Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lindsay, Britt and Boys

From Lindsay's baby-sitting gig yesterday ...

Britt and Lindsay hiked up to Petit Bwa this morning. They took lots of photos along the way, and even bartered for Coke's at the top of the climb. They did not have money, so they traded granola bars for Coke. Only in Haiti.

Koud Zorey

(Literally translates to: Sew(n) Ear)

By Britt:

I want you all to know that I am always open to suggestions. I never take a patient with a problem I am not familiar with. I know that what I am doing is kind of frowned upon by those who don't get it, or have never been to the developing world or seen some of the situations.

Saying that there is no better option is true and it isn't. Out by where we live, there really isn't a place that provides reliable quality care - concerning sutures especially. In the last week I've taken a patient who went to one of these 'local providers' and had sutures done that really were less than satisfactory (and that's putting it nicely). Pierre, the man whose finger we amputated, previously went to a 'clinic' and had it amputated but then came to us to fix that original work, in-order to make it so that the finger would heal. Please understand that I am not criticizing Haitian healthcare organizations, facilities or providers. All I am saying, is some of the things in this area are not performed/handled properly. A lot of people get NO help when going to the area clinics.

So if I seem to have a 'knack' for doing stitches and enjoy having the opportunity to offer this service, then it seems like a good, beneficial thing to me. I would never take a wound or any case that was too big of an undertaking for me. I know my limits. Weekly, I am sending stuff on that is too big for me - abscesses, fevers, infected bones, ect. Like, I willingly tell the Haitians who come daily with their babies who have fevers .... I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. And I don't intend to act like I am one. . I don't have the skills or knowledge to diagnose why it is your baby has this fever or give out prescriptions or fever medications. The people I have helped have a choice to use my help or go elsewhere, I am not forcing myself upon them. I hope to one-day become a doctor and be able to do more of these things, but for now I will stick to what I know - suturing, wound care, and basic common-sense first aid.

I never want it to appear that I view myself as health 'expert' or that I am 'on a high horse' concerning the small contributions I get the privelege to make here. I am sixteen for pete's sake. I have learned a ton from nurse and doctor friends and through studying online/textbook resources, and experience. Learning to suture has been the coolest thing because not only is it helping me feel like I have a jump-start in the 'medical world' but it has been a very necessary skill. I just counted the other day and since learning how to suture from my friend Lori in June of '06, I have seen 20 suture patients. If a cut is too much for my current skill/knowledge level --- I have no problem trying to figure out the next place to send the person.

This is the first ever ear that I sutured; it is the job that Jamie was supervising while cooking pancakes. But I'd like to say that the grilled pancakes stayed clear of the suturing field. :)

Ears are interesting to stitch ... the cartilage is kind of weird and Jamie warned me that often the stitch will pull right through. But I must have had beginner's luck because this first ear job went very smoothly. I know that the before picture looks like the ear is dirty ... but that is just some betadine on the lobe. And we almost forgot to take a before picture, so those strings are the first stitch, just not knotted together yet.

This is the after photo. It took 3 stitches. This was another 'domestic.' It was sad; it was hard to get the story out of this lady because she was sad/embarrassed. I guess she got into a fight with her husband and he hit her, pulling her earring clear through the ear lobe. She is on Cipro, Jamie and Sharon taught me that Cipro is sometimes necessary because it kills the bugs that live/grow in cartilage that a different antibiotic would not. And they most definitely helped with the dosage. So now we just pray that the scarring is kind to her and that she doesn't develop keloids as many people of African heritage do.

My second ear was brought to me via Rusty & Cheryl, who come down here for a few weeks monthly to their orphanage in a village about 45 min away. This little boy was brought to them - supposedly his older brother cut him with a knife. They were planning to head out this way anyway, so it was like his very own ambulance service. :) I forgot to take an after photo ... but basically the same thing, three stitches closed it right up. He was only four years old so it was more difficult. Poor babe, he screamed the whole time. I think it was all the unfamiliar blan faces and having to be held down firmly for the short time. Cheryl will change his bandages and take the sutures out after a week to 10 days.

