Category Archives: Haiti

Home from Haiti

Our group got up at 5am on Saturday morning, traveled all day long and pulled into town around midnight. I’ve sorted through all the photos I took while we were there and will be adding them to Facebook later today. I hope to do a few blog posts featuring the pictures as well. So many of the images have stories that go along with them that I want to share.

This trip was very different than our trip last year. Our plans changed just days before we left. So trusting God to lead the way was pivotal for our group. Now that we are home, trusting God in what the next steps in our journey should be is our focus.

Thank you to everyone who supported our family through prayer and financial contributions. We appreciate you all so much! I hope you’ll enjoy seeing some of my favorite images from our time in Haiti last week. The video is long but I felt like I could have made it even longer and still not have included everything I wanted to. So forgive me for the length and be sure to check out my personal Facebook page in the next day or so for all of the images.

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On Thursday, my little Tea Pot made it just a couple hours at school before I got a call to pick her up. Her head was hurting enough that she knew she had to take some medicine. So she told her teacher she needed to go to the office. The problem is, that Teagan is a Stewart. Which means that if she’s sorta kinda upset at all, anyone who shows her any sympathy will end up watching her fall apart.

She was on her way to the office when she ran into Tarissa. Sweet Tarissa was just 12 when she became our babysitter. At that time we just had Madi and Eli and they were only about 2 and 3 years old, so they spent Sunday mornings in the nursery. One Sunday when Tarissa was working in the nursery, we went to pick them up after service and she said, “If you EVER need a baby sitter please call ME.” So we did. And the kids all know her and love her and she was able to be our main sitter for years before moving away for a bit. Now she is back in town and is a teacher’s assistant at the little girls school.

So as I was saying, she was on the way to the office when she ran into Tarissa. And then as soon as she saw her, she started crying. Bless her heart. I got a call and by the time I got there she was in a dark quiet room by herself just laying there weeping. Totally stinks.

She had an MRI scheduled for Friday but since I had shared on Facebook (oh social media how I love thee) that she was home, I got a call from the tech (who I happen to know) saying to bring her on in. She had a lot of cancellations that day and made room for my Tea Pot. Long story short, the MRI was normal and we still don’t know what is causing her pain so we are being referred to a pediatric neurologist.

This all got me thinking though. As I sat there holding her sweet little hand while she was having her MRI and was scared to death, I thought about how much this must be costing us. And it was at that point, and that point only, that I realized I hadn’t even given one single thought to the cost of her care over the last few weeks. Why? Because she was sick and she needed it. And no matter the cost, we were prepared to figure out the problem and fix it.

When I was in Haiti last April, I saw so many children who didn’t have that. Children who would fall down and get a boo-boo and have no Mommy to hug them. No one to kiss away the pain. I started thinking about how if one of those sweet orphans had a headache like my Teagan then they would just have to deal with it. There is no Mom who is actively looking for answers and ordering medical tests without any regard to the cost.

That first day in Haiti, after we finally got to our “Taj Mahal”, we loaded up in the tap tap for a tour of the city. After driving around for a bit, we visited an orphanage called Hope Village. There is a main building there that houses lots of sweet children. It’s a really nice facility where the children are learning and eating and playing. Our group enjoyed playing with and loving on the children for an hour or so.

Then we walked to another building on the Hope Village complex. Seeing the children in this building was much harder on us. While it was again clean and seemingly well staffed, the children in this branch of the orphanage were all sick. Orphaned because they had medical conditions that their families couldn’t provide for. We heard story after story of children who had a fever or other symptom and because their family couldn’t afford medical help, the symptoms took over and they were never the same. If only those parents had the opportunity that I have had these last few weeks. The opportunity to take their children to the doctor when they realized that they weren’t getting better. The opportunity to seek medical treatment ou to prevent further medical issues.

Please pray for these sweet children and the countless others that are just like them. Not only in Haiti but all over the world. Even here in America. I don’t know that we will be able to visit Hope Village again while we are in Haiti again. But these are some of the faces that I have been, and will continue to pray for. I’d love for you to join with me and pray for them!

Gah. Sweet girl!

This is Alan. Kids LOVE him. Love!

These photos are both by my friend Jen. I’m so thankful that she was there. As someone who is generally behind the camera it was awesome to have a friend who was being sure to get shots with me IN them. This little guy was a sweetheart!

That super smiley guy on the left is Gary. He is one of the GCOM guys that helped us with our trip.

This little sweetie cried a lot. A. Lot. She was handed off to me and I just loved on her and sang to her and she was happy. And she continued to whimper, but she wasn’t crying like she was before. Bless her little heart. She kept coughing a ton. And when she was coughing, she would cough up some sort of brown mucous. I told my friend Alan that I wanted to pack her up and take her home to Stillwater to see a doctor. There was obviously a medical issue going on with her. I pray for this sweetie a lot.

These sweet children just wanted to have some attention and love.

My friend Stu loving and praying for a new friend.

A group shot as we pulled away. Goodbye sweet kiddos. I promise not to forget you!

They do have a wonderful property. As we drove off, I watched as the children ran to an area where they could watch us as we decended the “driveway”. I sure do hope that I will be able to go back to Hope Village again someday!

