Life & Death Responsibility

We’re going to veer away from some of the reader questions that we’ve been answering in the last few posts because there’s something that’s on my heart, and I think it’s important to talk about because it really does shape the way we do our work here in Haiti. What I want to talk with you about is the great responsibility that people like us have in the work that we do.

 

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I think the idea of development is appealing to a lot of people. I think the majority of the human race all have an inborn desire to help their fellow man. It’s the reason that we respond with compassion when we know someone is in need. It’s the reason people get involved, initially, in development work. It’s why we have non-profit organizations for every need out there. And, it’s a good thing. But something can be good, and it can be not enough at the same time.

In the 10 years that I’ve been living and working in Haiti I’ve had plenty of opportunity to see humanitarian, missions, and development projects started. Some of them are really effective, but sadly a lot aren’t. That’s really a whole other series of posts, and isn’t what I want to focus on today. What I want to talk to you about is the fact that intentions are not enough, especially when we’re working in a capacity that directly affects people’s health.

There are a lot of household water filtration methods and tools out there. We, as an organization, have chosen to just work with one of those. We have a lot of reasons why we’ve chosen to work with the Bio-sand filters.

  • They’re something we can build in country with local materials.
  • We can use local labor in the construction, distribution and follow up – more impact for our donor dollars and helping in a broader way.
  • The technology itself is great for Haiti because it takes a lot of factors into consideration, including education levels, resource availability, culture, maintenance and overall cost in relation to effectiveness.
  • We can make them available to the entire population.

There are a lot more reasons, but those are the basics.

Like I said, there are a lot of other household water treatment options out there, and there are a lot of people implementing them all over the world, and that’s a great thing.

The problem arises when people don’t look beyond the actual implementation part. Implementation is a fancy word that we use in the industry that just means “put into use”. When we “implement” a filter we’re putting it into use in a home.

What we see happen in most cases here in Haiti is that an organization or group will decide that they want to help with the water issues here, so they look at options and decide to help get people some kind of filter. They decide what kind of filter to get, make arrangements to get a whole bunch of them, and then go and install them or distribute them. In theory this is a great and noble thing. Seriously. Where I struggle is not in the intention, but in how the whole thing gets done. How it gets implemented, if you will.

In most cases this work is being done by a group of visitors who are in country for a week or two. Often no one in the group has had any formal training on the technology itself. Yes, they may have had a crash course on how to install the filter, but most couldn’t actually tell you how it works. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it if it wasn’t working correctly, and they wouldn’t know how to fix it if they did know what was wrong. They come in, and maybe they’re working with local people in some capacity, but typically this is from a logistical perspective. The people here on the ground make all the arrangements for the group, and walk through the process with them.

Case in point, one January we were flying back to Haiti after our Christmas break. In the Miami airport we made ourselves comfortable in the boarding lounge, and not long after about 15 people wearing matching shirts came and sat right next to us. Their shirts were advertising that Haiti didn’t have clean water, so they were bringing it to the people. As is usual, because our family typically gets noticed, a couple of the team members started to make conversation. Eventually we got around to What do you do? We told them we run an organization that does Bio-sand filters. They got very excited and said, “That’s what we’re going to do! It’s really great. We’re going to install Bio-sand filters in people’s homes this week.” We smiled politely. Then they asked me how long we’d been doing this. “I’ve been there for 7 years” I answered. 7 months? they asked. “No, 7 years.” And then everyone felt uncomfortable and they started playing with their phones. I hadn’t been rude in the least. I’d been very kind. They felt uncomfortable because in that split second they realized that we did this every day, and they were going to do it for a week, and then leave.

Once the filters are distributed or installed, what happens then? Normally the group goes home.

Who does the family call if their filter isn’t working? Anyone? There probably isn’t anyone for them to call.

Does anyone visit the filter regularly to make sure that it’s still working correctly? In most cases the answer to this question, with any filter program is no.

