Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We have a lot of data that needs to be entered from the Pestel household surveys. We've got about 1/4 of the data entered so far which means there is a LOT of data that still needs to be entered.
I'd like to get all this entered within the next couple of weeks in order to analyze it in time for the Variety Intl annual conference at the end of April.
So if you know of anyone who can help please pass this along and have them contact me!
The process goes like this:
The person receives instructions, a spreadsheet into which data is entered, and 10 pages of scanned in hand-written data. Then it's a matter of entering the data into the spreadsheet. Not hard...just very time consuming.
The data is very important. It includes topics such as income, child/infant and maternal mortality, education, nutritional topics, # of people living in the houses etc etc.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
When I was in Haiti Dr. Seneque mentioned the need for propane tanks in order to start up the immunization program. The next day I received an email that money had been donated for this purpose. I was able to tell Dr. Seneque, and he was very happy about it. These are the sorts of messages that reinforce what I've been telling folks in Pestel: that God moves in people's hearts on their behalf.
Things to pray for:
Be praying for those who went on the trip as we transition back to the US, and try to take in all the information.
Jen and I sat down tonight to work through nitty gritty of the upcoming Anemia Campaign. Holy smoke, it is COMPLICATED. I thought the Vitamin A campaign was hard....This is going to take a lot of attention to detail, and it needs to be done right and done well.
Housing in Pestel. There is essentially no good housing in the town of Pestel. This was a great source of stress for all of us last week. We are praying about the possibility of building a guest house in town. That is no small matter, as you can imagine. And I know absolutely Zilch about construction and building....I most certainly did NOT get my dad's genes on this one.
CharRocket stove. Johnny put a tremendous amount of effort into building the stove and doing the demonstrations. We are both eager to see how the Haitians take it and innovate further on it. We are hopeful that we can attract donors through a nearby organization that does microfinance to help develop this further. The goal would be to produce these locally in Pestel.
Nutrition. I received an email from Vitamin Angels that they are seriously considering adding micronutrients to the items they provide! This is EXACTLY where the Anemia campaign is going! They are considering starting in Haiti, so I gave them an update and asked them to keep me in mind. The timing of this could be really impeccable. :)
Water. Dr. John Lane provided me with some of the best news of the trip: there is water under them hills! He has a high degree of confidence that drilling for wells would be successful. The big challenge is in 1. funding for the drilling and 2. getting the rig out to Pestel. A number of strategically placed wells would be life-changers for the entire area!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
All four of us can attest to the very long and back-breaking trip from PAP to Pestel. I've been trumpeting this for years: we need a better way. By sea or by air--I'm not so picky anymore!
There are two main barriers to bringing people out to Pestel, and they have been evident from Day 1. The first is the issue of transportation. It's fraught with problems (just ask my brother-in-law Jon Anderson and my good friend Jon Eager).
Wow--I just realized. Of all the people who have come out with me, the majority are named John, Jon or Johnny.
Anyway: I've gone by plane and then by boat; by plane and then by truck. And now just by truck. They all frankly carry their own hazards. In short, I would not bring my kids out to Pestel.
There is also no way to evacuate quickly if the need arises. Consider medical or surgical emergencies. Jen and I wrote up a document that we are providing to folks who are planning on going out to Pestel, and the document includes a warning about this issue.
I have been praying about this since 2007. It is no trifling matter and it is a wall that must come down. I am convinced that it will, but despite looking into a host of solutions there have been no open doors.
This past Sunday morning we may have found that open door.
I was invited out to the kitchen by my host, Esai (Nakeysha's father). He wanted to introduce me to a Haitian man who represented an organization that is looking to establish itself in Haiti. Esai is about to finish off the 2nd floor of his house with guest rooms. The man had somehow found out about it and wanted to look at it to see if he could sign a year-long contract to rent the space.
The organization needs suitable housing near the airport (and Esai's house is within walking distance of the airport) BECAUSE the organization is a helicopter transportation organization.
No kidding. Esai knows how difficult it is for me to get out to Pestel, and how absolutely exhausted I usually am when I return. He and his family treat me so well, it's humbling. They are genuinely gracious people.
Esai introduced me to this man and explained that I have been looking for a way to get out to Pestel. The man indicated that it would be no problem for the helicopter to fly me out to Pestel.
The trip could be done within about 30 minutes.
I nearly kissed and hugged the guy!!
The helicopter organization is designed for medical evacuations (!!!!!) and also to transport medical teams to various places around the country (!!!). It is a German-owned group. They have 2 helicopters in country currently and are looking at sending 8 more over soon. They believe they can compete with some of the small airline carriers (Tortug Air).
