1-31-10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children.


Our young 105 year old lady
105-year-old young lady
Notes on the Ground in Haiti. Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek, shares events of the day
By 8:00 AM I was feverishly collecting more information to be added to the “pile” that is really a small mountain!  Manna Global made contact with us and after many phone calls and logistics juggling, we sent Gusman with a truck driver to pick up what they had to share with us.
Tim went into Thomazeau again and scarfed up as much food supply as possible.  In the meantime, the Healing Hands International scouting team came by and we took them over to the orphanage to meet with Jeantyrard.  It looks like JT will get some aid for the churches from them. Yea!
I left the orphanage and went to the UN headquarters near the airport where I met with someone from Counterpart International, an organization that is helping to coordinate some shipments through HFHC from a church in Arkansas. We will hopefully have some relief goods to distribute from that in about 2-3 weeks (or so). I also got some good information on logistics meetings at the UN. I’ll start attending some of those on Friday morning, hopefully.
As I was driving home, I was thinking about the little lady who came to the clinic we held in Thomazeau on Sunday. She was one of those bright spots in these last 2 weeks of darkness. She came in, sat down, and announced that she was 105 years old. She then proceeded to tell us which president came into office when she was 3 months old. She was a cute little toothless thing! Steve came over and took her picture. He showed her the picture and she said, “Now there’s a really young lady!” Then my sister, Laura came and snapped a quick, candid shot. The lady made Laura come back and do it over because she was not properly posed for the first shot. She was so funny! She had fallen on her face and chest trying to run out of her house during the quake. Fortunately she was not seriously injured. I think she was the most enjoyable patient we had – at least for that day!
This morning I was ready to “hang it up”. It just seemed like nothing was happening and that people were all working on their own – it seemed like everyone was wanting to work on their own. I was ready to just go home and be a grandmother if I couldn’t be doing something here to make a difference in all this devastation. Then God started showing me some small steps to take. And that is probably my bigger problem sometimes – I want to see the big picture, how all these pieces are going to fit together in the long-run, when all God wants me to do is say, “Give me today, my daily bread”.
So each day, we’ll just keep looking for the daily bread to feed as many as we can and keep making the contacts and working on the logistics of the things to come in a few weeks.  In the meantime we are trying to get our “ducks in a row” to be ready when the “big one” comes in. It is all in God’s hands and His timing. Too often He has to remind me of that.
We just had another fairly significant shock. This is keeping people so on edge. Pray for the population in general and the believers specifically to be calm in God’s arms and able to rest even in the dire conditions in which they are living. Please pray for the massive amounts of relief that are coming in daily to get into the hands of the people who truly need it, that people would receive the distributions calmly and orderly and everyone could find help.
Pray for Sonia and Jean as they care for the children; for Jeantyrard, Jean Baptiste and the team of volunteers who help HFHC; for Pacius who is working so hard in Gonaives to help the refugees there.
And for so many others who are coordinating, collecting and delivering and the medical people all over the city trying to care for the many injured.  In case you did not hear – a man was pulled from the rubble yesterday – ALIVE! Amazing! Pray for more miracles of every variety!
God Bless,
Debbie
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1-28-10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children


Notes on the Ground in Haiti.  Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek, shares events of the day
I left early this morning to make the connection I missed last night. It did not pan out, so I was glad I didn’t break my neck getting to it last night.  I went on to the orphanage to check on them and deliver some fairly useless tents. These tents were snatched up by David and Ben last week when they were here with us. The problem is that they were for Iran. They are “desert tents”. What that means in short, is that they are totally transparent and not water-proof. My sister described it best: “You could have a nice picnic in them”. But really, folks can sleep in them at night and have some relief from the bugs!
Gusman, my almost constant companion now, and I went to Jeantyrard’s to deliver some food for the church members and other folks who come to him for help. Jeantyrard looks good. He is taking his meds like he should and seems to be in pretty good spirits. It appears he was meeting with some of his church leadership and it was good to see them, some of whom I had not yet seen.  I’ve seen Jean Baptiste every day. He was waning there for a bit, but I think he’s doing okay now. He had a throat infection and Dr. Dave gave him an injection a couple days ago. He said he’s feeling better. No one should worry – I am making sure that Jeantyrard and Jean Baptiste are getting what they need for themselves and their families.
hear that the government has said that the country, except for Port-au-Prince, should go ahead with school. The PAP area should start in March and if necessary meet under a tent (tarp). We will wait a little before making an assessment of the situation of school!
I got home at 3 PM today and felt very guilty for being here. But I was falling asleep at the wheel in PAP traffic so decided to come home. I am now falling asleep again, so will end this. PLEASE, don’t forget the people of Haiti in your prayers.
God bless,
Debbie
JT and Mike Calvert
Jeantyrard Elmera with a member of our Board of Directors, Mike Calvert
Debbie with Jean Baptiste
Jean Baptiste with Debbie