 

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Please hear me when I say this – I’m not digging at people’s intentions. It’s not about that. Good intentions start with something deeper – the desire to help people. That’s a good thing. No, it’s not about intentions. For me, for us, it’s about loving people fully and well.

Hear me out.

When we’re sick, we go to the doctor, we don’t go to the grocery store and talk to the produce guy. We don’t do that because the produce guy isn’t a doctor. He’s not trained to diagnose and help heal. Need to know how to pick out the best tomatoes? Yes. Diagnosing that nasty rash? No. It’s obvious, right? You trust someone that has training and experience to help with a specific need.

When you are sick, you recognize that the human body is fragile, in the sense that if you do the wrong thing, were diagnosed with the wrong malady or were prescribe the wrong medication it can do a lot of damage. Doctors are required to swear to and abide by the Hipocratic Oath – first do no harm. That’s why no produce guy.

When we’re working with water filtration we are firstly working with people’s health, and we should want to do the very best we can in a way that will do no harm.

That’s it. There is no way around it.

If we want to love people fully, we should do the very best we can for them, even if that means putting our own needs aside. If the very best is to give them access to a tool that can improve their health, we should do that in the very best way we can. We should not do it half way, or in a way that could potentially lead to harm. If we do something really well, sometimes that means we have to put our own needs and desires aside to make sure that happens. If the best thing is to do it ourselves, that’s great. But, if the best thing is to support an organization that is trained to do it better then we ever could, even if it means we’re a bit more removed from the process, then we should go that route. Again, if we really want to love people, it means doing what’s best for them.

When we’re asking a family to adopt a filter, to use it every day, we’re asking them to trust us with their health. It’s not just about the idea of clean water. It’s about getting them something that won’t kill them.

Yes, I just said that. I said it because it’s true. I said it because when a filter is installed poorly, incorrectly, or doesn’t have adequate education or follow up we can literally be killing people. When we ask them to put confidence in any kind of water filter, we have a huge responsibility to make sure that it’s going to do it’s job, and do it well.

We’re asking mothers to trust that a filter is going to provide clean water for their babies. We’re asking families to trust that the filter is going to provide clean water for their older family members, or those with depleted immune systems that can’t fight off disease.

 

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If we install a filter and the family doesn’t know how to use it properly, or it’s not installed and working properly, and they think it is, we can be causing a lot of damage.

That is a responsibility that is ever before us, and it’s one we take very seriously.

It’s the reason why every filter we install gets a form with all the needed information about the household and filter. It’s the reason those forms get entered into a data base so we can be tracking our technicians work and how we’re all doing our jobs. It’s the reason each filter gets three visits in the first year. It’s the reason each of those installations and follow up visits are done by a very well trained technician who works with the filters every. single. day. It’s the reason that we repair and replace broken filters for free. It’s the reason we welcome and get excited about research teams coming to check on our work, and listen to their results and use them to do it even better.

It’s also the reason why, when we get contacted by a well meaning group of people to ask if we can supply filters for them to install, we say no*.

We believe in our responsibility to do no harm. Water borne disease is a real thing. Illnesses, like Cholera, that can whip through a healthy persons body and kill them in 48 hours are a real thing.

If we do our job right, and well, people can trust that their filter is working properly and helping them to get healthy. If we don’t, and people are putting confidence in a filter that’s not actually properly removing all those disease causing microbes, they will get sick. And, they might die.

It’s a life and death responsibility. When people contribute to the work of Clean Water for Haiti, they can have confidence that we’re working from a place of deep love for the Haitian people that drives us to do what we do really well.

First, do no harm.

~Leslie

*We do like to tell them about our Vision Trips that will give them the opportunity to spend a week with us and work alongside our staff to learn about the whole process of building filters, and to go out on a delivery day to see how we install them and work with families. So, we’re not big meanies, we just work in a really specific way.
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Zo rèl do a (The Backbone) of Clean Water for Haiti

It is a well-known premise that a company is only as good as the employees it keeps and this is most certainly true here at Clean Water for Haiti.  As the newest rookie on the block, the one thing I wanted to do was to get to know and become acquainted with all of our staff.  I am sure the awkwardness was consensually felt – here I am, another “blan” in their midst, and what’s worse is this one can only say, “Bon Jou, Bonswa, or Mesi” (good morning, good afternoon, and thank you).

