August 2014 Newsletter

Greetings from Bombardopolis

We will give a condensed report of the goings on here as we are fortunate to have had some good friends and board members spend time here helping us out.

  • First the unpleasant news, we are all still experiencing various levels of pain and discomfort from chikungunya. It hurts to do things like get out of bed, open a door, walk, you get the idea. This too shall pass, we trust.
  • The trees are growing and, thanks to a lovely wet spring, we have an abundance of seeds to plant, which at this point translates to over three hundred small seedlings that should be mature next year to get into the community. We are looking forward to a nice harvest of avocados so that we can get some seeds to plant from them - well OK, maybe for some guacamole, too.
  • The second group of folks finished The HOPE study and we pray that they will accept the challenge to share their new knowledge with their communities.
  • We kicked off a big cistern project on July 14 in which we plan to complete 48 cisterns by the end of October. We have completed 16 at the time of this writing (August 1).
  • The hospital continues to touch the lives of the community. A mobile clinic was done in a neighboring community on July 26 with all hospital staff.
  • July 30 brought 3/4" of rain and a set of premie twins, Bertina and Valentina, who are doing well, weighing 3 lb 15 oz and 2 lb 10 oz, respectively. Bertina is staying with their mother while we are keeping Valentina, who is eating a lot and should be ready to join her family soon.

Sharon holding Valentina

We will sign off here and let you get on to the words of our friends, the Wilsons.
In Christ, Dan, Sharon, Steve, Faith & Betsy

The Wilson Family

Together again, in front of the church on the grounds of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio (they visited their daughter at her convent on the way to Haiti)

We are thankful to have had the opportunity to spend time with good friends in Bombardopolis, after a four year hiatus.

As always, we were encouraged to see what an essential role the Hospital plays in the health of the entire northwest region of the country. It is astonishing to witness the distances traveled by some to reach the hospital, and the variety of services offered. There seems to be a consistent presence of staff, certainly with significant ongoing administrative efforts. The radiography and sonography services remain up and running. There is even now an electronic health record, something that even we in the States might complain about, but which allows for participation in progress. We are again challenged as board members to find ways to financially sustain Doctor Leandre. As American physicians who work daily alongside talented foreign medical graduates in the US, we are specifically challenged to sustain the presence of talented Haitian physicians serving in rural Haiti.

I'm sure our appreciation of the contributions of Betsy and the Beardsleys to the mission cannot approach how much Steve and Faith appreciate the help. The amount of administrative work is incessant, and would not proceed as it does without Betsy and Sharon. The humble work of Dan and Sharon, two nurses from US academic institutions, shines a very bright light. It was a particular joy for Joseph and Scott to be able to participate one day in the cistern project, which Dan organizes. It cannot be overstated, the value of bringing "a cup of water to the least of these", let alone the value of bringing cisterns to entire impoverished communities. One of the longtime craftsmen on the cistern project, Ascilio, is also the inspirational leader of the evangelical Lespwa project. The film about the Gospel is shown in Haitian Creole in the community nearly every other Sunday evening.

And oh, yes. There is a couple by the name of Steve and Faith Leach who still, 18 years later, work tirelessly in His service. There are no words to describe their faithfulness.

Joe and Steve perparing pots for the mango tree seedlings

There was also a general sense of progress in the country at large. Bombardopolis now has a paved road running through its center. The drive from Bombard to Port (the first time we've actually experienced this) is now 8 hours instead of 12, thanks to a paved highway between Port au Prince and Gonaives. Increasing rainfall over the last couple of years, with more abundant green landscape, leave the impression that deforestation might be less severe than before, although we've not confirmed this with any conservation experts. We unfortunately did not see the local market, which reportedly has also grown substantially.

As you know, it's not all roses in Haiti. The mosquito born chikungunya virus epidemic is just one more burden for the people, and for our missionary friends, after living through a massive earthquake, a deadly cholera epidemic, and relentless chronic poverty. Its name, Tanzanian for "doubled over", is quite appropriate, as some would literally hobble in to clinic with joint pain. The Leaches, Beardsleys, and Betsy have not escaped the fevers, joint pain, and itching either, nor the uncertainty of its chronicity.

Michaela with her Spanish class students

We are grateful that there were opportunities for our children, Joseph and Michaela, to participate in daily activities. Each helped us in the clinic as scribes, entering notes in the electronic health record. Michaela enjoyed teaching Spanish to some local youth at the convent. Joseph helped mix and pour concrete for one of the cisterns, and helped Steve plant mango trees for the tree project. Dynse and Michaela joined Sister Marie Louisa, from the local Catholic Church, on her home visits to the sick or shut in. Scott, as always, enjoyed some good theology discussions with Steve, and treasured a beautiful tropical morning walk with Dan. And it goes without saying that we all enjoyed a day at the beach, Thursday night pizza, and, this time, the big screen extended version of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Sister Marie Louisa with a couple women they prayed and visited with

We are blessed and humbled that our family has been able to be part of this incredibly fruitful and blessed mission.
- Scott, Dynse, Michaela, and Joseph

Wait, there's more

Items recently posted or that you might have missed:

A Big Project (20 July 2014)
We began a big cistern project on Monday, July 14. We have several contributors for this project . . .

It's All About The Rain (24 July 2014)
A wet spring helped the tree project tremendously by causing the trees to produce abundant fruit . . .

The Second Hope Study Completed (26 July 2014)
It was just fantastic to be a part of helping 19 more folks finish . . .

Twins (31 July 2014)
We just got two premies who were born Monday . . .

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