Monday, August 30, 2010

What's Important

So much has been happening! I would have updated sooner but our internet has been funky these past two nights. Sorry about that!

First of all, the tent city. On Friday I was walking with one of our best interpreters, Jean Claude, back to the Guest House after visiting the Methodist Print Shop on campus. When walking by the tent city, we realized that there was some sort of meeting going on. I asked Jean Claude what they were saying so we hung around for a little while so he could get the gist. He told me that the man who was speaking to them was announcing that they would need to leave in September and so they needed to start cleaning up their spaces so it would be a quick, easy move when the time came.

I had a lot of questions after that, but most have been answered by now. Yes, it is true that they need to leave. The exact date that they will have to go: September 15. The man who was speaking to them was the principal of Freres school. It must have been a reasonable deal that they struck with the people in our tent city because there wasn't any rioting or upset people coming to us. However, they did not give them a place to move to. I was angry about that until we talked to some of the kids and they all told us that they had other places to go. Not homes - but other tent cities where other extended family members are. Luckily, it also seems like many of them are staying fairly close by and will (hopefully) come to visit fairly often. Good deal.

Which brings me to my next story. Robenson, Peter, and their mother and sister all moved off campus. :( They did this because Mike helped set Robenson's mother up with a micro loan to start a small business on the street selling books. However, the location where she was able to set up her store is at least one or two tap-tap rides away so it was better for them to just move closer. Because of this, we hadn't seen much of Peter and Robenson over the past two weeks. They were around when I first arrived, but a few days after that was when they moved. Thankfully, though, they still come to visit. I know I'm not supposed to play favorites, but Robenson holds a very special place in my heart. I have high hopes for his future.

Anyway, the day after I arrived, Robenson was explaining that he felt ill. I could tell that he must have been feeling sick because his energy was totally gone. He looked exhausted. We gave him some meds hoping that he'd be feeling normal again soon.

However, that did not happen. I saw Robenson for the first time in a week about four days ago and he told me that he was still sick. This was alarming to me because it wasn't just a bad cough - but it was a fever. On top of that, he had kept the fever and his symptoms got worse and worse over the past two weeks. He still looked as exhausted as he had at the beginning of this illness. Also, he had lost weight. Not good.

He told me, though, that he had gone to the doctor and he would start on medicine the next day. That made me feel much better and I gave him a hug goodbye, saying a little prayer for healing.

We saw him yesterday before he went to church and he was still very sick, but I also know (especially with my recent sick experience) that it often takes two days before the medicine starts to make a noticeable difference. I figured he would begin to feel better by the afternoon, and start to feel much better by today.

That did not happen, though. He and his mother came by this morning to drop off information about Peter and Robenson's schooling and it was obvious, once again, that Robenson still felt quite ill. I asked about it and his mother explained that he was, indeed, very sick. He had barely slept at all the night before because his chest hurt and he was coughing too much. Also, his appetite was completely gone, he still had a fever, and as he stood before me (in 87 degree weather) he was shivering. His mother told me that they had seen a doctor, but it was one at the free clinic, and they did not do a good job. They had just prescribed vitamins and pain killers.

Having a fever that lasts a week is bad. Having a fever that lasts two and a half weeks is VERY bad and can often be life threatening. I was not about to have Robenson get worse or potentially die just because his family could not afford appropriate medical care. So, I took out $100, asked Oge about the best place for him to go, and we drove the two of them to City Med to see a good doctor and to get the treatment he so desperately needed.

They got home on their own, and came by the Guest House to report what had happened. They did several tests (he doesn't have malaria - thank God!) and they had given him a shot full of antibiotics. Also, they prescribed bronchial medication and vitamin C. Tomorrow he will go in for an x-ray to see if there's anything else wrong with his chest - which is what's bothering him the most. Already, thanks to that shot I believe, he had much more energy and he even asked for food. We had offered him food earlier in the day, but he just wasn't hungry. The fact that he was hungry was a VERY good sign.

Anyway, prayers for Robenson's healing would be appreciated. I stated on my Facebook that it was the easiest $100 I ever spent and it truly was. That is, once again, the most amazing part of living in Haiti - there are endless possibilities around you to make a real, tangible difference in people's lives. I'm already excited for seeing Robenson once he's fully healed. I'm hopeful that it will happen soon and I'm also hopeful that the x-ray's tomorrow will help determine what exactly is wrong.

I hope all is well in the States. As always, I'm sending love and blessings your way.


  1. Wow, Beth! You are a gift from God to the people of Petionville, Haiti. I am so envious of where you are....the hands and feet of Jesus. I'm so blessed to have served along side you and the others at the guesthouse. I'll be praying for you and Robenson. God bless.

  2. You blow my mind. I love you, dear.


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