This could not be any further from the truth.  As I was introduced there was an immediate feeling of warmth and welcome aboard from “the guys” which is a term of endearment used by our adorable 3 yr old Alex.  Even as I sit here, the gentle breeze coming through my window brings with it the friendly banter of the guys out in the work yard.  I love listening to their discussions, although it is true I don’t understand even a quarter of what they are talking about, I know that they are enjoying the camaraderie that is so prevalent here at Clean Water for Haiti.  The Haitian proverb, “Anpil men, chay pa lou.”  Translated as, “With many hands a load is not heavy.” could best be illustrated by observing our staff at work.

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For those of you who don’t know, our Bio-Sand Filters are manufactured right here on site and there is a lot of hard arduous work that goes into it; everything from the welding of the molds, mixing and pouring the cement, grading and bagging the gravel and sand, the scraping, painting, and finishing of each filter is all done by hand, and the work is shared by all.  However, the manufacturing is only the beginning of the demands and responsibilities of the guys.

The next step in the process is the delivery and installation.  I must reiterate here that our filters are being delivered in the most hard to reach and remote areas in this region, most of which are farming or fishing villages, and are also some of the poorest of the poor villages.  There is no running water and no public sewer systems, which would also mean that the roads and bridges are not maintained either.  Our crew cannot simply deliver water filters on demand, the only feasible way is to deliver truckloads of 30 filters at a time, in one delivery.

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A complete Bio-Sand Water Filter includes a 160 pound cement filter, approximately 80 pounds of sand and/or gravel in three bags, a diffuser basin, and a wood carved top.  The day before a delivery date entails loading these 160 pound filters and 80 pound bags of sand onto one of our flatbed trucks, including all the tools and equipment that is needed for the installations, including hand trucks and a couple of coolers for water and drinks for the crew.  Depending on the location, traffic issues, or road conditions, the delivery and installation days are anywhere from 12 to 16 hour days.

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What I have learned in the short couple of months I have been working with the guys, going out on deliveries with them and observing their work ethics, is that it is the brotherhood and its unity of purpose that makes the laborious and often times exhausting production and installation of our water filters less grueling.  I have watched and experienced their respect, compassion, and the concern they show for their fellow man.  I have heard them teach, train and educate these families on the importance of clean water and maintaining their filters.  I have also witnessed the smiles they bring to everyone, from the little babies, to the youth, mothers and fathers, and the older wise men in the village.  I have seen God’s work in action as our guys take on the challenge of being our brother’s keeper by providing the life sustaining resources these communities so badly need.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”    I would add to that the lesson I have learned while working with the “Zo rèl do a”, the backbone of Clean Water for Haiti, “….to work hard at work worth doing is realizing and responding to the work that God requires each of us to do – to love our neighbor.”

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My “First” Trip to Haiti

OliviaAugust 17, 2013. I arrive in Haiti for the first time since I was two years old. As soon as I walked out the airport doors, I felt a thick dense heat wave slap me across the face and it hit me, I finally made it to Ayìtì. The red hats haggling me to “help” with my luggage were the first to welcome me. I was waved down my Leslie and Ryan waiting behind the gate motioning me in their direction. We made our acquaintances and hit it off almost immediately.

It was 10:30 am and the other vision trippers wouldn’t land till’ after noon so we headed to the grocery store to pick up some things for the week. I was surprised to see the extensive variety of meats, cheeses and good ol’ American processed junk they offered. It sort of reminded me of a corner store in Brooklyn, but with friendlier staff. Once we picked up the other volunteers we made the long bumpy ride to Pierre Payan taking in the essence of all that is Haiti.

