Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This year for Thanksgiving we actually got to take a little break for several days in a row! For the first time in nearly 1 ½ years since we have been in Haiti all of us long-term volunteers were all able to go on a little trip together over a long weekend. We didn’t have any other short-term volunteers coming in and so all 9 of us were able to take a 4 day excursion to Ile-a-Vache, or Cow Island.

It was about a 4 hour drive on the treacherous roads of Haiti and 20 minute boat ride to this beautiful little island, but it was certainly worth it. Upon arrival we were shown our little bungalows on the beach and immediately were able to start relaxing. It was a rustic little place that was just a step up from camping, but that’s all we needed. We weren’t at the hospital so that is all that mattered. We were surrounded by fresh air, crashing waves, clean space, and peace!

Even though the main reason we were able to take this little vacation was because of Thanksgiving, it was also kind of like our last hurrah before many of our long-term volunteers leave. It was a nice opportunity to be together outside of the work environment and just connect with each other in a different way before life takes us all in different directions and places.  We may cross paths again, or we might not, but not matter what, each one of these wonderful volunteers have left a lasting impact on my heart and life. They have been family to us for this last year and so they will always be apart of our lives.


Our bungalows on the beach

Lynn and Amy at Abaka Bay

Left to right: Lynn, J'mo, Nathan, Marc, and Brian

Laundry day! Things seemed much more clean and
organized on this island. Houses even had lawns!
Hiking through the island, there are no cars!

Relaxing in the perfectly clear water

Monday, November 21, 2011

Early Thanksgiving

Since we will not have an opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving, we had an early feast this weekend. It is amazing the creations you can come up with making a full Thanksgiving meal using a toaster over, a prosthetic oven, some electric pots, and a little electric burner. With a team working together I'd say it turned out to be a grand success!

Just a few things we are thankful for:
* A new generator that works
* Clean drinking water
* A sheltered place to sleep
* Plumbing
* An awesome team of volunteers
* Friendships
* Supportive family
* People who sent us Thanksgiving treats so that we could have pumpkin bread and pie
* Our crazy cat
* All the long term volunteers get to go on a long weekend get-away this weekend to Ile-a-Vache
* And of course a God who cares for us better than we can ever know!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today was a sad day. A day of change and uncertainty as we said good-bye to Terry and Jeannie Dietrich. They served whole-heartedly for the year that they were here and it was great having them here. Now we will have to find a way to move on and continue the orthopedic program even without them. They will still be back for a few weeks here and there, but currently we don’t have a long-term replacement for Dr. Dietrich, which is disconcerting. There may be an orthopedic surgeon that might be able to come down, but as of right now there is a lot of unknowns about how it will all work.

The orthopedic program is not the only place that is going through changes. The rehab center will be seeing a lot of change in the next few months, in the prosthetic lab we are going to be having to say good-bye to J’mo, our medical director is moving away, and also more good-byes will be happening at the end of the year as ZJ and Lynn and Brittany will all be moving on. There is a lot of changes and a lot of unknowns as the hospital tries to continue on. There are high hopes that things will thrive but at the same time wondering how that will happen on a practical level. Please keep everything in your prayers through this time of change.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Water Story

Loved being able to wear the headphones and hear the
remarks back and forth between Joe and the
air traffic control towers. A lot goes on behind
the scenes when you fly!
Since there again has been a big gap in updating our blog regularly I wanted to share a little experience that happened to us a couple months ago. Since our last post was on water, I thought I should continue on that theme and reinforce the importance of water.

In Aug we had a surprise trip back to Florida because our pilot friend, Joe, had a couple extra seats on his little plane. We jumped at the opportunity to get some much needed rest and were eager to spend some time with Joe. It was pretty awesome getting to ride in his plane as it had totally been redone since the last time we got to fly with him (he and his family were on Home Makeover and part of the makeover was outfitting his airplane so that he can continue his mission work in Haiti and other places).

Part of our trip back to the States was even apart of one of his relief missions. At this time the Bahamas had been hit hard by Hurricane Irene and Joe had just received a call from Cat Island saying that they were almost completely out of fresh water and could he help? Of course he said "yes" and so part of our route home took us to the Bahamas to drop off 2 emergency water purifier systems that was able to provide enough clean drinking water for the entire island! Water definitely is a necessity!

 It was really awesome being able to be apart of this trip, not only because we really got to help some people in a very practical way, but we also got to spend the night on Harbor Island! We weren't supposed to, but by the time Joe had explained how to use the water purifier system a storm had rolled in and it wasn't safe to continue on to Florida. I was half hoping that would happen as I had never been to the Bahamas. It was beautiful in spite of the damage. Some places were hit really hard by the hurricane and there were trees bent over all around, but it was still beautiful. Especially being able to walk out onto the Pink Beach and just soak in the peace and calm! We stayed the night at one of Joe's friend's house which was only a couple blocks away from one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Nathan and I walked out onto the spongy ground up choral pink beach and we literally felt our burdens slip off our shoulders. What an amazing gift!

Perfect quote by the controls of the airplane!

Joe demonstrating how to use the water system that he invented.

Finally! I quiet moment just to think...or not think at all!

Not normally a big fan of pink...but I'll take a pinkish beach!


Carefree moment on the beautiful pink beach!

Life’s Little Annoyances Turned into a Blessing

In our little room/house we have an air-conditioning unit that sometimes blows semi-cool air. Not only does it work less than perfect, when it is on it constantly drips water.  Sometimes it might just be a little drip and other times we have our very own in house waterfall. Consequently we have to keep a large bucket in front of the door so that we don’t end up with a flood in our room. This of course is an annoyance because it not only splashes water everywhere but since we have to keep the bucket right in front of the door it can make it very cumbersome to try to walk in and out. More often then not when we forget and quickly open the door water tends to splash everywhere.

One good thing about our waterfall is that our spoiled little cat only will drink fresh or moving water, and so instead of having to constantly refill her water dish she now simply drinks out of the constant supply of moving water. I thought this was really the only blessing from our water leak, but today I found another reason to be thankful for it. After an early morning work-out session I ran back to the room to get ready for morning meeting and was about ready to jump in the shower when Nathan reminded me that the electricity was out…thus no water. This happens fairly regularly and normally isn’t a problem, however I forgot to fill up our back up shower bucket so that we could have water on hand for such an occasion as this. There were maybe about 3 cups of water in the bottom of the bucket. I figured I would do the best I could, but I was completely drenched in sweat so figured I might have a difficult time. Then I remembered our bucket of water from the air-conditioning unit. There was plenty in there to get rinsed off! No, it wasn’t the cleanest water, but it would sure be better than smelling like I was.

You can’t beat the feeling of scrubbing off the grime and filth and getting clean, especially when there was a chance that it wasn’t going to happen. I did not relish the thought of spending the first part of the day entrenched in my own stench. It reminded me to be thankful for our little waterfall that is often so annoying, but it also reminded me to be thankful for water in general. Something so basic is so often taken for granted.

There of course is also a spiritual illustration in all this too. How important it is for us to not take for granted the cleansing water of the Holy Spirit that God wants to give us each day so that we can be clean and pure rather than emitting our own natural stench. We need the fresh flood of clean water every day (or all the time) otherwise we will be walking around all day in our own toxic odor, which we may have become accustomed to, but for those around us it can be quite suffocating. Naturally we stink, so we need a good daily washing (or scrubbing)!