1-27-10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children


Notes on the Ground in Haiti.  Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek and members of the medcial team share events of the day
It was a long and short week.  Long, in suffering. Short, in that it seems like the medical team came and went so fast.
The team was a good diversion to just being overwhelmed 24/7. We were and still are faced with just unbelievable levels of suffering and loss, but they helped us to laugh some. Having Laura, my sister here as a support, not only to the team, but to us personally was an added blessing.
I really don’t know the numbers of people who were treated over the week, but it was significant to each individual who received some level of care. The team did a great job of using their medical skills and love, both of which God blessed them with.
Today we got to the airport, got them checked in and waited. I prolonged the good-byes by hanging out until they were ready to get on the plane. While standing there I was blessed to see two old friends – Roberta and David Dirrim. It was good to see them even though it was a brief little visit.
I left the group and went to the orphanage to check on how they are all holding up. All the kids are still healthy and Sonia and Jean seem to be holding up okay.
Gusman went with me and we went to visit another orphanage in La Plaine, on the outskirts of Cite Soleil. A Church of Christ minister, Dieugrande Jean, started this orphanage in his own home with his wife a few years ago. I had met him back in May and was impressed with what he’s done. He has 50 children in the orphanage and another 100 or so that he feeds as often as he can. He has 60 children in his school.
The house that they lived in was a two-story structure. The house split in two and half of it fell. The half that fell collapsed into the church building. Dieugrande had been building some school classrooms. There was significant damage to the structure. He will probably have to start all over again. Dieugrande sent his wife and child to relatives in the province. He is taking care of the children, with the help of some of his staff.
A couple of days ago we (HFHC) gave Dieugrande a little supply of food for the children. When we arrived (on short advance notice) the kids were just getting fed. They were all sitting quietly waiting on each one to be served before beginning to eat. When all had been served, they sang a song and prayed. They thanked Hope for Haiti’s Children for the food that was given for them.

Gusman and I then headed to Carrefour to pick up some PuR water purification packets. After wandering all through Carrefour, we finally found the place. I had been told that we would be given 10 cases. The man in charge asked, “didn’t we want more”? He filled the back end of the Land Cruiser with cases of PuR and also some ORS. He then offered us a portable water filter system for the orphanage and said they would come install it.
The more I am out and about and the more devastation and suffering I see, the more overwhelming this can become. I find myself constantly “talking myself down”, trying to talk to God about it, but not even knowing what to say. Sometimes I think I’m angry at God, but I don’t want to be. But at the same time, I can’t comprehend the why behind all of this. I know it is not for me to know all the “why” in this, but it is so hard to see this level of suffering and not just scream out “WHY!!!??”
There are so many “tent” cities all over PAP and the outskirts. People are just on top of each other. Then besides those camps there are whole streets that are blocked off because of the numbers of people living on the streets. As we went through one area yesterday, a man helped direct us to pass through, and then said, “Please, we have not gotten any help in the area. We have no food, no water, no medicine – please help us”. We see hand-written signs everywhere we go – “Please help – we need food, water, necessities” – and also written in Spanish, as many of the UN troops are Hispanic.
I missed making some connections for getting some aid, which was disappointing, but God is in control of that too.
God Bless you all!
Debbie
Two story building collapsed
Living Quarters at the La Plaine Orphanage
The top story fell into the church building
Ladies cooking for the children
Women helping to make food for the children
Church Building - one house collapsed into the back
The two story building fell onto the church building; most churches are also used as school buildings during the week
Children under a shelter of sheets and tents
Children find shelter under sheets
Children eating
The children waited until everyone was served, sang, prayed and then thanked HFHC for the food that was given to them
Inside the church building
Inside the church building — at the far end you can see parts of the other building

