Wednesday, February 28

Wed Night News


For family of the team, just wanted to let you know all is well here. Today was spent preparing and planning for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday event. The huge movie screen is up and ready. The kids got to watch IceAge on it tonight outside, that was a real treat.


Things are busy here both on a personal level and at the mission ... leaving our heads spinning and not much time for blogging.


My favorite quotes of the day-


I was tired of watching Jack fart around and ignore his lunch. I said "Jack- turn around right now and eat that sandwich."


Jack said, "Where is your patience Mom?"


I stood there dumbfounded and did not have time to reply before Hope said, "MOM!!! Did you just hear that???? He just bossed you off!" ( I think she was trying to say sassed off.)


So - my patience might be suffering a bit in the midst of the crazy ... but we're getting by.


We'll be sure and post lots of photos of the convention -- do you really want to see a cow being slaughtered? Maybe we need to take a vote.
-Tara
How much happier you would be, how much more of you there would be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash your small cosmos. - G.K Chesterton

Thoughts for me today

I bought Troy the book below. He likes it, I do too.

This is what I needed to read today as I face all my fears and worry, it is good to remember this:

(taken from page 28, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day)

Most of our problems are not circumstantial. Most of our problems are perceptual. Our biggest problems can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of who God is. Our problems seem really big because our God seems really small. In fact, we reduce God to the size of our biggest problem.

Tozer said a "low view of God...is the cause of a hundred lesser evils." But a person with a high view of God "is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems."

A low view of God and a high view of God are the difference between scaredy-cats and lion chasers. Scaredy-cats are filled with fear because their God is so small. Lion chasers know that their best thought about God on their best day falls infinitely short of how great God really is.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If ever there was a time where I had an opportunity to really know how great God is, this is it. I'm sitting in the middle of a lot of unknowns. My view of God will be evident in how I face my fear of the unknown.
How big is your God?

Tuesday, February 27

Short Medical Post

By: Britt
`
Today, I had a new stitches patient. Fairly basic; a machete cut to an eighteen-year-old's middle finger on his right hand. One attempted digital block (& then a second try, but I think he was bluffing that he could still feel it) and seven stitches later = tout bagay bien! (all's well)


Look, I even have one of those fancy-dancy finger tourniquets:
`
In other news, Krisnel, the machete-meets-wrist cut is doing very well. His body took the stitches, so the small risk was well worth it. Today he brought me a huge bag full of those Didy Eau sacs .... oh! for those who don't know the joy of drinking water from a little plastic pouch. ;) I thought it was a nice gesture; random, but nice.
`
I have been invited to go work with Dr. JA in Montrois again. Next Monday he is scheduling a day full of operating, I think I'll get to do a lot of stitching - closing up after surgery. Of course, I am totally stoked about that!
`
Well, I better get to bed. I spent the day starting my pre-calc class, now that I finally have my graphing calculator. (thank you, Lisas) I wanted to do a chemistry lab, but had to wait for my dad to get back from the grocery store with red cabbage. Apparently red cabbage acts as an indicator (for acids & bases) so we'll test that theory out tomorrow. Have a great Wednesday!
`
~Britt
`
Oh and Poppy and I plan to get up and slap another coat of glow-in-the-dark paint on the cross. The glowing worked better on my clothes than it did on the cross. We have to do some re-formulating; we're going to 'up' the pigment concentration. I think that should count as a chem lab, don't you?

Technology

If you ever wonder why kids today have no social skills - when you greet them they just grunt a reply and don't make eye contact. Well, here is the big clue.


Kids learn how to relate to people by talking on-line and in text messaging. They don't actually need to know how to shake hands, make eye contact, or make small talk in this day and age.



Noah is on the fast track to being a punk kid too.

I am mostly kidding, Noah does not actually use the Internet .. but he pretends to. I do think that it has to be part of the reason so many kids don't know how to interact with others very well.

It's good that Noah (and the other kids) can be exposed to new people all the time, we can balance out his Internet addiction with all the real-live-human (team) interaction.


I got a ride a home with Beth today after our Psychologist interview. She had lunch here before having to head back to Port. The interview was sort of non-existent. We had to talk about how we handle difficulty, and where we went to high-school and college. Really probing stuff like that. It took 13 minutes.



