Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fear Not ??

I have not had trouble with nightmares for several nights.

Until tonight.

I'm not sure why but I have this odd fear hanging over me tonight. I keep dreaming that the injured earthquake patients that still need help are standing by the side of the bed screaming and begging. They are all so bloody they look like they've left the set of a bad horror movie. They keep walking up to Troy's side of the bed and waiting for us to notice them, just standing by the bedside without arms.

Not a dream ... There is a helicopter somewhere near by that has been hovering in the same spot for a long time. A C-130 just flew over. The mosquitoes in our bedroom are atrocious and won't cut us a break tonight. It guess it is just a night to be awake at 3:45.

Last night we had a bunch of new guests arrive. Our house is at capacity. I think we have 36 people sleeping here. I don't know 32 of them. It was Minnesota reunion night for the most part. MN media was invited to stay here (not by us though, by someone that didn't ask.

I kind of chuckled because Troy-boy has successfully avoided interviews for so long - but now the camera guy and reporter are sleeping in our family room. So much for that plan. They seem very nice.  (Minnesota nice?) 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Speed Blogging

  • The two brothers in the previous post (12 and 3 years old) ... both are home with their family in Cite Soleil. Mom promises to bring the little guy in for dressing changes daily.
  • A little 3 year old girl named Patricia got fast tracked to surgery today at the Miami Field Hospital, she has a serious abscess about to keep her from breathing that needed surgery - they responded to her need with urgency.
  • Jean was beaming when I checked in on him. He is getting some physical therapy and we'll check back on him Monday. His Granny is still with him.
  • Today a brand new three hour old injury came in. A little one year old boy named Benjerry. (Like the ice cream) had cement blocks fall on him today. Both of his feet were horrifically damaged, we were all pretty shocked at how bad his injuries were. Zach helped Paige and Jen get him transported to Double Harvest to see some surgeons there.
  • Most of today's patients were repeat dressing changes/wound care. There was a handful of new cases. One of the worst ones was a 13 year old boy that had gone to the D.R. after the earthquake but has not been seen since. His mom cried and cried while they worked on his foot. He will be lucky to keep it. We're praying that for him.
  • There is a little guy that needs skin grafts in order to ever get better. His hand is badly damaged. We're waiting to figure out who is doing skin grafts and try and get him there.
  • In many ways the cooperation between organizations has improved. The little guys are helping each other and even finding favor with the big guys once in a while. We've all traded ideas, numbers, supplies, personnel, and have generally networked together for the greater good. When it works - it REALLY works and it is fun to be a small part of something so unique.
  • There is a 15 year old girl named Naomie in the Heartline "Hospital" that had a piece of rebar go straight through her leg, side to side. She remains positive on her fifth night with the nurses and we're hoping for miraculous healing.
  • On the way from the hospital side of the operation to the clinic (a short drive) Troy got to eavesdrop on the patients in the truck. The truck passed the two nurses that are so graciously working the night shift as they were walking (Laura and Theresa both from Children's Hospital in Minnesota) and they were raving about how wonderful the care was and just generally going on and on about how good these two particular ladies from America are. Troy later told the two nurses and got all teary passing along the appreciation. Everybody enjoys seeing Troy cry, especially over mushy things like this.
  • Troy and Greg are out on the patio laughing and playing guitar and singing. Listening to them is cheering us all up. They are going to lead worship at church tomorrow night. I hope they don't do Rocky Mountain High (John Denver fans?) again tomorrow night. That's just weird. I also hope they don't cackle like they are right now.
  • There is so much more ... but a longer night of sleep is calling me. Goodnight.

No place for politics

Something very odd went down with Unicef yesterday. We were instructed in writing to pick up patients from the U.S. Comfort Ship. When our driver got there to get the people we were to be transferring to our care, there were Unicef vehicles taking them to some camp.

The unicef folks were not talking, they were just large and in charge. When asked why we had been told to come by the U.S. Comfort ship, they would not talk with us about it.

I'd love to believe somebody just got their wires crossed, but I'm not so sure. Something smelled wrong about it. The Comfort ship went to the work of getting us patient names, details, lists and a time to come get them. Clearly they were unaware of what was about to happen.

The problem is, giant worldwide organizations have power, and they have policies. Giant organizations are so giant that they cannot see the forest for the trees and they cannot see the individual person with the individual situation. We all know power corrupts. The Unicef we're seeing is not as interested in putting people/children first as it is in setting policy, precedent, and moving forward its own political agenda. I've watched people get up in arms and say that it is wrong to not support this long-standing and "worthy" organization. I recognize that will likely happen again here. We can easily agree to disagree if need be.

We're simply stating that the policies and procedures are a long way off from meeting real people with IMMEDIATE NEEDS where they are. (And things are not what they appear to be. Not at all.) The anti-adoption rhetoric has some merit but it is also maddening. Kids abandoned to an orphanage by their birth parent PRE earthquake are now being held in Haiti thanks to pressure placed on the Haitian government by the giant and powerful Unicef.  It is asinine and lacks all logic.

We are all for legal, careful, smart adoption. None of us want to see children taken from a birth parent or extended family that wants to raise them. That would be a terrible thing.

The fact is, Unicef is openly anti-international-adoption and what is happening now is nothing more than political grand-standing and a massive power trip. And all at the expense of children with waiting and approved families abroad.  I am saying, approved and in process adoptions are being used as a political tool by the giant organizations. While I agree policies need to be changed and systems of corruption need an overhaul --- maybe right this minute, when the country has no resources, it is not the very best time to make a stand and hold children here in crumbling institutions while adoptive parents wait eagerly.

Large powerful organizations with money can "encourage" and "convince" and put the pressure on ... and a government in crisis will bend to the will of a single powerful organization.

Meanwhile, children and people in crisis are not being served, cared for, or respected.  I understand the nuance and that UNICEF does some good work. You'll never convince me that an machine that large is actually in touch with real human beings and their real stories. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

The photo of our kids above was taken on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010.
One week later on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 the Palace collapsed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Long Day

Today we had a team go out, and a team come in.

Saying goodbye is tough. In a weeks time we come to love and respect a lot of the Docs, Nurses, and PAs and EMTs. The airport run to drop off and pick up was mid-day and that sort of messed with the flow of our bigger-truck ambulance runs in and out of the Cite Soleil area. It meant that the last truck load of patients today showed up at about 5pm - and it was a lot of people. Most of the staff did not finish until almost 9pm. We're pooped out and I am too tired to tell the stories in detail.

Quickly with photos to tell a few of the stories ...

Troy and the smaller "ambulance" - Jen loading patients for Troy to move

Below is the U of Miami field hospital. The first picture is a triage area for Ortho cases and the second photo is one of the two big tents that they use before and after surgery. Paige jumped in (third photo) to translate for the Docs there while we dropped off a few of our more complicated patients late this afternoon.This is Susanne that I wrote about last week. She is the lady dying of breast cancer. She makes us so sad. She is strong and beautiful. I have so much respect for her. The hospital she was going to for her Cancer has collapsed so we are now helping her manage pain. Jen saw her today.