1-24-10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children


Notes on the Ground in Haiti.  Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek and members of the medcial team share events of the day
Tonight each of the team members who wish will add a short section in the update about the day, their thoughts, observations, etc.
Tomorrow we will work in Thomazeau at a still being determined location. We will have a worship time here at the house and then set up clinic around 12:00. There are many in Thomazeau who have come from PAP to stay with relatives or friends, and we also will just reach out to our neighbors.
A follow-up to yesterday: We have a baby girl! Wisla, the young lady who came to the clinic late in the afternoon gave birth to her first daughter shortly after we left last night. Steve and I went to the hospital to check on her. I was wondering what her attitude would be like, if she would have not bonded with the baby, if Wisla would even still be there, or would she have abandoned the baby. What a proud, happy mommy we found! She was so happy to see us too. Please pray for Wisla – she will have to leave the “hospital” probably by tomorrow. She has no home to go to.
Okay – now for the others to have a turn:
I have never seen so many gaping, deep wounds… We did the best we could in giving good dressings and antibiotics hoping no infection will come.   One boy had 3 crushed fingers today that I treated.   I cleaned his fingers as carefully as I could as he cried from the pain and dressed his fingers with as soft a dressing as I could find… he was my hero.  One little girl was the only survivor in her house and had to be pulled out; she had a deep wound on her leg.  I hugged her and told her she was very brave and strong. I have cleaned wounds and placed dressings through blurry eyes…. It is heart wrenching….I thank God for allowing me to come and help in some way.
Debra Hardy
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be here in Haiti helping these amazing people.    They have forever changed my life, and I thank them and God for this experience.   Our translators have been such phenomenal, wonderful men and women.
Karen
I have seen so many people in the last four days that are hurting not only physically but emotionally.  They complain of headaches and flu, but they also complain of their “heart hurting” and say that they cannot sleep.  These same people are sleeping on the street.  It makes you just want to wrap your arms around them and tell them it’s going to be okay – even though you can’t promise that to them.  It breaks my heart, but these people are so resilient and so full of love – thank you God for allowing me to be here to experience this.
Gina McMahon
Well, today I stayed home while the team went into town to set up the clinic.  It is so beautiful here at Tim and Debbie’s house you could easily forget about the suffering in the country.  But it’s here…and it’s very real.  What a blessing it was to be able to welcome the team home tonight and hear their stories of caring for the injured, loving them, and praying with them.   They were all so full of joy and great attitudes when they got here it really surprised me, considering all they have to do in a day.  I believe THEY are all getting the blessing!  And it was great to hear of Wisla’s successful delivery of her beautiful baby girl.  Steve had some pictures and she is truly a proud mother!  Hello to Brian, Liz, Brian, Emily, Grant, Naomi and William.  I miss you all and will see you soon.  Tell all hello for me!
Laura

I think everyone is tired, but extremely grateful to be here to do what seems like such small things in the big, huge picture here – but none of it is small. Each person who has been touched, had a wound cleaned, a bed to give birth in, a bit of medicine or food – it was large to them. We’re going to miss having this team when they leave on Monday morning.
I ask all of you to please not forget what has happened and IS HAPPENING in Haiti. Please be in this for Haiti for the long haul – and it will be a long, hard haul.
God bless you all! Debbie