That is all for me. Lindsay and I got up early and hiked to Petit bwa. We took some photos, and had an awesome time, maybe we can share those with you later on. I have to run finish school work before the people with wounds start showing up at 3pm.

Keep praying for these patients, that God would heal them. He is the Healer.

Have a great Tuesday!

Living in the Past

Our costume offering-

As you might imagine, there is no candy being passed out in these parts tonight. Isaac has been begging us to get the Tigger costume down here from storage in MN, we are still trying to convince him that not only has he grown 8 inches since he last wore it, but it is not exactly a Haiti-friendly costume. Ack. Hot.

These photos are from a 2004 costume/Gotcha Day party we had for H & I. Troy and I tried to perfect this song, on that day but we failed miserably. Happy Halloween, we hope you do something fun with your family this evening. We are having a simplified, mini-Gotcha Day party with treats.

Monday, October 30, 2006

2002 - We first meet...

...Love at first sight.

Four Years Ours

We love you SO much!!!

Isaac and Hope became Livesays and U.S. Citizens four years ago yesterday. They arrived in Minnesota October 30, after spending their first night as citizens in Miami with their happy, tired, shocked, drained and immeasurably blessed parents.

Hope had been with us since September 25th, on a medical visa for Kidney surgery, but she was not officially ours until the second time back in Miami, with an adoption visa in hand.

Here is one of the reasons our experience in Miami with our precious new kids was surreal. Read this story from the day we landed on American soil, with our beautiful Haitian Sensations.

We got to our hotel. It did not seem possible to us that they were legally ours, we were incredulous to turn on the TV and watch that story unfolding live. The boat arrived on shore after eight days at sea. We arrived after 90 minutes in the air. They would be sent back. Hope and Isaac would not. The desperation was mind-numbing and difficult to watch. Seeing all of those people be caught and arrested, then later returned ... on the very same day our kids became legal citizens. It was heavy stuff, heartwrenching stuff. We sat in our hotel room crying for joy and sorrow all at once.

Monday Night - Not Much News

The photo above is from this afternoon, of Lindsay and Britt working on cleaning Edmon's sutures. We had the easiest trip to Port ever. We left Lindsay with the boys and all the girls and Troy went to make the crazy-huge grocery trip. Many hands make light work, and it was fun to do it together. We divided our list and whipped through the place in no-time. Hope was going to stay back with her brothers, but Britt and Paige are suckers for her right now so they invited her to join the big-people party. Her stitches are getting her everywhere. John M. even gave her a bag of Jelly Beans just for showing him her wound.

Buying that many groceries at once always feels embarrassing ... for whatever reason. Mainly, it is just odd to drop hundreds on groceries when so many are hungry and cannot even imagine that much food going to one place. The store had everything on our list to feed/care for the coming group, except Pringles (which is usually the ONLY chip you can find) and Kleenex. The team will just need to use their shirts for tissue, not a problem. Degaje.

We grabbed lunch at a place called Epid'or --- sort of a fast food joint Haiti-style. After that we (the four girls) took our truck home and Troy took his truck to go get the new generator, which has been a loooooong time coming. I just about fell over when he pulled in with it shortly after 4pm. This new unit is bigger and more efficient and will equal less dollars spent on diesel. The little generator can now be an emergency back-up. Electricity is a beautiful thing.

I cannot remember the last time I drove. Thankfully it was totally uneventful. I will drive again on Wednesday afternoon to help Troy get the team, we'll need both trucks.

The only job I regularly avoid doing for months on end is cleaning out the refrigerator. The only reason to do it is so my mom, or strangers, don't see how nasty me and my spin-offs let it get. I did that today. No team member from Michigan will be finding anything sick or wrong growing in my refrigerator.

Hope's leg continues to look pretty good, no infection problems. :) Woot.

Below, is the main reason you should not eat mascara. Nobody told him about the risks, so really, he is not to blame.

We don't know when a break in the heat arrives in this country. Halloween means snow where we're from, so 97 degree days in late October is quite a peculiar thing to us.

Did you notice Troy's fancy new Flickr thing to the left? He is uploading most of his photos, both average and good, on the Flickr site as time allows in the evenings. Fancy, huh?