This is a little 12 year old guy that brought in his 3 year old brother ... Both boys were very dirty and did not have much clothing to speak of. The little guy had bad burns on his torso. The older brother cried and cried for his baby brother, it was heartbreaking. Paige tried hard to cheer him up but he was worried that he had made a bad choice to bring his brother without telling his Mom and Dad, who were not home at the time. He was also in charge of three other siblings, and thought he might be in trouble for leaving them home alone. Pray for these two guys and their family. Their names start with N's but I would ruin the spellings if I tried to give you the full names. It is unimaginable the hard choices this big brother had to make today.

Everyone says I am happier now that Paige is back home. Maybe that is true. :) I just love being with my kids and even being able to have one of seven here is healing to my soul. Paige jumped right in on three hours of sleep and is enjoying being a small part of this effort.

I was supposed to have a web-cam date with Lydia tonight but I missed getting home in time (by three hours) -- :( I am so proud of Britt and Chris for the work they are doing with their little siblings and I am getting antsy to get a date on the calendar to go to them.

Over all we had kind of a tough day. We got turned away at one hospital, went to the next and were told that soon they will be saying "no" too. Beds are filling up all over town and people are working at their max capacity. I am praying for a new solution to come soon for our most serious cases. Jen has been working her buns off and staying patient. Troy had a moment of not so patient today and was Mr. snappy-crabby-cakes to me and Jen ... lucky for him we love him and will give him a free pass. ;)

While Troy was out at the Comfort ship helipad he met a sailor from the U.S. Navy named Corwin. It was nice to connect with him - he said he reads the blog and he is married to a woman who still has family in Leogane (south of Port au Prince). Thankfully he reported that his in-laws are well. It just entertains us to meet people who read ... seems kind of odd or silly to us -- but also, so fun!

When it comes to mind please pray for the Heartline team - led by John and Beth McHoul with about 30 others currently coming along side them. Pray for the night-shift nurses that are working with a lot of patients at once.

Most of all, please keep praying for the hurting Haitian people, the lost, the afraid, the forgotten and scared. "Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Amen.



Thanks ZACH for the diet coke. You are our hero.
Thanks Scott Salvant for being you and for all you do.
Thanks Jeff Denliger for the MREs.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Photo: Troy Livesay

I've been trying to write twice a day. It is as much for me as it is for you. I feel like I need to get some of the thoughts out for personal therapy reasons - but also because so much is happening in one day and our short-term memories seem fried - I know if I don't write a few things I won't remember a lot of this a few years from now.

Today was really busy. I think we all thought things would begin to slow down by now.

We were wrong.

There were tons of first time patients. People that have been waiting and suffering for 15 days. Add those new people to the load of follow up dressing changes, it made for a crazy day. Most of the patients we've been seeing for a week already are starting to show great signs of healing. There are a few really tough cases that have had set-backs. One little guy had to have his ear cut open to have many maggots removed. There are a few kids with 3rd degree burns from boiling food or water falling on them when the earth shook. One boy has burns over half his face. A little girl has them all over one thigh and on her torso. Another boy named Chedner has a wide open cut that must heal that way because too many days passed to pull it together. We have not kept stats but we think the Docs and nurses have been seeing about 50 - 60% children. Today at one point we had three pregnant ladies in all at once -- and all three had broken bones.

Prior to the earthquake we worked weekly with the same 50 women. We know them well and developed relationships with them in our Prenatal and Early Childhood Development Classes. The majority of the ladies have not stopped in - just a handful have. We're hoping these ladies we've come to love are alive and hanging in there. Two of them stopped in today and it made us realize how much we miss our regular gig seeing them and spending quality time together. We wonder when we'll be able to go back to our Tuesday and Thursday class schedule. We wonder if they are okay.

We transported three women to the Miami Field Hospital. I got to quickly peek in on Jean. He looks like a new kid. It is amazing what a little hydration and rest and medicine will do for a boy. Tomorrow he will be discharged from U.Miami and will likely stay with us for a few days longer. We gave him some clothes and a toy and he was totally beaming - he is a sweet little boy.

We have a big group of Docs going home tomorrow. We had some trouble getting the next set of Doctors to Florida in time for tomorrow's flight. We're going to be very short staffed for a few days, prayers for those of us non-medical people to step it up and be helpful - are needed. A lot of us are also feeling a slump in our energy and patience levels and need to pep up and get over that right now!


I don't think we'll ever forget the way the earthquake felt, but I have not taken the time to write about our personal experience in detail ... On that Tuesday we had finished up women's program around 3:30 and a few of us ran to the store to grab a few groceries. I dropped friends off to their house and headed home. Troy and I were making dinner for two visiting adoptive moms. We were working together on enchiladas while Lydia sat on the kitchen counter and Hope played quietly in her room upstairs. Phoebe was just hanging out in the kitchen, Paige was helping put things away from bags we were unpacking. The boys were over with Vivien watching a movie at the guesthouse.

I told Troy I would be right back and ran up the stairs with a handful of stuff. Paige followed with more things to be put away. I walked by my computer and hit send and receive. The first thing that registered in my brain/body was the crashing sounds around the house. Before I could tell the ground was moving I heard things falling everywhere. It started with one crash then there was crashing coming from every direction. I remember thinking, "Who is bombing us?" At that time I did not know Hope was in her room. I told Paige to come and we ran down the steps while they moved from underneath our feet. We got to the kitchen to see Troy coming toward us and telling us to get out. (He forgot Lydie on the counter.) I pointed to Lydia bouncing around the counter while glass was crashing to the ground from the kitchen cabinets. I grabbed Lydie and then Phoebe and sat down in the entry way to cover our heads. We never left the house until it was over. I don't think I knew yet that it was an earthquake. As I sat down Hope came screaming down the steps. The house was moving enough that it tossed you side to side as you walked. She had been coming through her room and the upstairs at the time the bookshelves were falling forward. She was hysterical. I looked out the front door to see the water in the pool flying about four feet into the air and across the driveway. Jeronne stood gripping the kitchen table screaming at the top of her lungs for Jesus to save us. I kept asking Jeronne to let go of the table and come sit by us. She ignored me and kept screaming. We sat another ten seconds or so before that first earthquake ended. In total we think it lasted about 40 seconds. As soon as we pulled ourselves together I told Troy to go check the guesthouse and the people in it. In the time he was gone the first aftershock happened. Our littlest girls gripped us with all their might. I ran inside to grab a phone and called my Dad. It was still so early that I don't know if I even made sense when I called him. After about 3o minutes I quickly got on line and posted. Most of my family told me they had not heard it on the news at the time they saw the blog post.

We spent a lot of the next 48 hours pacing, praying, wondering, and running in and out of our house with each strong aftershock. There was an eerie quiet in our neighborhood. It was scary. We decided to send our kids out on Thursday night. The Embassy told us they would go to the D.R. and then be able to book commercial flights to the USA. We asked the two adoptive moms to look after them. As it turned out we put them into Embassy Suburbans at about midnight without knowing where the plane would take them. No one would tell us that. After I put them in the truck I went back out to the area we had been resting in the grass and cried like a baby for an hour. Later in the night I got in a fight with a spoiled girl freaking out on the Embassy employees about not being able to bring her big suitcase. I watched CNN live coverage of Haiti while lying on the Embassy floor. I could not believe any of it was real. I went back outside and made a bed in the grass. When I woke up Troy was yelling at me across the courtyard from the front gate. I got up to start moving toward him. He was telling me the kids had made it to New Jersey and were safe. I dropped to my knees and sat there sobbing and thanking God.

