Can It Really Be Two Years Already!?!

Yes it has!

2 years… I’m not even 2 months old and I’m tired out!!

2 years… I’m not even 2 months old and I’m tired out!!

It is hard to believe that I have been living in Haiti for over two years already! 

November 9th was the two-year anniversary of my move to Haiti. It has gone so fast!  I just spent over an hour looking through my pictures from the last two years. It’s really only a snapshot of my time here. But it was really overwhelming what I have been able to be involved in during the last 24 months.

I don’t have time to cover it all, but, if you haven’t been following the work of Kelby’s Kids, scroll back through the past blogs — it’s been an adventure! (Start all the way back, before the beginning!)

Shortly after arriving in Haiti in 2016

Shortly after arriving in Haiti in 2016

When I moved to Haiti, I didn’t really know what all I would be involved in, besides helping kids. It didn’t take long to jump in with both feet:

I went down to southern Haiti with a medical team in response to Hurricane Matthew.

I have delivered two babies.

I have made great friends.

I work with HERO ambulance and been able to help infants, kids, and adults, and do medivacs both in Haiti and to the USA.

I have been able to travel around and see a lot of this beautiful country.

I have loved, saved, and lost babies.

I have been in a motorcycle crash.

I have held a two-pound preemie.

I was on a medical response team to a recent earthquake in northern Haiti.

I have done medical clinics, malnutrition, clinics, maternity clinics, wound clinics, mobile clinics, school clinics, and orphanage clinics.

I have made a difference in kids’ lives by bringing hope through healing.

Don’t you just want to kiss this cute little face!!

Don’t you just want to kiss this cute little face!!

That’s a short list that represents a lot more things!  And many would say it’s plenty! 

It’s been a real blessing to do it all.  But the the truth is, “I” have not done most of this.

WE have.

WE delivered babies, WE rescued the suffering, WE provided clinics, WE have made a difference in many lives, and WE brought hope through healing!! 

I am truly thankful for each of you who have joined the team to support Kelby’s Kids with prayer support, financial support, and your encouragement on this journey!

I’m sure WE are also glad that only I got in a motorcycle crash!

It’s a blessing to show your love to these little ones!

It’s a blessing to show your love to these little ones!

The problem is that this is a broken world. Sickness and pain will come again and the medicine will run out. That is why the ultimate goal is a life change. God has been shown to the people that WE have worked with. Lives have been eternally changed, and that’s our ultimate goal!

Shortly after arriving in Haiti I met Rosedena. She was a cute little one that, at first glance, looked to be doing OK.

After questioning mom, I learned her baby was only eating cookies, and only drinking dirty water. And upon a second look, I recognized she was not simply a chunky little girl, but was actually very sick. She was swollen from a life-threatening protein deficiency called Kwashiorkor. She was very sick and was at risk of dying.

Rosedena on 02-09-17

Rosedena on 02-09-17

Rosedena was immediately put in our malnutrition program — and she made big improvements. She came back to visit the other day. She is doing very well and her mamma is very happy to have a healthy little girl. The girl has much better of a chance of beating the statistics. 1 in 5 (20%) of children in Haiti won’t see their 5th birthday.

Rosedena on 10-08-18

Rosedena on 10-08-18

This is just one example of what long term work can do when you are able to build relationships with people!

Maternity Clinic Update

The maternity clinic was officially started on 03-12-18 (although I have been helping pregnant moms since I arrived in 2016). 

As of 11-14-18, during the 27 clinics that we’ve held, 105 woman have been admitted into the program. This doesn’t count the 35-40 non-pregnant woman who showed up, received counseling, education, and resource referrals for problems like fibroid masses, STDs, menopause, or cancer. 

Of the 105 patients, 50 of them are current patients in the program. We are blessed to have had 28 moms graduate the program with live births, including one set of twins! We have had seven moms who have lost their babies, and we’ve been able to support them through the process.

We, unfortunately, have had 20 moms who’ve dropped out of the program (for any one of a hundred unknown reasons). I worry about them, and wish I had more answers as to why they left.

A young, new mom came to the clinic the other day.

I always ask new clients “why do you want to be in our program?” (I ask because some moms are just clinic-hopping — to see what free stuff they can get.)

This particular mom said “she would very much like our help.” I always ask where they live. I don’t want to make their appointments too close together, if it’s a burden to get to the clinic. (Many of our moms walk several hours — one way — to get to the clinic.) 

This new mom said it took her more than two hours to get to the clinic, but it wouldn’t take her as long to get back home. I asked her what she meant by that. I wondered if she’d walked to clinic, but would take a Tap Tap (taxi) home. 

She said she awoke one morning and knew she needed help, but didn’t have any money, and didn’t know where to turn. 

She continued to tell us how, earlier that day, she walked out of her house and kept walking and asking people where she could go for help. More than two hours later, she ended up at our gate. She had never heard of us, and didn’t even know we existed. Until that day. 

I am thankful that the Lord not only brought her to us, but, brought her to us on the very morning of maternity clinic! I am excited to see what God has in store for our relationship with this young mother!

Sometimes it’s just about loving people... 

A lady came to the maternity clinic last week. 

She had patiently waited over four hours for her turn. When she came in, she did not appear pregnant (I have learned to confirm a viable pregnancy before starting the paperwork. Because, sometimes looks or thoughts about pregnancy can be deceiving). 

With the delay of translating and just being in my maternity routine, I had just started to assess her abdomen for signs of a growing uterus from an early pregnancy. 

So, I question, “why do you think you’re pregnant?” She answers with, “I’m not. I have seizures.”

We often have people come on the wrong clinic days. We are always saying Monday is medical, Tuesday is malnutrition, and Wednesday is maternity. And wound-care is on Mon, Wed and Friday.  It would have been easy to dismiss her as it’s always difficult to see all the maternity patients between 9 am and 3 pm when the wound care clinic starts. 

But my heart went out to her so I talked to her for a few minutes about seizures and where she needed to seek care. Just as she was getting ready to leave I thought about how her life must be. 

Anyone with a disability in Haiti is looked down upon and often cast aside by family and friends.  Seizures aren’t understood here, and are often thought to be evil or from being demon-possessed. Or, at the very least, due to a severe mental health issue. Seizures aren’t viewed similar to other diseases like diabetes or a cardiac issue. 

As she was leaving, I told her, “there’ss nothing wrong with you.”  She looked at me kind of confused. I said it again. But continued, “you didn’t do anything wrong. This is not your fault. You don’t ‘deserve’ this. It just happens, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.” 

She started to cry and my heart broke to think of what she may have had to endure. 

As she left, I felt bad that I couldn’t fix her medical issue. But I hoped that maybe what she really needed that day was to know that someone understood her, and that she wasn’t some kind of monster like — perhaps — she had been led to believe.

Bruna with her graduation present from the maternity program after her first pregnancy!

Bruna with her graduation present from the maternity program after her first pregnancy!

I know these posts get loooooong, but there is sooooooo much I want to share with you about what you have been involved in. 

THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART for making the last two years a huge success and for helping to keep the ministry of Kelby’s Kids supported so we could pour into so many lives!

Be watching for ways to help us start 2019 off with a bang — so we can have an even bigger impact in the lives of the children and people of Haiti.

Until No Child Dies,