I don't have a price just yet, and I'm waiting to hear by email. But I gotta tell you: I could not be more optimistic and thrilled. The emergency evacuation part ALONE is such a tremendous relief.
This literally fell into my lap.
As many of you have seen over the past years of my involvement in Haiti, this is how God has found it best to work. It has not relied on my own doing, and I am certain this is to show us all that it is not by my strivings but by His actions. He shows Himself through these circumstances and happenings.
We are called to be obedient and faithful. He will always be Good.
Thanks to Steve Miller for using his talents to help bring the needs and beauty of Pestel to all of us through his photos. Here are a series of photos he just uploaded. It is well-worth spending time on each one.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Here are some photos with captions, probably best viewed as a "slideshow".
Others will certainly have better photos, and I'll send them along when I get them!
Wow! What a week! I got back home at around 4AM this morning (which isn't SO bad because it really only felt like 3AM Haiti time because they don't change their clocks :)
Honestly, a good number of things to report and I'm going to have to pace myself. Also, I've asked folks from the trip to provide some of their thoughts by email that I will send out to y'all. I know Johnny and John were busy journaling all week and keeping notes, and Steve has tons of good photos that he'll be uploading to a blog he's developing.
While I'm right now considering how to prioritize all the things I want to report on, I think the most important has got to be the rich week I spent with these three guys. There were many aspects about this trip that were difficult, and their flexibility and encouragement and feedback/suggestions will propel further trips to a whole new level.
I've experienced a number of 'leapfrog' moments in this journey. This has been one of them for me. I think it is due to the combination of wise guidance from their experiences in Pestel and a real sense that they were aiming for successful forward progress in Pestel. I also know that their thoughts were intended to help protect me from overload & burnout.
All these things are a great gift to me personally, and I have yet to tell you about the tremendous blessings they have brought to Pestel!
Those will be in future emails!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I know that this just doesn't seem that earthshaking to you, but it's a true highlight for me. :)
I finished up worker training today, a day ahead of schedule. Overall that went quite well, and the next trip in June is going to be a big training trip.
John Lane spent the day with Alix out on the island, and he just came back looking exhausted. I think he is pleased with the day's work. But he also mentioned how challenging the island is in particular. He is going up to the mountains tomorrow....way up into Pestel....to test water.
Johnny Zook and Steve Miller have been hanging out with Sister Fidelis and Sister Jo. They stayed overnight up at their house in Ferye last night, and hit the road this morning to do the CharRocket demonstrations.
I've inquired about housing in Pestel. It really appears to be a difficult issue. There is one hotel, but the owner is no longer in America. I'm going to try to get in touch with her to see if we can somehow rent it out periodically. However, I also recognize that she left Pestel for political reasons. And it's not clear what, if any, implications that would have....and whether it's something to be concerned about or not.
I'm not eager to build something in Pestel (i.e. a guest house). But I'm also not sure of other options.
Persevere, I suppose, and wait. There are plenty of things that should not be rushed, and I've learned that God's timing on these issues is far superior to my own inclinations.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I'm actually emailing from Pestel! Write this one down as one of the "firsts" for my trips to Haiti. Also a first, we went to Pestel by road from PAP....down to Les Cayes and then over the very high mountains (and down those same tall mountains) to Pestel. Our driver, Ezai, is also our host in PAP (and the father of Nakeysha, the little girl who had heart surgery at Hershey and stayed at our house).
I"m here now with Johnny Zook who will be super-busy the next couple of days as he visits several villages and trains them on the CharRocket stoves! Steve Miller is also busy snapping lots of photographs for promotional purposes. ANd John Lane will be arriving tomorrow to start the water testing throughout Pestel. I'll be training the health workers.
I had a really good meeting with Dr. Seneque. This remains something to praise God about. If Dr. Seneque is not for something it does not happen. He has a lot of clout in Pestel, as he should. I came out of the meeting both encouraged and surprised. I learned, for example, that the one missing element in order for him to provide immunizations to kids in Pestel is this: 2 containers of propane per month. Estimated cost: $35 per month. The reality is this: he gets immunizations for free. He has to ship a bunch of them to a nearby city of Corail simply because he does not have the ongoing funding to purchase these two tanks. He has two fridges, both of which run on propane. And when the propane runs out....the medication goes bad.
SO I think this is a no-brainer. On my first visit to Pestel he told me about a 7 year old boy who had died the week prior of tetanus. Vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and tetanus are NOT a thing of the past in Pestel, but they certainly ought to be. No reason (or, as it turns out, a very poor poor reason).
Plenty to write about, but I'm getting tired. :)
I hope to write more tomorrow.