Goodnight from La Digue. :)


After just one week in Haiti, Jamie mastered the art of Degaje (Make it work). After running out of propane for the house...he moved his pancake-making skills to the outdoors. On the grill.

That's the kind of commitment we like to see in breakfast preparation. Nothing can stand in the way of a true artist.

Just to show off, he even assisted in a medical procedure while cooking. I'm sure this scene is repeated over and over again in the emergency room at the University of Iowa hospital.

We were so blessed to have our friends with us for a time. I can't thank you enough Jamie and Sharon for the sacrifices you made to come visit us. We love you and appreciate all you've done for us.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Night

By Tara-

We enjoyed a great family day of rest. We had cloud cover all day. Because it is different, it comes as a welcome change. Some friends from a nearby orphanage in Bercy stopped in late this afternoon. Later, Lindsay, Britt and I went for a quick run to the end of the road and back.

Tomorrow we head to Port for team groceries. And if all the stars are lined up, and the breeze is blowing from the south seas, maybe, just maybe, the generator that was purchased before we were born will be available for pick up.

The 'fall back' thing ... Well, just as we experienced in April --- no one really knows which time we are following. In a few days we will all agree on something I suppose. My computer tells me it is 9:30 but my neighbors say it is 10:30. Either way, I am headed to bed to watch Jack Bauer save the world from terrorists soon.

It pains me to be redundant, but just to keep things clear for newer readers, this is a family blog. It began as a way to reassure our friends and family, Britt and Paige's Dads, and others who were concerned and wanted to know what we were doing. Grandmas and Grandpas want to see photos of their grandchildren. It is an easy way for them to check in on us. It has evolved into a fun thing, we learned we enjoy writing and want to share stories and photos. It is a great way to document our time here. It is a way for our supporters to know what they are supporting.

Blogs are basically on-line journals. Everything is editorial. It is just our opinion, we recognize you will either take it or leave it. We're not a news organization, we're a stupid blog.

We have absolutely no delusions about what we are offering down here. We won't fix anything. We will offer a little love and a little hope and a few solutions here and there. Overall, we won't even scratch the surface of the deeper issues of poverty and corruption.

The only thing we are doing successfully is following what we believe firmly the Lord has called us to do for this season. We don't expect everyone to understand that. For those that don't, we have a hard time understanding why they would waste time on our blog, reading our simple-minded thoughts.

Contrary to one person's criticism, we do not think Haiti is hopeless, why would we be here if we thought that? Sometimes it feels that way, when surrounded by so much poverty, so little infastructure, and many years of poor government management -- but that is not true. There is always hope.

Haiti is beautiful. Look at the photos, the people are stunning, the landscape is gorgeous. It was once called "The Pearl of the Antilles." Haitians are amazingly strong, they have much to offer if given a chance.

But, here is the thing-

Some will say we are not helping enough, others will say we are "rice missionaries" just doling out charity and offering no sustainable solution. Others say fully sustainable organizations do not exist here ... the ones that come close are still funded outside of Haiti. Some will say we are not sharing the gospel enough, others would say we are pushing our religion down the throats of the Haitian people. Some will take issue with Britt doing what she is doing without a degree in nursing, others would be horrified if we turned the injuries away when we had the supplies and skills to help. Some laugh at our dependence on God, others think we are not very Godly and gasp at the crap I say, or admit to thinking.

The point is, not everyone agrees about what organizations, ministries or missionaries should be here. Secular organizatations have a real problem with Christian missions. Some of their reasons are valid, some are huge generalizations made due to biases against people of faith.

There is not much we can say to someone who thinks we ought not be here. There is not much we SHOULD say for that matter. Without Christ, our lives would be without hope. With Him all things are possible. We believe that with every fiber of our being. One day we will look into the eyes of a loving Father and we can only hope and pray that He will say "well done."

Heck, if He says, "You didn't totally screw everything up," that would be enough for me.

We would just respectfully ask that if you want to tell us you don't like the way we operate, that you email us and share your identity. We are not anonymous, we are laying it out there and the very least you could do is enter into debate with us using your name.

Change US Lord. We want to be more like you. Amen.