The next day we went to church.  The heavy rain the night before made driving up the hill very slippery. My flip-flops kept getting stuck in the mud and tore before I entered the sanctuary. I spent the whole service with muddy feet but I wasn’t the only one. We sat on wood benches with no backs to lean on which I thought made the humidity that much worse. It seemed like Chris and I were the only two sweating bullets in there. Everyone else was in the spiritual zone, singing in harmony accompanied by a young boy playing a beat-up drum set (pretty good I might add, considering) and a couple people tapping the tambourine. Pastor’s sermon was about being a good Christian – doing the right thing even when it’s not convenient or easy. He urged us to be grateful for everything. “Meci Bondieu pou labou” Thank you God for mud he says. “Because it rained we have mud so that too is a blessing”. I thought that was so profound.

Monday morning started off like every workday. We met in the work yard at 6 am were we read a scripture followed by group prayer. Afterwards we headed upstairs for a homemade breakfast and Haitian coffee. While the other 2 volunteers stayed on the compound to make filters, I chose to tag along to make deliveries in the mountainside.

Our first stop was in a small neighborhood right outside Pierre Payan. It was about 7:30am when we made it out there. The air was still crisp and Haitians were well into their mornings. We parked the truck right in front of a well pump and children were gathered around washing their faces and getting their water supply for the day. As we drove off Ryan explained to me how that well had been contaminated with cholera several times. That was a hard pill to swallow.

Well pump

It took over 2 hours to get to our destination on the mountain. It was much cooler up there and people were so friendly. It was Marchè day so everyone was walking up to setup their posts to sell and trade their merchandise. I needed to use the bathroom about half way up and by the time we made it up there, it was an emergency! I was led to a 2-room shack with an outhouse further into the woods. Let’s just say some things are better left untried! As I’m coming out, I was offered a glass of water and I bite to eat which I graciously declined. I was taken aback by their hospitality and kindness for a complete stranger. I thanked them for their generosity and made my way back to the truck.

As the guys were unloading the filters, children began to gather around to see what all the hype was about. For minutes, they all just stood there looking and whispering in each other’s ears. I caught them off guard when I started speaking Creole. They all started to laugh when I asked “Qui l’age ou” How old are you? With big smiles on their faces each stated their number.  A couple of them were teenagers but you couldn’t tell from their small size. They were so curious to get to know me and find out why I was there. I spent the next 20 minutes mostly answering random questions about my family members but managed to give them a quick lesson on how bio-sand filters worked. That was pretty cool.

Haitian Children

Out of everything I was able to witness while in Haiti, my most memorable experience I would have to say was on repair day. It was a humid drive out to a rural, remote community. The homes were very basic and connected to one another by makeshift power lines. Despite the obvious poverty, people were in high spirits. Children were playing football, women were preparing meals and chatting away; it seemed like just another day. People were genuinely happy though they had very little. Some were especially happy when they saw the big white water truck coming down their dirt road too. We couldn’t make it from one house to another without someone flagging us down to take their order, prepared to pay on the spot! It was incredible. News of the filters was getting around and EVERYONE wanted one.

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I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to an older Haitian woman who gloated over her filter.  Overjoyed she says to me, “Depi’m gen filter-a m’pa malad non” Since I got my filter I haven’t gotten sick. That moment confirmed my reasoning for wanting to come to Haiti on a vision trip. I wanted to be a part of a great cause and work along side an organization that was saving lives and making a real difference.

CWH on truckIt’s been a month since I’ve been back home in the states. There hasn’t been one day that I haven’t thought about those kids at the well or the sermon on gratitude and the older woman whose health had improved since owning a bio-sand filter. Clean water is something we all need to survive and thrive and we all deserve to have access to it. Clean Water for Haiti makes that possible and affordable for so many Haitians. Their work is truly life-changing and I am thankful I was able to be a part of such a great project.

~Lyne, August 2013 Vision Trip Guest

For more information about our Vision Trips and how you can be directly involved at Clean Water for Haiti please visit our website at:

www.cleanwaterforhaiti.org

Vision Trips: Why We Like Them

We really enjoy having visitors here at the mission, but we’ve learned a few things over the years about how we need to do those visits so they’re the most effective and most enjoyable for everyone involved.

