Saturday, March 30, 2013

Joyeuses Pacques!

Wishing you many blessings as you celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend.

Happy Easter from the mountains of Haiti.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

6 months

Isaac was 6 months old on Sunday. It doesn't feel possible that our little guy is already at the half year mark! But it also feels like he has always been a part of our family. How is it possible to feel both of those at the same time?! We are so blessed by this little man.

Here are are some 6 month stats and pictures for you.

weight: 19 lbs 6 oz   90th percentile
height: 66.5 cm (26.3 inches) 50th percentile
head circumference: 44cm (17.3 inches) 50th percentile
teeth: two bottom teeth

eating: nurses every 3 hours during the day; has tried sweet potato, papaya, and applesauce all one time each; LOVES bananas; will start some cereal this week (I had no idea what to get, so the doctor helped me figure it out); drinks 3-5oz bottles while I'm at school

sleeping: 3-4 naps a day with most 45 minutes and one longer nap; sleeps 5-7 hours at night with one feeding around 2; often wakes up between 5 and 5:30 to eat and talk to us (it's a party of one, we just let him lay in bed with us until he's ready to sleep again); goes to bed between 6 and 7pm and is up for the day between 7 and 8am; must be swaddled or in the car to sleep--no falling asleep while snuggling

playing: loves to take his toys out of the toy basket, chews on everything he can get in his mouth, swats at hanging toys, loves reading books, talks and sings to us, and enjoys talking to Grandma and Grandpa (and friends) on Skype; he can play on his own for about 15 minutes with his toys on his play mat right after he wakes up before he needs a change of activity; also loves jumping in his Johnny Jump Up

milestones: Isaac can sit really well on his own, transfer toys from one hand to the other, use his finger and thumb to pick things up (pincer grasp), rake toys toward him, and put things in his mouth quite easily; he does NOT roll either direction, say any words, crawl, or answer to his name; also doesn't have stranger anxiety or separation anxiety at this point

In addition to all of this, Isaac has a very distinct personality that is emerging. He smiles often, laughs easily, and loves to snuggle. He enjoys music and sometimes sings along with us. He is quite talkative, even if no one responds to him (ie the 5am talk time). He enjoys being outside and likes to look out the window when we're in the car. He isn't afraid to let us know when he's cranky (more talking, but in a different tone). And he's determined to "help" with whatever we have in our hands be it a cell phone, food, or anything in between.

Isaac has brought so much joy to our lives, and I can't imagine life without him. We love our little boy more than words can say!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Clinic Tidbits

I seem to have a problem being consistent with this blog. I wish I could say I'll get better, but I'm pretty sure I won't. I guess you'll just have to deal with my inconsistency.

There's no school this week (yay spring break!), so I went up to the clinic with the current team. I helped my husband enter patient data into the computer. I love seeing the babies through the window and knowing where the patients come from. Today there were three village names that were new to me. I didn't bother asking my husband where they were because a) it annoys him and he was already getting a little testy with the people and b) I don't think he knows where they are anyway.

In addition to learning three more village names, I also got a kick out of some names. One lady's name was Irelande Israel. (Family name is Israel.) I've met people with one country name, but this was the first person with two country names. (As a side note, her first name is pronounced ear-lahnd.) 

About 30 minutes later a man stepped up to the window with the name C'est-Homme Stanley. Which basically translates as "Stan the Man." He wins the prize for best name of the day.

Then there was the little old lady who came up to the window. She was suffering some hearing loss, so she had to ask us to repeat the questions a couple of times. Often old people don't know how old they are. Birthdays are not a big deal here in Haiti (lots of people don't know their birth date) and many people have a hard time remembering their age. When we asked this lady her age, she didn't even hesitate. She said she was 103. WOW! She was a cute old lady. (While she was pretty old neither my husband nor I believed she was 103.)

The best part of going up to clinic today? I got to hold an 18 day old baby. So sweet. (And for the record, NO, it did not give me baby fever. I'm quite content with my 6 month old for now. Thankyouverymuch.)

Friday, March 15, 2013

you can't say it's not fascinating

You'd think after 2.5 years of seeing people carry things on their heads, I'd stop sneaking pictures of them. But the truth is it's just so fascinating that Haitians can balance so many different things on their heads. This lady had been to the market and was carrying her two bags home. Other people carrying bundles of vegetables to market. I see plastic tubs and baskets full of whatever the vendors are selling. And I even see giant bamboo stalks, planks of wood, and other random long objects. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

did you miss this face?

Our little man is almost 6 months old. I don't know how that's possible. He used to be so small and snuggly. Well, he's still snuggly. But he's not small. The porker is about 20lbs!

 Somebody has learned to sit up. And puke at the same time apparently.

First piano lesson was at the guest house on Sunday before church. He loved it!

That curved bar down around his feet is supposed to be in the air with the toys hanging off of it. He loves to pull on them and swat at them. I found the toys on the floor around him like this after he had been playing for a while. He was pretty proud of this feat.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Seeking Medical Care

It's exam week for the students, so I didn't have any classes to teach today. Instead of going to Gramothe in the afternoon for class, I rode up the mountain this morning with the team and helped in the dossier room for a few hours. It was fun to work with my husband and Nalouse again and to get to play a small role in the clinic ministry today. My favorite parts of working in the dossier room are seeing the faces of our patients through the window, especially the babies, and hearing where they live. I made my husband ask one lady from Bonga how long it took her to get to the clinic. She told us she left her house at midnight and walked several hours down the mountain so she could secure her place in line. She got to Gramothe sometime before dawn, probably between 2 and 3, and tried to sleep a little. Another lady was from Robin (up higher than Kenscoff). When Arold asked her how long it took her to get here, she said much the same thing.