Troy & Tipap's Body Shop



Ah, yes. Degaje. "Make it work". When it comes to auto body repair, I am an expert at Degaje. Today we used a hammer, miscellaneous washers/bolts and screws found laying around, a drill, and my favorite - pieces of bailing wire - to repair the Misubishi L200. (Damage caused to our pickup truck by an unfortunate "run-in" with a semi truck last week.)


Posted by Picasa

Well, what do you think? I know, I know - still needs a few nips and tucks... I'll be in search of a replacement turn signal/side marker, but all in all, I think she's looking pretty good.

Next time you're in the area, drop in and we'll give you a bid on your own car or truck. Depending on the make and model, we should be able to scrape together some wire and garbage to hold it all together again for you.

Troy & Tipap's Body Shop: You wreck it - we kind of make it look like we fixed it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sounds from La Digue

Random things...

...That are entertaining us this evening.

I am reading blogs and email. Here are some of my favorites from this evening.

This story made me teary, it is probably old but I like it. It's about a kid who was labeled a 'vegetable,' but his parents did not buy it. The dad later helped him feel like he could run, swim and bike --- even though he has no control of his arms or legs. Watch the video. It is a very cool story.

This is interesting to people with more than the socially acceptable number of children: In Haiti, five or six kids is not going to impress anyone, or cause them to tell you that you have lost your mind or that you 'have your hands full' ---- but, for those of you stuck in the judgmental USA, you might find this link helpful.

We are so happy to share deep thoughts, honest feeling, silly stories ... we are realizing that it is a risk to be honest ---- sometimes it means people will feel they know you and that leads them to believe they can or should judge you, point out your flaws, etc. We can handle comments and judgments. We plan to keep sharing what is on our hearts and minds. It is a risk worth taking, even knowing the internet is often an unkind place.

Yesterday 'anonymous' wrote and called us "renegade missionaries" and then went on to say it was missionaries 'like us' that hold Haiti down. I for one, got a kick out of that - who knew *we* were holding the entire country down? All along I thought it was poverty, years of corruption, coup d' etat after coup d' etat, deforestation, etc, etc. The whole thing was based out of anger that Britt is attempting to offer medical help. It said "Having an 8 year old working on patients is not good enough for people in the USA so why should it be good enough for Haitians?" Well, anonymous, it is not good enough -- DUH!!! But it is better than nothing . Allow me to ask you what the other options are? Also, we don't have any 8 year olds in our house. Get it right. Thank you for your comment. Frankly, you have no idea what you are talking about. I'm happy to further explain medicine (and the total lack of it) in Haiti, just email me, we'll exchange ideas.

Lindsay is here. Cute as a button, she is. Britt and Paige are talking her ear off.

Here is a cool blog I have been reading for about six months. Her current post is about adoption, with links to your comments, I thought you adoptive parents might like to check it out.

Peace Out-

Missions is a great sanctifier of character. Our motives are cleansed along the way. We want to go out and change the world with the Gospel but as we go, the Lord changes us in order to change the world. (Quote from Elijah Company newsletter called the Great Commission)
(An accurate one in our opinion.)

Change me Lord.

Friends, Old & New

A great week-

Troy, Noah, Jamie and Sharon are headed to the airport. A week has never gone by faster in Haiti. It was such a blessing to speak and be understood all week long. Friends are such a gift ... People you can be real with and know they love you and accept you, flaws and all. We had a fun night last night, just chatting and watching 24 together. This morning we went to the Prayer Rock together and then cleaned up and got ready to send them off.

Britt and Paige learned so much this week and Jamie and Sharon did a lot of work ... the patient load this week was huge --- and so many serious cases. God sees us ... because Britt has never had a week like this before and on the week where all serious things came walking up our drive, she has an ER Doc and a Family Practice Doc at her disposal.

When our own kid needed help; God provided. J & S are Hope and Isaac's Godparents and we know they are covering our little Haitian Sensations in prayer each week. For us, that was the only important duty of a Godparent. Skip the gifts, we'll take prayers. Thank you guys for loving them so well and for everything you do!

