Saturday, February 28, 2009

Morning Has Come

This morning started out in the usual way. I noticed how beautiful the sky was on the way to the hospital. The mountains rose majestically on all sides of us, the birds were singing, goats were blahing, roosters were crowing… it was a lovely morning.

At the hospital I stopped, as usual, to peak into the maternity room. The same girl who had been there yesterday afternoon was up and getting ready to leave with her little baby boy. She motioned me in to take one last peak at her sleeping angel. She was so proud. Full of smiles.
Amos and I wandered around the hospital and into our office. I read our devotions. The story of the twelve men who went to spy on Canaan. (Numbers 13) We talked about how up until that point the Israelites were obedient in everything that God said. Would we, now, be able to comply to the law? I doubt it.

Around 8:30am Amos went out front to talk to Nelson. And I realized that it was baby day! That’s what I call it, at least. Every week they have check-up day for the 0-5 year old kids. Mostly babies come. Lots and lots of babies. They weigh them and give them shots and then they all wait around until their turn to pick up food.

Three weeks ago a girl came with her little twin babies. A boy and a girl. The father offered to let me hold the little boy, which I did, gladly. The next thing Amos knew, the mom had plopped the little girl in his lap. I thought they were about three months old. They were a little dirty but, oh, so precious. I later found out they were seven months old and terribly undernourished. The mom had been feeding them once or twice a day and had been giving them rice and water. The nurse yelled at her for a while. Told her to feed them often. Since then she’s always had a bottle with milk in it. I don’t think they ever actually drink a whole bottle, instead, she gives them a swallow or two at a time.
They’re doing a lot better and since it was baby day, they were there! I smiled at them and she immediately dropped the boy in my arms. He was cranky and tired so I snuggled him up and whispered sweet nothings to him and he soon fell fast asleep. I held him for about an hour and a half and he slept almost the whole time.

While I was there, snuggling my little boy, Nelson came driving up and called for the doctor. Beja, the pharmacist at the hospital for the past twenty-eight years, was terribly sick. The doctor came running and they headed off to Beja’s house. Twenty minutes later they came back with an unconscious Beja. They rushed him into the emergency room but in less than half an hour he was gone.
As I sat there on the bench amidst the wailing and crying family I suddenly felt the baby’s fingers touch my face. I looked down to see him wide awake, looking at me, as if to ask, "Is everything okay?" I snuggled him up close and whispered words of comfort. I told him about Jesus dying on the cross and how it’s sad that Beja died but it’s also a time of rejoicing. Because, you see, Beja was crippled. He used crutches to get around but not anymore. Now, because he knows Jesus, he’s whole.

And as I sat there, one life passing in front of my eyes, while a new life just beginning was nestled in my arms, I was struck by the fact that God is so very gracious. So loving. So forgiving. So wonderful.
He could have left us to wander helplessly through our days, living without hope and dying with even less. But he didn’t. He saw us all, in our sin and our pain and our crippled bodies and said, "They are my loved ones. They may have chosen this way when they sinned but I refuse to leave them like this. I will make a way for them to be healed. I will bring hope back into their lives."

And he did. And into the darkness of our world, morning came.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Screaming Girls and Squealing Pigs

Sunday morning I got up and was making breakfast when I heard a little voice outside my window. "Natasha?" It whispered. I looked out and saw "Rosie" (that's what I dubbed her since I can never remember her name). I knew that she wanted to come in but I decided that it would be better if kids didn't come in on Sunday mornings. There was another girl out with her so I decided to give them each a sheet of stickers instead.
I took the stickers outside and Rosie turned to go in the door behind me. I told her "no" and when she turned around she dropped what she had in her hand. It was a little bag of coffee. It broke and she started crying.
I felt bad then and helped her clean up the mess. I kept saying it was okay but she just kept crying. Finally, I figured out that the coffee was for her Mama and she was going to be in trouble. I decided to just give her the five gourds to buy some more. She smiled then and hurried out to get it.
Not two minutes later I heard screaming like I have never heard before. I mean, make your skin crawl, blood curdling screams. I stood up from my seat at the breakfast table just as I heard pounding on my door. I opened it to see Rosie crying and screaming hysterically, still hitting the screen door and her mother, standing on the steps to the porch with a switch in her hands.

It was awful. I didn't know what to do. Here this little girl is crying hysterically and is obviously going to get a whipping- but it's her mother! I still can hardly speak Creole so I had no way to find out what the problem was.
I kept thinking, "Was it the coffee? Good grief, she can buy more..."
But there wasn't much I could do but say, "Rosie, ale Mama." (go to your mama) Anything else would probably get her in more trouble later.
She went screaming down the porch (and got a nice switch on the way past her mother) and off the mission property.
Later we found out that her mother had sent her an hour before to get coffee AND she had told her not to go to the mission. So, yes, she probably needed a spanking.
A whipping? Not so much. But, that is the way things are here. Truthfully, her Mama, I think, is a lot nicer than some.

This morning I was doing the breakfast dishes when I looked out my back window to see three boys chasing our pig. It had gotten loose when they were taking it to the butcher shop and they were trying to catch it.
Oh, but that was funny to watch. I got some excellent pictures that I will have to post later. They finally caught her when Willy (a great little kid here at the mission) grabbed onto her tail and just hung on!
Then, after that, I got to watch how the Haitians butcher animals. It was interesting. They burn the hair off so they can save the hide. Apparently they like it in soups. ilck.

Friday, February 20, 2009


There are some things that are marvelous about the La Colline valley in Haiti.

The first being: the mountains are splendid. I love stepping out of my house in the mornings on the way to the hospital and gazing at the circle of mountians that surround us. Whenever I feel homesick or lonely I just stare out my kitchen window at the beauty of this place...

The second being: our hospital just signed up for a goverment program that allows women to have their babies here free of charge. Which means there has been a great increase in babies being born here. My favorite thing to do in the morning is peak into the maternity room to see any new little ones!

The third being: the sound of the mornings. Some people have a hard time with the dull roar that awakens them in the morning here but I have come to love it. It is a mixture of donkeys and goats and cows and pigs and people and birds...
Now, I do have to say that when it's a goat right outside my window, I get little pleasure out of it. The sound tends to echo through the room. (and it also means that our goats are out AGAIN which is not a good thing)
But when the sound is more of a distant mingling of noises... I enjoy it.

These are but a few things... I'm sure I will have more in the days to come.