AA delayed the flight by more than an hour. The team won't get in until almost sunset. I left Dad and Troy to pick them up. Now that we see it will be 80% night driving, I am especially glad that I am not behind the wheel of either truck.
`

This is the very unlucky cow that is breathing his last oxygen right now ... poor guy is on death row and he doesn't even know it. Rony and Adam just came to get me to give them my stamp of approval.


I get it when they ask Troy, but what the heck do I know?

I went out and nodded, smiled and said "bon bef" ---- (nice cow) that seemed to be the response they wanted, so they took the poor cow to eat one of his last meals on the hill. I will be nowhere to be found when they kill this thing, I do not need to learn the process for that. No thanks. I like to think of cows packaged in the grocery store ... nothing prior to that.






-Tara

Islande

Friday I met this little girl named Islande. She is two and a half years old, according to her uncle. He brought her here because she has been lethargic and sick, and no longer wants to eat. She appears to be seriously malnourished. Her mother died during childbirth and the father disappeared shortly after, leaving her in the care of her uncle. He tried to leave her at an orphanage just north of here, but they were unable to take her in. I'm not sure what his intentions were in bringing her here to see us, but he really did seem to be concerned for her.

For now, all we were able to do was provide them with some vitamins and peanut butter, and encouraged him to take Islande to the clinic in Cazale. I'm not sure if medicine and short-term treatment will be all she needs, or if she will have to be admitted to their rescue center to be nursed back to health. I pray that they can help her there. Fortunately we have those friends with such an amazing ministry and resource for the Haitian people, and a place to help children like these. It is not only a blessing to the Haitians, but also to us when we are at a loss for how to help. I hope our clinic can someday do the same.


I struggled with what to say or write about her, but kept looking at her picture tonight, and then read a devotional by Oswald Chambers. It helped me remember where the answer lies and where the only hope is for all of the sad stories like this one. It reminded me that there is nothing that God cannot do. There is nothing outside of His power to handle. His almighty power is there even despite our inability to comprehend it.

I can't comprehend how hard this little girl's life is. But He knows.





-Troy



Monday, February 26

Photos from Today










MN is covered in a thick blanket of snow. (Thanks Pastor Rich for calling to tell us Sunday School was cancelled yesterday.)

We went to the beach today. Do you hate us?


I am tired. Troy says he has some blog material waiting to come out ... so I'll count on him to add some substance. Stay warm.


Tara




Sunday, February 25

Sunday

Britt and Gramps worked on painting the cross with glow-in-the-dark paint today. It needs another coat and then we'll photograph the glowing cross on the hill and post it tomorrow night.
Below you'll see my super-duper long table. In the past when teams come we either push two tables together or we use two tables separately in the dining room. Now the tables we had can be used in the two apartments. The table is 89% done. We still need to paint and varnish the pieces of support that were added to the legs. The chairs in the photo will go back to Tim and Amie's future house once we get ours. We are having a guy on our road make chairs a lot like the one photographed at the end of this post. We are having him leave the wood and we'll paint it this distressed green to match the table. After getting the table up here we think it will seat 16. Yay for Dad and his skills.



Dad's main observation after working around here for two days. "Boy, doesn't Troy get tired of having an audience. That would drive me nuts."

Yes. Troy has missed having alone time. A lot. I think we all have. Except maybe Paige. The constant togetherness with everyone who works here can be a bit much. Sometimes I wish I could go for a run and no one would look at me or speak to me.

The guys that are on-property and watching while projects happen are very good guys, just wanting to learn and help. We don't fault them.

It's just that thing where Americans like a little space, a little alone time, a little room to do a few things privately. As Troy pointed out to Dad, there really is no concept of privacy. If someone has a fight, the whole village hears. If someone needs a bath they head to the canal for public bathing. The restroom is not even private. I suppose it's a little tough to get alone when your house is 12 by 12 and you have six kids living there with you. Getting alone to clear your head is an idea of our culture, not this one.

