On October 27th I was picked up by my friend Hein and we were off on a great adventure!
Hein is the founder of Matthew 28 in Bohoc, Haiti. He and his teams often stay at the school, when they arrive or are heading home, so I have known him for a while. On his last trip he asked me if I would be willing to go with him on his next trip because he had no medical people on this team and he runs clinics at his feeding centers with each team. I agreed with some apprehension as to what I was getting into but was excited about some new opportunities and experiences. We went to the airport to pick up the other 4 people of the team. When we got them loaded at the airport we left for the 4-hour trip to Bohoc.
Bohoc is in the Central plateau north of Port-au-Prince (PAP), Haiti. I have never been to this area of Haiti before. It was a long, dusty, and bumpy drive. It was interesting to go across a bridge and be told there were no more paved roads for the rest of the trip. They are working on a big road improvement project from where the pavement stops the rest of the way to Cap Haitian. They are putting the bridges in where the road crosses the bigger rivers but they are not finished yet. So, you just go around the construction, through the river!
When we arrived, it was dark so I didn’t get a good look at the compound we were staying at until the next morning. It was very simple but very beautiful. The dormitory we stayed in had no running water. The bathrooms were pit toilets that were about 75 yards from the dormitory. The showers were in a little 4’ X 4’ concrete building with no roof (it’s kinda different to shower under the stars!). But it was for sure an oasis far away from the PAP.
It was so different than PAP. There was almost no dust to speak of in comparison. The flies were almost nonexistent. But the best thing was that at night there were no trucks, no horns, rarely dogs barking or roosters crowing, and NO gun shots. You would lay in bed at night and all you would here was the bugs.
My job was to provide medical care for all the children at the feeding centers that we visited. There are 19 feeding centers and so each child gets medical care 2-3 times a year depending on how many teams there are. We visited 4 feeding centers. We were supposed to go to 5 but there were demonstrations on the only road to a remote town and so we did not make it. It was reported that the power had been shut off to the town and they were protesting to have it turned on. The power was shut off because so many people were stealing it. It’s reported that 68% of all the electricity produced in Haiti gets stolen.
This was the location of our first clinic. It was out in the middle or nowhere. I have no idea how Hein found these locations but there was defiantly a need in these remote locations. Many of the children had very orange or even blonde looking Hair. This is the result of malnutrition. But as this is a new feeding center the roots of their hair is now black like it should be with good nutrition.
One of our patients was a little boy that was severely disabled. His grandfather brought him with a hope that he could be helped. He has a sever muscle deficiency which doesn't allow for contractions of his joints. Matthew 28 is looking into the possibilities of care, which would have to be in America, but the reality looks rather bleak for this little guy.
Almost every day the trip was a challenge. There were a couple times that we had to get out of the truck because either the weight was too much to get up a hill or so we weren’t in the truck if it rolled over. This road was washed out by the last 2 hurricanes this summer. We got out in case the edge gave way as he inched around this big wash out.
Sometimes we would just have to drive through a river, hoping it didn’t rain before we got back. It gave new meaning to the phrase "If the Lord willing and the creek don't rise." One day our driver came and said we need to leave cause it looks like rain. Fortunately we were just finishing so we seen all the kids.
It was obvious that we were probably the only medical care and medical education that some of the kids see or get. Some of them were scared but some were very happy to have someone care for their needs.
One of our clinics was held outside because the center didn’t even have a building to use.
It was nice that Kelby’s kids was able to partner with Matthew 28 to provide medical care for these children.
Besides the feeding programs they have an orphanage and a school. I checked on the kids in the orphanage and a few people from the community.
One of the ladies from the neighborhood came to be seen and I was privileged to inform my third Mamma now that she is expecting twins!!
One for the kids at the orphanage was named Kerby. They don’t pronounce the “R” well so I was always hearing my name the way that they often pronounce mine as Keby!
We got to hang out with the Kindergarteners one morning. It’s always good to see healthy smiling kids!!
One of the most special parts of this trip for me was to meet Jezula. She is a about 12 years old and lives at the orphanage. She was taken away from her mother for abuse and neglect. She has Cerebral palsy as well as some learning disabilities from malnutrition. Her mother would set her out by the road every day to beg for money. She kept her as miserable and as sick looking as possible so she could make more money for her family. Despite all she has to be unhappy about, she is very happy and her heart shines through her beautiful smile.
Jezula, which means God is here, was such a blessing to spend time with. She can’t keep up with the other kids so I would carry her to some place close so she could watch the others play. She was so happy just to have you set with her. I hope I was able to bless her half as much as she was a blessing to me. I look forward to the day I can return to see Jezula again!
Things in Bohoc are truly a different way of life from that in PAP. It was a good to be able to see how much of Haiti lives outside of PAP.
It is also is a good reminder of the real beauty of Haiti. We returned to PAP on November 4th.
I am thankful for the privilege I have to live in Haiti.
On November 9th I reached the one-year anniversary of moving to Haiti. It really is hard to believe that I have been here a year already. It's not always easy and sometimes it's very frustrating and overwhelming. But it has been worth every trial to see the lives of so many the kids changed.
I would not be able to do this without you! I am humbled that you believe in me and this work enough to support it with your finances. Please share my story with others who may be interested in supporting our work here.
It is my prayer that this has been the first year of many here in Haiti serving kids in need. But it's extremely important to raise awareness and additional financial support in order to continue to minister in this capacity. (Please spread the word by clicking the share icon below.)
This is already a lengthy post so I will wait a little bit before sharing other updates with you.
Until No Child Dies,