A lot of organizations host groups, and go through this extensive process of setting up a lot of work projects and things for the teams to do while in country. We deliberately choose to not  do things that way for a few reasons.

First, as a development organization, it’s our goal to do as much here in Haiti, with Haitian labor, and with materials purchased here as possible. The work we do is technical in the sense that our guys spend months working on doing installations the right way, and there are always things we need to be tweaking and watching, whether it’s the mix on the concrete going into the filters so we don’t get cracked and wasted units, or finding out that one of our technicians needs to brush up on his installations and user education a bit to be better at what he does. This stuff is an ongoing process.

While we love to share the ins and outs of how we do what we do every day, it’s really not possible for a visitor to come in on a Saturday, start building filters on Monday and be effectively installing them on Friday. They may understand parts of the process and be able to assist during a delivery day, but they will miss steps.

Another thing that’s vital to what we do is that we believe in having Haitians working with and serving their own people whenever possible. Our program is much more effective when our Haitian staff are the ones going out with the truck to deliver and install filters, or going out on the motorcycles to do follow up. They speak the Creole of the people and pick up nuances in language that a foreigner might miss. They understand culture and know what type of education to be giving to our filter recipients based on what people understand and what they don’t. I might miss that and just do a blanket teaching assuming certain things. We’ve come to learn, too, that every time a foreigner is on the delivery truck for the day it makes work harder for our staff. The focus isn’t on the filters, but rather on the foreigner and the dynamics that come with that. We try to limit those trips to Vision Trip weeks, and occasional times where one of us might need to go along because we have an efficiency problem with our delivery system. The rest of the time the guys do it themselves. And they’re good at what they do!

So, we take a different approach when we have guests at the mission.

We invite them to be as involved in the process as possible. We give them time to work in the work yard with our staff to see the whole process of building the filters. They can be as hands on, or as hands off, as they want. Some visitors like to get right in there and mix concrete and sift sand, while others are happy to sit on a chair in the shade and paint filters all day. The value in the experience is that our guests step back and see how hard our staff work. They see that they are very capable of doing the job. They get a chance to ask questions. They experience the discomfort of not being able to fully communicate and having to stutter through things, which gives them more understanding of what we go through while learning to live here. All of these things help them to better see how they can support the work we do, without feeling like they have to come in and save the day and do it themselves.

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We choose to keep our Vision Trips small for a reason. Limiting them to 6 people means we can spend a lot of time visiting and getting to know our guests. We can sit around our kitchen table after a meal and talk about the things they’re seeing and experiencing, and answer questions. It’s harder to do that with bigger groups. Big groups put the host into management mode where the focus is on moving people from point A to point B and keeping everyone busy.

In smaller groups people have the opportunity to get to know our family and any other volunteers more intimately. This is encouraging to us because we get beyond the surface questions of why  we’re here and we get to talk about things like raising kids in another culture and how we live and work in the same place.

We also get a chance to go out and do things, I think, more easily that we would with a large group. We can have our visitors come with us to do the every day things of life here, like going to get groceries or picking our daughter up from school. You can’t do that with a large group, and choosing a few people means someone else is missing that experience. When large groups come in, the activities tend to be more planned. We like being able to say, “Hey, I have to go to St. Marc to run some errand, anyone want to come?”

With our Vision Trips we also recognize that people are typically using their vacation time from work or school to be with us, so we try to make the experience not only educational, but also restful. We finish our work day at 3 pm, so the rest of our afternoon is personal time on a daily basis. That means our guests get time to swim, read, nap or visit with each other and us. We want our Vision Trips to be a good balance of activity and relaxation.

It’s important to us to also expose our guests to different aspects of Haiti. Haiti isn’t just one thing. It’s isn’t just poverty. We take our visitors to do various things, giving them a wide variety of experiences so they can see for themselves what is really here. Some of those experiences might be challenging, and some might be fun. Some might be work focused while others might be more touristic. But, all of it is Haiti.

