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  1. Tracy Svoboda
    September 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    My name is Tracy Svoboda–I will be a new student at Frontier–I came across your website. I also just got back from Haiti–I was there 8/21-8/31.

    Here is my blog, I would love to share with you. I can’t wait to start at Frontier and hope to hook up with others who are interested in Haiti and trip to countries with needs like this:

    Dear Family and Friends,
    Wow. I can’t believe I am in Haiti. For those of you that need a little catch up…I originally applied to three organizations after the earthquake. I ended up going over spring break with some fellow Trinity College students and an alumni. However we ended up going into the Dominican Republic. There we were “Helpin’ the Haitians” and brought relief but we ourselves did not get to go into Haiti. So a few months ago one of the organizations that I originally applied with—Worldwide Village—contacted me and asked if I wanted to be on a team in the summer. I told them I could go after graduation—sometime after August 20th. They told me that there was a trip available that needed team members leaving the 21st. And so on August 20th I graduated Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences and received my BSN. On August 21st I was on a plane to Haiti.
    I was able to bring many of the donations that we were unable to ship on the previous trip because of the embargo and cost of shipping privately. I arrived on August 22, at 830 am, after a short five hour sleep in Florida. I walked off the plane into what was the airport. I was immediately directed down a flight of stairs and onto a bus. As we drove away I now was able to see the terminal was in shambles. The bus took us to a cargo hold which was a make shift immigration and customs area. I stood in a long line with about 200 people. The area was very warm and the fans did not begin to cool us down. I got through immigration and customs easily. I was greeted outside but many trying to ask to be my cab driver. I man with only one arm grabbed my wheeled cart with my luggage and tried to offer his help. I explained I was meeting someone. It was so hard. Another man from the United Nations told me to walk to the person I was to meet and not to let anyone offer to help me. But before long another man came and asked if I was an aid worker and offered to push my cart. I gladly accepted because the bags were very heavy with medical supplies and the road was gravel.
    I was met by the mission reps at this point and got into their air-conditioned car. This was a welcome change. As it was Sunday we drove to the local church service. Different than the Dominican, the service was in English. The music was familiar. The people made it livelier. The sermon was about the Good Samaritan and helping others. There was mention of a young lady in the congregation who was buried under rubble for three days. She was about to leave this week to go to the Mayo clinic to help her with her arm which had not returned to normal function. She also walked with a crutch. The girl looked like she was still a teenager. The congregants prayed for her for a full recovery.
    After church we drove to eat lunch and this was a very nice surprise. We ate at what was a hotel but now is only the restaurant as they are under repairs to come back to full service. In the streets is rubble and garbage. It is hard as we pass by all the tent cities. They tell me there are 1.2 million people in tent cities and there are 1700 tent areas spread out from the earthquake, still. Many do not have water and electricity. I saw that some have port-a-potties but I was told that they are over flowing as they cannot keep up with the number of people that use them.
    After lunch we drove up in the mountain to visit a site that might be a school someday. It is a good standing building, although the roof leaks. No water or electricity. The youngman with hopes of running it has no formal education himself for this work, just a love of the people. He will start this week holding a camp where he will have 40 kids for 10 days. They will sleep on the concrete floor with bamboo straw as a cushion. I could not even imagine how he would bed down that many kids. After this visit we drove to see the devastation and tent cities in the heart of Pot-au-Prince. After this we drove to our home base to eat dinner, clean up and sleep. Tomorrow we will travel to the area we will hold medical clinics. I did not feel well this evening, unable to hold down my supper—possibly because of the extreme heat. Another team member is down with gastrointestinal issues as well. SO I am off to sleep to try to recover strength after two days of travel I am ready for a good night’s sleep.

    The sound of the rooster would be enough to wake you but this morning I wake when the generator went off. It is run by diesel fuel and with the heat the only way to stay cool is with fans. So when the generator went off at 540 this morning so did the fans. And so began our day. Without the generator there is no water. So I didnt realize this and got in the shower. I got about half way done when the water stream turned into a trickle. And without water there is no …well ..flushing. Anyway so starts my first morning in Haiti. We are preparing for breakfast and then to head out to another town where we will have medical clinics today. We are organizing our supplies and then loading up. Breakfast was prepared by a Haitian woman–eggs, bacon and sausage, and PB and J. I ate some eggs and PB and J which seems to be agreeing with me. I think last night was combination of traveling and the car ride which was a little bit like off road 4 wheel driving. So Im off. Dont know if I will have internet tonight as we will be sleeping in a hotel near the clinic we are going to. Till later.


