Saturday, October 23, 2010


If the Haitian people haven't suffered enough this year, they are now facing a Cholera outbreak.  Cholera is a severe form of diarrhea that leads to dehydration, and ultimately death.  It is spread through drinking unclean water and eating contaminated food.  Poor sanitation is also an easy way to spread this bacteria.  It can easily be treated if health care is available.  Rehydration fluids are essential, and could be made at home with clean water, salt, and sugar.  At COTP we make this often when our kids are sick.  Many Haitians don't have these supplies.

Currently this outbreak is in the Saint Marks and Gonaives area, but could likely spread to Port au Prince which would be devastating with hundreds of thousand people still living in tent cities, having no access to clean water and poor sanitization.  We are hoping that it does not spread to the Cap Haitien area, but it very well could.

As of yesterday they were estimating that at least 150 people have died from this and that at least 1800 have been affected.  It's very likely that these estimates are way low and that this outbreak will be around for a few months, reeking havoc all over Haiti.

Things like this remind me of how privileged I am, even living in Haiti.  If my fellow Haitian were to contract this, they likely wouldn't have any access to medical care, and would probably pass away with out receiving any help.  If I were to contract this (although not nearly as likely as a Haitian would be to contract it) I would get rehydration fluids immediately and would more than likely make it.  In worse case scenario, I would be evacuated to Florida or the DR to receive treatment.  This is not even fathomable for most Haitians.  

I have access to clean water, many Haitians don't.  I have an unlimited supply of soap and hand sanitizer to help prevent this, most Haitians don't have a days supply.  I am not saying that I couldn't get this, I could, but I am by far more worried about our nannies contracting it.  If this spreads to Cap Haitien it very well could affect our nannies, their friends, and families.  It's difficult to be here and not be able to do anything to prevent this or help out the women I have grown to love.

Here is a CNN article for more info...

Friday, October 22, 2010

This is Haiti!!

Some times things happen here, and you have no explanation except just to say This is Haiti!!  Like for instance when Nick got back from a ride the other day and told me a good story about how he stopped on the side of the road to buy juice from a little stand.  This may sound like a random story, but it turns out that the lady selling it was topless.  It's not uncommon to see topless women just hanging out here.  You can be driving along as see a women doing her laundry, or sitting with a group of people not wearing anything up top.  This is Haiti!!

Since being here I have gotten really used to bugs, rats, and spiders.  Yesterday I witnessed probably one of the most random yet impressive things I have ever seen.

I was sitting in the pharmacy helping do some lab work on our kids, when all of a sudden a short term volunteer came in and told me that there was a rat in the rafters having babies that were falling on the ground.  She wanted to know what to do with them so that the puppies didn't eat all the babies.  I went outside to investigate and sure enough three baby rats were laying on the ground, and up above you could see a giant (and I do mean giant) rat tail coming out of the rafters.  Since her butt was hanging off the side, each time she gave birth her babies would fall 10 feet to the ground.

In the process of finding Rikerns and Sampson (the yard guys) to help me, I told the nannies who did not believe me at all.  It didn't take long for a crowd of 10 people to be standing there looking up at the rat tail.  Then we discovered that there were actually 2 rats up there.

I finally found Sampson and told him what was going on.  He grabbed a 10 ft pole and called Roxy, our dog over to help him.  He took the giant pole and speared the rat.  Literally, he jabbed the pole in to the rafters and got the rat with one shot.  I was super impressed.  He then handed to pole over to a nanny who made sure the rat was dead, while he took another pole and tried to spear the other rat.  He missed twice and the rat ran inside the pharmacy.

Sampson and Roxy sprinted inside, just in time to see the rat run across the pharmacy floor.  No worries though, Roxy got this one!!  COTP is now home to 2 less rats and all their babies!!  Good work Sampson and Roxy!!  I mean honestly, have you ever seen any one spear a rat, especially when it was 6 feet above their head??  I'm impressed!  Sampson just moved up a few notches in my book!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The prayers of Haitian Women!!

It appears that a lot of our nannies are praying for Nick and I.  They aren’t praying that our Creole improves, that we enjoy working here, for our health or anything like that.  Well I guess they could be, but they haven’t told us about these requests.  They have a much different thing that they see Nick and I needing prayers for.

The other day I was sitting at the kitchen table working on the computer while Milouse was cleaning.  All of the sudden, completely off topic of anything we were talking about, she states “I’m praying for you and Nick to have a baby.  Lots of babies” and then starts to laugh.  Milouse is an amazing women that Nick and I respect deeply.  Apparently she has a close relationship with God, because I’m pretty sure she was the one who prayed for Jamie and Jenny to have kids, and now a few months later they have four!!!
Then today, I was hanging out under the pavilion when the nannies started telling me we needed to have kids.  I just responded by telling them that they needed to talk to Nick because I want kids but he wants to wait.  A few hours later we were pushing children on the swings when Madam Saul (the same nanny from the box post) called us both over to talk to her.  This of course made the rest of the nannies laugh as they remembered that our names are Nick and Nikki and they made fun of how similar they are even though many Haitians give their children basically the same name.
Madam Saul started telling Nick that we needed to have kids right away and all the other nannies started joining in as well.  They went off on a tangent about how every couple who has worked here now has kids, whether adopted or biological and we need to have kids soon.  They were not very happy when he told them we would have them some other day.  Apparently Nick was in the baby house a few days ago and all the nannies were asking him the same questions.  
I think that they must have all gotten together and talked about the fact that we don’t have kids and decided that they must bring this to our attention because obviously we have been too busy to notice.  I mean based on Haitian standards we are extremely far behind.  Nick is 24 and I’m 21, which means we should have 2, 3, or even 4 kids by now.  The fact that not only do we not have any, but aren’t planning on it in the near future is unheard of to these ladies!
Maybe their prayers will be answered soon though, if we can all just convince Nick!!!  Just kidding!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Living with 37 infants and toddlers means we have a lot of empty diaper boxes each week.  This being Haiti though, we don't waste anything!  The nannies find a use for everything.  I have a tote just inside the depot where I put empty formula cans, clorox/mistolin gallons, empty baby wash/soap containers, and other various objects.  All of these things disappear basically before I even put them in there.  There is one type of formula container in particular that they like more than others.  As soon as they see we are using this, they ask us if they can have it and we write their name on it so that we remember when it's finished who we need to give it too.  Our nannies reuse formula containers to put cleaning supplies in, and can find all sorts of uses for clorox gallons.  I could spend a whole day listing all of these uses, but one in particular made Nick and I laugh the other day.

One nanny kept taking about 6 gallons every day that she worked.  I was beginning to wonder what she was doing with all of these, when she told me she uses them to plant flowers!  We laughed and gave her all the ones that we had that day.  I don't know many, or any, Haitians that plant flowers, but apparently she does!  Maybe she gives them away to people?  At least they are going to good use.

Anyways, back to the boxes... Earlier this week we had a giant stack of boxes and normally the nannies run over and take claims on them right away, but this day, I told them that they had to let the kids play with them first and that they could have them when the children were done.  Nick and I then spent the next hour or so pulling kids around the baby house!  They loved it!  There was enough boxes for all the big kids to have one too themselves.  After a while we got a bit worn out, so the kids tried to pull each other around.  It was fun.

Nick decided to take a break and sat in one of the boxes.  It broke and all the nannies laughed.  I convinced the same nanny from above that she should sit in one of the bigger boxes.  She did and then Nick snuck up behind her and started pulling the box around.  She was kind of surprised.  All the nannies had a good laugh about this!  It's fun to just be able to spend some time playing with the kids!

Of course there are pictures up on the picture blog!