In the almost two weeks that have passed since we sent them out, I have been struck again and again with the reality of how easy we have it. I watch these moms and dads come into the clinic with hurt kids and I think about the total and complete relief I felt when I knew my kids were in a safe place ... These parents don't get the option to put their kids on a flight out of this messy and difficult situation. They don't get to choose the best Doctor or a safe and easy place. They don't get to wake up tomorrow and learn their children are fine, cared for, fed, and resting in the arms of loved ones abroad. I wish they did.


Against the Odds

The photo is of the Heartline "group truck" loaded with patients. It was purchased very recently to transport visiting short-term teams around. In our wildest dreams (nightmares) we could never have imagined how timely the purchase of this truck would be. We now use this truck to go into the poorest areas of Simone Pele, Wharf Jeremie, and Cite Soleil each day. (Isaac was born in Wharf Jeremie, Hope and Phoebe were born in Cite Soleil.) After the patients are treated we bring them back home in this truck. They are given a card with their return date on it so that they can come back to the clinic for dressing changes. Each day the drivers look for new cases and tell those with return appointments to watch for the truck to come in for them. It is a imperfect system that seems to be working.

Yesterday a man was pulled from the rubble ALIVE - on day 14. I don't know how that can be true - but it proves our point about the Haitian people.

A few days ago a little girl smiled while having her fingers amputated.
Over and over mind-numbing injuries that are now two weeks old -- yet the people are stoic, strong, long-suffering, graceful ... resilient beyond comprehension.

Against the odds, the people of Haiti will endure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


1. Jen has updated her blog here and is listing a need for tomorrow to travel to Haiti on Thursday. We are doing great on medical supplies now. Thanks!

2. Paige (our 15 year old) is coming back into Haiti later this week. We are excited to give her a chance to love on the people of the country she considers home. She was given ten minutes notice when she left for the Embassy and she did not get to take anything or say many goodbyes - pray her time here will be healing and good. Troy and I thought and prayed on it and both felt like she should be given time to grieve and leave on her own terms.

3. We drove down to a hospital today to drop a patient for surgery. It is the hospital our Lydia was in when she had Bacterial Meningitis in early 2008. The links to that story are here. The hospital is doing their best in a difficult situation (heard that before?) and they agreed to take a little 7 year old girl for us. They called a few hours later and said they would not do the surgery and we needed to pick her back up. :( Driving through the city is totally and completely devastating. I think by staying focused in our area and mainly going to and from the clinic/hospital - some of us have sort of insulated ourselves against the reality of the destruction. Looking at it photo to photo and one thing at a time is so different than looking at it driving down the road and seeing the unending stretches of total ruins and tent city after tent city of displaced people. It is grievous to think of all the people trapped and entombed under the cement rubble.

4. We're aware that our problems are so small in comparison to the beautiful people of Haiti - and we are the lucky ones ... but even so, we're asking God for clear direction on our future here. We want to be obedient and we want to be open. This has been our home for four years and we're grieving the loss of our normal. We're uncertain of how to raise kids in this Haiti. Please pray with us that we would find the time and the space to process and pray and HEAR from Him on all of it. And please, hear me again when I say that we know we are the blessed ones with options and choices ... unlike so many of our friends here. The unfairness of that is not lost on us.

5. We have been touched by the outpouring of kind words, prayers, love and support. Thank you for holding our family and the people we work with in your hearts. It means more to us than you can possibly imagine.

Something Normal

For the first time since the earthquake (and the Marathon in Florida) Beth and I ran five miles together this morning. We both run as part of our day to day life and have for years. In 2009 we logged a ton of miles training for half and then full marathons. Missing two weeks of running is no huge sacrifice but today we both decided we needed to do something that heals and helps us. We need the serotonin and the physical boost. We need to create an illusion of normal.

It felt amazing to be doing something we did four or five times a week before the earthquake. The path we run looks very different now. Where there used to be buildings there are giant piles of cement spilling into the street. Where there used to be an open space to stretch and get away from the intensely populated area of Tabarre, there are now hundreds of people living in their cars, trucks, and along the side of the road. As we ran another missionary drove by and rolled his window down and said, "Doing something normal again, God Bless you!"

We cannot make this go away, we cannot wish Haiti back to her pre January 12 state. We cannot make any of this "normal". We can only keep running the race. By God's grace and provision we've been able to do that so far.

I received emails asking about following Troy on Twitter. Truthfully, we don't totally get the way Twitter works. Troy mocked it mercilessly for months before joining - which is just funny at this point. :) This is the link to his Twitter page. From here you'll have to figure out how to "follow" - the whole thing is a mystery to me. This is his flickr account for photos, he has been trying to get a few new ones uploaded every few days. This is the YouTube channel we post on - it has stuff going back to four years ago.

Another aftershock just a minute ago. I keep waiting for those to be finished for good. So does the rest of Port au Prince and surrounding areas.

with love from PAP,


Two weeks Post Earthquake

Just read this, loved it. - "Haiti's is not a story about death. It is a story about life after death."

Today a man came in that was in really bad shape. Not only was one leg missing and infected but also his hand was badly crushed and he needed a few fingers amputated. He was very stiff and seemed to be in shock. While they worked on him it became apparent that he is mute. I wrote "John Doe" on his file. I sat there thinking, how awful for us not to know the man's name. We were not sure if he was deaf or partially deaf. We just knew he could not speak to us. He was a tiny man, maybe a 28" waist. He had so much fear in his eyes.

As they began to work on him Nikki, a gal that lives in Haiti and has been helping with interpreting, told us that there was a family member to talk to...she had noticed them watching him from the doorway. We had not know that.

The woman told Nikki that Emmanuel was unable to speak prior to the earthquake and that he understands sign language. She told us he is 50 years old. She obviously loves him and has taken care of him for a long time. She went home to get clothes and pack a bag to stay with him as he is observed for the next few days. His leg and hand are fixed up and a person who loves him and can sign is on her way back to be with him.

Emmanuel - means - God with us.
And He is.

A little boy named Fritznelson (that is two names for the price of one) came in with a bad bad burn. It happened during the earthquake when food was being cooked and spilled onto his arm, hand and face. The only thing done to him was to put a home remedy onto the burn. It looked so bad. Fritznelson received drugs to help him sleep while the nurses cleaned out the burn. They wrapped him up and he is staying a few days for aftercare and dressing changes. His Mom is due to have his baby brother or sister in less than one month.


Guests (with links to their blogs) at Hotel Livesay: Jonna (midwife), Joanna (RN) , Jen (MD) , Megan (adoption processing), Vivien (EMT), Ed (planning and strategy guy), Jon (working on construction stuff), Cliff (PA) , Laura (RN), Theresa (RN), Nancy (RN) , and Manoucheka (our morning nanny now helping with laundry and happy to sleep here instead of out in the chaos) and Mike (water treatment guy).

And then, the regulars - Troy - Tara -Jeronne - Peanut

We're close to capacity but still have space for the fabulous Greg Erickson joining us tomorrow.

