Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just A Glimpse...

(click on any photo to enlarge)
As the team transitions back and spends a little time processing all that they have just experienced, I thought we would share some photos, as I know many of you are anxious to hear and see more.

And for those interested.. Kirstin Leigh had her second article published in the Daily Iowan. To read the article, click HERE.

Third and final article in The Daily Iowan published today, Thursday March 11th. To read the article, click HERE.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hello from Port-au-Prince!

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Bonjou, friends!

The team has arrived back in Port-au-Prince after another 3-hour drive in the back of a covered pickup on our luggage--an adventure, to say the least :)

Here's a photo from Cite Soleil that Brenda took on our way to the clinic.

Here's Rosemary taking blood pressure under a giant mango tree. She's one of the first that patients saw after getting through the line.

I'm so sorry I haven't been able to send photos. There was some technical problem that I never quite figured out. But here at the guest house (which feels like a 5-star hotel after this week!) we have internet! So I'm going to try uploading some photos.

Here's Chuck taking the temperature of a young Haitian boy.

Oops! I got halfway through posting this and our truck arrived! We're heading out to the city for the day and I will come back to fix the post tonight :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday Morning Update...

Just a short email today. I think things are pretty busy there! Also wanted to let you know that Kirstin Leigh had an opinion article published in The Daily Iowan that she submitted from down there. If you are interested in reading it, click HERE.

'It's a gorgeous day here in Haiti. Cloudy with a bit of sprinkles means we're not all sweaty and gross. Or at least as sweaty and gross as usual. We've been joined by a team from Texas, a team from Michigan, and a few others, so we have LOTS of help here today! I believe there's 45 of us at night on the grounds (with three manual flush toilets and two showers. You do the math!) Some groups are construction and they leave during the day to go to their projects.

An eventful night and morning! Two women in labor came in. One had to be delivered c section at the hospital down the road -- a successful birth, a baby boy! Dad (Dr. Steve Riggs) went to help with that one. The other woman gave birth to our first baby girl here shortly after, around 4 am. I got to help with this one because I just couldn't go back to sleep after hearing there was going to be a baby! Then, while we were eating breakfast a woman gave birth at the line, so we all rushed up. I got to pull the placenta for a while :) I seriously enjoy this midwife stuff. Two women are out walking, or "marshay"-ing in creole and will give birth sometime in the next couple hours. Had an older lady with a miocardial infarction, and I believe she's going to be okay.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going back to the birth room because I don't want to miss it! We're heading back to Port au Prince tomorrow. The time has flown so quickly its hard to believe we have to leave already!'

Hopefully more to come soon. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Early Wednesday Team Update....

Received this email early this morning from Kirstin Leigh.

'Well the team is doing great. We've had no real problems. Marv went to the island of La Gonave, where we were all planning to go originally. His skills as a psychiatrist are more helpful there so I know he was really glad to go. The team says that he's been saying all along that he feels there's one person he's supposed to help here. Please pray that he finds that person!

We've had a couple rough nights. Last night 4 people came-- two women in labor who went home (maybe today!), a younger lady with malaria and an old lady who had typhoid. So Corey, Brenda, and Dr keiser were up a lot of the night. Corey and Brenda are the only nurses, so please pray for them. There's a nurse and doctor on call every night, so neither of them get a lot of sleep.

Dad is on a great adventure right now! We had to send a lady to get a csection at the nearby army hospital and dad went with her to care for the baby. The baby couldn't breathe, so they had to send them to Port au Prince to get a respirator. I heard that it's the only one or the only place to get one in Haiti and before the earthquake there weren't any. So dad manually helped the baby breathe on the three hour drive to Port au Prince. They made it and the baby is doing well. Dad stayed overnight. Praise God a team is flying in today with a skilled ER pediatric doctor who will take over for dad and dad will come back to camp and rejoin the rest of the team today.

Over all, what the team does is different every day. Right now we're joined by a group of 10 men, from Michigan I think, who are helping build a new hospital. We're also going to be joined by a group of nurses. A pharmacist is also coming - thank God he's highly needed. Groups come and go, but I think were getting used to the flow of things here.

We start the day around 7:30 with breakfast (and coffee woohoo!!!) And by the time we open the clinic there's usually at least 50 people waiting silently at the gate. Also the Spanish army comes in every morning, so we have spanish, creole, french, and english flying around and being translated--all with medical lingo too! It's pretty crazy as you can imagine. We actually usually end clinic hours before noon. They're trying to close the clinic and help the new hospital nearby pick up speed, so we're slowly taking less and less adult patients and making more and more referrals. Next week they'll take less pediatric patients, and lastly will refer all births.

Its been a beautiful time. I woke up really early this morning and Chuck was already up outside reading the Word. I sat next to him, not quite awake, and we talked for a while and marveled at how a group of near strangers can seem as close as family in such a short time.

Of course living in rustic conditions help. We have bunkbeds with mosquito nets inside U.S. Army issued tents, which is great. Nights actually get quite cool though its HOT and humid in the day and we all sweat and stink (Haiti is not a place for the vain). We have nice cold showers and toilets! Yay! They are bucket flush, but still a thousand times better than the cement hole in the ground outhouse where the honored placenta bearers take the placentas.

