All over the map

I feel scattered right now. Maybe it’s days of feeling scattered. We have spent a TON of time in front of our computers responding to people – family, friends, reporters, other organizations, helping people co-ordinate things etc. On top of that there are all sorts of things running through my head and heart, so pardon the randomness.

  • Our workers have been praying for all of the foreigners on the ground that are helping. We meet for staff prayer every morning, at their leading, and that has been a prayer for several days now. Chris and I take no leadership in this time and throw out no prayer requests but rather let them lead. I thought it would be encouraging to all of the other missionaries and volunteers that are here now in the throes of things to know that our staff is grateful for what you are doing for their country and they are lifting you up in prayer daily. I think that’s a sentiment that is being echoed around the country.
  • I did Medika Manba yesterday, like I do every Tuesday. It felt normal but nothing was normal about it. Every time I wrote the date I was reminded of how simple things felt last Tuesday. I was doing the same thing, but had no idea what was to come hours later. We had some graduates, which was exciting. I talked to one mom who had gone to Port last week to find her daughter who was alive. Another still hadn’t heard from her people. Another was in Port trying to work on passports for her and her daughter so we can get her daughter out on a medical visa for heart surgery. I was grateful to see her walk in the door. There isn’t a person here who isn’t affected by this.
  • We had a mother come in to Manba for the first time. When I looked at her daughter I asked if she had been burned and thought “This is not for us.” No, she hadn’t been burned. She was so severely malnourished that her case of Kwash was killing her skin. Her skin was literally peeling off. She had open wounds all over. The nurses had already seen her and given her antibiotics and cream for her skin. We started doing her intake which requires us to weigh them and measure their height on a board that they lay on. When I laid her down I couldn’t mover her down the board without her skin coming off on my hands. I almost lost it right there on the spot. It took everything in me to not let myself cry all over the place. She was in so much pain. I kept it together and we finished the intake. The thing that killed me is that this wasn’t earthquake related. This was just every day Haiti.
  • Last night we had Elsie and Naomi over for birthday dinner. It was good to be with friends and talk about things. We haven’t had much communication over the last week (!) so it was good to touch base. Olivia had a good birthday. She thought her cake was pretty. She blew out her candle all by herself. She got her presents from the grandparents and us. Sigh. My heart was conflicted. So many have lost yet I saw the need to keep her sense of normalcy. I think we all needed it. It was just a strange conflict.
  • We sent a load of filters in to Port today where our guys were going to work with a pastor to set up some water stations I think. We’ll get more specifics after they get back and we debrief. We’re trying this and will see how it goes from there.
  • Tomorrow I’ll go with some of our workers to the Pierre Payen hospital to install a filter in their guest house where some visiting doctors are staying. They ran out of water and we’re helping them by sending buckets down until tomorrow morning. It’s something we can do to help them and make more room in the next groups luggage for supplies.
  • There was an accident near Montrouis yesterday. A truck hit a girl about 14 years old and didn’t stay. When I left Manba I went to the Pierre Payen hospital to check in on the doctors for Elsie and the girl was on the OR table. They didn’t know it had been a hit and run. It made me mad, but  Jean explained on the way home that drivers are afraid crowds will come and burn them and their vehicle if they stay. One feeds the other. You get that in a country with no justice or well carried out policing system.
  • We’ve had lots of people asking about our adoption. We’re not stressing about it. Actually, now we feel optimistic that something will happen before the year is out because of the measures that will be put in place. We might actually get to take Olivia home this year. Who knows. Our issue right now is that we hadn’t gotten approval YET from the Haitian government. For our adoption to be fast tracked like the others we need that first. We have a friend within “the system” who has already told us that the second he hears of anything being remotely working he’s going to go shove our dossier in their faces and basically stand there until they sign it. Okay, maybe that’s dramatic. But maybe not. He’s the kind of guy that trash talks out the passenger window at the other bad drivers here and honks the horn while his driver drives. Pray that something will happen. We’ve also been in contact with the Prime Ministers office in Canada and have had our case passed on to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. They are looking at things and will see where they can be of assistance.
  • We JUST got off a Skype interview with a station in Victoria, BC. What was really fun was when the camera went live and we could see the news room Chris’ sister Abby was there! They had her ask part of the questions. It was SO fun and a really pleasant surprise to get to talk “face to face”.
  • I’m feeling like a lousy mom these days. Stress gets to me, and in turn I don’t deal well with people needing me. I get short and impatient. Anyone with a child, especially a toddler, knows that kids are hyper-sensitive to stuff and even when they don’t understand what’s going on, they know that something is. Olivia has been a trooper, but has needed more attention and hasn’t been sleeping that well. The not sleeping well thing has been going on for a couple of weeks, I think from all the excitement of having family here and our routine breaking etc. Chris is an amazingly patient Dad and can take all of the extra neediness in stride where I have a hard time with it. When I feel pulled in different directions (Olivia’s need, Chris’ needs, my needs, the mission’s needs) I sometimes have a hard time focusing and feeling that I’m getting anywhere. Today I got the laundry all caught up and my inbox emptied out. Two big nagging things. I would love it if you would pray for our family in this regard. You can ask Chris, I’m like a Momma lion when I know things are off and my family is feeling off kilter. I like to make sure there is order and routine because then we have the room to focus on other stuff. I need it, even if it’s only found in things like laundry being done and being able to see tidy spaces. I don’t want to be a bear to my kid because other people want our attention. That’s not fair to her.