A shout out to all my little people in America ... Dad and I miss you guys so much and are so proud of you all.

Kenbe fem.


Monday, January 25, 2010

More Cool Stories

I wish we had more time to make note of every single story that we've been blessed to watch unfold. I am basically picking one in twenty to share ... and that is just us and our one clinic. I'd have to imagine there are a half a million stories to be told.

A couple days ago a little guy came in from Simone Pele. They picked him up and he seemed disoriented and no parent or guardian could be located. He needed treatment for wounds from the earthquake so they took the risk and brought him in without a guardian.

His wounds were treated and he went to recovery. In recovery he started seizing. He ended up seizing about twice a day for the next two days. We still had no idea if he had living parents or what his story was. The Docs speculated that he is a kid that has always had seizures.

There are two amazing Paramedics from New York City working with us. We found them by accident when Scott Salvant, a super-cool guy we know, found them in the D.R. as they were trying to get here to work. Their names are Christophe and Rhona and they are truly awesome at what they do. They have been riding the truck in and out of the slums picking up patients and they begin to work on them in the truck before they ever get to the clinic. Christophe was very troubled about our little mystery orphan boy. He took personal responsibility and brought him back into Simone Pele today and walked around asking everyone if they knew him.

It turns out he comes from an intact family. His mother and father had been looking for him since the earthquake. He is autistic and had run away during the earthquake.

He is now at home, reunited with his family and doing well.

That's how God rolls.

Try to write more tonight.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


Had a bit slower day at the clinic today. A Sunday without regular things does not seem like a Sunday at all --- yet the calender insists that it is.

Troy's tweets will have to be the main source of news today, I'm too tired to write. He had another insanely interesting day.

We hope to follow up on every patient we sent for care at other locations - so when I know about Jean I will let you know. That is one hard-core-tough ten year old boy.

We have "home church" at our house later tonight ... planning to listen to Troy play guitar and sing together and just cry for awhile. We all need it I think.

Two hours later ...

Jen and I were on the way to go try to help the Salvation Army people with their baby when Beth called to say that Jen and the Anesthesiologist were needed asap. The lady that Beth and Jonna had in labor needed an emergency c-section due to an abruption.

We grabbed Dr. Steve and got to the house in less than five minutes. Dr. Chris the OB/GYN was ready to go ... in five minutes baby boy was out and Jen was working on getting him breathing again. Chris sewed Mom Jenny back up with the help of Jonna ... Dr. Jen gave baby tons of oxygen ... and all is well.

Having an OB Doc & ER Peds Doc here saved Mom and Baby from certain death. Another three or four minutes and it would have been an entirely different story. These amazing Doctors are here in response to the earthquake, but got to help save a family from a different sort of disaster.

Again God showed Himself to us ... and the timing was perfect.

go away adrenaline - Goodnight!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wrapping up Saturday

Today the incredible team of volunteer Medical Peeps worked hard - saw 98 patients and rocked the house. (Different than the aftershock type of rock the house.) They had a good day overall and transported two of our patients for a higher level of care.

I spent a lot of my day with one patient, a 10 year old boy named Jean that had his foot and lower leg amputated on January 16th and was sent home with no follow up. He came in with his 65 year old grandma. She looked more like 85. I probably can only guess at the life she has led living in Wharf Jeremie. Jean's amputations was a hack-job and his bone was still sticking straight out of his leg ... they did not close it. So, this afternoon we took him to the U of Miami field hospital and they way they will revise the amputation and close it tomorrow. Jean was afraid and begging me not to let them cut it again but we all just tried to assure him that this time it would be different. I would hate to know what the first time was like for sweet Jean. I pray they don't forget him tomorrow (things are chaotic everywhere) and that he gets what he needs from the folks at U of M. Jean was brave and strong and with very little pain medication he coped like a champ.

If all of the stories could be told, I know you would be amazed and in awe of the strength of these people. Jen and I are convinced they are the strongest humans on earth. Did you see they pulled a man out alive today? That has to be some sort of record. I'm telling you - these people are tough as nails.

We saw Anderson Cooper up close - he is not tall. Just wanted to confirm that for everyone. ;) But he does have nice pipes. Jen and I really wanted a photo with him - but we had patients with us and we felt dorky asking.

Spending time at the hospital left me overwhelmed at the magnitude of this tragedy. Instead of seeming more "real" to me - it seems less real. I just cannot believe one little tiny country can have so much pain and suffering ... it seems too horrible to be real. I cannot imagine a day anytime soon where things might feel or seem normal. :( I guess I am a downer today.

I watched the system at this large field hospital and I realized that the needs are so much bigger than we can really ever meet. Hundreds and hundreds of organizations, both large and small, faith based and not, have responded and sent people to work ... and everyone is doing their best under the circumstances -- but it still does not feel like enough. Our little clinic/hospital is a tiny piece of a giant puzzle ... and it is odd to feel so so grateful for all that have responded and are on the ground doing their thing -- and yet still feel like the need cannot adequately be met. I know I need to go lie down, pray and give it back to God, and try to sleep.

Tomorrow is a new day.


OH - PS-
Beth just called, a lady is labor ... she and Jonna and Dr. Chris (our OB/GYN) are ready to deliver a baby. And right after that the Salvation Army called ... they have another lady delivering a baby that they want us to come get. Jen and I are off to do that while the others take care of the first Mom.

We can sleep when we're dead.

When Troy gets the photos from today uploaded to Flickr, I'll give you a heads up.

ALSO, we found our nurses. We're all set - thanks for the response.

Off we go again ...


We are in urgent need of nurses who are able to come down here and volunteer ASAP. We are specifically looking for people who are able to leave within the next 2 days, and stay for 2 weeks or longer.

Your role could include the following:
  • Wound care (wound debridement, dressings, wound vac placement, etc)
  • Med/surg inpatient care (with shifts being 12 hour days or nights, likely 5-6 shifts per week) with a probable patient load of 10-20 patients per nurse
  • Acute care ER/OR nursing, assisting doctors in the care of injured and ill patients
  • Managing the flow of patients, assisting doctors with completing medical records, gathering medications and supplies, providing discharge instructions, restocking supplies, managing the central administration desk, etc

MUST have the following qualifications:
  • Be able to leave by Monday or Tuesday and stay for at least 1 week (prefer longer)
  • RN certification
  • At least 2 years clinical experience in an inpatient, ER, ICU, or OR setting. WOUND CARE nurses are especially needed, especially if you are also skilled in ER/inpatient care
  • Previous travel to the developing (3rd) world
  • Flexibility (you may be asked to do things that are not officially a part of your job description)
  • Ability to work long hours and function in less than ideal conditions with less than adequate sleep
  • Ability to submit to our medical chain of command that is already in place; we do not want people who are going to come down here and try to do their own thing (in other words...leave your egos at the door)
  • Be able to fund your own travel to Florida, and possibly to Haiti (we are currently bringing in medical professionals free of charge on many flights from various locations in Florida, but this opportunity may not last)
We prefer the following qualifications:
  • Previous medical experience in the developing world
  • Ability to speak Haitian Creole
  • Ability to stay 2 weeks or longer
While you are here, you will be staying in cramped quarters. You will likely eat snack foods most of the time and may not eat a hot meal for several days in a row. It is hot and dusty here. You will get dirty. You may not be able to shower every day. You will need to pack your bags with medical supplies from our needs list, and also bring in food for yourself (things like granola bars, fruit snacks, cereal, etc).