Today there were many, many people waiting to see the doctor. There were actually a handful of people with dossiers already in the clinic that didn't get seen by the last team (very unusual). There were at least 30 people waiting with rendezvous slips, and those get pulled first. After we finished those Nalouse called the first person in line up to the window. We were going non-stop the entire time I was there. Just before I left at 11:30, we had added 63 people to our database. Those were just the brand new patients. Nalouse pulled at least that many dossiers for people who were already in our system. AND, there were still people waiting in line just to get their names on the list for today when I left.

Around 11 o'clock Yvner (pronounced eve-nair) came to collect the giant stack of dossiers, he asked me if it was the stack for today (as opposed to the stack from the last clinic day that was being filed). I told him yes, it was the correct stack, but probably not all for today. Eyes wide, he left shaking his head saying, "Not today. Not today."

I can't remember where in the stack my ladies from Bonga and Robin were, but I sure hope they get seen before the crowd hears the words "Not today. Not today."

I've written before about what happens in the dossier room when the clinic is open. Basically we keep track of the patient records. We pull the paperwork for each person who wants to see the doctor. If it's a new patient we create paperwork and add them to the system. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

still wowed

Much of what shocked me about life in Haiti (public power issues, trash everywhere, no sense of personal space/privacy, to name a few) has become normal to me at this point. I feel that I've adjusted to life here pretty well. But there are still some things that amaze me. (Women giving birth at home with no trained medical professionals is one of them, but I'm not talking about that today.)

Yesterday was our third day of no sun, and it had been sprinkling all day. By the time I was walking home from school, the road from Gramothe to the riverbed was pretty much a slip-n-slide. I was especially nervous that I was going to fall. When I arrived at the final curve where I normally descend to cross to the short cut, there were 4 or 5 students standing there talking. Most of them started down the very slippery mud path to the riverbed. They asked me to come with them because I normally do, but I told them I needed my teeth (my first joke in Creole that someone actually laughed at!) and started down the equally slippery road to the long way through the riverbed. One of the girls named Magalie was headed that way, so we walked together. 

Magalie is a student I recognize and can tell you which grade she's in and even where she sits in the classroom, but I can't always remember her name. She's not a shining star in class, but she isn't a behavioral problem either. I don't normally walk with her because she doesn't take the shortcut. Anyway, she was very friendly and asked me all sorts of questions in Creole, which was good practice for me. She wanted to know about Isaac, when I will go the U.S., if I am coming back, and if I will always have time to be her English teacher. I has just enough time to ask her where she lives and how long it takes for her to walk to school before we parted ways. Magalie lives in Planchet, which is two mountain faces down river from Gramothe, and it takes her an hour and half to get to school. She was so chipper when she said it that it sounded normal. And then I remembered that it IS normal for my students and the rest of Haiti.

I am surrounded by kids that overcome many obstacles to attend school, and I am still amazed at what great distances they travel to get to school. 

Can you imagine walking an hour and half to school every day? 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Couldn't have said it better myself

Teaching English can be both fun and frustrating. It's exciting to hear my students use new vocabulary or be able to incorporate the verb tense we've been working on forever into conversations. Trying to explain Rhianna lyrics, not so much fun. 

Another missionary in Haiti recently wrote about the intricacies of teaching and translating English on this island. After every paragraph I was shouting things like, "YES! Someone else gets it!" Here's just one caveat of teaching English in Haiti that this Canadian highlights:
Even seemingly familiar things present difficulties.  It is difficult to translate farm into Creole and have a Haitian visualize the immense agribusiness operations of the Prairies.  Here, those who till the land work a one- or two-acre jadin, which translates as garden, but is more like small market gardens than the plots in Canadian backyards.  And mosquitoes?  To Haitians that means dinky little insects that one can barely see, not the critters with landing lights that frequent Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.
Check out the whole post and let me know what you think the most difficult part of teaching English would be.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Land Dispute Update

The title is a little misleading. I don't actually have an update on the land dispute. I only have a wee bit of information from one of my students who lives on the disputed land.

One of my crochet students, we'll just call her E, lives in a house on the land in question. Her family rents from one of the men in our church. Anyway, she told me that "they" came to her house and broke the windows and doors out of the building,but didn't tear down any walls. I assumed by "they" she meant the people who own the land. Oh, "they" also took all of her family's belongings out of the house while they were there. She said there are only two houses in the area that haven't been touched. Some of the houses have more damage than others.

I asked where her family is living now. She said the guy they rent from put a new door up and they have moved back in for now. She said "they" will come back, but her family doesn't know when. The family hopes to be living somewhere else when "they" return, but will need to find a new place to rent. She said a lot of the people are looking for new places to rent. But it's difficult financially. Often people pay rent for a year at a time. If a family has paid rent for a year and then is forced out of the house by a third party (the actual land owners), the tenants rightfully want the landlord to refund the money for the months they won't be living there. But how many landlords are able/willing to do that? I imagine for many of them that money has been spent already.