We do miss the opportunity for solitude though. In MN Troy used to go out at night and hang in the garage (male crisis center) just to decompress and tinker around. If he did that here someone would come up within three minutes to "help." We have never figured out a way to politely say "please leave - I need to be alone" when someone is just there to be kind and help.

On a positive note. Every time you go to the bathroom, you get alone time. Maybe that explains why Troy goes so often. ;-)


Noah's birthday is coming up soon, we're calling tomorrow his family beach day - because we won't be going next Monday on his actual B-day. (The beach is a birthday guarantee in Haiti.) We'll get some work done here in the morning first. After we're done working we'll let Dad/Gramps get totally ripped off at the beach. No matter how many times I work it - I cannot figure out how rice, noodles, bread, and some cruddy chicken equals a $25 meal/admission price.

Luckily, Grandpa not only comes looking his best, but he comes with a credit card.
Before I close, I have a random question for all parents adopting from Haiti. I am really hoping I can get a consensus ... and not six answers from six people ... but it is Haiti so I am not kidding myself too much.
If you are adopting from here, how do you/your agency understand the law about bio kids? I have heard 2 - 3 -4 and that it does not matter. That is so not helpful to me. How many bio kids can you have or does that portion of the law get totally ignored?

Saturday, February 24

Work Day Complete


The table kicks-butt ... I will not photograph it until it is totally finished, it has paint and varnish now but needs the legs to be added on. I am pumped. It will seat 14. We have a very exicted guy on our road who took the order for 14 chairs. Because it is very rustic looking and not at all traditional - all the employees around here think we're weird. They don't understand why I want a table that large or why it looks like some old weathered thing. Apparently they're not familiar with shabby-chic or the idea of rustic looking tables.


Isaac got in on the work and shoveled out the rain drain for his daddy. He was happy about it too! All of my kids are so fun and unique, but something about an Isaac grin just warms this moms heart.
The food order came. Britt saw a few patients, Paige floated around chatting with everyone, Noah and Hope played outside a lot. Phoebe took a great nap but woke up grouchy. Eleven beds are made and ready, and the second house is clean.
I overestimated what I could accomplish in one day, none of the cooking happened today. It's almost like I have a bunch of kids distracting me from getting anything done.
-T.

Hey :)


Happy Saturday.
Troy has taken Dad and Tipap to the market to find the chairs. Dad has never seen the market here, so he'll come home with observations I'm sure.
`
We're planning to work our buns off today and get totally ready for Tuesday's team so that Sunday we can go to church and Monday we can have Big Poppy (Grandpa/Dad) take us to the beach before the marathon of work begins. The team arrives Tuesday, the Founder comes Thursday, a couple comes mid March and we'll have visitors on property until March 21. During this time we have the Lifeline convention, which I would love to tell you all about but we are totally winging it. We've never lived here to host one and we are learning as we go.
`
Apparently about 1,000 people come for a three day event with concerts, church services, a showing of the Passion of the Christ on a big screen (read: white sheets draped over a building) and I guess we are buying a cow to kill and eat. (or not eat depending on who you're asking) Troy is Mr. Party Planner and is all over the planning of this event ... it reminded me of my days of Catering Sales and planning weddings at the Radisson. Except we never bought a cow to slaughter nor did we shop for gigantic pots and plastic ware for 1,000. On a positive note, there are no high-strung brides freaking out that the napkin color is not the exact shade of teal. If there are no napkins, no one will even notice. It will be an adventure, that's for sure. People camp here and sleep in the school classrooms. Or so we're told.
`
Uncharted territory, here we come.
`
In order to make a Monday a "Grandpa's buying at the beach day" we need to use some strateeegery --- we'll move furniture around, make beds, plan menus, cook and freeze some meals and get organized today. Free beach day is great motivation. Isaac's already got Papa on the hook for the place we never go because it is too spendy. :)
`
I thought Lori and Licia's blog entry from Friday was amazing. Go check it out. Twins were delivered and there is a picture of Tou Tou, the amazing guy we told you about that walks on all fours. To Lori -- for an uneducated opinon, I would say I agree that there is some issue with the facial features of that baby and we have seen that exact thing here, we have two or three kids in the village with those same features. Hopefully some medical wizard will know what causes it and fill you in. Then you can fill us in. :)
`
The photo is of the prayer rock. A good place to start and/or end your day here.