At the same time, you will have an very rewarding experience caring for some special and grateful patients. You will be helping save lives. And you will be working with some incredible people. This work is demanding, but very gratifying.

If you meet these qualifications and are interested, please contact Shelley Stammis ASAP at and please cc me on the e-mail ( In your e-mail, please describe in detail how you meet the above qualifications. If you are interested but do not meet ALL of these qualifications, we are grateful for your interest, but please do not contact Shelley or me at this time, as we simply do not have the time to respond to every inquiry we get.

THANK YOU in advance for your interest and for caring about Haiti! We so appreciate your support and willingness to help.

Jen Halverson, M.D.
Heartline Clinic & Hospital

Photo of Robenson,
4 year old boy that came in very lethargic with a broken arm -
now doing really well.

Kids in Simone Pele, taken on one of the runs to pick-up patients.

It is Saturday morning, we're off and running again. Thank you for all of the words of encouragement yesterday. It was good for all of us to hear that Haiti is still a hot topic in the news. We believe that for many weeks to come there will be a desperate need to treat the wounded and that many more lives could be lost due to infections from injuries. We're blessed by the way things have been working out in spite of chaos - we are doing trade-outs ... we need Morphine, you need Rocephin - let's trade --- those sorts of deals are being made every single day.

This (below) has been our experience and all along we've felt that there is something "unseen" going on - then we received this confirmation of our suspicions:

"from a more or less inside source, the US has left the on ground work to the UN as to not step on any toes. the UN has all kinds of logistical limitations and red tape. for example they are not
permitted to enter certain areas because they are deemed unsafe. "

A US Military person told me (Tara) that he was very upset with the lack of urgency for getting them on the ground and set up. He said they were made to sleep at the Embassy because no one would pull the trigger and give them clearance to go set up. They talked about danger and seemed not to know who had the authority to give them their marching orders. He said it took 9 days from his deployment to get to his post. He said there are politics in play and that it had been frustrating for him and his team. Meanwhile, independent, unarmed, non-military missionaries and aid-workers are running around the country without much trouble at all.

Having shared that, it has been amazing to see the ways little organizations have worked around the red-tape and the ridiculous politics and have found their own supplies and have traded out and rallied together for the greater good. Please continue to pray for order, cooperation, and successful teamwork -- it can only benefit the hurting if we all play well together.

We pray today is another day of miracles and divine appointments and saved lives. God is with us. Thank you for your prayers.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Media and Gratitude

The airport is an insane place right now. There does not seem to be any system of order. Troy and the other men that are full time here in Haiti have been doing work getting supplies and people off of little private planes and has been able to stand and observe the madness. None of the little organizations know how to get supplies from the big guys ... the whole system (or lack thereof) is frustrating.

I am glad the media has given Haiti some attention and hopefully that makes people CARE and want to GIVE and ACT - but the ones that never leave the airport and report from the tarmac are just in the way and taking up valuable space and adding to the chaos. Plus, I am hearing the story is no longer getting much attention - that it has dropped to the bottom of the news cast - which is sad, because the story has only just begun.

A personal thank you to each of you that have supported Troy and I for the last four years. Your love has gone the distance and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Another debt of gratitude for all the gifts that have come in - in recent days. The response has touched us and your love is felt by all of us ... thank you - thank you - thank you.

We are putting them to use on the ground and if you know of others that want to give please direct them to: AND

(Photos taken last weekend)

Frustrated - A request

Please don't just "show up" in Haiti without permission and an idea of where you will stay and how you will eat. It is very difficult for those of us trying to help HAITIANS. We cannot focus on the needs of backpackers with no plan. There is a screening process to help with the clinic we are running. If the screening person has not specifically asked you to come, we won't be able to put you to work. This is not meant to be rude or ungrateful - but we cannot handle more than what we have going already.

Troy's photos from the last week ...

What day is it?

Each morning we wake up and take about three minutes to remember what day it is.

It has been a week since our kids left - a week that feels like years. Today we're praying that a bunch of kids in the process of being adopted from Heartline might get on their own C-130 (photos from Paige - Ike- Hope - Noah- Lydia's ride last week are below) and go to their anxious families in America.

We are pretty sure this is Collette's Baby girl - named Esther. I burst in to tears every time I think about the Collette story. I love that she was not forgotten and that her baby was born under the care of these rock-star medical professionals. Amazing. (Photo taken from US Comfort Ship photos - without permission - hoping no one sues me.) I wish every Haitian waiting and hurting could receive this sort of attention.

Our kids finally agreed to "do media" - but only because it is one of Troy's best friends from High School doing the story. :) I guess Noah ran around saying "No filming no filming" and was not all that cooperative. That is why he never speaks (or shows his face) during the story. I am not the least bit surprised by that. He is an ornery little turkey, snubbing one of his Daddy's best friends. Sorry Matt!
Here is the story:

CLICK HERE to go to the Dallas FOX station.

Today is another long/full day of doing what we can to move people and supplies around the city. Praying that God brings the team more lives they can touch and that we'll all get an espresso shot of energy around 2pm.

It's 7:55 am on Friday and another strong after-shock just happened. I think we're all really ready for that fear to stop owning us. We're becoming adrenaline junkies.

**Plane photos taken by Erin Lancer, one of two moms that helped escort our kids.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day Nine - Degaje Net

Yesterday (Wednesday) - Troy spent the day getting supplies in the D.R. for whatever reason the big outfits are not helping the little NGO's with supplies and such - so we've been finding stuff ourselves and we've been finding favor. It is clear that politics and things on higher levels are causing a delay in adequate response. While that is totally discouraging - we've been networking together with other tiny NGO's to find a way around being snubbed by the big relief organizations. It is degaje net around here. (Degaje is the Kreyol saying that basically means 'make it work' - net is the kreyol word for 'all the way or alot').

Today we've had a new group of medical people come in. We have a few trying to depart. The organization of the people and learning their skill sets and trying to assign them a position had gotten really difficult. A man walked into my kitchen last night and (staying with another NGO worker that is crashing in our make-shift hotel) and he is a disaster response guy without work. I told him what we've been doing and why it has gotten difficult to administrate and he is now "our guy" and is here at the clinic setting up teams and organization - I have this feeling that he is a gift and I hope that all of our staff end up feeling the same way. We needed a strong administrator that ALSO has experience in dealing with disaster relief. Pray for Ed Lord and for our two head Doctors, Dr. McKnight and Dr. Halverson. Pray for unity and clear minds - this little operation we're running gets bigger day to day and organization will be key to our effect and success.

Our house is set up with room to sleep 20+ when I get home at night I have no idea who might be there. Different people have been sleeping over each night. At one time a few years back I could not deal with little messes without getting all uppity and cleaning it up instantly. Today I have friends and strangers in and out of my house and the place is totally unorganized -- crap everywhere ... but it is not bothering me yet. I let go of all of that need for perfect order and we're getting by without it. Hoping that will be true a week from now too.

