Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Folks 2017 visit.

Today the downside of visits occurred, the good-byes.

We enjoyed their stay.

Sorry we did not keep you updated as much on their visit as other years.

In addition to our agricultural trip we enjoyed our family time.

My mom worked with Anna, helping her with schoolwork...reading history, Bible, and literature.

Dad worked with Cory's guys for a couple days down at clinic repairing screens on doors and windows, and replaced a few ripped screens on the guest house.

Dad also repaired the goat house and put on a new roof.

Dad and Mom's big project consisted of making storage containers for under our bed mattress.
Laughing because they feel short...feet not touching the floor.

Dad and the guys made the 3 boxes, while Mom and I varnished, two coats.

The three boxes will travel to the new house packed with lightweight items. Now our mattress sits a bit higher and sleeps great.

The space-wasting box-springs were put in the guest house. With the under-bed storage, we won't need as much dresser or closet space in the new house.

Dad and I potted up some starfruit trees for Cory.

We talked, we laughed, we enjoyed making family memories and just hanging out together...what I miss the most- just normal days as a family.

And on their last full day we celebrated Anna.

Words cannot express what the support of both our families mean to us.

Thank you to all our friends and family who sent birthday wishes to Anna and donated to the Délice project fund.

Now a few days to focus on school, office work, gardens, education and the like before mid-week next week when we head down to missionary-team-meetings.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tree Planting Trip

Earlier this week, we  loaded up the truck with an assortment of trees, plants, and cuttings.

Then we bumped our way two hours east, out to The Children of the Promise Campus where we introduced my folks to friends and made some new friends.

Cory looked over the campus to decide where the different trees could be placed depending on the size of the tree and how much flooding it may need to tolerate.

Wednesday morning we played with some of the children, talked to various house parents/staff about the types of fruits or trees they preferred around the homes, and Cory placed the potted trees/plants around the grounds.

Following lunch, Cory directed the planting and watering of the trees, including: egg fruit, malay apple, mango, mulberry, starfruit, face roselle, chaya, edible hibiscus, aloe, miracle fruit, bilimbi, biriba, black sapote, jack fruit, dragon fruit, and Barbados cherry.

Ma'afala breadfruit in background to the right of the gentleman.
Cory, Dad, and a staff member also made a delivery to a local Pastor of some trees and plants. Because they happened to be leaving the COTP campus at shift change, they also gave a ride to some of the staff going their direction.

The church/school yard had a good size breadfruit that Cory brought a few years ago and people are asking for more to plant.

The photo is a 4 acre field that the pastor bought to plant and help the community. the former owner had planted one of the new breadfruit and a few local fruit trees. It is good to see the new varieties growing well and starting to produce.

Back at COTP we enjoyed our time learning about the staff and ministry.

After a few more chats and planting on Thursday morning we packed up and headed further east to see the Trou de Nord Wesleyan church and drop off the remaining fruit trees.

Since the phase-one dedication that my family attended a couple of years ago, the church building continues with most of the windows containing nice iron work.

Additional buildings in the church yard include the start of a parsonage and completed bathroom. The banana plants and garden on the property look productive.

Although Pastor Rigo could not meet with us, he reported that the church family now includes 200 new families in need of Konsey books.

Brother Eli met with us and told us that between 600-700 people attend weekly services and occasionally the church is full.

Turning the truck back west to head home, we did stop for one more agricultural visit at Helping Haitian Angels.

Parsonage under construction
Cory and the guys planted some trees at their location almost a year ago and this Wednesday received an email about giving some advice about planting a large garden including fruit trees.

So we stopped in to see how the first trees fared and talk a bit about the new plans. Last year's trees suffered during the dry season due to staff leaving but many of the trees were recovering from the past few months of abundant rain.

 Cory will continue to advise by emails and phone calls and hopefully get them some additional trees to bless the children and families.

We enjoyed some hamburgers and hot dogs in Cap Haitian on our ride back home.

We pray that the trees and plants will grow big and strong and be a blessing to many people as they produce fruit, and seeds for planting.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Délice Pre-build Plans.

View of Wesleyan land next to the French coffee plantation ruins. The land extends to the left and right
"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Grederick Buechner

In many ways this encapsulates our call to missions, to Haiti, and now our call to Délice.

Our excitement of the new ministry stems from seeing how well our passions of growing fruits and plants; teaching health concepts; and sharing the Lord's love by participating in the lives of our neighbors fit some of the needs of the Délice area.

Hope for some relief from medical problems motivates folks in the Délice area to walk for a few hours up and down mountain paths to stand in line for hours to be seen by visiting medical personnel. [A visiting medical team this week ran clinics for 10 hours a day seeing 300-400+ patients daily]

Corn & Bean field, corn stalks still standing weeks after harvest, 7 weeks after Hurricane Matthew.
Building relationships with the people by living among them and being present for emergencies should lead in time to them trusting our advice about how to prevent illnesses and promote good health.

By sharing new trees/plants, and agricultural techniques we can improve the food security and household incomes, both of these leading to more stability and improved quality of life.

Using our knowledge of Haiti in general, the very little we know about the area, and prayers for wisdom, we tried to put on paper our goals, priorities, and general objectives [knowing we will continually reevaluate and adjust as needed].

