Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 6th, 2011

I want to start by telling you, I have a hard time sharing this journal with you. This was the hardest day of my life to date. I couldn’t even pick up a pen to write about it for a couple of days. Please understand what I am about to explain to you is far worse than the feed the children commercials that you may have seen.

(The medical girls pictured outside the Center of Hope)
Today started out with great opportunities for me. We planned on working in two different hospitals today. The first hospital is HHF (Haitian Health Foundation). HHF is run by Betty, on Wednesday’s it is for women and children birth-12 months. These women travel up to 8 hrs to get here. They have to check in by 7:30am to get the babies weighed in, blood pressure and vitals recorded, and updated vaccines if needed. It was great to see the mothers at these checkups! I had an awesome time talking with the women and being able to tell them how beautiful their babies were! The mothers were so proud and their whole demeanor would change as we would tell them in Creole how beautiful and ask the name of their baby! I wish I would have gotten a picture of these women, especially as they weighed the older babies. Once they are too large for the infant scale, they graduate if you will to a hanging scale. They would lay the children in a sling, hands and feet hanging out as they squirmed around, and then attach the sling to the scale. It was cute!!! They started in the gazebo, then they had a breastfeeding class, it was great to see women assisting each other. After they finished the educational portion in the gazebo they then proceeded to wait to see the doctor in the main facility. This was an all day affair, in the states we get antsy waiting 40 min to see the doctor, again another way for me to thank God and feel blessed by the care so readily available. The Center of Hope is a residential treatment facility for two of the most vulnerable and fragile populations in rural Haiti: at-risk pregnant women and severely malnourished children. The next paragraph and picture I took from HHF's website as we didn't take pictures of the malnourished babies at HHF. ( The Kwashiorkor Treatment Facility is for children who suffer from severe malnutrition caused by protein deficiency. These children often need to be tube fed, as they have lost the ability to eat—sometimes even the ability to cry. Rehabilitation of these children is often difficult; to help with the treatment, mothers are housed with the children to learn about proper nutrition and to prevent a relapse into malnutrition.

(Same boy, 6months after treatment)

HHF does a great job getting the kids healthy but also educate parents about how to keep the kids healthy. All in all it was a very encouraging morning.

We then were picked up to go back to the orphanage for lunch. We were able to help pass out bread with peanut butter! It was so much fun to pass out peanut butter to all of the kids. The kids were so appreciative, and wanted to share. Mechelle and Lachelle kept trying to give me bites of their sandwiches. Very humbling, when they don't eat like this usually, they are eager to please and offer what they have. I can't believe and explain how much they are teaching me on being a better servant!

Mother Theresa's Hospital

A few words for the afternoon: NUMB and Spiritually devastated. As we were dropped off, we knew we were going to help bathe and feed little ones and possibly older adults. I never expected to see or feel the things that were about to unfold before me. Walking in the aroma of urine, feces, and vomit hit you before you can catch your breath. I looked around and saw 33+ metal infant cribs lined in rows in the first room, housing what can be described no better than bones/limp bodies. These children didn't resemble my idea of even a baby that was malnourished would look like. I could count every rib, if we handled them wrong their skin may tear or their tiny bones may break. These children lay motionless, whimpering, struggling to breathe some of them, shallow respiration's, kids that look past you and don't reach up to be loved on. I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me. I felt worthless, numb, angry, hurt, and amazed that this actually exists. The vision that is burned on my retinas is FAR worse than any feed the children add, and those always have the ability to capture my heartstrings. I eagerly asked a Nun if I could change a baby or wash, or do anything. Here are children laying in their own feces/urine and vomit crusted to the chin/neck. As we came in it was the winding down of nap time. You could tell the Nun felt ashamed as I was persistent in asking what I could do. It was almost as if she didn't want me to see what the grave reality of the situation was. She said no, she was fine, just to help feed them in an hour. However I needed to DO something, I was afraid if I didn't do something I would physically shut down and start to weep. We walked out quickly and yes I lost it. Thankful for my sunglasses. After a little bit, I went back in and asked the Sister again. Finally Sister Margarete allowed us to hold babies. She said "There are too many of them (babies) and only 5 Nuns to hold." The kids had bracelets on identifying name, age, and admitting numbers. Eager to learn names to pray I was stunned and sickened by age vs. weight and motor skills etc. that were reality. Everything I knew came crashing down. Lord, forgive me for being SO selfish. Lord, how can something like this exist? I don't understand. HELP GOD PLEASE!! Bring someone to help or please take these babies out of their current Hell. I gazed at a 5yr old that probably at best weighed in a little over 20lbs. A 1 1/2yr old that maybe weighed 10lbs. Lord where are you? I wish my arms were stronger and larger, I can only hold two, three at most. I am falling apart.... We helped feed the babies, the infant I was feeding just threw up on of the sister's told me it was because she just came the day before and she is so hungry and her body can't handle the food yet. JESUS HELP. The Nun is worried about my clothing, seriously? I don't care about my shirt. What about IV fluids? What about enteral feedings? I AM ANGRY THAT THERE ISN'T MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO TAKE CARE OF THESE BABIES!