    Today’s clinic was held in a town north east of Port-au-Prince. We drove there in a tap-tap. A tap-tap is basically a pickup truck that has been equipped with seats in the back loader area. The sides are made up with metal rails and there is a roof. Tap-tap are named this because you tap-tap on the side of the bus when you want to get off. They come in a variety of sizes. Ours was a small pickup and I sat in the back. The tap-taps are easy to spot as they go down the street as they are ornately decorated in a kind of Caribbean party bus meets graffiti look. We drove for about an hour and a half to Mirebalis. This drive was very mountainous and hilly. The road was well paved but the ride was curves at every corner and often we had to stop to let other drivers go by even thought the road was narrow.
    Our clinic was held in a building. I was working in the back with Pam another nurse. In the front was Dr. Bryan—a doctor who is on staff at UMASS as a colorectal surgeon. Our triage was done by Matt, Bryan’s son and Heidi, a teacher from New Jersey. Sarah and “Chops”( AKA Ryan) ran our pharmacy. We saw a small group of patients with a variety of problems. I had one pregnant patient, a boy with strept, a few cough and colds and a little boy whose toenail fell off and it was infected. I might add he had no shoes and was walking in muddy streets. The day was slow and hot—but I’m not complaining. We helped a few good people and the end of the day it was great because a crowd of children came to the clinic and we passed out pens and some paper and their favorite “bon” which is creole for candy.
    After the clinic closed up for the day we loaded up meds for our mobile clinic tomorrow. Tomorrow we will, or at least the plan is, to travel to a remote village and hold a mobile clinic. We will travel by tap-tap and then upon arrival at the river we will unload onto a boat. Yes a boat. And then we will travel to the village by hiking with all our meds and stuff. It is going to be a big day. So for tonight we are sleeping in a hotel in Mirabalis. It is a nice hotel—a little like a cheap Ramada Inn style. The rooms have air conditioning which is a welcome change..because we do not have this in the house in Port-au-Prince. So for tonight we will sleep well and cool. We ate dinner at a small café. We laughed because the menu was in creole and we all ordered different things. Three people ordered “barbeque” and two people ordered “Rice with legumes” and Matt ordered “White Chicken with salad” and I ordered spaghetti. When the plates arrived—they were all exactly the same with the exception of my spaghetti. It was rather comical because we were all under the impression we were getting something different. The plate had sliced avocado and tomato and fried plantains with a chicken drumstick. The ones that ordered legumes also got eggplant. The ones that ordered barbeque got the standard plate and Matt got some hot sauce which somehow made his different.
    I can’t figure out the money here. I am using American dollars still. There are two forms of money here and one is divisible by 8 and one is divisible by 40 but I can never figure it out. So I am using my dollars. I bought 2 drinks and a bottle of water with a 5 dollar bill and the lady said she owed me change and to come back later. Then Dr. Bryan bought 5 drinks and 2 bottles of water and he paid 11 dollars. SO then I asked for my change in water because I wanted some bottled water for the night. So she handed me 4 more bottles. So I got 7 drinks for 5 dollars. Hmmm. See why I am confused?
    I had some stress today as I thought I had lost my passport. I searched for it endlessly. I couldn’t remember where I put it after customs. Then moving a packing today made me think about it again. I finally found it tonight in a small pouch I had checked many times but didn’t see or feel the passport as it blended into the bag. Crisis resolved. I can’t begin to tell you everything I observe here…there just are not enough words..and I do need some sleep. So till tomorrow.
    Love to all,
    Day 3
    Today we awoke to a beautiful Haitian morning and went to eat breakfast at the hotel dining area. Breakfast was “Haitian spaghetti” basically spaghetti with some spicy spices and some kind of meet thrown in. No sauce—but tobacco is available if you want to make it hotter. I ate some of that and also “mambo” which is peanut butter Haitian style—basically peanut butter that is spicy. This reminds me of the peanut butter puffs I have had in Israel—it’s a similar taste. We met in the lobby at 815 to begin our day. The tap-tap came and picked us up on “Haitian time” which was basically within the hour we had planned for. We all piled in the tap-tap and drove a very short distance down to the river. Well we all piled in but didn’t leave for sometime because of the street traffic. There was big mac truck trying to make a corner and we were parked on the sidewalk and then tow other cars sandwiched us in. Needless to say there was a bit of confusion before we got underway.