Friday, February 23

Papa Meets Phoebe

Troy played Dr. for a few minutes today. He used be to very good at the game "Operation" (It takes a very steady hand.) This little girl showed up with a large wad of paper shoved up her nose. Troy removed it with skill and ease.

This picture makes Paige look a lot less brilliant than she actually is. I am posting it to annoy her, but also because I love how Phoebe's eyes are peeking over the table.
Britt, Phoebe and I won the negotiations to go get Papa/Dad from the airport. When he came out Britt said "There he is." I said, "That's not him unless he got his hair cut really short and he is wearing a sport coat." Britt said "Right. That would be him." Like he always says, He may not always be the best looking, but he always tries to look his best. Even in Haiti.
Phoebe is not necessarily all that impressed with him though. Maybe tomorrow.
Hey Bev, thanks for the bright, cute quilt for Phoebe. Mom and Dad Livesay, Rick and Di, and Kris ... we got your goods too. Jack freaked out about the additional pair of jeans just as you might have expected. Thanks!
Tomorrow we're planning to work the old man hard --- he is expected to both begin and finish construction of the 12' table I want built for teams. He and Troy are also going to the market to deal on some chairs and varnish.
Have a great weekend. Thanks again for your prayers, kindness and support.
Tara for all of us

Friday

Upon further examination of the Tina truck, we realized that Tina is not actually a premium quality product after all. But it is a premUIm product. We also learned that Tina is a brand of Haitian Ketchup, we're sending a bottle back to MN with dad to give to the real Tina.

Yesterday was a 10 hour day of Port au Prince. My love for the city does not grow on days like that. We checked out a new store called Mega mart and did lots and lots of shopping for the big convention Lifeline is hosting and for the team coming early next week. We made a critical error in our planning. We wanted Britt and Paige to get their full day of school work completed. To make that possible we decided we should take Phoebe and Jack-Jack along with us. Bad idea. At one point Troy and I both had two carts while holding a kid. Two carts, one kid, two arms. Even if you're bad at math you recognize the dilemma. Then an employee at Mega-mart thought he should show Jack the toy aisle. Thanks for that Mr employee-of-the-week. We got out of there for $2.00 with a rubbery ball that has a light inside, it could have been much worse. When we got home Jack did exactly what we asked him not to do and paraded around with it lording it over Hope and Isaac. Nice kid Troy's got there.

Mega mart is not carrying a lot of the stuff we traditionally buy for teams so we needed to go to Caribbean Market too. As it turns out Caribbean market was not carrying ground beef or cheese again yesterday. A grocery store without cheese and beef. That happens all the time where you are, right?

We met with a Social Worker from IBESR to start our homestudy. He was a nice guy and liked that Troy spoke Creole and I tried to speak tiny-cruddy-little amounts of Creole. He asked a lot of the expected questions and it was basically painless. We meet with a psychologist next week. I'm not sure how that will look, but if they are gauging our sanity - we will not have Jack with us for that appointment. He hurt himself once in front of the IBESR guy then disappeared, only to scream for help as he was suspended in air hanging from very high monkey bars. I got to him right before his massive pipes gave out. Crisis averted.

We were telling John McHoul and his assistant Junior about our Mega mart experience. A new store is big news among missionaries. The word spreads fast and everybody wants to know what it is like. How is the service, how are the prices, and what about the selection? Troy told Junior that the service was super. He went on to tell him about things that have never happened to us here. Like when the guy searched the warehouse for more paper plates and when the guy went to get a flat-bed cart because clearly we were not managing our kids and merchandise very well. Troy said "They are really pretty fast there. It was great." Junior, a life-long resident of this great land said "Oh, don't worry, that will change. They are fast now but it won't last."