We would love for you to join us on a Vision Trip! We still have two trips scheduled for this year:

August 17-24 ~ October 19-26

The cost is $500 per person for the week, and that includes all your in country transportation, food and accommodation in our on site dorms. We meet you at the airport and take care of everything until we drop you off at the end of your visit.

As I said, we cap our groups at 6 people, and do registrations on a first come, first served basis, so if you’re interested you want to get your registration in as soon as possible to hold your place. All Vision Trippers need to be 18 or older (for liability reasons and safety issues). If you have a full group of six, but the above dates don’t work for you please let us know. We’re willing to add dates for FULL groups.

To register, or get more information about Vision Trips contact me at office@cleanwaterforhaiti.org. I’ll send you the registration form and answer any questions you might have.

Can’t come this year, but would be interested in visiting during 2014? Let me know and I can tell you what our dates are for 2014 trips.

~Leslie

And this is what it looks like…

Many, many people over the years have asked us what we do/would do in an emergency. I mean, let’s be honest here. Haiti isn’t exactly the infrastructure capital of, well, anywhere. So, what do you do when you have a medical emergency where bandaids and anti-biotic ointment just won’t cut it? We’ve had lots of plans (a.k.a. possible courses of action) depending on the situation. Last night we got put to the test.

We were just getting settled for a night of sleep when there was a sliding thump from the dorm. At first I thought that it might have been Shane on the roof, moving the hammock. (Shane came to us on Saturday from down the beach. He’s from Indiana and came to Haiti to work with someone else and it fell through last minute, so he’s with us for at least a couple weeks. He had been in a tent on the roof, because that’s the only place we had to put him.) It wasn’t Shane on the roof. A few minutes later Danielle, one of our Vision Trippers, yelled up to Chris that she needed help. She had broken her wrist. She wasn’t all crazy and frantic. In fact she was so calm and almost like she hated to impose. Like, “Hey guys… sorry, but I broke my wrist. I really hate to bug you…”

As she was trying to get up on the top bunk in her room her footing gave way and she fell in an awkward way and landed on her wrist. So not the kind of travel story you want to come home with, especially if your injury involves a cast and you were in the third world. Something like falling down a bank while on a killer hike makes a good story. Falling off the bed, does not.

Our plan of action fell into place quickly. Chris started throwing on his shoes. We got her some pain killers, though I’m sure extra strength Tylenol was really not all that helpful. I started making phone calls to friends at Mission of Hope in Titayen, about 45 minutes away. Left several voicemails to let them know Chris was hitting the road. It was only about 9:30 pm, so not too late thankfully. We got her a bag of ice. We got Peter up and ready to go.

As we met in the driveway to get everyone on the road Sara told us Shane had been blessed with the same flu bug that Noah and I and Sara have all had this week. It came on fast and wasn’t pretty.

Peter, Chris and Danielle hit the road. I called the MOH head of security to let him know Chris was coming and to ask if he could keep trying our friends since we had only been able to get voicemail. He also said to call him back if there were problems getting through the gate that late.

About ten minutes after they left Peter called. The car was giving them problems. As he handed the phone over to Chris they had to pull over because going any further would be a very bad idea. I needed to come and bring them the orange truck. Scratch that. Sara needed to drive the orange truck, and I needed to drive the white truck so we could hand off the orange truck, drive the white truck home and leave the Santa Fe where it sat.

Sara and I quickly grabbed our stuff, and our other Vision Trippers hung out in Sara & Peter’s house to watch their kids (Olivia sleeps like a log once she’s down). We piled in the trucks and headed out the driveway. I was in the lead. It took me three tries and several moments of frustration to get up simply because I was looking for a 4 wheel drive shift, and it turns out it’s just a button on the dash. We had more rain yesterday evening so things were loose and wet. Once I figured that out I was up the driveway, but Sara didn’t have as much luck. The road company has done some work, but with all the rain our driveway now has ditches in it. Our workers had filled them with big rocks, but two days of hard rain and it wasn’t an easy climb. Sara made several very good attempts, but couldn’t quite make it. The ditches kept catching the wheels and throwing her off course. One of our guards, and a worker who lives at a house by the driveway came to help us. Sara asked me to give it a try. It was an intense few minutes, but it worked and after starting way at the bottom and getting a good run at it I was able to get up, but just barely. Sara and I quickly swapped vehicles and started driving. I always feel big and powerful when I drive the white truck, and when I drive it I’m always thankful for my truck driving dad who taught me not to be scared of big vehicles.

