There was a slow in patients about a week and half ago in the CTC (cholera treatment center). It allowed for everyone to take a much needed breath, and then put our heads together to come up with a plan for the CTC. The Haitian staff has responded in an amazing way here! From the beginning they have worked hard to help this wild epidemic. Now, they have gone from pure survival mode, to setting up much needed systems. The head doctors and nurses in charge have been attending many education seminars and then disseminating that information to the rest of the staff. They have been so on top of it! Even though we are still seeing about 50-60 patients a day, there is much more control and order. Today marks another slow day, which makes everyone happy. Although, it did rain a lot last night, which usually means things will pick up in a day or so. All this to say, Brandon and I have been able to work outside the clinic for a few days now. Brandon is still working with the other organizations helping out to get all the supplies we so desperately need. I have been able to go down and simply say hello, talk with the nurses and staff, and run around getting them little things they are out of. It has been nice to take a break from being in the clinic all day, everyday.
I was able to sneak away yesterday and go to Port de Paix. I didn’t realize how much I missed our friends and neighbors there until I saw them! And I would never guess I would miss crazy, loud, stinky, busy Port de Paix… but it is home… and I did miss it! Well, not the city per say, but where we live, our own apartment, friends. I was able to visit with the kitchen ladies, Sonya and Madame Finance, and it was great to see they are doing well. They both have been doing a great job. In addition, our interpreter , Edril, has been running things in our absence, and he is doing an amazing job! If it weren’t for him, we could not leave for the few weeks we have, to help with the cholera outbreak. God has provided in so many ways, and we are so thankful. He has been able to keep the kitchen running smoothly, keep contact and relationship with the beneficiary organizations, and check up on them. He is a trustworthy and honest person, something we are realizing is difficult to find, especially when we don’t fluently speak the language!
Even with someone great in charge, it has been hard to put OTB feeding on hold, as all we want to do is expand and feed as many as we can. We are continuing to feed about 800 children a day, and cooking about 1900 servings, but are not going to expand in the next few weeks. God graciously gave us this verse, which gives us peace in this decision: Matt 6:25b “Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” And so we continue to help in St. Louis, as we pray for the nutrition program, the people and families receiving the food, the organizations who are ministering the gospel to them, the staff who continues to operate the kitchen, and of course, for the cholera epidemic.
We will still remain in St. Louis for another few days. One more NWHCM staff member will be arriving soon to help with the logistics, and that will free us up to leave. We have a team coming into the country December 10th. We’ll have to head back to Port de Paix to get ready for them.. it will be just a small team. Jae (our boss) Mike (from the Mikey show, a popular local radio station in our area-the one that OTB got some sweet airtime on… remember?) and Steve (Mike’s brother). They will be in and out before you can blink, but we hope and pray it’s enough time to show them what Haiti is like, the need here, and how OTB is addressing it.
While we do miss Port de Paix, we are not sad to be missing “founders day”. It is December 8th, the day Port de Paix was established as a city. The locals don’t limit the festivities to one day though, and the entire town is shutting down for three days! We’ve heard it’s a crazy, wild, drinking fest.. so we have decided to shut the kitchen down for those three days. Edril suggested it, telling us it’s too busy to drive, so many people are out going wild, and just not a good idea. I trust a local. So, we’ll not be cooking the 6th, 7th, and 8th.