    Once we arrived to the river area we unpacked and started the trek down to the water. The translators helped us carry all of our gear. We brought two crates of medicine and a personal backpack each. We also hauled some chairs and a table. Down at the river’s edge we waited for our boat to come in. The boat was a hollowed out tree. The inside was sealed with what looked like cement. The tree canoe was large enough to hold about 12-15 people. We piled in around the medical supplies. The man said “One more, one more” and we kept coming. About 6 of us got in the first canoe. We headed out in the water and quickly learned we were too heavy. Also aside from the fact we sinking we were scrapping the bottom of the river and this took the driver off course. We ended up flowing down river a piece before the driver jumped out of the boat and begin to push our canoe. As others saw this distress—we were not worried—just it was unclear if we going to drift any farther—many more young men jumped into the river and begin to swim toward us. After a few harrowing minutes we were straightened out and the boys pulled the canoe in line. They got us to the edge and the passengers (us) got out and walked back to the landing we were supposed to have gotten to. The boat driver then pushed the canoe upstream with the supplies. The second canoe had no issues and they ended up beating us across. We then trekked in to the village. It was a short distance from the water edge. We walked through a muddy path that was freckled with manure from donkeys. Upon arrival we were set up in a shed looking building which might also double as a church. There was a drum set and a synthesizer in the corner which is why I think this was so. There was no electricity however so later I saw a generator can be used to bring electricity to this building. I found this out when they turned on the one fan for the doorway. This was plugged into a surge protector strip. The thing about the fan is it was tuned on by sticking two wires directly into the electrical holes—no plug.
    The clinic ran very smoothly. The best suggestion was by Dr. Bryan who determined he would like to have our station outside. This was a great choice. There was a gentle breeze and although the heat is oppressive—it was definitely hotter inside the shed structure where Heidi did the intake. Dr Bryan, Nurse Pam and I did the assessments and Matt was taking vitals. Sarah and Chops did the pharmacy again—and like I said it ran smoothly. Pam and I took turns being flexible as we can serve many roles and therefore we would go do intake for a while or switch off wherever needed to keep the line moving. I think we saw about 150 patients—this is the guess at least. Many skin infections, scabies, and strep infections with rashes, and lots of yeast issues. There were many who were helped and the people appreciated us being there. At the end one of the young men was playing with a mega phone and sang and chanted at us how much he loved us for coming. He was kind of obnoxious but the sentiment was there anyway. We closed up at about 4 o’clock. I have been told we need to always be home by dark because of riots and problems at night. So we will do this daily. Security is an issue and we always need to be on guard.
    So we are back at the hotel and cooling off. It is great to have this moment to write you all and tell you all about Haiti. In the distance there is a concert in the square just outside our hotel door. There is beautiful music and light breeze and it’s a very beautiful night. Tomorrow is another mobile clinic day and I am looking forward to it. I learn more and more here.
    Until next time
    Day 4 Mobile Clinic
    So today we awoke after a noisy night. Apparently it was St. Clair day and many Haitians were having a party in the park all night long. Now by all night I mean ALL NIGHT. There were fireworks at like 4am. I didn’t hear much of it as I have found with earplugs I can sleep pretty good. In the morning we had a plan to eat breakfast and be on the way by 830. Well that plan quickly changed when we saw that breakfast was not being made. Apparently the hotel staff was also partying till the wee hours and the staff were late to start breakfast. We waited for a while but after it got late we decided we had to leave without breakfast. So we quickly ate some bread and mambo (spicy peanut butter) and called it good. Shortly thereafter I saw the staff beginning to put out the spaghetti for breakfast. I was happy with my bread though. Our ride was long to the next mobile clinic village. The ride was up a long winding road, that was mostly gravel and dirt. The road was being worked on. There was some gravel being laid along the way. This made for uneven parts. We were all jammed into the tap-tap and at one point the road went over a drain pipe that caused the road to have a bit of a hill. This was not expected and we all went flying. Chops hit his head on the rebar on the roof of the tap-tap. It was only a small cut with a goose-egg but we all hung on after that.
