission work from here on out." I was like, REALLY???? Because, that is not where I am. Forever in Haiti sounds difficult and inconceivable to me right now. Forever is a long time! No date-night for forever? I don't think so.
My desire is always to be where God wants me and to do it with a joyful attitude. I am just admitting that in the last week(s) this has been a bit more difficult for me personally.
There is always an ongoing lesson for me no matter where I am in life ... and that is, God saying, "Get your eyes off of your circumstance lady ... it is not about you, it is about ME." "Be joyful in every situation, be thanking me in ALL things. My grace is sufficient if you would not be too stubborn to LEAN on me."
The missionary care sites that you read say there is a natural pattern for people who leave their own country. Month four and six are supposed to be typical times of discontent or loneliness. I have been here just short of five months so maybe I am experiencing the normal stuff.
I do believe that it is normal to have these low and high spots in a walk with God. I am looking forward to heading to higher ground and trying really hard to lean in on Him who can help me in any situation and circumstance.
We hope you are having a nice restful time in Minnesota. We hope you drink lots of real milk and maybe eat a big salad with fresh bleu cheese dressing ... and also some good steak.
We are working on a solution for you. We know that the bad mosquitoes seem to love you the most. We are fashioning an outfit for you to wear day and night; to keep you safe from both Malaria and Dengue Fever mosquitoes.
We are going to check with Eddy to see if you can wear this in the Government offices. By the time you get back we will have it ready.
We love and miss you!
Sounds easy enough. I tried to find a place within the hospital to buy one. But I asked the wrong person who gave me bad information and said I would have to leave and walk down to a little grocery store.
I walked down to the store, going over in my mind all of the self-defense techniques, preparing to rough up anyone who tried anything.
When I got down to the little store I grabbed a bottle of apple juice and went to the counter. I asked in Creole if they sold "voila" phone cards. She shook her head no and rang up my juice. I handed her money, she gave me change and the receipt. I picked up my juice and started out the door. The grocery bagging guy yelled "Madame, Madame, no." He motioned for me to come back. I was totally confused. They started blabbering something that was unintelligible to me. I had no idea what was wrong. I had paid for the juice, I wanted to leave and get back to Troy. I picked up the juice AGAIN and turned to leave ... the whole situation repeated itself. By this point they were sort of mocking the fact that I did not know what they were telling me. I had a brief moment where I considered smashing the juice bottle (glass) at their feet and then walking out. Instead, I handed the juice back to the lady (she still had my money) and said "finished" in Creole and left without my purchase. (I wish I would've smashed it, that would have made a better story.)
Then I totally melted down. When I got back to Troy's room the Doctor said "What happened to her? Did someone hurt her? Is she okay?" That is how hard I was crying. Not being able to buy juice was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was really crying about Troy being sick, the possibility of him leaving us, my lack of language skills, feeling alone ... not being able to buy juice was hardly the issue.
In the middle of my 15 minute sob-fest the phone rang. It was John. He said "Hi guys, I have two ladies here at my orphanage that say they would like to see you. They have photos of your family and they say they are Hope and Isaac's mom's."
If you go back to read my February 23 "Adoption Thoughts" blog entry, you will be reminded that we recognized the day was coming when our birthmoms would find us. I have thought long and hard about adoption, my family is surrounded by those issues from all vantage points. But, in that moment, it was news I could not even begin to process. I was in overload mode so I pushed it aside. We asked John to tell them we would see them soon.
A date is set up for a meeting with them on June 30 in Port au Prince, on neutral ground. I have eight days to get ready and comfortable with the whole thing.
It is not that I don't want to see them. I do. It is not that I don't care about them. I really do. It is just outside of my comfort zone. We are preparing Hope and Isaac for the meeting. They are saying things like: "Yeah, yeah, I will meet that lady whose belly I was in." "You are still my mom right?" "Is she brown?" "Does she speak English?" "Was I white when I was born?" "What was dad's name when he was born?" "Is she nice?" "Is she happy?"
I don't think they really get it. Maybe just peripherally or in small spurts. John said it will be weird for them but in some ways the fact that they are young will help.
I think my discomfort or fear if you want to call it that, is more about Hope and Isaac. I don't want them to be hurt or confused. The language barrier will come in handy to protect them. John is going to interpret for us and he will be able to weed out comments that are not good for four year olds to hear. Thankfully, for once, not knowing tons of Creole is going to help us.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Troy, I know you are at the Doctor right this minute. But, if it is not too late ...
Britt found this earlier this morning and she thinks you need to be tested for: "mytwoyearoldputsmytooth-brushinthetoilet" disease.
Stoolbrushalaria? Who knows how long this has been happening. He probably lets them soak for a bit then puts them back where he found them.
The calendar says June 21 is the offical first day of summer, although with warm temps year round that seems like a moot point here.
We have grown accustomed to noise (lots of it) from 7am to 2pm. It will be eerily quiet for two months.
The kids still come to eat at noon, but they don't hang out or create the noise that a school day does.
It is kind of sad. :(
Photo Credit: Rhonda Hoppa, December 2005
(I think Ronda took this, Troy is in it and I was not here on that trip.)
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
This is what happens when wrist meets machette.