1-23-10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children


Notes on the Ground in Haiti. Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek, shares events of the day
I’m going to start at the (almost) end of the day from yesterday (Friday).
Try to imagine having just lived through a major earthquake and having everything you knew and owned destroyed before your very eyes in less than 35 seconds. Now you are living in the streets with 10’s  of thousands of other people in the same situation as you, with no food, water, shelter, no relief in sight. You are also almost nine months pregnant and go into labor, in the street. Your mother died in the earthquake; you don’t know where your father is. All your family is gone. You are 17 years old.  Can you even begin to imagine this scenario?? No one who has not lived it can get a grasp of this.  But this is one of the last cases we dealt with yesterday afternoon.
Late in the day we found out about a refugee camp not too far from where we had been working all morning. Steve and Gusman had carried an injured woman back to where she was staying after she had hobbled in and been treated. They found this refugee camp with many, many injured people who either had not yet had treatment or had filthy days old dressings on unhealed wounds. They each picked someone up and brought these people for treatment.
One was a little girl about 8 years old (looked 5) whose little foot was split wide open and swollen several times its normal size. She was so brave. She sat and had that wound scrubbed out, had it bandaged and got a shot. She only winced – never cried out loud. She smiled when Debra gave her one of the pictures that the children from their church had colored to bring to give to children in Haiti affected by this disaster.
Another little girl had her entire forehead split open. She just kept screaming “Jesus, Jesus” or “Mama” over and over while they were cleaning and dressing her wounds. I was holding her while Debra and Chris worked with her. I just kept telling her to keep calling to Jesus, that He was there with her and would not leave her.  That’s what I pray over and over as I see these people suffering such great pain and having no resources for comfort from this immense suffering – that they will really feel Jesus’ presence and really know that He is there and that He is their hope and that He will provide day by day, moment by moment.
Our team worked diligently yesterday to help many. There are bright spots in all this suffering. One cute little old lady came to the clinic. She did not appear to have any injuries and we were asking that only people with injuries ask to be seen. But these old folks so often have no one to really help them. She said she had asthma. Michael checked her and found she really was having difficulty getting enough air. He gave her a pump from the inhaler and her face just lit up and she kept thanking him over and over. He told her to take another hit and you could just see each time that she was getting air and the look on her face, the smile was worth everything. She was the most grateful person we have seen all week.
So then Gusman came and said that there was a girl in labor. I told him to bring her on in and we’d take a look. She was indeed in labor with contractions coming about every 5 minutes. Within just 15-20 minutes she was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart. I asked Jean Bap about a hospital – is there anything open?? He said they heard of one not far from the airport, but that if an American didn’t take her in they might not accept her.  After much discussion and a couple of checks on Wisla, we decided to transport to the hospital. We arrived and it was closed down – chunks of wall missing in the structure. The security people there told us that there was a private hospital down the road. The Haitian nurse who had gone with us said they wouldn’t take her since it was a private hospital. I said, well, we’re going and we’ll see.
The folks there were great. I found the lady in charge, told her I had a 17 year old getting ready to have a baby in my truck and she said, “Bring her in, we’ll take care of her”.  The Haitian nurse, Dr. Dave, Gina, Debra and I went in to help situate her. The man who had brought her to us, a friend, also went along. He said he could find a family member to come be with her. He found the mother of the father of the baby to come be with Wisla.  After Debra started an IV on her and we spent about an hour or so making sure she’d hopefully get the attention needed, we left for home.
After dinner, Bobby from the Thomazo orphanage came saying that the baby we had helped the previous evening was running a 105 fever. Tim took Michael and Chris over to check. They gave more fever reducer and hydration. We’ll check in the morning on him.
Well, I have run out of time – to much to say and too little time.
God bless you all.  Debbie

1-22-10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children


Notes on the Ground in Haiti.   Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek, shares events of the day
Good morning –
I’m sorry for no update last night. I know some of you may have seen a comment or two posted on Facebook by team members.
The team is well. The clinic saw more injuries yesterday than the day before. Some had had some level of initial dressing, but many also had not been treated yet.
I was ready to do the update last night, when a man (Bobby) from Thomazeau who operates a small orphanage came to the gate asking if we could come with one of the doctors to look at their 1-month old baby who was running fever and had not eaten all day.
Chris, Michael, Steve and I went to check on the baby. Michael and Chris examined the baby while Steve and I interacted with the children. When they were finished with the exam, Michael asked if we could pray for the baby. Bobby told the other children that we were going to pray and all of them, every one of them under age 9 dropped to their knees to pray. It was a humbling sight.
The baby was given Tylenol and antibiotic. She will probably be okay.
This morning we are going up to Delmas 18 to set up at the home of Pierre Andre, who is Jeantyrard’s oldest brother. His home is standing, but compromised. He has many people living in his yard and is trying to care for as many as possible. We were asked to come help the injured there. This will likely be the team’s roughest day so far. Please lift them up in prayer as we come to mind throughout the day.
Life is getting increasingly difficult for people here. Many are seeing no aid – have not eaten or had water in several days. People are now beginning to die from lack of these basic necessities.
I know word is starting to get around about orphans being evacuated out. In anticipation of questions, our children in Cazeau Orphanage do not meet the criteria for evacuation.  The children are fine. Sonia seems to be growing a little weary – please pray for renewed strength for her each day and good health.
Jeantyrard is under tremendous pressure to help church members. Please pray for his health as he has some health issues already (not new, but ongoing medical issues).
Pray for relief goods to get to the people most in need of them; pray for order in the distribution areas so that the relief can be delivered.
Pray for the camps being set up outside the city to be readied in record time and that people can be moved into them and receive care immediately.
God bless you all in your prayer and all other efforts of support in this time of tragedy. Debbie

My New BFF = 2010 Ford Fusion Sport


Last week I came back to this blog, saying there were some things that happened in December which kept me from blogging.  Some good things, and I’ll be writing about that soon.  One thing that was not so great was this: 


December 14. We were on our way to Little J’s first band concert, on the tollway at 6:00 pm. There had been slow rain that day so some slickness.  Traffic was slow, and then finally, a break.

