Monday, December 2, 2013

Blue Skies in Haiti

I have been wondering where I go from here telling my story of Haiti. I did journal almost every day at least a page about the births and things that were going around me. I have spent the past week off from any birth work and mainly stayed home and became a bum. I felt great coming back but everyone seem to think I should just take it easy. So I have had time to reflect on the situation in Haiti.

Probably one of the most important lesson I was reminded of again and again over there was just how spoiled rotten we are as a nation. We have at our fingertips the ability to buy whatever we want, even things we can't afford. We don't even have to leave the comfort of our homes to get what we want. We can go on the Internet and purchase things and have them delivered the very next day!

The past five years I have been on a "live life simpler crusade." My philosophy was shaped by two factors. One, we were a military family for 22 years. We moved 14 times in those 22 years. We were minimalist even back then. I remember inviting a woman over from church once to show me how to make those little homemade mints  you see at weddings. She kept asking me for this tool or that tool and she got miffed that I didn't have the proper tools. I tended not to buy anything for the kitchen that only had one purpose.

The second factor was my daughter Serenity. When we bought our last home out in the country I had great plans. I was sick and tired of moving and wanted to settle down. I had told Serenity that the next move was feet first out the door. Of course, you know what God says about the plans of man, right? Serenity then informed me that since she was the one who would be responsible for cleaning out my house after I died I better keep it simple! What a wise woman she is.

So what does any of this have to do with Haiti? When I walked into the Miami airport there were huge Christmas trees all decked out with fake presents underneath. I had left for Haiti the beginning of October so my brain was still in October. Seeing the tree made me realize once again that we are so focused on "stuff"

Haitians typically don't have a lot of "stuff". The average Haitian makes under $500 a year! Their floors tend to be dirt and the roof tends to be metal. They are so poor that they tend to eat one meal a day. The weather is harsh. The normal temperature this time of year is in the 90's and the humidity is in the high 90%. For me, I was drenched to my skin 24/7. It didn't matter if I was just getting on fresh clothes I was continually wet. I took to carrying around a piece of cloth to wipe my face or use my sleeve if that wasn't available.

The water situation wasn't reliable. To help there were 5 buckets in the bathroom that held five gallons. The generator would be turned on long enough to fill the buckets. They were set aside for bucket showers. There was a heart shaped ladle of sorts to take water out. You would pour it over you. You did not use the entire bucket, you shared with others. I learned how to shower using just a gallon or two of water. My hair is so long that it was a pain to keep up so I asked one of the Haitian midwives if she would consider braiding my hair. At the end of the second week she did up my hair. SHe had never even touched what she called "white hair" and was sure it would not stay in. It took her almost five hours to get my whole head braided but once it was up I didn't have to deal with it for an entire month. It stayed put the whole time.

The electricity was another challenge I faced. With the humidity and temperature being in the mid 90's all day and all night it was tough to deliver babies with sweat pouring off your body. With no electricity there were no fans to run to try and cool off. More importantly though there was no electricity to run lights. Lights are important when you are trying to put in an I.V. line, or deliver a baby or even stitch a woman up who tore. We used a head lamp  strapped around our heads but it is not great light. They would try and run the generator that did give us some lights but there were times when the generator was either broken or out of fuel.

We take for granted every day the lights in our homes and the heating and cooling and even the water that comes out of the tap when you turn the handle. Not so in Haiti. The Haitians are a group that doesn't spend time complaining. Their situation is all they know. I think we can learn a lesson or two from this group of people.

Next time I will write about the birth that showed me just how important it is to have the right equipment and supplies. Till next time.
In Christ Alone,
P.S. Coming home to grey clouds in Michigan was bearable since the sky in Haiti is a brilliant blue. I never tired of looking at it and the sun.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

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