At 2pm we finally found time to stop for lunch. We met Zach and Sharon at Dominoes Pizza. I think Dominoes might be the singular chain business from the USA that exists and is still operational here. You can search high and low and never find a McDonald's, a Starbucks, or a Applebees. Sigh. Zach had been running around Port too. He had this amazing guy with him. If you've read Lori's blog you might be familiar with his story. He walks on his hands and knees because his legs won't extend, they're working on finding a surgeon to help him. He is 22 years old and has never walked. He is a really neat guy and you can tell Zach loves him. Noah just could not believe what he was seeing as we watched the way he left the pizza place on all fours and got into the truck. He moves every bit as fast as us even without being upright.

It rained a lot last night. We're anxious to enter into rainy season. Everything smells like urine this morning, which is not the part we're anxious for but at least it means that the next rain might smell a little better.

Today is my niece's 14th Birthday. I have not seen her since she was about five days old. It is a day that (as I wrote here last year) I find myself praying for my sister and both of the Birth-moms of our Haitian kids. It is kind of like our unofficial Birth-Mom day.

Tina, you are brave and premuim quality. February 23rd is a day that reminds me to thank God for brave women like you. Praying for you and for Syd today. May God give you comfort and peace today. I miss you and am so excited for April!

Go here to read last years thoughts. A lot has changed regarding our birth-moms since then.

Dad will show up here this afternoon Si Bondye Vle. We're currently in negotiations over who gets to go along to pick him up.

Thursday, February 22

Britt's Return to the Blogosphere

By Britt:
`
Well, there have been several complaints about my lack of posting on the blog. I'm sure that some of you (probably most) have enjoyed the lack of gory pictures; but I aim to please. I finally have some material worth posting. On my computer, I have a folder for each month's medical-related photos. A 'January' folder doesn't even exist - that proves how slow things have been over the last month and a half. Looking through my medical log ... the most interesting cases have been:
`
Our first grade teacher, Franchesca, brushed by a school desk and got a long, deep splinter. I had to 'surgically' remove it because it was inaccessible from the surface. I did this by removing a small almond-shaped piece of skin in order to reach the splinter. It was about two inches long. I stitched it up afterwards and it has long since healed. (no photos, sorry. Or maybe you're welcome. ;)
`
Quite a few toenails have fallen off (of various kids and adults.) Causes include: moto accident, falling in a soccer game, and thrown rocks. I've never had my toenail fall off, but it is apparently very painful. I am led to believe this by the way that missing-toenail patients behave during dressing changes.
`
On January 21st, I stitched a three year olds forehead. He got cut while carrying a bucket on his head. It was a fairly small cut and only took about a week to heal. He was very cute and sweet; I will have to track him down and take a picture of him sometime.
`
On February 8th, a man named Joseph came with a cut thumb. It happened the day before; he had been working, cutting branches with his machete. He was very fortunate; the cut almost severed the entire tip of his thumb. I was afraid that the bone was exposed and that thumb would need to be amputated back to the joint. After a successful digital block to numb the thumb, I checked and didn't find/feel the bone. Because it was far more than 12-15 hours after the accident (and therefore couldn't be sutured), I used steri-strips to hold the edges of the cut together. It took about a week to heal.
`
On February 11th, a very upset eight year old boy named Rod came with a small cut above his lip. He and his older sister had gotten into an argument (or were play-fighting, who knows), in which she punched him ... and hard too. He was very afraid - I knew I was in for it when he started screaming "Pa koud li! Pa koud li! Pa touche'm!" (Don't stitch it! don't stitch it! Don't touch me!) before we ever started. Luckily I had Paige's assistance in calming him down. Rod definitely tested my Creole reasoning skills. (Wi, cheri, si nou bo ou piki, ou pa ap santi anyen - li bon pou ou, fe konfyans'm. Yes, darling, if we give you a shot, you won't feel anything - it's good for you, trust me. And on and on. :) The fact that he could see everything that I was doing was more difficult too. But four stitches later and he was as good as new. The whole sibling thing bummed me out but then again, I did once run over Paige (specifically her nose) with a bike in a game of chicken. :D
`
To the Michigan team: Chasverli, the two year old girl's abscess healed up very well. It closed up completely yesterday.
`
On February 18th, a man named Aysif came, already bandaged. This is one of the things I dread the most .... because usually if it has already been bandaged, it is too late to do stitches and usually requires cleaning up after somebody else's less-than-satisfactory work. I'm not conclusively bashing Haitian health-care, but I have yet to see a wound sutured properly/effectively in this area. And again, there is that short window-of-opportunity after the accident occurs to get it sutured. This man was hit by a motorcycle, or more-like fell when a motorcycle brushed by him too quickly. I feel for him, I can't count the number of times we've almost been hit while running. Anyway, he'd gone somewhere in Archaie for stitches for the small cuts next to his eye and on his scalp. I removed the stitches because the scalp cut was infected and the thread in the eye was falling out on its own anyway. He is doing alright, both cuts are close-to healed. Today I gave him a tube of triple antibiotic ointment and some bandaids for him to finish the job. As I was handing him his dressing supplies, I noticed this:
`