Last night Troy walked in very late and one of our guests said, "Hi who are you and why are you here?" Wearily Troy said, "Well, I am Troy and I live here." :) The guest said, "Well then - make yourself at home." It's a little bit crazy. But we're still laughing.

I think we have five or six more coming in tonight to claim a spot at Hotel Livesay. Mints on the pillows optional.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day Eight

The day began at 5:30 when Patrick came to our room to say "Hey Troy and Tara, we have to leave now" and we got up to find out what they had going and to say goodbye. Troy and I and Kim and Patrick (friends that live here in Haiti and went through the Earthquake and lost their apartment) were standing in the kitchen at about 5:50 discussing the day (on about three hours of sleep) when the kitchen cabinets started to shake. The aftershock lasted about 15 to 20 seconds - and was strong enough to wake the whole house and send them running for doors. We stood in the driveway in our pajamas for a while.

We recovered from that and all got ready to go to our posts at the medical clinic. The day was less intense in some ways, but much more intense in other ways. We've turned into a hospital and a surgery recover center. We've got patients spread between two houses and we're continuing to bring in new truck loads from Simone Pele. The area is under served ( that is the understatement of the decade) and they are literally laying around with horrible wounds and no plan or ability to get help.

The first few patients that came in were emotionally tough because they were kids that were very afraid to be there. We kept plugging along seeing people and making plans for who could be returned home at the end of the day and who would need to stay for observation. (It sounds a it more organized than it actually is.) The fact is we have medical folks from all over trying to come together and open a hospital from scratch. Oh, and then see things that they rarely (or never) see in their day-to-day work. It has not been without challenges. Yet, by God's grace we got through three days already.

Around noon a lady named Suzanne David came in. She was 75 years old and was so strong and so poised. Anyone who has lived a lot of years in Haiti is a hero to me. She has seen more political unrest, natural disasters, and hardship than I can probably imagine. I loved chatting with her and learned that she has 6 kids and 11 grand kids and lives in Cite Militare. She has advanced breast cancer and is dying from it. She came to us because the hospital she was going to twice a week for dressing changes collapsed. She had a giant open tumor and was in a lot of pain. At first we thought it was an earthquake injury, but once it was undressed we knew we had something else on our hands. For whatever reason she understood all of my Kreyol (and vice versa) and we communicated beautifully and I enjoyed my hour with her immensely. I won't soon forget the strength of Suzanne David.

She has lived a long hard life and now, not only is she dying of breast cancer but her world has gotten much more challenging as her family has lost homes and jobs and even the hospital that gave her a little help for her cancer. With all of those challenges -- Suzanne was sweet, and smiling, and gracious, and absolutely beautiful. The Docs were able to help her with her pain with a patch that will be replaced every three days. Her strength and peaceful spirit touched me deeply today.

Shortly after lunch a woman that had just been hit by a car was brought in. She was critically wounded and died not too much later. The people who brought her to us did not know her and now we have no idea who she is or how to contact her family. She survived an earthquake, a giant aftershock, and died as a result of head injuries in a car accident. In Haiti you have to "dispose" of a body yourself. You don't call the Funeral Director or the county morgue. Last I knew at the end of the day, that particular problem was unsolved.

Mid day there was a major conflict/situation/communication problem between myself and another person (from another NGO) that caused some tempers (mainly mine and his) to flare. We managed to get through it and move on - thankfully. I guess it is bound to happen. I was right and he was wrong (of course) ;) heh heh.

This is where the day went cuh - razy. The Doctors were quickly realizing that even though they were doing some pretty big surgeries and risking a lot --- we still had people on our hands that we absolutely could not do enough for. One of those patients was Collette that I told you about a couple of days ago. (Pa Bliye'm story)

Dr. Jen decided to research how close the USNS Navy ship was to arriving and emailed contacts she has from earlier this year when we got to go visit the Navy ship that was here. We did not hear back and did not hear back and the afternoon was getting away from us. We had 11 people that we hoped to take but could not get the 100% go ahead. On a wing and a prayer we decided to load our patients and try to find the spot to get them on the ship. We had like ZERO information. But off four vehicles went in a row to try to find the right spot in a crazy city of millions.

My heart rate must have been off the charts as I wondered what the heck we thought we might accomplish. I felt sick wondering if we had loaded up these poor suffering people with horrible pain only to aimlessly drive them all over the city. We had trouble and stopped and asked and and stopped and asked and stopped and asked .... and got pretty discouraged.

Finally we turned down a road that we hoped might lead us out to the water. A man rolled down his window to tell us we were heading towards Americans. We pulled in to find about 30 Americans setting up camp. They were unloading dump trucks and starting to set up their first large tent. The two docs that came with the patients approached and asked if they could possibly help us. They told them that we'd heard the U.S. Navy was sending a ship or serious operations and very high need cases. They shook their head a bit and explained they had JUST arrived about 60 minutes before us and they were not even set up. They said they would try to radio the boat, but it was not really yet set to go either. Gently Dr Jen and Dr McKnight asked about getting a helicopter to take our patients. They seemed sort of non-committal - we knew it could go either way. The last thing we wanted was to return to our little make-shift hospital with 11 people that really need surgery.

We waited for our miracle.

All of a sudden out of nowhere a helicopter circled over a time or two ... then swooped in. It landed right out in front of us. Two studly helicopter military guys walked over and said they could take four people. We chose the four worst. They said "We'll be back in ten minutes for more." We could not believe what was happening. They came back ... and back. Three trips to the ship for the people of Simon Pele. I asked a couple of the patients that I had connected with if they were afraid. They seemed to know that something big was about to happen. How humbling it was to watch the poorest of the poor ... forgotten by most ... be some of the very first patients to arrive by helicopter to a US Navy Hospital floating in the Port. I stood there weeping as they took the last group up.

We left Heartline on Jen's hunch - with almost no location information and no certainty we would be received - and we found the American base, that had only been in place for 60 minutes, that led to the helicopter coming, that led to hurting people getting help.

It felt like justice to me.

Hurray for justice. Hurray for miracles.

Click HERE for more - we just found this. So amazing.


I think Jen took some video and photos. If she has them I will ask her to let me post them here later tonight. Check back.

There is more interesting truth coming out about the many aspects of the ridiculous politics involved- even in disaster response - but I will end this on a positive note and leave that rant for another day.

Loading Patients

We've been going to get people and bringing them to the clinic. Most of them don't have the funds to get a on a tap-tap (public transportation) and if they did there are not tons of tap taps in operation right now. There are lots of photos from our clinic yesterday but most of them are pretty intense so we won't post them here.


This morning we were standing in the kitchen around 5:45am talking to friends that have been staying with us because they needed to leave and we are unsure if they will get out of here today. We were saying our goodbyes. All of a sudden the house was rocking. It was the strongest aftershock we've felt yet. I looked on line and see that they are saying it was a 6.1. I cannot begin to describe how totally afraid everyone here is ... these aftershocks stir everything back up to the surface. I would have to imagine that lots of buildings that were hanging close to collapsing may have now collapsed. This aftershock lasted about 15 seconds. The original 7.0 lasted a good 45 seconds. Every time someone opens the front gate (makes a large noise) we all jump to our feet to get out of the house.