The red-rimmed eyes in the photos are because goodbye's are hard. Please pray for J and S. They are entering into a new phase of their lives soon and will be serving in the Air Force as Doctors ... so they will be leaving Iowa City and heading to an unknown location to work and live.

Hope asked me this morning "Is the baby coming today, Mama?" She saw the photos of her b-mom pregnant, so she is "getting" it even more now. We did not bring her in yesterday, we wanted her to lay low and rest her leg. Hope saw her back in late June, so we will get them together again early next year or sooner. Someone had asked if our kids see their birth parents. We are okay with it, we met them in June and the kids both got to spend time with their Haitian family. They are a little too young to grasp it, but they understand parts of it. We plan to see them twice a year and send photos whenever they want. When God calls us back to the States we will continue to do photos. The one boundary we have is that they do not yet know where we live in Haiti. We hope to keep it that way, but if something happens where they find out where we're living, we trust that God is big enough to help us deal with that in a healthy and loving way. To see photos of Ike's b-mom and his older brother, go to the archives from June ... we posted those on June 30.

Looking ahead-
After Troy and Noah drop J and S off, they are picking up a young lady named Lindsay. We were contacted a while back by email and she asked us about our work here. She shared that she was moving to Haiti to teach English and hoped to make some friends. She's a single twenty-something new to full-time service in Haiti. We are hoping to encourage her and get to know her for a few days. She'll be with us four nights. She is flying back to Indiana on Wednesday. She just needed a place to stay a few days and wants to see more of the country. Her ministry base is inland to the north quite a distance. She will return to Haiti again in six weeks to begin her more permanent stint here. She is a brave chick to come here single ... or at least *I* think she is!

Monday is 'git r dun' day --- team shopping and room preparation. Tuesday one team member arrives and Wednesday 11 arrive. Now that it seems that the baby will wait longer than we anticipated, we are less spazzy and ready to see what God has for our team and the week ahead.

We have some more fun photos from the week ... we'll try to do a photo post tomorrow. We will try to lay-off on the nasty medical photos --- you've seen plenty for now. :)

May the Lord Bless you and Keep you. We love you. Thank you for everything you do to support us!

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Moms

Please keep the baby and mom in your prayers.
Isn't she cute? Just like Hope.

 Posted by Picasa

Friday Afternoon

Hope is hanging tough. She has a lot of Haitian toughness and moxie. We keep asking how she is and she says in her little tiny mouse voice, " I'm fine."

I think all of us are far more tired out than her ... my arm muscles are sore from fighting her. My eyes are sore from being awake thinking about the whole thing. Tonight we are just laying low and enjoying our last few hours with our friends .... which I don't even want to think about because I hate to see them go --- the week went fast.

Troy and I met with Hope's birthmom, she knows we are taking the baby and we talked a little bit today and started trying to find the important documents she needs to have.

Sitting with her always stirs deep emotions. I just cannot imagine being her. Her life is so hard and mine is so easy. I love her and I wish I could fix it all for her. Her mannerisms and soft voice and beauty remind me so much of Hope. She is one of the prettiest pregnant ladies I have ever seen. She's so tiny, even 9 months pregnant. The meeting went very well, thank you for praying.

We took photos and will get them up soon. After further discussion, guessing and unscientific estimating ---- we *think* the baby may not arrive till mid November or even as late as December 1. And of course, we're totally making it up. So who knows? My mom and dad come on November 25 so maybe they will be here when the little person arrives.

Tough Cookie

Late this afternoon we saw the deepest, scariest looking cut we have yet to see. The little girl was running around the edge of a swimming pool at a near by private beach. One of the holes along the side of the pool was covered by a piece of ceramic tile, rather than the plastic covering that should have been there.

The little girl stepped onto the broken piece of tile and fell through into the hole in the swimming pool. The little girl's mom was standing right next to her and knew it was serious, she picked her up and pulled the two sides of the leg together. The friends ran to get a shirt and a first aid kit to fashion a tourniquet to keep the bleeding reduced while they traveled towards LaDigue.

The cut was in two places, one small and jagged, one large and gaping. The little girl was so scared at first. Then she calmed way down and was even happy while Jamie and Sharon and Britt boiled tools and got everything sterile and ready.