    The village was across a large dam. We drove across and then unloaded our stuff. Then it was hike uphill to the top of the river embankment. At the top was a large leftover crane—left behind from the building of this dam I guess. There were giant counter weight s and large train tracks. People were just sitting on them like it was a park or a hang out. We trekked in down the train tracks to a large building. This again looked like it was there church. It was a nice shed structure with open squares areas like windows. The building was full of pews that served as our waiting areas. We set up our stations and our clinic was under way. This clinic had some food. Some of the people were fairly healthy looking. But we saw one very sick child who has kwashiorkor malnutrition. The boy was 2 years old but he was the size of a nine month old and had severe edema of his legs. This sign usually means he has about 48-72 hours to live without treatment. We helped him to get immediate treatment. Without this he would not have made it very long. We don’t know his outcome as of yet though. There were many children again with scabies and impetigo. We treated hypertension, other infections and some coughs and colds. There were a few things I had never seen before and these cases always got pushed to Dr. Bryan. We were well received at this village. At the end I handed out my candy and all the children smiled. We then hiked back to the dam. We loaded up and began a very long ride back to Port-au-Prince. It took about 2 plus hours on gravel and windy roads to get home. The whole experience was wonderful though. My prayers and thoughts are with the tiny boy who was so malnourished. We ended our night praying for him.
    Tomorrow is a day of rest—sandwiched with a tour of some areas that we might be able to help with in the future.
    Until tomorrow,
    Day 5
    Today we started off with a long ride. We drove out of Port-au-Prince and stopped first at a bay where they were manufacturing charcoal. Their version of charcoal is made from burnt trees and then packaged in bags. People then carry this around on their backs, heads or donkeys and sell the charcoal in town. The area where the charcoal was being made was very interesting—it was a bay with fishermen off the cove. There was a mesh on the ground of charcoal dropping from over the years so the ground was all charcoal. The workers making the charcoal were covered in soot and breathing in this material. The conditions were not good.
    Then we drove to see a statue of the one of the founding father of Haiti—he looked like napoleon. This all took place in the town of Archaia. The we drove to the clinic where Worldwide village is supporting a local clinic in a small town. The town is called LuLi. The clinic was very nice and had several rooms suitable for maintaining a mobile hospital. We met the doctor and nurse that work there. They are related to the other workers for Worldwide village we have met before.
    After that we saw a real bakery. We have had Haitian bread here every day. It tastes very good—like baked wonder loafs. However I had no idea how they are made. The baker did not want any photos but the baker mixes his dough in a stone sink and then rolls out the dough on a stone table or surface area. Then it goes in a giant oven which is like the kind I have seen at California Pizza Kitchen—it’s a big stone oven where the bread cooks from the heat and smoke. The bread therefore has a smoky flavor to it. After the bakery we went to the village of LuLi and saw a school that Worldwide village is trying to build a school there. The area was extremely poor. Most of the children—the boys—wore no clothes. The kids really wanted their pictures taken though. We visited with them and viewed the area of the prospective school. The church they currently have is not acceptable as a building because the sides of the cement wall are cracked from the earthquake. The damage is visible and randy warned us as a group not to go into this building as it could collapse at any time. The children were all playing around it though. The school currently is a dirt floor with banana leaves for shading. There are four free standing chalk board and a few desks. That’s it. There is much work to be done here.
    After this we finished touring all these areas we ended our day at Wahoo Bay. We were sweaty, hot and eagerly dove into the ocean. The water is warm but refreshing and there was a pool as well. The ocean water felt extra salty and so we were especially buoyant. It was very comfortable to lie back and soak up the sun. After seeing the extreme poverty it is hard to relax—but a necessary moment after working hard and feeling so tired. After this refreshing break we met up to eat dinner. A black cloud came over the mountain terrain and unleashed heaven’s furry. The rain poured and as we sat my only thoughts were of the tent cities and the school with the banana roof. The water flowed off the metal roof structure where we sat but even still water leaked into our area—how much more in the areas we had been that day. So much work needs to be done—so much more to do—but for now, sleep.
    Until tomorrow,
    Day 6 morning..