This picture does it no justice. This is a broken bone that was never set/casted/diagnosed. Surprisingly, he has almost full range of motion. It happened seven years ago when he and his brother were working, cutting wood with machetes. They must have been working side-by-side, because his brother missed the wood and came down on Ayisf's thumb. He said he got it stitched at a hospital in St. Marc but that they weren't too concerned with the bone. I believe him.

This afternoon, a 21 year old named Krisnel came. He too came, already bandaged, and looking for follow-up care for his wrist laceration. The accident happened last night around 7pm. He fell and landed on un kout (small-version of a machete) that was lying on the ground. He arrived here around 3:30 ... so that clearly is past the 12-15 hour window that I usually go by for suture patients. Maybe it wasn't the right thing to do, but I decided to give it a try. I explained to him the risk that his body might reject the stitches because it had been close to twenty-four hours since the accident. He understood and agreed that it was worth a try. It looked much better after I jet-washed it out, but this is the before:
`



`
They hadn't put anything on the wound, just wrapped it in gauze and tape. I've never stitched a cut this late after it happened, but it was very clean to begin with and I just felt that this one could handle it. I also have heard that the window of opportunity is more like 24 hours. Maybe in America, but I've rarely seen that rule of thumb apply here. It will be interesting to see when he comes tomorrow for a bandage change. I don't want to call it an experiment, but I am anxious to see how his body handles it. If it rejects the stitches, then we'll just remove them and use steri-strips to hold it together while it heals.

The Stats:

Although this year has started out fairly slow,

  • As of January 1st, 2007, I've seen 70 patients. (This is counting individuals, not return-visits/patients-per-day.)
  • 4 of these have been for stitches
  • About 25% of visits were because of a machete-inflicted wound
  • 50% of visits, cuts and burns, were the result of bad motorcycle driving
  • 10% = scabies, heat/diaper rashes
  • The remaining 15% is miscellaneous: ear infections, minor abrasions, a few new fatty cysts, and a new tropical ulcer.

The only other thing I can think of to tell you is that baby Lovely is doing very well, she is up to 13 pounds. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but she is still getting formula and doesn't look skinny at all. She seems to be getting longer twice as fast as wider; we think she is going to be a very tall girl.

I am still seeing Krispe every-other-day; he is alright. I realized the other day that I really love him, that changing his bandage is not burdensome at all and that I worry about him when he doesn't show up. I regret ever feeling that the five minutes of work every other day was a pain. I'm human, and non-responsive wound-care can be a real downer, but I'm glad I realized my mistake. His ulcer remains the same; with the meticulous bandage changes, we've been able to keep it infection-free but have not seen any improvement/shrinkage in its size.

Thanks for listening to me ramble off random medical stories. And for those who are fans of the blood and gore, realize that if I had more pictures - I would so post them. :)

~Britt

Wednesday, February 21

'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.
~Zechariah 4:6
That pep and cheer I woke up with this morning, is dragging some serious butt tonight. Troy pointed out today - that my worries over Phoebe and the adoption and the timing of it all - have been consuming me and making me less cheery and far more stressed than I have been for years.
`
I will admit to shedding more tears in the past few weeks (like daily) while worrying about things, than I have in many, many months. I keep saying I am giving all of it over to God, but I guess I really am not. I'm tired, and not because of a lack of sleep. Because of constantly worrying and fearing the future. Every waking moment is spent wasting time on "if this happens, then this ... and if this happens we could handle it this way..." And on and on ad infinitum.
`
I am acting like a basket-case. My brain needs to rest. I need to get this figured out. There is a difference between saying you gave something to God and actually GIVING something to God. I am tired of failing at this. I am just tired. I don't know what the future holds for my family. It needs to be good enough for me that God knows. I cannot do it with my might, or my power. It has to be by His Spirit.
`
That is my assignment for Lent this year.
-Tara

Random


I woke up feeling cheery and hyper ... usually that means I also have no focus. This entry will contain news, both old, new, and unrelated.