That was the calm before the storm. When it came time to start and put the HUGE lidocane needle in to numb up the leg, the little 34 pound girl just about knocked three adults off of her trying to get away. She screamed bloody murder while some of us cried and some of us pinned her down. She was working so hard to get away she had sweat rolling off her upper lip and nose. It was one of the saddest things I had ever seen.

She said "Sharon, please get off of me. Please don't hold me down. Then she said to her Dad, "Daddy, please, I need a break I don't want this, I want it to be done. Not soon, now daddy. When that didn't work she said, "Britty, why are you doing this? Stop Britty."

It was horrible. Finally after the first hour of fighting she fell asleep for a bit. For two ++ hours Jamie stitched while Britt and Sharon assisted and the mom and dad cried and sang and talked to their little girl. It took about 150 very tense minutes to complete the job. When it was over we were all soaked in sweat and exhausted.

Hope is the strongest 4.75 year old in the Caribbean. We're sure of it. Not only that, but since everything is a competition in this family, she would like it to be noted that 32 stitches crushes all suturing records in the greater LaDigue area. No one else is even close.
The entire family had their bets on Jack-Jack or Ike when it came to the first "all in the family" suturing event. But Hope had other plans, and no one even had their money on her.

Let us just say this - God is good. God provides. Britt has the talent and even experience enough to have done much of this job, but not on her little screaming, pleading, baby sister. Not with the inside stitches that were necessary. It was hard enough being the one assisting the Doc.

Thank you GOD for having Jamie and Sharon here. Thank you a thousand times Jamie and Sharon!! Once it was done, and the adrenaline wore off - even grown men were crying. I know that it was hard for Jamie to do that to his God-child. Thanks to the few of you I emailed --- for praying.

Oh, and somebody call OSHA to report this unsafe hotel to the proper authorties. ;-)

Friday morning at 9am we (T & T) are meeting with Hopie and the baby's birthmother. Please pray for clear communication and a good meeting. Thank you for prayers for Hope too, that she will heal quickly and with minimal pain.

Have a good Friday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wake Up Call

Ever responsible, we stayed up watching the first two episodes of "24" Season 2 last night. After that Troy could not fall asleep until 2am. (That is the greatest show ever created.)

The normal wake-up time is 5am to open up the doors for the canteen and get the cooks started. And after short nights like this - back to bed for a bit.

So, at 5:20 when there were chickens at our window clucking - they were in trouble. It seemed like they were using a mega-phone, they were LOUD. Troy was ready to kill. 3 hours and 20 minutes of sleep is not the optimal time to wake him.

First, he went to the window and said some of these things:
-Chickens, shut up.
- Chickens, go away go away go away.
-Chickens I will kill you.
-Shhhhhhhhh or I'll wring your scrawny necks.

Then after the fourth time he went to the window to yell at the chickens, I said "Go out and throw a rock at them."

Troy liked that idea. Not having any rocks in the house, however - and not wanting to run around the yard in his underwear.... He came back in and grabbed the next best thing available at the time: 4 Gourdes. (1 Gourde = 2.5 cents). They were the only readily available chicken-removing-throwing devices. He whipped the Gourdes at the tree until he convinced the chickens to leave. Well worth the 10 cents.

More proof the Gourde is worthless. Unless you have an early morning chicken problem.

Ti Operasyon

(Little Operation)
By Britt (written Wednesday night) :
This morning I tracked down a few people for bandage changes and also saw a handful who came willingly. ;) When I say tracked down, I mean I sent someone to go find them and tell them to come get their bandage changed ... or else. Just kidding; but sometimes I just have to do this or it will be three or four days in-between dressings and then things will have gotten infected, ect. So yes, that is how I started out the morning and was done by about noon.
But at noon, we did something really fun. Sharon and I removed a lipoma on a 13 year old boy's finger. A lipoma, as I learned today, is similar to a cyst but a little different. Cyst's are hard on the outside and usually have a fluid on the inside, where as lipoma's are the same throughout. It is basically a fatty mass. But this link describes it really well. Here is the before picture:
First I did a digital block to numb it up (the site I linked to is awesome - explains the digital block really well), but then I ended up needing to inject on the surface of the actual mass as well because the digital block wasn't 100%. After that I cut with the scalpel, a straight shallow incision right down the middle of the lipoma. Here is what it looked like after I made the incision:

The next step was to loosen up the connecting-tissue around the lipoma, in order to extract it. That was done with hemostats, going in with them closed and then opening up. This took about 20 minutes, until it was all the way loose and the skin had been pushed down underneath the mass, so that it was sticking out, ready to be removed, like this: (picture will not load so look for it in the post below)

The skin had been stretched and lengthened as it was growing as the lipoma grew, so we found that the skin was thicker than normal and a little harder to suture at the end. I learned how to do running sutures ... I know they're not the prettiest things, but it was my first time so hopefully I will improve. Running sutures are not necessarily ideal here because if one breaks, then you're done, they all loosen up and are pointless. So this is why we practiced on a finger, rather than an ankle where there would be more movement and more chances of breaking a stitch.

This was by far my favorite thing. I liked amputating the fingers, but this was more enjoyable, maybe because it wasn't absolutely necessary - it was his choice to get it removed. Plus I think there's always going to be a little scariness when clipping someone's bone. :) We're not sure how/why this formed, there could be many different reasons for it. He says that he's had it for three weeks, but our guess is that that's when it has really been growing quickly and when he noticed it because usually they take longer to form. He was happy when it was all over. Although I said it was not a necessary operation ... he said that it did give him pain like when he wrote or brushed his hand up against something. I love this: he took the fatty peanut-sized mass home to show his mom. How funny is that?

So ya, not like I'm going to sign up for any major huge cyst/abscess/lipoma ... but I would say that after today, I would feel comfortable in the future removing small ones like this.

Continued ...

So that is what was underneath, I thought it looked like a brain. Pretty weird huh?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Freaking OUT? Only On the Inside

I don't want to admit it, but yes, I am mainly freaking out right now. The internal dialogue would make most people suggest I head to the nearest shrink ... so, to Miami I go, I guess.

The last week or ten days was peace and calm time --- now I am questioning everything; my ability, our situation, our decision. I am replaying the whole cracked conversation I had with myself back when we first decided we wanted to take the baby.

I feel a nesting instinct yes, I am cleaning and preparing and making lists, but more than that I feel nervous. Will the baby bond to us? What will happen? How will it happen? Will I be able to do this? Will I go insane? When will it happen? Will my family get enough of my time with the new baby taking my attention? What about this - what about that?

I think some of it is just nerves about our team coming. Team members reading this should NOT take this the wrong way. Read nothing into it. It is more about me then it is about you.

The thing with teams ... no matter how mellow you try to be, you still end up really wanting everything to be perfect for them. I want them to like the food I give them, I want them to like me, I want them to like Troy, I want to give them a nice week in Haiti. I want them to experience the cool things. I want my kids to act like perfect little cherubs for seven days straight. I want the dog not to take a dump on anyone's bedroom floor. I want to have found the very last cockroach today. I want the weather to cool off a bit. I want the baby to wait to come until the team departs. I want the group to grow in their faith while they are here. I want to meet all expectations, spoken and unspoken. If they want rain, it better rain. If they want sun -- I hope to make it shine for them. I want them to be impressed with the Lifeline ministry.

And -- if I cannot make all that happen ---- then ...

I want to lay down and weep. ;-)

Obviously when we chose to hook up with Lifeline we knew all about the many responsibilities, but for some reason this one makes me the most freaky. Having company for a few hours in the comforts of Minnesota would cause a little tiny, healthy stress ... so company that I have never met, staying for a week, in a country without many comforts ----- well, it turns me into a one woman freak-show. Luckily, I can fake calm. Only my family and the 300 people who read this will ever know how high strung it all makes me. Don't tell anyone else.

Currently, I am sitting here writing to avoid carrying a bunch of stuff out to the warehouse and trash-pit for a few more minutes. Troy and Jamie went to Port to handle three important business items and to find the Petionville Golf Course and attempt to golf there.