Stitch OneStitch two..three..four& fiveAll done!
This little guy is 12, he goes to the Lifeline school, today was his last day so he started his summer break by hurting himself with his machette. Weird thing ... when my mom got back from the airport, I was bored and I said "I hope someone needs stitches today." He came an hour later.
One part of me really, really wanted Troy to leave. Just to finally be done with eight weeks of almost non-stop sickness, and to get some answers. The other part of me really hates being separated from Troy. That is the bigger part.He is a good best friend, I like being with him. He is cute. He is nicer than me.He makes me laugh.
It all boiled down to one major problem that cannot be denied: I am not good at long-term sympathy. I'm just not. The poor guy felt so awful anytime he did more than move out of bed for an hour and I am like "So, when are you gonna be better then?" "Are you better?" "What about now?" I hate that about me. I can feel sorry for you only until it becomes a nuisance to me that you are ill. What a crappy trait.He needed to leave just to get away from my pressure.
For those of you wondering what was decided about Troy ...
First he decided not to come home because he seemed to be getting a little better. That lasted 12+ hours. Then Monday morning was sort of rough, and now he has decided to go to MN for a week to A.) see a tropical/infectious disease Doctor B.) rest in an air-conditioned/quiet place.
Troy recovered from Malaria and the stomach flu just in time to get something new and we are just ready to be done with illness already! So, after M and D sprung for the airline ticket, it was an easy choice, and without a doubt a better place to rest and relax. He is traveling all day Tuesday. The rest of us, we will hold down the fort and pray he gets better and comes back fast.
Through wonderful connections/friendships with cool people in MN & Iowa, we have secured an appt. and found the best place to go. Thanks Marcia, Dr. Jen and Dr. Steen! You guys are so great. (These two ladies were strangers six weeks ago, that is how God works ... putting people in place right where/when they are needed. God is good like that.)
Troy is hanging in there. We are idiots without a clue, but we think he has Dengue Fever and it will just be best for him to get out of town for awhile and lay low. If anyone in MN takes him golfing, or suggests anything stupid like that ... I will hunt you down and hurt you. I live in Haiti, I have access to machetes of varying sizes. I am begging you, (Matt this means you) please let him rest, don't tempt him to be a dummy. Even if he feels better later in the week. No tempting.
Now that that's out of the way. I thought I would share that even though more than once in the last seven days Troy was sure he was dying ... he still has his sense of humor, as evidenced by this email to his friend who is a Doctor in Iowa.
From: "Troy Livesay"
To: "'Jamie Steen'"
Subject: Dr in the house
Date:Fri, 16 Jun 2006 21:25:14 -0400
Thanks for all the prayers, help and advice. Still haven’t decided what to do, going to sleep on it and pray some more.
Just so you know, this is all just to further increase your popularity and standing in the medical community. I have been using my body as a testing site for new strains of tropical diseases. I have named this current experiment “denguephoidlaria”. I’ll see if I can duplicate it for you for research purposes when I return to the States. Would you like a stool sample? Let me know.
Monday, June 19, 2006
On Wednesday, I spent a good portion of my afternoon organizing the medical cabinets. This is no small task, being that I am a perfectionist freak at times. My disorder is actually called OCPD, according to my family, this is what I have:
So after better understanding my 'disorder', it's very easy to see how it probably took me longer organizing & putting away the supplies that Lori had so generously given me last week when I visited them and their amazing ministry in Cazale.
The point of this is just to thank God for his awesome timing! Wednesday was the first day that I was really organized and ready to put my newly learned skills to work. On Thursday, amidst all extra responsibilities with my parents being gone, my first official stitches patient showed up. Had they come any earlier, it might have put my OCPD self into melt-down mode since I wasn't ready and didn't have a specific shelf designated just for the supplies needed for suturing.
I had just put the boys down for nap so I didn't have anything else to do besides pray for my parents in PAP. She, my stitching recipient - came at a perfect time and really helped get my mind off of the situation at hand. I know that that might not make sense to some, but it really couldn't have been better timing.
This is the audience that gathered -mainly the cooks- most of them left after they saw the needle. Pike (pronounced 'picky' - meaning shot) is a very un-loved & feared word of the Creole language.
Me working on my patient, a 18yr old young lady - she guessed that I was 20 - and didn't really believe me when I told her otherwise. At least I tried to be honest. :)
The first chance I had to do this on my own was a very straight, clean cut. I was thankful for an opportunity to practice on an easy cut. I was glad it was not a little kid. For some, it might seem really odd that I am doing this without going to school for a bunch of years, but I want to assure you that I prayed first with the patient and that I would never even try to do something that scared me or that needed help I could not confidently offer. The sad reality here is that if someone wants stitches they have few choices. Me, or a lady about twenty minutes drive away that charges $60 U.S. That lady is more practiced and is GOOD at what she does ... BUT, $60 U.S. is about two or three months salary for most Haitans. Almost all of them would opt to skip the stitches all together if they had to pay that much. Lori at Cazale was so awesome to let me watch and to teach me ... THANK YOU LORI for all of the supplies and the lesson that allowed me to do this! More photos below.
Also, for the coolest medical blog in history, go to http://www.xanga.com/haitinurse4life