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Teagan, Tap Tap’s, and Tossing & Turning

My sweet Teagan is sick. It started the end of January. The 30th to be exact. She complained that morning that her head hurt. I felt her head and I didn’t think she had a fever so I sent her to school. She complained after school and the next morning but I sent her to school again. By that afternoon when she got home I knew she was feeling really cruddy so I kept her home from choir. She stayed home the next 3 days and did nothing but lay in my bed complaining about her head.

Saturday evening we went to the Concert With A Conscience and within an hour of being there she was in tears because it hurt so bad. Sunday we went to church and in the lobby afterwards she was crying again. I took her to urgent care on Monday where they tested for flu (negative), strep (negative) and did a CBC. Her blood work showed that she probably had a virus. But she was the same all week. Low grade fever (99-99.5) and a headache, so I took her to her pediatrician on Friday. She did a mono test (negative) and a test to see if she had the same cold/crud that Eli and I had (negative). By Sunday the spunky Teagan was starting to come back and after Monday’s snow day she returned to school on Tuesday.

That was last week and she did pretty good most of the week but then on Saturday, after watching Sadie’s dance competition all day she ended up in tears at dinner because of the pain. In an effort to make it feel better she was holding her drink on her head and spilled it all over herself. Bless her heart. Sunday she was decent, but then Monday night it got so bad that I considered taking her to the emergency room. That’s the night that she had yet another break down because of the pain but for the first time she said that it was a “10″. Meaning, on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being just an itty bitty amount of pain and 10 being the absolute worst pain you could ever imagine. Through tears she whimpered to me, “Why does Jesus want my head to hurt?” I talked, we prayed and thankfully she fell asleep.

She made it through yesterday and this morning we went back to the doctor. More blood draws and a migraine pill were on today’s agenda. I’d heard, and the Dr. today confirmed, that if you take a migraine medication and your headache doesn’t go away then it wasn’t a migraine. Well, it didn’t help her. So migraine is out. The blood work they did has all come back normal so far. I’m just waiting for the Dr to call with results on the sed rate but I’m assuming that will be normal.

So, right now we are still trying to figure out what is causing this. We got a prescription of Lortab for her to take but she obviously can’t take it and function at school so that stinks. We’ll try it this evening and see how it works. Then she is scheduled for an MRI Friday afternoon. I’m just praying for some answers and relief for my sweet girl. She’s just pitiful.

In other news, I tossed and turned last night. As in: All. Night. Long. If you know me then you know I’m a sleeper. I can generally fall asleep within just a few minutes, and if you don’t bother me I can stay asleep as long as possible before I realize it’s nearly lunch time and I should probably get up. If you do bother me and wake me up, then I’m generally able to fall right back to sleep. So when I got in bed and tossed and turned trying to fall asleep it was odd. I prayed. I went over lists in my head. I prayed some more. And at some point I would fall asleep only to wake up again within an hour. Often when that happens I get to thinking that someone needs my prayers. So every time I woke up I would pray for the first person who popped into my head. My cousin Taylor who is 41 weeks pregnant. My friend Danyelle. My husband (who happened to be tossing and turning just as much as me!). All the orphans I know and the ones that I don’t.

By about 5:00 Brad was already up and awake because he obviously couldn’t sleep. Shortly after 5:30 I gave up myself when it was obvious there was no way I would be able to sleep anymore. I’m curious though. Do you ever think that you wake up for a reason on nights like those? I do. So when it happens I generally talk to God about whatever is immediately on my heart. Sometimes I’ll wake up and feel mad that I can’t get back to sleep and then suddenly just think “Oh! God wants to chat!” So I’m curious about today. I wonder if someday I’ll look back on 2/22/12 and know why last night was so restless for both Brad and me.

And now, ladies and gentlemen….for your Haiti lesson today I give you…the tap tap.

It’s a car.

No, wait. It’s a truck.

There are no seat belts, air conditioning or padded seats. After a week of riding one down insane Haitian roads it is quite possible to come away with a “tap tap tattoo”. That’s what I did. A metal bar at the same spot on my back bouncing around all week long left a pretty rad bruise. Wish I’d gotten a pic of that!

And now for a lesson in what you can do on, in and around the tap tap.

You can stand or even ride on top of a tap tap.

You can hang off the back of the tap tap.

Giggle in the tap tap.

Take a nap on a tap tap (watch out for the dust!). Reach out and touch the car next to you from the tap tap.

Cram a bunch of people in the tap tap.

Use the tap tap for shade.

Take pictures of other tap taps.

Wait until you are driving away and throw goodies from the tap tap to those in need. (Sadly, all we had left at the time to throw to this sweet girl was a pencil.)

So see, lots of fun on the tap tap. On the bumpy road. In the crazy traffic.

And when you are beside yourself, because you are going home and don’t know when you’ll be able to come back again, you can have a party on the tap tap and find joy.

(We had left the orphanage at Thomazeau and traveled to another orphanage for a bit. This was on our way back to our house for our last night in Haiti. Towards the end of the video, when you hear us scream…we are passing our friends in Thomazeau one last time.)


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