Nearby view of Artibonite Valley
The first and biggest priority as we see it is to work to eradicate the widespread problem of protein malnutrition: by educating about and introducing new crops, vegetables, fruit trees - serving to both diversify income and nutrition; teaching about proper diets for children, using a balanced mix of the local corn, beans and livestock; healthcare, and knowledge of healthy living practices as well as home remedies.

Before we can begin to tackle malnutrition we need to be able to live and work in the area. Unlike our first two locations on established mission compounds, the land currently owned by the church consists of dirt, rocks, scrub bushes, used as pasture with areas planted seasonally to corn and beans.

"Due to the remote location and hours spent to arrive, the Delice Station will also include missionary housing", as noted on the description of the Delice station and Farm development project

So we need to build a house to find funds and people to help/build a house for us. Not only do we need help to build a house but a house to help us live economically/efficiently 'off-grid': water, electric, mold control, and all that comes from living in a very remote and hard to get to area. Even our Haitian pastors and friends, when hearing where the Lord is sending us remark that we will be like the 'pioneering missionaries' of long ago.
Nearby mission: Together We Can - Haiti
Currently we're in the pre-build phase.
  • Fundraising started, on-going
  • Researching: house ideas/plans, plants/trees that will grow at that altitude; medical supplies, information about the area
  • Sharing the vision with supporters and interested people: building a prayer team
  • Working on defining how things will work with the Wesleyan Haitian Church & Global Partners
  • Talking with leadership here about how to transition so that the roles we currently fulfill can be handed over well and without problems
  • Planning a trip back to Délice to see if there is a location on the current property for the house, learn more about the area, take pictures, and pray over the land.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Week between 'teams'

Sparkly shoe strings + a fake rose in the hair...but smiling because they won!
Last week at this time we were heading home after the medical clinics. Tomorrow we will be running errands in Cap Haitian before heading to the airport to pick up my folks.

In between we: worked on school, visited the gardens, weeded, cleaned, worked on lessons, completed office work, read books, wrote thank-you notes, praticed volleyball, experimented with cooking,  communicated by e-mails and instant-message on Facebook, attended church, and lived life.

This week's winner of the most productive fruit tree is the Malay apple.

So some experimenting occurred.

Winners include: warm oatmeal malay apple crisp dessert with milk, malay apple sauce, and baked oatmeal with malay apples.

Second place goes to Malay apple chutney, mashed peach palm fruit and pickled palm heart.

Losers: pickled Malay apple and pickled mix of Malay apple and palm heart - using the same recipe as pickled beets.

The best Malay apples were saved to share with neighbors and friends. The skin is very tender so they are easily damaged by bugs, birds and rodents.

Baby goat is now tied up as her adventurous, ever expanding, curious appetite lead her to start eating the flowers and nibbling fruit trees.

The last few bunches of peach palm are ripening so it will be at least four months until the next harvest. A few trees look fat where blooms could emerge any time now.

The gardens are growing well, days are sunny now and a few light rains keep the area well watered.
Steamed Malay apple

Stovetop baked oatmeal with Malay apple

February fruits, first row left to right: Jujube (bird ate one to the pit) loquat,
'Ross' canister/egg fruit, cupusau seed and jam. 2nd row: Biriba, sapodilla,
3rd row: Malay apple, peach palm. Birds are eating the mulberries.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A typical medical team day.

Not sure what folks picture when they hear we help with the Holy Cross Lutheran
Check in.
 medical teams so I though today I would walk you through a typical day.

Following breakfast at the hotel in Cap Haitian we load up into two trucks and head out to the day's clinic location. For three of the locations outside of town we drive for 1-2 hours to the local Lutheran church.

Then we set up. In addition to one location for checking in the people, three locations are chosen and arranged to see patients and one pharmacy site. This trip there was also a location for testing for reading glasses.

School benches and a few chairs make up the locations. At the pharmacy the patients can sit to wait for their medications, with the desk part of the bench used as a shelf. A few benches are used for pharmacy shelves- generally the desks are placed in an 'L' shape with the pharmacy folks working inside the 'L'.
Left consultation area

Each consultation location includes: a thermometer, a box of gloves, hand sanitizer, clipboard, and the consulter's backpack. While I don't need a translator the others have one extra chair for their helper.

When things are being set up in the pharmacy I generally start talking to the waiting crowd as education is really the biggest goal of the clinic. Most locations the pastor then prays or sings and prays with the waiting patients to start the day as well.

 When everything is in place, Cory takes my place and continues with general education and some preventative medicine and home remedies for common problems.

Once that is done, if he's not helping somewhere else, he talks one-on-one with my patients after I've seen them, sharing advice about their specific problems so that I can move on to the next waiting patient.

Eye testing
Some time around 1 o'clock or so the team will start taking a bit of a lunch break. We do not all go at once as generally a small private area is used at each location. Lunch generally consists of tuna or peanut butter on crackers or bread, granola bars, and a drink. Then back to work.

We try to limit the patients to about 100 a day depending on the travel time..and a few days saw more than that.

Patients also received a gift of soap, toothbrush, or toothpaste, and at two locations Konsey books. Reading glasses were also given the first few days until supplies ran out.

Black sapote tree planted a few years ago at the Lutheran farm.
Breadfruit and starfruit are producing.
Then we pack up, load the trucks and bounce our way back to the hotel. Generally on the first night or so we sort supplies into boxes for the various days. Then each night the supplies adjusted, if needed for the next day.

Great to hear some folks talking about how the advice from past clinics have improved their health.