Britt and Sharon and Paige are doing minor surgery as I type. Sharon supervised and guided as Britt sliced open a cyst and removed it, now she is stitching the finger back up. I remember when we began to pray about moving here, Britt was not sure if she would want to do minor first aid --- she was sort of thinking it over deciding if she wanted to get involved in that area. Now she is bored with minor first aid and only wants the gory stuff.

The little ones are resting ---- so I better not sit here another minute.

I wonder if anything hormonal happens to a woman who anticipates the birth of a child via adoption --- it feels everybit as whacky as being 38 weeks pregnant did.

Note to self: Now everyone knows you are a total spaz. They are currently just shaking their heads in horror.

Calm.Yourself.Down.Now. Or. Else.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Test of the Power of the Internet

Today a bunch of the gang went to Cazale. I continued to work on nasty deep cleaning jobs. But I think I am the only one who notices when I do this stuff so I might just quit. Removing bugs from the cabinets, cobwebs from the corners, and urine drips from the toilets are not something that earn you props/thanks in these parts. Can you tell I have a crappy attitude tonight? I'll get over it now. There. I am over it.

We have a couple small random needs. I could search around and ask one person at a time, but I have a feeling that tossing it up on the blog might yield faster results. It is just after 8pm Eastern time, I am betting on an answer within a couple hours. For sure by Wednesday morning.

First, since we have so many adoptive parents reading --- we have one short cover letter that we need translated to French. Is there someone I can email it to and have you email me back a translation?

In our village there is one person who speaks English and French fairly well, but I would still rather have someone who has done document translations do it. We're rolling in crisp green LARGE bills -- so we come prepared to pay top dollar. ;) Or not.

Second, since most of you are moms or you know a mom ---- I am curious about that baby sling that some folks use. I own the kind where the baby looks like a frog pressed up against you, chest to chest --- but it hurts my back after a while. I have heard that the sling type works well. Opinions are welcome and if you have one headed towards your garage sale pile, see the above statement about my cash flow and send me your selling price.

You can reach us by E-mail at TL7inHaiti@yahoo.com OR post in the comment field below.

High Fives from LaDigue.

"My truck is like a Billy Goat"

“My truck is like a Billy Goat, it can go anywhere in 1st gear”

Wise Words of Wisdom from Troy Livesay, on the road to Cazale.

Hello to all of those in blogger-ville both new and old. It is my honor to be the second guest blogger on the Livesay Blog (my wife being the first).

First of all I would like to give props to this family for what they are doing here. It’s pretty amazing. Actually, it is Godly amazing. Getting anything done in the developing world takes about twice as long as you think it will. Then add on another 50% for no particular reason, add in about a 25% uncertainty factor, the wrong part/book/cord/etc times two or three day long trips into Port Au Prince and you got it about right. Oh, and I forgot a fudge factor of two more days. Despite all of that, this family is doing amazing things and really making a godly difference in this local community.

My wife and I have had the privilege to get a small peek into the workings at Lifeline and the Livesay family. We’ve gone to church, gone to a local hospital, helped where we can, and seen a few patients with Britt.

I’d also like to clarify that Britt, with Paige’s help, is doing about 95% of the medical work here. Since we will not be here, Sharon and I are trying to get her to not need us when we are gone. And frankly we are learning as much from her as I hope she is learning from us.

As I usually check the blog 4-6 times a day, and am well aware of the insight and humor displayed daily by the Livesay clan, I feel that I have big shoes to fill. And what insight can I, having been here all of 4 days, add to this blog? Well here are some thoughts off the top of my head, in no particular order:

Good, sturdy tires are a really big deal – Never leave home without a spare and a patch kit.

Water doesn’t come from a faucet – It comes from a very complicated and sophisticated pump/pipe/cistern system created by Lifeline and Troy.

Electricity is a privilege, not a right. Electricity 24 hours a day is a miracle. And don’t even get me started about the decadence of AC…

Not all major international airports can have planes land at night, because that would require runway lights and electricity. See above for my thoughts on electricity.

Two hours to go 35 miles is actually pretty fast.

The Livesay’s would really benefit from a helicopter.

(Photo taken from the air, coming into the PAP airport. It's not much to see.)