Everyone picked up speed, but we were following at a safe distance from the Ford Edge in front of us.  The Edge started slowing down, we started slowing down…the girl driving the Rav4 behind us did not slow down.

There was a carnival to the right of the tollway, and she said she just looked over for a few seconds and that’s when it all happened.  She hit us and pushed us into the Edge

We were in my 2006 Ford Fusion that I loved!  I had always bought neutral colored, basic cars, but soon after I turned 50 I bought a red car.  Well, Ford called it Merlot, but whatever the color, it was the most comfortable, fancy car I had ever owned.  The Edge and Rav4 were both higher than my Fusion, so we didn’t hit bumper to bumper.  The Rav4 pushed in my trunk and the Edge pushed in the hood and inner workings of my car.  Everyone was ok, some stiffness and soreness the next day, but the Fusion was totaled.

The girl (I say girl because she looked to be in her 20’s) took full blame for the wreck and her insurer, State Farm, was easy to work with.  I got a rental car for the holidays so we were able to go to my brother’s for Christmas. I got the payment I wanted for my totaled Fusion and then we were a one car family for about 3 weeks, which is not impossible but not easy, in Houston.  My brother just happens to be a car salesman – a good one.  He works for Sewell Ford in Odessa.  Sewell is a long-time Ford dealer and continues to be strong even in this economy.  Check ‘em out if you are in West Texas and need a vehicle.  And go here to see what they did for their company Christmas party.  ANY-way, Brother recommended the 2006 Fusion to me (when I turned 50) and didn’t steer me wrong on that car.  Steer. me. wrong. Get it??!!  I looked at cars while I was there for Christmas, then flew to Odessa this past weekend and picked up this beauty:

Introducing my new best friend, the 2010 Ford Fusion Sport.

Sangria Red Metallic

comfortable bucket seats

The 2010 Fusion is Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. Here are the things I love about it: Sync (can talk handsfree on my cellphone, stream music from my cellphone, conduct car maintenance checkups, to mention a few Sync features)  6 CD player, 12 Sony surround-sound speakers, USB port to play mp3’s from flashdrive, Sirius radio, illuminated easy-to-read dash, spacious trunk, very comfortable leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

oooohhhhhh….shiny

the hub of my Sync

Now, here’s some more cool things that it make it a nice drive, but I don’t know exactly what it all means: 3.5L 24-valve Duratec V6, potent 263-horsepower rating, 6-speed SelectShift™ automatic, manual override for sport shifting, 18” aluminum wheels.  Well, whatever is under the hood, it drives wonderfully and is quiet on the road.  I’ve never been one to care much about what I was driving.  As long as it ran and didn’t cost too much, I drove it.  But when I bought the 2006 Fusion, and discovered that being in your car can be a pleasure, I broadened my definition of the car I wanted to drive and my new best friend, the 2010 Ford Fusion Sport, fits my definition to a T.  I drove all day Sunday to get back to the Houston area and as I sat comfortably in my leather seat, I sang with Susan Boyle as 12 Sony speakers shared her beautiful voice, talked on my cellphone by pushing a button on my steering wheel,lauged along with the Comedy channel on Sirius and  listened to almost an entire book on CD as my CD changer smoothly moved to the next CD, and generally had a very nice day.

illuminated dash - love it

leather-wrapped steering wheel

By the way, Ford does not know me, they don’t know of me or this blog, they don’t know I bought a Fusion Sport (maybe their computer knows), I was in no way asked to write this blog entry and am getting no compensation for writing it.  Same goes for Sewell Ford.  Well, I’m just known as The Big Sister  there and I don’t think my brother even reads my blog, so I can safely say that I’m not being compensated for writing this love letter to my new car.

my BFF from the front