    So I thought of a few things I forgot to mention: First—this trip includes two meals a day. So lunch often consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a granola bar. Just something you can eat on the run. Yesterday I was especially hungry at noon. I had a granola bar but it was at the bottom of my bag and I was just too hot and lazy to dig for it. So while the others were talking at the clinic—I went for a walk next door. There was a woman there who had some things for sale. She was selling little packaged goods. She was also frying something. It was some kind of gourd was the best I could make out. I handed her some money—about a dollar I think in “ghouds”. She then packaged up some of the squash/gourd in a bag with some salt. On top she sprinkled “Picklies” this is like cole slaw only it has a pickle vinegar on it. It is quite tasty and we have it at every meal as a side dish. So I took my snack and ate it. It was very similar to a potato chip in flavor. I shared my lunch with the team and also with the local children who gather around whenever we have something they want.
    Another thought I had is about the long rides we have taken. This island is big and beautiful. You have to remind yourself of the potential this Caribbean paradise has. What it once was—what it could be again. There are areas here that remind me of my trips to the Middle East. They are barren and dry with cactus. There is a deforestation problem here and so there are many areas with no trees at all. Then there is the lush jungle terrain that makes me look up in the trees expecting to see wild monkeys—although I haven’t seen on except in a zoo. Yesterday we saw a plantain plantation. Plantains look like bananas but they have a taste like a potato and are a different species entirely. The people here cut them on the diagonal and fry them in hot oil in a batter. This looks like tempura to me. It is a very good taste. We have again had this as a side dish with almost every meal. We also saw yesterday a natural spring of fresh water. It was fenced off in such a way so that people would not wash their clothes to close to the source—which was drinkable. I splashed my face in this water—it was cold and refreshing. This compared to the ocean and swimming pools we have “cooled off in” which are not necessarily “cold”. It is so hot most days that the water also absorbs most of this heat. Next to this spring in the plantain plantation is where we got our first look at the ocean up close and were able to dip in our feet. This beach was littered with beautiful shells—the spiral type we buy in stores. The beach had hundreds of them—with the squid/snail type fish still living inside probably. We collected a few to bring home but have since been told that they will smell unless we take time to boil them. I don’t know if I will have time to do this.
    At the two hotels we have stayed in—as Americans we always look for the familiar. One thing is the television. There was a tv in Mirabalis. There was one channel. It was snowy and seemed to be the cable channel “encore” so the movie that was on was a Chuck Norris flick from the eighties. At this hotel in Wahoo Bay there is a tv in the bar/café area. It is on all the time—but with no sound—only closed captioning. Last night there was soccer on. Then the changed channels and watched an episode of LOST. This was funny to me—because I love this show—and also because the episode was from the first season where John and Boone are trying to dig out the hatch. Now I am sitting in this area—the internet is down and I have not been able to upload any pictures or send this mail. Another channel they were watching last night was BET tv. This is Black entertainment television. So the tv does influence the culture here—there are boys who dress as rap or hip-hop stars and wear their pants very low—not as low as at home—but low none the less.
    Ooh the internet is back up—time to try to upload the photos…till later..
    Day 6
    I woke up early. I had a dream about looking for my husband in a federal building and then finding all the wives were locked up in cages. I am not sure if this is from the anti-malaria meds or riding around in a tap-tap car where we are locked in a cage for hours each day. In any case I woke up early. After trying to upload on the internet for a while I gave up and met up with the others. Some were down by the beach having a little quiet time with the morning beach and God’s creation. We all came up after a while and ate some breakfast. I had a Haitian omelet—a little bit like huevos rancheros—or eggs with spicy salsa or tomatoes. After breakfast we got in the tap-tap and drove out to the pharmacy to try and get some more vitamins. They did not have any children’s chewables—so we went to the next one—same problem. So we went on to the village with what we had. The village was hosting a vacation bible school and so we were coming to hand out vitamins and worming meds. We also gave each kid a piece of candy and the doctor gave them a once over—look, to see if any were in need of additional care that we could refer to the clinic we had visited the previous day. Most of these children looked pretty good. They were dressed ( a custom because of it being a “school” day) and each wearing shoes. They stood in a uniformed line and we filed them thorugh. Dr. Bryan took many on his lap and looked them over and then Pam would give them the worm med, Heidi and Bryan pushed them along or often picked up the ones that were crying because of the scary strangers—and then one to Sarah who gave them their vitamin and finally to me who gave them a bon-bon (piece of candy). There were two children especially that broke my heart. Actually both Heidi and I broke down and were crying at different points in this day. My heart was broke when a baby showed up severely under weight. Very malnourished but dressed in a beautiful dress. We inquired about this child and the pre-teen that was holding her stated they had found this baby three weeks ago when she had been tossed away like garbage. They had taken her in—but the child was in desperate need of nourishment.