Okay, brain dump done for today.


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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

7 thoughts on “All over the map

  1. Leslie,
    I remember once when you were sitting in a clinic and you felt like a mama lion. I rembember telling you, congratulations you are now a mom! Same goes for now, women are the foundation of the family. We watch over everyone and when things aren’t just right our claws come out. Take heart, you are very normal! I’m still praying and thinking about you all constantly.

  2. I don’t blame you for being a little “grumpy”…..I would have been in that stage after day 2 of the quake!!! I don’t know how you are coping with all you have on your plate. Will be praying hard for you in this area.

    I learned today that my area will soon be getting some orphans from Haiti….maybe by Friday. There is a residential service that works with troubled teens and they have foster families and the facilities to house them. While I’m thrilled that these children will be cared for in a better environment, I can’t help but think of how much they have already gone through and now they will be placed in a part of the country that is not only freezing…..but is also a very “white” community…..and they won’t know any familiar faces or understand the language. My heart just breaks for these kids. I know there are loving parents who will snatch them up in a hurry, but you just can’t imagine the trauma they must be going through. Please pray for all the children being brought over here……we think we are making their lives better….but are we really? I’m so mixed on this situation.

    G.S. from IN

  3. Thank you Leslie for writing about what is happening in your world. I would like to suggest that you do not need to answer emails now. I think you need down time more. Take care of yourself.

    • We are trying to take care of ourselves. I think the emotional side of things is draining, so no matter how much sleep you get it just doesn’t feel like enough. I wish I could walk away from the computer but unfortunately we can’t right now as it’s our main form of communication and we need to steer the ship with it.

  4. I remember asking Roberto on our way to the compound from the airport, “What happens if someone gets run over or heaven forbid, killed by a hit and run driver?” And I remember wanting to not show surprise when he said they don’t sue people in Haiti, if you actually stuck around after hitting someone bad things might happen or you just pay for their funeral and go on. Funny…. out of all your ramblings, that stuck out to me. I can hear his voice now.

    Sending you big hugs, thinking of just the short time we spent with Bobi at the Medika Mamba clinic how heartbreaking it could get but the little child you saw with the Kwash would definitely be hard. This is the Haiti people need to see. This is the ‘norm’ for their country. Everyone is amazed and shocked at the devastation yet most have no idea of what Haiti was really like ‘pre-quake’.

    Sending you prayers for some sort of order and control in your situations. You are blessed with a wonderful husband to comfort you just when you need it. Lean on him, Lean on God. Meeeooooowww baby! ♥ you!

  5. Hi Leslie,
    I just found your blog while searching for information about Haiti.
    You are an amazing writer. I appreciate your post and updates about the situation there. I, wanting to help, am organizing a bandage roll party. We are going to turn old sheets into bandages. Women have been doing this since the Civil War. Here is a group of women who have been sending their rolled bandages to the Congo for 25 years. Anyway we are starting this Friday and hope that we could find a contact of someone who could tell us where (address) to send the bandages when we are finished. Any information you could give me would be helpful.

  6. Hi Leslie,
    Some ladies got together and made some bandages to send to Haiti. I hope this idea isn’t like the blankets you mentioned. We want to do something to help. I appreciate what you are doing and am glad you are there supplying filters. I will be praying for your needs and your family.

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