To see how we spent the afternoon celebrating PHAT Tuesday, Leslie blogged it for us over here. (Some celebrate Fat Tuesday, we think that is insensitive.) Britt and Paige bailed out on us and stayed home to enjoy a quiet, little-kid-free-house. We were late as usual - and left our friends waiting on us until 2pm. That is just one way we've embraced the Haitian culture.

The other day an applicant for the open teaching position showed up two hours late for their test/informal interview -- no apology was offered -- and why would he apologize? Watching the clock is just silliness.
`
I brought my empty laundry detergent container and filled it with free sea water to drench Phoebe's infected head. Amie ... I finally listened to you. Even after a few soakings yesterday it looks a little better today. :)
`
In other good Leslie and Chris news; they have agreed (foolishly???) to help with our kids while I am in the States in April. The little girls are going to spend the work week with the Rolling's. That will leave Troy with the two boys and a better chance to actually accomplish something. Chris had two conditions. 1. We need to get rid of the fungus head problem before then. 2. He wants to use Troy's B.B. gun as part of the deal. Done and Done.

Paige schemed and planned for weeks and eventually found a way to get a really awesome B.B. gun into Haiti. She enlisted the help of our friends Lisa and Dec. In December when she returned from Christmas with her dad she had the gun disassembled and hidden inside of PVC pipes. The airlines allowed it, the concern was having it taken away in the PAP airport. The gun is providing hours of entertainment as we give the Dingos a little pinch to help convince them to stay out of our garbage and the chickens gentle encouragement to cluck somewhere other than under our window.

Because we consider sarcasm a spiritual gift we've come to love the LarkNews site. It is just like The Onion (another favorite) but with a Christian twist. This story gave us a good chuckle. And below is our favorite t-shirt sold on the Lark site. (It's a joke. Don't waste time being offended.)


Troy has never received the court papers from the teacher who quit. We'd like to believe it is over and we'll never hear of it again, but knowing what we know about the culture we're sure there is more to come. The mistake Troy made was indeed a learning experience. To fill in the story - Troy walked in on a teacher beating some kids who were late. In this culture that is not a big deal. (Can you imagine if your kid could be beat by his/her teacher for being tardy?) But, even if it is acceptable in this culture there are rules here that don't allow it to happen without a process, a witness and following protocol. Troy was upset to find this and grabbed the teachers arm. No, no - no. Bad move. The employee was upset that Troy touched his arm - he quit on the spot and thought 15K (USD) would be an appropriate reward for his trouble. We had a hardy chuckle at that amount and that is what led to the judge coming out. Since then nothing has been said or done and no papers have been served. A valuable lesson was learned though. No matter how offended and upset we are, we are responsible to not let our humanness allow for an emotional reaction. Good luck to us with that. (Moral of the story: We suck, which is why we need Jesus.)


Back when our friend Fran was here a cool thing happened. If you have not checked out the blog she keeps, you should. The ministry she is working with helps children get to the States for medical care, then returns them to Haiti and their family. I have been meaning to tell tell you about the cool Godincidence that happened when she was here. Fran spent three days with us. One of the days happened to be a day that Mark Fulton had invited us to join his medical-team at the beach. When we arrived at to meet them Mark introduced us to a neonatologist that worked at an Indy hospital. Fran is fostering a baby with HUGE medical needs right now. (You can read about him on her blog if you go back to older posts.) The baby started in Indy and had surgery there before coming to live with her in Virginia late last year. The Doc she met up with happened to have access to a ton of information Fran needed to help the little boy who lives with her. Fran is from Virginia, the baby is from Port, the Doctor is from Indiana. They met on a beach in Haiti and the result of that meeting is that Fran can now better help Ched (the baby) and found a connection to a Doctor who can help her with Ched's past and his future. There are no coincidences there. God things are so cool to witness when you recognize them as such.
-Tara


