Friday, March 25, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The "tent cities" are numerous and crowded. North of the city, people have been moved on land that looks like desert. The small plot is now their own, but it appears in the middle of nowhere. And there are no signs of water or of latrines.
The hotel where we stayed last night has only half the building usable. Extra supports hold up the ceiling at the check in area, and as one walks toward the usable rooms, you see the ruined rooms with the roof completely collapsed. Are our rooms safe? We hope so, though we had to sign a waiver that we understand the building was damaged by the earthquake and won't sue if it should collapse and we are hurt!! Ah, well, it is in the hands of the Lord! There were again 2 aftershocks this past week.
Most of the week we were at a "resort" north of PAP and on the water. It was a 4 day workshop on grant writing. Though we were kept busy all day, we did end at about 4:30 and then could spend some time sitting by the water. It was very peaceful and very different from either Jeremie or PAP. And the food was wonderful with a great variety of fruits available at all meals.
I have just been called to check a baby, so I will end for now. Take care. Till next time. Mary Ann
Friday, February 25, 2011
Unpacking boxes from the container is like having Christmas on any day a box is opened! Though the outside might say "hygiene kits", we are never sure what will be included until the box is opened and unpacked. It could be soap, or shampoo, or wash cloths, or.... or... Underwear!
These last 2 weeks, between caring for mothers and infants, I have been unpacking and sorting boxes. In this picture, Bette and I have a little fun with the personal care items sent for the Women at the Center.
We are able to help people in need because of the help - both monetary and donations of items - from people like you.
For instance, today a grandmother came with a 3 month old baby, her grandson. The mother is in the hospital in Port Au Prince, very ill with a terminal illness. Grandmom has nothing to feed the baby and few supplies to care for him. When she left, she had: formula, soap, baby cereal, baby powder, a baby blanket, and some baby clothes. All this came from the materials sent in the last container. And I realize that the "merci", the "thank you so much" she utters is a thank you that goes out to everyone who has helped us with the mission here. And this scene was repeated 4 out of 5 days this week -- each story unique, but all in need.
So, gratefully, I say, "merci" to all who help us in serving our poorest of the poor brothers and sisters.
God bless. Till next time. Mary Ann
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Our preemie returned to the hospital on Monday night. Yesterday noon the mother returns with a note asking for an OXYGEN TANK!! The other volunteer and I went to find out what was happening. The baby looked bad. They had a full tank of oxygen but the top was broken and they couldn’t put a regulator on it without losing the oxygen. The 2 electric oxygen producers that we had given them sat not 5 feet away. But they had no electricity!! So we brought the mother and baby back to the Center. At least there the 24 year old mother had other women to support her and we had electricity to use our oxygen producing machine and would give mother and baby close attention. I knew the baby would probably not make it, but we would give it a try. He weighed only 1.8 kilos, and already his little hands were mottled.
The nurse called me 4 times between 7 PM and 2:30 AM. Each time I went over there, I saw that he was getting worse. He died at 2:30. The mother had fallen asleep and it was my job to awaken her and tell her that her baby had died. Though we had moved her and the baby into the hall, her wailing awakened the other mothers who stood silently by. I removed the bassinet with the baby and one of the women helped her put away the baby clothes.
The mother is from Charlette – a long ways away and no one would be coming for her. Besides, she was running a high blood pressure and needed close following. We kept her as calm as possible through all of this.
We had recently gotten new coffins, including very small ones, and the last container brought us little white dresses which can be used for either baptisms or burials. The Center director made all the arrangements and the baby was buried today. The mother did not want a funeral.
Then at 8 we had inservice with all the staff on how to use the oxygen machine. After, since it was Wednesday and “newborn” day, I went to check on all the newborns. We had 2 premies, each weighing about 2.3 kilos. Our specialist in breast feeding talked with the mothers and make sure both mother and baby were doing OK.
Then today we had two different women come with malnourished infants whose mothers had died. One was 1 month old and didn't even weigh 2 kilos!! Thank God for the formula that arrived in the last container!! She drank it up so fast, I had to stop her before she got sick from it But we were able to give the family some formula to help them through the next weeks.
As I now sit pondering all that has transpired in the last 2 days, I realize that I am very spent, both physically and emotionally. I have seen enough death of the young and the innocent to last me a lifetime. From undressing, and covering a dead baby in the back room of the kwash center with lightening illuminating the glass tiles overhead, to unwrapping and weighing 20 plus new babies in the morning sunlight of the gazebo, all in the course of a few hours, and then dealing with 2 more motherless babies today, sits heavy on the heart. But I am grateful for the small part I can play in bringing hope to these little ones. Tonight, when you go to bed, do say a prayer for these little ones.
Till next time, Mary Ann
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Last night when I left the Center we had one baby. When I returned this noon, there were 4. Between yesterday, late afternoon, and this noon, 3 women went into labor, went to the hospital, delivered healthy babies, and walked back to the center!! When a woman goes into labor, she is taken to the hospital by our ambulance. However, when she returns, she walks back, accompanied by 2 or 3 of the pregnant women, one carrying the baby and the other 1 or 2 carrying her belongings (she must provide even the sheet used for her bed at the hospital/, water gallon, and food. One of these days I will get a picture of this "return procession"! The babies are fine, 2 girls and 1 boy, though the boy is premature and weighs only 1.8 kilos.
So, today, we celebrate new life!
And I have 4 tiny living valentines on which to share my love. Take care. Mary Ann
Saturday, February 12, 2011
We have noticed that since the epidemic hit Jeremie, our number of pregnant women coming for prenatal care has reduced, as is the numbers of mothers with babies. Many are still very fearful of coming in contact with someone with cholera. We are trying to reverse this because now, more than any other time, pregnant women, babies and children need to stay as healthy as possible.
Well, this must be a record -- 2 posts in one day!! Take care. God bless. Mary Ann