    The solution for this is medical Mamba—a mixture of peanut butter and nourishing vitamins and proteins. The baby was referred to the clinic for further observation and follow-up. A second baby was brought by her momma—she was covered in sores. Probably her condition was a combination of scabies and impetigo. The baby had flies crawling on her face and her sores looked bad. Her hair was red from malnutrition and falling out. I could not look at this child without crying. Pam gave me a big hug and helped to calm me down. Then when we finished the kids gathered in the church area and sang us a song of thanks. Here I cried too. I’m a big softy I’m a afraid. We then trekked down the river rock road to where we left the car. We climbed in the tap-tap and started our descent back to Port-au-Prince. About 10 minutes down the road—flat tire. We climbed out and the men worked on the tire. Bryan, Matt and our driver Hakim had the tire changed in record time. We didn’t even have time to down a coke before they finished. Back in the tap-tap and on we went. We drove by the countryside and as we watched the tent cities flow by it was hard to not fight back tears. After getting back to the house the priority for some of the team was to pack up. Four are leaving tomorrow. Three of us that are left will continue the work and help to prepare for future teams. Tonight I have watched my clothes in a bucket and hung it out on a line. The smell of clean clothes makes me feel a little more human. My heart is still with the kids this morning and wondering what their evening will be like. That and I hear their little voices singing a song of thanks to us…Merci..Merci!

    Day 7
    Today is a transition day as many of the team members are leaving. We had two groups go to the airport and so far flights are on time and flying out. The girls that were left wanted to go do a little souvenir shopping-y’know support the economy here! So we went and walked by the vendors near the UN outpost. After that we came back and the others got ready for their flight. Many come with big suitcases but they leave most everything here—even clothes as donations. Sarah, Chops and I are the three left for the last few days. We are headed up to the mountain area above Port-au-Prince. We will stay there for a few nights. I think there will not be internet there…so until next time…
    Day 7 and 8—SO Chops, Sarah and I went up to the mountains above Port-au-Prince to visit Sarah’s family. Sarah is married to a Haitian and this is her first trip back to Haiti since the quake. She and her husband lost family in the quake so it was a privilege to be invited to spend 2 nights with her family. We arrived up at their place around 4 or 5 o’clock. Sarah and Chops had made a stop to get a Toro (energy drink) and eat some pork and plantains. I didn’t eat any of that but did eat some soup that Sarah’s mother –in-law made. Chops and Sarah also had some soup but later on. We went for a evening walk to see the sunset. From the top of the mountain you can see the airport strip down in Port-au-Prince and it was a very cool and clear night. When the sun sets—there isn’t much to do as electricity is used sparingly. We sat in the kitchen and I ate an avocado I had bought at a corner market. About 730 I laid down and shortly after fell asleep. Sarah came to bed around 9. We were sharing a bed. Chops slept on a pullout couch and all the other family members slept on the floor having given us their only beds in a wonderful act of hospitality. Many extended family members live together in this house so about ten people sleep there total on this night. About 1030 Sarah’s phone went off and I noticed I had a stomach ache. Sarah and I talked a bit and then went back to sleep. Then began every few hours I would get up with the “runs”. It started off not too bad—but got worse and worse as the night turned into morning. The plumbing in this house is primitive. After you go –you take a bucket and reach into a large cistern in the bathroom and retrieve enough water to swish and flush. This was my pattern all night.
