Monday, June 27, 2011

Jean Raymond

He was given the gift of life,
A life lacking ease.
His cross to bare displayed on his face,
for the whole world to see.
He was given the gift of humility,
of tough skin and rose colored glassed.
He was grateful for his being,
so unique and unforgiving.

Miles apart. Generations between.
A doctor prepares to leave.
He was given the gift of a steady hand,
Of brains, of determination, of ease.
Blessed with this gift, he shares it,
with children of lives unforgiving.
With his gift he crossed the seas,
Eager to help a child in need.

A patient hand, a thoughtful word,
He shares with this child.
He was given the gift of life,
a life of normalcy.
His cross no longer exposed and bare,
but a distant memory.
Forever he carries his humility,
his struggles, his memories.
But now he can live happily,
Changed forever by one patient hand.

Many thanks to Smile Train, and the executive director, Tom Flood, who changed Jean Raymond's life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Great News From Haiti

I just received word that finally, after nine months of pushing, begging, and planning... the prisoners (over 15) have had their hernia operations.
The wonderful people of Fond de Blanc have worked hard receiving approval from the Chief of Police, but their hard work paid off.
Last Thursday and Friday, at the General Hospital in Les Cayes, the prisoners and two Espwa members were able to receive their operations.

And while I am giving good news... Let me continue...

Remember Jean Raymond with the cleft lip? He and his mother will be traveling this weekend to receive his operation. We actually had two sponsors for Jean Raymond, so we were able to find another child in need of the same surgery. Because of your generosity, two children's lives will be changed forever.

Photos to come!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Phoenix Zoo.

Adam, Mikey, Wilson, and I went to the Phoenix Zoo last month. It was very nostalgic for me, as I have many fond, fond memories of the zoo with my Mom and sisters when I was young. Wilson thought it was really cool seeing all of different types of animals. But what got to him even more than the animals behind the cages were the wild birds.

"These would not exist in Haiti. They would have been killed. It is obvious that American birds are smarter than Haitian birds... they stay alive."

Dbacks Game.

Just a couple days after returning to Arizona, my good friend Shaun and our friend Crystal took us to the Diamondbacks Game.

Wilson was in shock with how big the stadium was, and how loud it could get. Though he had a great time, he did admit that baseball is probably not is favorite sport to watch.

Though it was April in Arizona, we both had to wear sweatshirts as the night went on. (Yes, we are wimps.) After being in Haiti, air conditioning is a foreign concept, and cool nights just don't exist. We both had to go out and buy sweatshirts the day after we got back.

Oh, Blog. How I've missed you...

It has been over a month, and I think I am starting to go through withdraws. With drawls from my blog. Withdraws from telling my stories. Withdraws from Haiti. And most of all... withdraws from the children of Espwa.

Wilson and I have both been in touch with Espwa, and they have recently had some great visitors- especially from OWU, Dr. Cynthia, and Sue. Work has been done on the clinic, the children are growing, the English program is progressing, and though it has been raining a lot, life is good. I heard from Peter today, and both he and Father Marc went to the prison. Jah Roro is still hanging in there, and the prisoners sent their love. I cannot wait to get back, and get back to work.

Though, I have to admit... time here has been a blast.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Tomorrow I head to Port au Prince, and then back to Arizona on Tuesday.

My heart is heavy because I always hate leaving Espwa, but I am excited to see my family, friends, and finally bring Wilson to see where I am from.

Please keep following my blog. I will still be updating about Haiti, but will also add a twist- A Haitian's first experience of the United States. We have some big plans- camping, Disneyland, San Fran, California, and hopefully a trip to the East Coast as well as Missouri.

Again- keep following. I can't tell you how much I appreciate knowing you are out there.



Friday, April 22, 2011


I think I saw the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.

On Tuesday, I went with a few visitors up to Tiburon to deliver food to our primary school. There had been word that a sixteen year old former Espwa child had been burned at his home in Tiburon. We investigated the situation.

Ezekiel had been sleeping on the ground while is family was cooking dinner. His father was taking the large pot of boiled beans off the charcoal burner when he tripped. The hot beans spilled. They landed on Ezekiel in one of the worst places imaginable- right below his belt.

By the time we made it to Ezekiel, it had been over a week since the burn. His thigh, lower stomach, and privates had third degree burns. His family tried a home remedy of herbal cream to help with the pain, but still, a layer of charred black skin had grown back. In some areas, there were pussy infections. Ezekiel was wearing his mother's long skirt because he could not stand the feeling of anything on the charred skin.

Ezekiel needed a hospital. We loaded him into the car, along with his mother, and took him on the four hour trek down the bumpy, rainy mountain to the hospital in Les Cayes. I don't know how he did it. My hinny was hurtin' by the end of the trip, I can't imagine if I had to sit and suffer the trip with third degree burns.

After spending the night in the hospital with wet bandages on the charred skin, Father Marc, Brother Robert, Johnny, and I went to check on his status. He and his mother both looked exhausted- she had to sleep on the hospital floor with not even a sheet as a cover. The doctor and a team of student nurses appeared to scrape the charred skin from Ezekiel's body, starting with his leg. Mind you, this process is done in the middle of a large room, stretcher bed, after stretcher bed. Ezekiel is completely exposed. Privacy in Haiti is non-existent.

The doctor proceeds to scrape. Ezekiel squeezes my hand and breathes heavily as layers of char disappear. Black away. First layer of pink gone. Raw, red skin appears. Ezekiel breaths heavily and squeezes harder. The doctor moves from thigh to more sensitive areas. I think my hand will break and tears threaten to slip over the brim of my eyes. I don't know how he isn't screaming. The sensitivity of the area is incomprehensible, and the process is tedious. After what seems like days, all of the charred skin is gone, and all that is left is red, raw skin.

Fast forward to today-

Ezekiel is here at Espwa staying in the Guest House. He has a nurse come and clean his wounds twice a day, while the rest of the day he lays in bed, naked from the waist down, unable to make big movements. The bandaging process everyday consists of scraping off the burn cream from the night before, wetting all the burns with a wet cloth, and then reapplying the cream and bandages. This is going to be a long, painful healing process. I don't know how he smiles. I cringe just seeing his injuries. I guess it is just one more lesson that has been taught to me.

The tolerance of pain and suffering here is unbelievable, but the rate of recovery and determination is unfathomable.