"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous." -Uknown
"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein


Tuesday, February 20

Prayer Quotes

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers,
pray for powers equal to your task.
-Phillips BrooksSo when we sing, 'Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,'
we are not thinking of the nearness of place,
but of the nearness of relationship.
It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray,
for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence.
We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God.
He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.
-A.W. Tozer

Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell God your troubles, that God may comfort you; tell God your joys, that God may sober them; tell God your longings, that God may purify them; tell God your dislikes, that God may help you conquer them; talk to God of your temptations, that God may shield you from them: show God the wounds of your heart, that God may heal them. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. Talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration say just what you think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.
-Francois Fenelon

Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons; but they are helpless against our prayers.

-J. Sidlow Baxter

Monday Night


Prayer does not fit us for the greater work,
prayer is the greater work.
~Oswald Chambers~

We had a nice time with big Z and Sharon today. Thanks for coming guys! Zach brought enough of a diet-pop offering that I can forgive him for being a pop-hog for at least the next few weeks.
It was CHILLY in Haiti tonight. None of us recall it being this cold here since we arrived. Britt is not fit to return to Minnesota with this sort of reaction to 68 degrees and breezy. Above she has on her hooded sweatshirt, then later when I went to her room, this is what I found.
Phoebe is back asleep ... so I am outta here. Have a great Tuesday.

"Fat babies have no pride." - Lyle Lovett

Monday, February 19

The Great Peanut Butter Debate

We're catching wind of the Peanut Butter news. Zach and Sharon came over telling us about it, then Britt got the email below. We have a lot of it with this number on it. This is big news here because Peanut Butter is a HIGHLY sought after commodity in Haiti. A lot of ministries give it out to people in need. It is a great donation because it is so packed with protein. We have loads of it in our warehouse to give away in the next year.

This is where the debate begins. Troy says that because the jar above begins with 2111 (which is the jar in our kitchen) that we should pitch it out. *I* say that is just nonsense.

First, we already ate from that jar and we're fine. Second, we live in a country where throwing away food is an atrocity. Third, look at the "best by" date. You cannot tell me this peanut butter is the affected peanut butter ... this jar has not been on a shelf in America for two years ... it went "bad" in May of last year and would not have been available for purchase.

*I* think it is a different batch of 2111 that was recalled --- a newer batch. We eat almost all food that is past its "best by" date down here ... someone buys it, donates it, it sits in a warehouse for a year, then it shows up here and finally we get around to eating it long after its peanutty goodness is past its peak.

I am not throwing away peanut butter. If Troy wants to toss it he will need to do it under the cover of darkness, I'll have no part of that. He will also have to burn it because none of our neighbors are going to let a perfectly good jar of peanut butter sit in the trash.

Paige is with Troy.


Subject: FW: Peanut Butter recall
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 15:20:01 -0600
From: "Britt"
To: "Mom"

Dang, this is a peanut butter catastrophe!! It's good to know though that we third-worlders aren't the only ones with the infected nastiness. Seriously, who wants salmonella? Not I.

Britt

From: Collins, Jennifer on behalf of CollegeCommunications
Sent: Mon 2/19/2007 3:01 PM
Subject: Peanut Butter recall

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is warning consumers to avoid eating certain jars of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter due to concerns that the products may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

The affected jars of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter have a product code that begins with "2111" on the lid of the jar. Both varieties of peanut butter were manufactured at a ConAgra facility in Georgia, and MDH believes some of the product was distributed to Minnesota stores. ConAgra has recalled all Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter beginning with the product code "2111," and MDH advises consumers who purchased these jars to discard them. Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers and not featuring the "2111" code is not affected.

If you have any concerns please visit the NWC Health Services office. They are open Monday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also reach them at 651-631-5246.

If you think you may have consumed the affected peanut butter, please visit your local Urgent Care or other clinic. Salmonella symptoms may include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure.

- Health Services

Street Scenes