Food is wonderful! I think I'm gonna come back weighing more than I left! Bread and peanut butter, bananas and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Lunch has some kind of hot noodles. Yesterday was like a really tasty veggie ramen Haiti-style soup. Then dinner is usually rice with a stew or fried chicken. Its all really tasty!

There's a family here who helped start the clinic. Kris is the mom and she's a doc and speaks creole. We wouldn't survive without her. Anna is 9 and the spunkiest little thing! She also speaks creole-actually I think they all do- and has adopted me as her "buddy," "best friend", or "sister." She's so adorable :) She has a brother a couple years older as well. Their dad just arrived late last night.

Okay my fingers are tired and I'm ready for some coffee.'

I also received this report from a phone called received from one of the team members:

'Marv called to report that he is currently serving in a location separate from the main group, at La Gonave, an island just west of the main island of Hispanola. (Pre-earthquake, this was the site where the entire team had planned to work.) He’s providing help to those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including staff. He’s also helping set up a PTSD clinic, training staff to recognize the condition & provide ongoing treatment after he leaves. He is delighted that God is allowing him to serve in this capacity.

Marv also reported that the other 12 team members continue to work at Petit Goave, a town located on the main island, west of Port-au-Prince. They’re primarily doing medical & pharmacy work in much more primitive conditions.

Marv requests that we continue to pray for the people of Haiti, the staff who are serving longterm, and our team.'

Stay tuned. I will keep you posted on updates as they come in.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Update....

The team is still plugging away and it sounds like things are going well. Thought I would update you with a few more email excerpts and then share the one photo that she has been able to send.

Monday P.M.
'We’ve had a busy couple days here in Petit Goave! Lots of babies have been born. One set of twins was delivered in the back of a rusty pickup truck! These women are tough. They all walk home just minutes after giving birth. I got to watch a birth yesterday and it was so beautiful! Afterwards the woman hopped on a motorcycle and went home. Unbelievable.

The doctors have been doing great and (as far as I know) everyone is healthy.

Tuesday Morning -
'Two women walking around in labor all morning.

In other news, I counted about 1000 baggies worth of ibuproven! And dad pulled a beetle out of a guys ear during the night.

Translators: fortunately, we have a few people on the team who speak either french or creole, and one who really knows spanish. The spanish army has a team here too. So many languages :) kinda fun.'

Tuesday Afternoon -

'We just delivered a beautiful baby boy! I got to cut the umbilical cord and was the honored placenta bearer.

So beautiful. We were all crying, including the babys father and aunt who were so supportive the whole time.

Still smiling :)'

Team member Brenda working in the pharmacy.

I am hoping for more pictures, but it sounds like they are kept busy most of the time day and night. I know when Kirstin Leigh returns that there will be pictures and stories and hopefully an explanation of what an 'honored placenta bearer' really is......

Stay tuned....

Monday, March 1, 2010

The First Few Days.....

This post is being written with excerpts received from a number of emails received from Kirstin Leigh to me, her mom. At this time, the needs of the work to be done have taken priority over the writing and posting of the blog. She has had time to send short emails each day.

Saturday evening:

' Just got to camp and settling in

Cool story: picked up two guys needing a ride from the airport. They were in search of an eleven year old boy one had sponsored through compassion intl his whole life and weren't sure if he had survived. The man who runs the camp knows the boy!'

Sunday morning:
' It is hot here and we're so busy! Delivered a baby in the night and twins in the back of a pickup truck this morning. Also just spent an hour or two with the boy from the previous email! So amazing. I will try to send photos soon.

At customs dad got pulled aside and they opened his bag. First one had all his clothes. Then they picked up the next one and it was the tents! They said 'these are tents'? And he said 'yes'. And they waved us through with all of our bags! So many cool God stories already.'

NOTE: We had been told that many medical supplies were having to be turned over to the Haitian government and it was often days before it was released, if ever. It is huge that the 27 suitcases filled with medical supplies got through!!

Sunday afternoon:

'I just helped deliver my first baby. It waas SO beautiful! Crying a little bit :) a little boy.

Working on the pictures... We have a plug in so I can charge things. Praise God!

Loving Haiti!'

Monday morning:

'Felt a tremor this morning. Could you check the news and see if it was worse anywhere else or if we were the center. The dogs were barking like crazy just before. I was on the top bunk out here in the tent so my bed shook quite a bit. Next time I hear the dogs bark I'm getting out of bed!!'

NOTE: I checked the web and there was a 4.6 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter just 10-15 miles from where the team is.

Monday morning:

'Prayer request: our volunteer translators left because they wanted to be paid. We have easily over 100 ppl waiting and only a couple translators left.'

Hopefully there will be time to send pictures soon. I will update with them as soon as I can if she is unable to do so. Rest assured, as soon as she can she will relate her experiences for all of you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Off We Go!

The first part of the crew has taken off!
Thanks, Phil, for sending the photos!

See that trailer behind the van?

It's full of 27 bags filled with 50 pounds of medical supplies (each!).
PLEASE PRAY that we will be able to check them all the way to Haiti and not have to unload them tonight to the hotel and then check them again.
Also, PLEASE PRAY that everything will get through safely!

Haiti, here we come!

-Safe travel (we will be flying to Miami tonight, then on to Haiti early Saturday morning)
-Checked bags (that we won't have to take them to the hotel)
-Customs (that everything will get through smoothly)