We're back to the clinic today. I know that so many of you are waiting on replies to questions ... we're sleeping very little as it is so we just have to make a decision to leave most emails unanswered for a time. I hope you understand.

Please keep praying for Haiti.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Men Ansanm

Hands Together

We are in this thing together Ayiti Cherie.

more pictures at

Still running ...

This (click to read) was written last year.

We (my friend Beth and I) logged over 800 miles running and training in Port au Prince in 2009.

I really thought there was quite enough hardship here back when I wrote this post. I feel so sad for the Haitian people tonight.

I'm just beginning to grieve, and again I pray for mercy as I run.

Tuesday Short Report

We are day two of clinic ... taking a break to eat and see on Twitter where Troy-boy is. ;) That is how I communicate with him best - or how he communicates with me I guess.

We've become a hospital, in that many patients cannot be treated and released. I may not have the accurate count, but I believe we're keeping 14 right now. We're rolling with it and the team has been working well together and making adjustments as needed. Today a few of the things we've seen:

  • Six month old baby boy named Obama had a broken upper arm - no crying during casting.
  • Six month old baby girl with giant gaping wound that had not yet been touched by anyone. She is a twin, her mother did not accompany her to the clinic - but stayed with the healthy twin. Right now Megan H. is walking around holding and comforting her.
  • A young man with a hole straight through him, front to back. Possibly rebar during the earthquake.
  • Seven month pregnant woman with open deep and infected wound on her leg.
  • Head wounds, lacerations, and open cuts on most everyone that has come in.
  • One man seems to possibly be dying of HIV but now has new injuries due to the earthquake, the Docs are discussing how to best serve him.
  • A man with his hand chopped off above the wrist by some sort of fight. We're unsure on details. Currently they are trying to clip back his bone and and will possibly amputate above the elbow in order to close him.
There is so much more I could say but it needs to wait until I can process things more. Maybe tonight if brain cells allow for it. Our house is filling up slowly - we're set up like a camp, one room (family and dining room) is cleared and filled with beds to sleep folks coming in to relieve the Docs that will depart on Friday.

The reason we cannot use that hospital that you're all writing to us about --it is 75 miles from here - in the developed world of course that is nothing. Here, it is an 8 hour drive minimum ... we cannot allocate people, vehicles, or diesel to get our patients to the other side of the island. We have heard of an air-lift option, but getting to where you go to airlift is difficult right now too and requires a bunch of fuel.

Praying and Hoping,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pa bliye'm

Tent cities are popping up all over town. You guys probably know more than us about where those tents came from, but everywhere we go we see them. Lots of them are Coleman "real" camping tents. Our neighborhood has mostly standing houses, probably mostly safe to sleep in, but still the soccer field has a tent city.

The reports of violence - we don't get those. Have not seen it. Have not experienced it. Nothing even remotely close. People are helping each other and are warm and kind and humble. People are seeking each other out and checking to see how friends/acquaintances are recovering. Today the man who owns our house stopped by. His name is Dodo. He was sitting outside waiting for us when I walked home mid afternoon. I was so happy to see him alive and I hugged him and asked how his family fared. A true Haitian response he said, "Yo byen, gras a Dye" - by the grace of God they were okay. I took him inside to show him how well the house he build came through a gianormous earthquake. He was beaming. We high fived twice to celebrate his good work building a solid structure. He left the gate with a spring in his step. It made me happy.
On Saturday (which feels like a lifetime ago) Troy and John went into Simone Pele to visit with the people of that area and assess their situation. We have ties to the community due to a monthy pre-natal outreach we’ve been doing there. It is considered a rougher area by most.
On that day Troy talked with a young woman named Collette in Simone Pele. She is 7 months pregnant and had suffered a broken pelvis during the earthquake. There was a giant yard area where many were gathered and injured. They had not received medical attention. He was standing next to where she was lying and talking to other people gathered around. She grabbed his hand and made eye contact and said, “Pa Bliye’m.” (Don’t forget me.)
Troy told her he would be back to get her on Monday. She had been unable to move for days at that point.
This morning John McHoul (head of Heartline Ministries) and John Ackerman (a nurse in Haiti) went back to Simone Pele to get our first load of patients.
When they got to the house Troy immediately looked for Collette. They had not picked her up. There were so many with crooked bones or with bleeding, infected and oozing wounds that her broken pelvis did not look serious enough to get her on the first truck.
In the afternoon the first round of patients (that did not have to stay on IV fluid) were returned to Simone Pele. Troy needed to bring more patients back to the Docs and nurses. He was not going to leave without Collette. The guy that was with him kept finding other patients and Troy kept reminding him that he needed to keep looking until they found her.
After backing the truck in to get very close to her so she could be moved with the least pain possible, Troy got out of the truck to hear Collette screaming “Merci Jezi, Merci Jezi” while waving her arms wildly.
Troy said it was all he could do to spit out the words, “M pa bliye ou” (I didn't forget you) without bursting into tears in front of all the tough guys standing around watching.
Tonight Collette rests under the care of volunteer Docs and Nurses at the Heartline Women’s Center house.
A very spirited and silly 13 year old young man named Patrick came in with a broken leg bone. The Docs did some sort of miracle thing that got it re-set. He was fairly doped-up for the procedure. Afterward when he was chatting up a storm and acting loopy he informed us that tomorrow he is heading to New York, he sees no reason to live in Haiti and he is getting the heck out of dodge. In reality, he'll be attached to the cement block that is providing traction for his leg for the next three weeks. After that, who knows, maybe New York.
Day one of the clinic went really well ... especially for the "third world" - now renamed into some unknown category, in a damaged non-hospital building with people that have never met each other. Dr. Jen, Dr. Boyle, Dr. McKnight and Dr. Rice are seeing amazing cases.
It seems that lots of folks were treated at home or by a friend or in some sort of make-shift clinic in the early hours following the earthquake. The problem is, they were not given follow up instructions and now they have major infections. In some cases they were wrapped with an ace bandage when in fact they have a major fractured bone.
Every patient we saw today was given a follow up appointment card for the coming days. These injuries are far too serious to treat and send away for good. Lori Moise of RHFH joined our group and she is one of the most talented suture-ers (new word) I have ever watched. She did beautiful work all day long. The team also has EMT Vivien and RN's Joanna Theile and Morgan McHoul as well as midwives Jonna Howard and Lisa Buxman.
The rest of us disinfected, ran around to get supplies, tried to prioritize patients, took phone calls, came up with systems which in reality we could not implement, (TIH) did research and tried to stay clear of things that might make us faint. At one point in the day I walked by a guy that needed to pee. He was very vocal about it too. I looked around and found no one to help him ... I was it. Not something I can say I had ever done before today. Helping a non-ambulatory male go pee.
My favorite part of the day was getting to be the one to deliver the news to a Mom that her child did not need an amputation on her broken leg. We prayed and hugged and rejoiced together. A good moment.
Several times a day it hits me that everything has changed. For us, for them, for so many families abroad with lost and missing loved ones here. I don't know what the future holds for Haiti. It is a scary feeling at times. It seems odd that just a week ago we were talking about things we wanted to do in Haiti in the coming year - and now all of those things are unrealistic. The immediate need trumps the big plans.
I don't really know what to think or say or how to package that up ...
I only know one thing- Our hope has not died, it is not buried in that rubble.
Photo: Troy Livesay

PS- We are hearing that our kids are doing well. Britt is telling us all the cute comments and stories. Each of the four youngest have spent the majority of their lives in Haiti, therefore America and all it has to offer solicits many cute observations. (Water fountains and parks and smooth roads and food choices and giant stores.) Hope told Britt that she "really liked the village" of Baylor University. As compared to a Haitian village, it really is pretty darn impressive. :)
My heart aches for them when I think of them ... so I try not to. I love you guys - be strong. Kenbe fem - Kenbe fo.

xoxo - mom

Haitians helping Haitians

If you need a ride in a wheelbarrow, here is your guy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Report of Praise

All of our people are on the ground. Tomorrow is a go. I finally feel totally emotionally done ... I think having one of my best friends (Dr. Jen Halverson) landing here is what it took to bring down the wall that is separating me from feeling things.