On the way there Chris called to check in and see where we were. I suggested they take the white truck and borrow a tow strap from our friends and tow the car back. I was informed that would not happen. If it was moving it would only be on the back of a flat bed. Chris thought it was a driveshaft issue or something big like that.

We made good time and dropped the orange truck off with Chris, Peter and Danielle. They kept going and we came back home. Chris called about an hour later with the news that the team of 6 North American medical people at the clinic could do a partial set but it was bad and Danielle needed to go home where they do finish it properly and she had medical coverage. Out of everything Danielle was most annoyed about having to go home. She so did not want to do that. She was pretty much amazing through the whole thing. I got online at mid-night and reserved a flight home for her. By the time they got her home it was after 1 am. We got all her travel stuff squared away and around 2 am Danielle and I hit the hay.

This morning Danielle got on the first flight to Fort Lauderdale and will land at home later this evening where she’ll get taken right to an emergency room so they can finish fixing her up.

Shane is feeling better. I actually saw him up walking around. He may just live.

The Santa Fe wasn’t stripped this morning when Chris dropped one of our workers off to stay with it. After he dropped Danielle at the airport he called the dealership. We still have warranty, until the end of this month. As in, next week. They had their own tow truck and sent it out to get the car and take it back and Chris was home by 8:30 am. He took the rest of our visitors for a hike up a mountain.

And that, folks, is what we do in an emergency.

We’re so grateful for the people that pitched in last night. We’re grateful for the resources that God has given us and put in our path over the years. I can honestly say that three years ago we would have not handled things so well.

Nutshell

Originally posted on Rollings In Haiti.

We’re busy little bees here…

  • Ron has been here since last Tuesday and we’re enjoying his company and the contribution he’s made to the mission. The sand sorter is working great and frees up 4 guys to do other work that needs to get done, like follow up and education. A good thing.
Melix feeding the sand sorter. It washes and sizes the sand right into the wheelbarrows, and then we dump the water and put the sand in the drying bins, all ready to go for deliveries.
  • We have 3 Vision trippers here and are enjoying them too. Today they went out on deliveries with our workers to Archaie. Just waiting for them to get home so we can eat the Haitian meal Yonese made for us today – Legume bef (a vegetable and beef mix), sos pwa (bean sauce) and rice – YUM!
  • We hired a new supervisor to take over for the employee that quit last week. It’s always a bit of an adjustment when you have new people, and this is the first time we’re introducing someone that will be “at the top” that hasn’t worked up there from within. Pray that everyone will adjust well.
  • We got a call for an appointment with the Minister of Social Affairs tomorrow at 9am concerning our adoption. I’m feeling anxious about it. It was arranged by the friend of the friend who is trying to help us. We have been assured that it will mean good results, but this is Haiti and words like that mean little to me now. Pray that our nerves would be calmed and that there would in fact be good results. I know it might be unrealistic for me to feel this way, but I feel like getting out of IBESR is our big hurdle right now, and if we can do that then maybe the rest of it will move faster. Probably crazy of me to feel that way.
  • Pray for Sara’s parents. They were scheduled to arrive on Saturday, on DELTA, and just found out that Delta hasn’t actually resumed flights yet, just like one of our Vision Trippers found out 48 hours before he was supposed to land. We want Sara’s parents to make their visit in so we’re praying something will come together for them that isn’t a crazy planes, trains and automobiles type plan.

Okay, that’s our nutshell for today. For all you praying types, you know it means a lot to us when you lift us up. Life here is often one bit stress ball.

~Leslie