After feeding the children Sister Leese was talking with me, she asked when I am coming back, all I could respond is I'd love to come back with my husband. Reality is, could Chip handle a day like today? And, would I actually want his eyes and heart to be burdened with such despair? I would love to bring back a team to do just baths, changing diapers, HOLDING, and feeding. Of course going from here to the orphanage would instill more hope. Lord why do I feel SO discouraged? The Sisters are doing what they can. They go out to find these situations. THEY ARE HELPING! Is it enough? They are getting the kids healthy, they are seeing success, they are educating families....please allow me see the silver lining~

Beth Moore put it: Faith unchallenged is faith stifled. God am I putting you in a box? I know who you are and what you can do! God I don't want you to fit in a box....MOVE!

Matthew 8:26 You of little faith, why are you so afraid?

God please forgive me for being SO selfish. Forgive me for being prideful. Forgive me for not springing into action. Please give me the courage to act. Lord use me. Humble me Lord, I'm on my knees, use me as YOUR servant. I don't like to feel like I can't control myself or my emotions. I feel empty. Lord I just want to feel something, numb isn't good, broken....I turn to you Jesus. PLEASE take these little ones into your hands. Humble me Lord.....all I have to give is Your love, I hope my arms and hands have been pleasing to you today Lord. Sister Margarete told me that they go out into the bush/mountains to find if they can help. They take in the worst cases that they find. If there are more out there....maybe my mind shouldn't go there right now. Sister Leese took me over to the nun's house, she showed me where they will have mass today. She then went to get something for us. She came back with Mother Theresa's card with a prayer and a charm that has I Thirst~ She proceeded to ask for prayers. "Please don't forget us, Please pray for us!" Lord, I couldn't forget, probably even if I wanted to, which I don't....YES praying is the least I can do. Sister Leese has pain in her left side, she asked for prayers. We then had to leave, Lord please keep your hands on the Sister's and over this hospital.

Lord, please don't let me forget. My walls are torn down, thank you for opening my eyes God~


LBakker said...

WOW! Thank you for your openness and your raw emotional descriptions of your trip. I am so thankful that you were able to go, and can think of no one who would've been a better portal for God to utilize than you for this trip. I'll be praying for all of those in Haiti, as well as for you and the memories that you'll carry with you. May they enable you to do so much good for the little ones of Haiti. Love, Laura

bec rycenga said...

Oh sweet Lisa! My heart is broken right along with yours. It is unbelievable that conditions like this really do exist. The tears are running down my cheeks as I tried to read this to Chuck but simply couldn't get through it. All I can say is there is a reason God showed this to you. This experience will not be wasted. God is weeping right along with you. In your brokeness, run to God's Word for comfort and strength. Jesus loves each of those little ones. Remember how He told His disciples to let the little children come unto Me for they belong to His Kingdom. Try to imagine them healthy, full of joy and laughter, for this is truly how they are meant to be. This is God's plan for their lives. If not now, surely in heaven. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for letting us in on your pain and anguish. Your words move me more than I can even say. I love you and will be praying for you...for hope, for healing, and for God's plan to be revealed because of your experience. And I want to remind you of the words you have been sharing with us in your blog and pray these same words over you sweet girl..."May the God of hope fill you with Joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
With a heat full of love for you, Becky