I just wanted to quickly report this great piece of news.

Lord -
We need you. Help the people of Haiti. Help them see pieces of hope in this nightmare. Help us connect with people on a personal level. Help us know what it is they need from you today and guide each person on this island that is attempting to be love today. Amen.

A week ago

Just one week ago today I was in Disney World in Orlando, FL running a marathon with many good friends. It was a major accomplishment for Heartline Ministries and we were all so thrilled to have it finished and to officially thank our donors for supporting our effort.

I returned home after three days in Florida on Monday the 11th at 5pm.

24 hours later the world changed.

I had no idea how easy those 26.2 miles were until now.

Last Sunday feels like a lifetime ago.

*This* is a marathon like no other.


Assuming the team truly lands sometime today (we hear they are on the way but are cautious to immediately believe it), tomorrow we will begin a clinic in our area. Amazing people from all over the world have been offering their skills. Gifts are being received and put to use. We thank you for responding with love. You are awesome.

We're hearing of people getting help and we're hearing of a lot more waiting. I feel sick thinking about people still waiting to be pulled out of rubble and suffering that way for so long. I don't know at what point the effort switches from rescue to recovery. Maybe that is already the case.

This city is more densely populated than I can fathom. The work ahead in Port and other areas is mind-numbing. I know there are tons of efforts being made -- some of which you'll never get to hear about on media or blogs -- pray for those behind the scenes working hard too - those not getting the awesome encouragement that some of us have been blessed to receive.

For our clinic, pray that the people that need us - find us - and that the talented Docs and Nurses and other medical professionals are granted unusual strength and courage and the ability to trust God while they do things that they have never done before and see things they have never seen before ... in order to better serve the Haitian people - who so deserve and need - love, and help, and respect, and dignity, in their darkest hours.

God be with them. God be with us.

We believe we will see miracles this week.


P.S. -
A month ago our kids and Troy did this little Christmas play the truth of Christ's birth and sacrifice on the cross is even more in the forefront of our minds today.

May you know Him better and the depth of his love for you in these difficult times.

We cannot personally answer emails/messages/questions anymore ... we're sorry.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Short Stories

This will weave and jump around, I apologize.

- At the US Embassy there was a woman with three children. She and one child held USA passports. Two of her children had passports from some other Caribbean nation. (I don't remember which one.) She thought I was an Embassy employee and pleaded her case to me. I explained what I knew and that anyone leaving at this time had to have a valid US Passport. She then asked me if I would take her two kids so she and the one child could leave.

- After I left the Embassy a young man helped me get the bags our kids had to leave behind out of the gate and into the car. He then accepted a fair amount of money for his help and we asked him if he wanted a baby stroller that was left behind (just the wheels and not the car-seat part - the car seat part was given away in the night) -- you have never seen anyone so thankful to be given a little cart with four wheels. Troy got in the car and cried based on that man's gratitude for such a tiny little thing.

- A phone call came that a man had been walking since Tuesday night from the south part of the island. They asked if he could come to us for medical help or help getting to the US Embassy. They said he had been vomiting and walking for days without much rest. He never showed up here.

- Mass graves are being used, the bodies are seen stacked in trucks and around town. Many people will be buried without their families ever knowing where they were when they died.

- Plans are underway to open a clinic to serve our area. We need prayers that the plane is allowed to land with our people and supplies. They are supposed to be able to get in in the next 36 hours but we pray that it actually comes to pass. We cannot begin without them.

- Water purification in the form of a safe chlorine product is being made around the clock and will be distributed for people to add to their dirty water source and be able to make it safe to drink.

- Logistically speaking - things are beyond imaginable. We are considering things like "where do we put medical waste, amputated parts, etc.? "Where do people who need IV's around the clock to kill bad infection need to be housed?" We know the world is praying and we thank you and ask you to continue to do so for weeks and months to come.

- There will be people specifically in place to pray with and comfort the dying. Once I know who is doing that I will ask you to pray for them by name. That task is of incredible importance.

With love and gratitude for the support,

kenbe fem

The Haitians say, "kenbe fem" or hold/stand firm. Our prayers in the days ahead are for exactly that. And for those coming to their aid - that they will be able to do the same.

May we all show a tiny piece of the face of Jesus to this suffering and devastated nation and her beautiful and resilient people. May heads be clear and tempers be calm and peace be known.


Photo: Troy Livesay

Friday, January 15, 2010

Overwhelming Sadness - Overwhelming Gratitude

Last night I took five of my kids to the US Embassy to get them out of here so I can be of some help to Troy and the two ministries we represent in relief efforts.

They left me at midnight (or close to it - time is fluid and I feel a bit crazy). They left with two adoptive moms we love. Paige was a rock. Pray for her fifteen year old heart to be strong. Noah was very upset as was Lydia. Isaac asked, "Mom, is there any place to get a good haircut in America?" :)

They were taking anyone with a USA Passport to a cargo jet to board to an unknown location in the USA. I prayed for them and sent them off. This morning I was resting in the courtyard of the US Embassy waiting to be picked up when I heard Troy yelling at me from the gate telling me our kids are in New Jersey. THANK YOU to many of you that prayed they would get out. They are now going to be cared for by our oldest daughter and her husband and by my parents. I know God will heal their hearts and minds. Thank you God that my kids are on their way to respite and love and care. I pray that for all the frightened children in Haiti.

Many people were angry at not being able to bring bags. I got very angry listening to that as CNN inside the Embassy droned on and on about all the trapped all the dead all the hurting. I think a bag of possessions is hardly something to fight over. There are lives hanging in the balance and there is no end in sight.

The US Embassy employees who have also lost homes and friends are doing an AMAZING job on little to no sleep and dealing with a lot of hostile and rude people. I was blessed by watching them work. Pray for these employees.

Today we are beginning to prepare for mobile medical clinics and try to discern a safe and smart way to begin to do this in our area.

Haiti is disorganized and without infrastructure on the best day. For the aid to work and the teams of search and rescue workers to be able to do their job there is going to need to be a major effort of all people to lay down their own fear and personal need and allow the help to get to the worst off. Pray that people will think of others as best they can and that relief will begin to get to the places it is needed most.

Avek Jezi,