We are not doing so well with updates this time. I wrote most of another one, but somehow it is lost in the cloud or something like that and I am too technologically challenged to retrieve it. So, with Karen having a delay in getting the first one out, we have only great apologies to offer and I will try to rewrite this one and send it out myself (as Karen is visiting our daughter in Arkansas, where there is lots of rain also, though Rachel says the severe flooding is a bit north of them, in southern Missouri, etc, so I am left to my own devices, plus having to care for the cats!!!). Also, it appears that the cloud also has eaten up some of the contacts, so please let us know if you have friends that were getting the updates but are no longer getting them (at least someone give us the email and will try to correct it).
After the rocky start, most of the rest of the week went quite well. As mentioned, I followed a bit closely on the heels of my friend, Dr. Luke Channer, so the surgical load was a bit lighter, as expected. I could not go later as next weekend, I have my nephew marrying a nurse friend who has made a couple trips to Haiti and whose family has been very supportive of our work there, ie a great encouragement. So, missing that is not an option, although Karen had to miss the bridal shower last weekend to get my TPN pump to Indiana on time after our shaky takeoff. Jan Gutwein was gracious enough to carry it out on Monday, though he arrived after midnight also as the roads were still not in great shape and forward progress slow at best. I ran the fluids faster to get all the calories in I was supposed to for the week, though had done quite well orally also (just absorption is quite limited due to the short piping system that remains).
With the somewhat lighter surgical schedule, as planned, we have spent a fair amount of time in the administrative realm, setting up guidelines for the future of the hospital. We are trying to encourage a more friendly working atmosphere among all the staff as well as towards the patients. A lot of this is trying to change the way the authority structure at the hospital is functioning. As I John 2:7 reminds us, many times we forget the old principles God would have us live by, and He repeats them for our shortcoming’s sake. Thus the new interim administrator (Welser), Dan Boerman, Dr. Moise and I feel we made progress in this difficult area, dealing with considerably different cultural expectations than we feel, at times, are reasonable and consistent with Biblical ones. Continue to pray for much needed divine wisdom in this area.
We dug around in the storage spaces to find some supplies. As we did this with some generalized mumbling on our part, Miss (Nurse) Lisberthe, my head OR nurse, promised me she will organize them so well that I won’t believe it when Dan and I return next month. She is one of the the hardest working ladies around there, has a heart of gold, but her organizational skills are interesting, to say the least. I am sure Rod Wray, Duane VerKaik and Luke Channer’s mom, as well as others including myself, would agree that they are amazed and somewhat dismayed at how quickly their attempts to organize things in Haiti, and specifically in the OR, tend to run to disorder. Each of them has built nice cabinets, drawers, etc, or organized and labelled the products, only to rapidly find things racing towards disarray. I am still learning to pick my battles, not sure I always pick the right ones, but hoping that I am making the right cultural adjustments.
The last few months have had rather torrential rains and there have been pretty large puddles of water everywhere. This has caused a healthy growth of mosquitoes, who have taken occupation of the hospital compound. The bathroom in the OR area is tiny but had at least 300 mosquitos lying everywhere after we bombed it as it was uninhabitable and I try to prepare places before I need to use the facilities in a hurry. Dan figured that the shower drain had no trap in it (built before I arrived in 2004 and definitely would be a sore sight to any builder’s eyes, even I smile as I see the angles formed by the tile layer while spending the required down time there) and we put a plug in it and drastically reduced the exit of more critters. The new friend God arranged to join us, from Lowell, MI, Evert Bek, got his feet wet (literally also) quickly and put his talents to work helping Dan get the AC in the laboratory fixed, he diagnosed the OR AC’s problem and got a $14 part shipped from his contacts in Michigan on Agape air on Thursday and had it running before we left on Friday. We thank the Lord that it was this Thursday it flew, as it only flies every other week, delivering mail and supplies as possible, as well as parts to repair the new generator that has been struggling from the start, so we greatly appreciated his addition to the team.
One afternoon, Dan, Dr. Moise and I went to view the houses that have been repaired as well as the remaining ones, to plan what needs to be done while we are gone by the Haitian construction crew on them as well as the chaplain’s house. I am always humbled to realize how little they have to make do with compared to what God has blessed me with, starting with a non leaky roof over my head, walls that won’t fall down if I lean on them too hard, clean water in abundance, and the list goes on. The old song, “Count your many blessings, see what God has done” is another needful reminder that we often need attitude adjustments from His perspective.
I just found out today that Dr. Bartlett has read my CT scan, I called his office early this week to be sure the US mail system delivered it (it took 3 tries in the fall of 2015, so there is a history to rival the speed of the Pony Express) and he is pleased with my progress. I feel well and am blessed, as another acquaintance with this nasty cancer just passed away before we left for Haiti and it reminds us to “Redeem the time,” as Eph 5:16 encourages us to consider, and spend it wisely with the skills He has given us to use. Also Psalm 90:12 reminds us that God teaches us to number/count our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Among my daily blessings to thank the Lord for is you all, who support the work at CSL in Haiti and me personally with prayer and so many other encouragements and for that I/we are eternally grateful.
In His Service, with thanksgiving,
Bill, Dan, Evert, Kelly and Paul