    In the morning I continued this pattern and laid down to rest from the time I got up till mid morning. The family made us some eggs but eating made me feel worse. So I went back to bed. The air in the mountains is cool and the house is concrete built into the side of a hill so the air is musty and cool and damp. However by midmorning I was freezing. I bundled under a blanket and then I felt the fever come on. Sarah and I had talked as I was not doing well that Chops would take me back to the guest house in Port-au-Prince. As I started to feel sicker and sicker, I called out to Sarah and she said they were going to take me to town right now. So Sarah was going to drive me down the mountain with Chops and then her family would take her back up. I was feeling very queasy and feverish. The mountain roads are windy and broken up gravel so I was concentrating on not puking all the way down. I felt horrible. About half way down the driver pulled over to get gas. I opened the door to get some air. Then I felt the bottom drop out. I had the sense to cry out to Chops: “Chops I think I’m going to pass out” and that is all I remember. Apparently I passed out then started to come around and then I began convulsing. Chops jumped out and then the car got much more animated—and urgent—to get me to a hospital. So hospitals in Port-au-Prince are all demolished. Sarah gets on the phone and starts calling around to see if anyone knows where there is a working hospital. Problem is it’s Sunday and many people are at church or clinics are closed. Sarah gets worried as we enter into Port-au-Prince and I am getting worse…lethargic and weak. The final issue is the vehicle we are traveling in is having problems staying running. So a few times along the way the driver has to get out and try to get the starter to go. After talking to Randy—Worldwide Village head—we decide to head over to the airport and try the American Embassy. In hopes they will know or can help with my situation. Upon arrival to the embassy the car stops working entirely. This is a problem as it is now about 1130…and the heat of the day is setting in and I’m in a bad way. Chops gets out and assists me to walk to the embassy gate. We walk up and the guard tells us this is the north side and we need to keep walking to the next gate. I attempt to keep on going but my weakness overtakes me and –hey I know this story is dramatic but you had to have been there—anyway I lay down on the sidewalk and cannot move another step. The guard now shows some concern and goes to get a Dixie cup of water. The water is cold and I drink some and splash some. Sarah walks ahead and begins a lengthy conversation with the American Embassy that goes around and around and never goes anywhere. They won’t even let us in the building. Several UN workers pull up seeing me passed out on the floor. They offer to help but state we cannot get in the UN vehicle without authorization. So the UN worker gets on the phone to get that authorization. About 30 minutes goes by. Sarah is still trying to convince the Embassy to help, Chops is caring for me, the family is working on the broken down car and the UN workers—well they are throwing up their hands saying they can’t help without authorization. With that I find after a few minutes that I am being photographed—in my weakest moment. Now I feel the pain of being helpless in a third world country without any help and people are taking photos…really?
    So Sarah finally comes back and says she has had no luck. The UN worker then says he will get his friend to drive us in his personal vehicle to the UN hospital. So in a few minutes a car pulls up and we get in. Sarah says goodbye to her family. Off we go. Upon arrival at the UN guard door—several foreign guards ask questions of Sarah and chops but in a few minutes a doctor appears and gives the go-ahead to let us in. I am escorted in to a very air conditioned room and I lie on the table. The doctor is from Bolivia and speaks Spanish. He has an interpreter—a Haitian young man who translates my ailment. The doctor is concerned because he is not allowed to treat “non-UN” employees. However he tells me I have a severe gastritis with fever and dehydration. He gets some medicine to bring down my fever, for the diarrhea, for my stomach and ORS (oral rehydration solution). Sarah walks over and he tells her to put it in her purse. He allows us to wait there in the UN complex until a ride can be arranged. Peter then comes—one of the employees of Worldwide village that lives here—and he brings Dr Yves—the doctor we had visited some days earlier at his clinic. They escort me to the car and drive me back to the guest house. Dr. Yves sets me up and IV and after a bag of fluids I feel normal enough to walk and stand. Dr Yves is encouraged and goes back to his home. Sarah and Chops run out to get some supplies. I have to go again—but can’t make it to the toilet. I try to eat some bland crackers –but the diarrhea comes back and soon I am in the cycle again. About 330 I fall asleep again. The fever returns. I take the anti-fever med and the diarrhea pill, some doxycycline and drink the ORS. I am hoping for the best—but I covet your prayers as I seek to regain my health in time to flyback on Tuesday.

    DAY 9
    THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!! I awoke after a pretty restful night feeling better. I had breakfast and something to drink and it appeared my gastrointestinal tract was on the mend. I had periods off and on all day where I felt either weak or queasy but that’s to be expected after the day I had yesterday. I pretty much spent the day resting up and reading emails and taking naps. In the afternoon, Chops and I went to the grocery store to get some last minute things and I did fine with this outing. I am all packed up as my flight is at 930am. Tomorrow will be an early morning wake up with a quick trip to the airport. My flight goes through Ft. Lauderdale again and then into Chicago. My hubby will be there to pick me up and spend some quality “couple” time in the 3 hour drive back to Davenport. It has been an awesome adventure and I am thankful for God’s provision for this trip and that He brought me here for such a time as this. I have so many stories to share and memories to bring back. I am looking forward to sharing them with you all.
    Until we are together again,

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