Tuesday, June 24, 2014

an outhouse

One of the the things I love most about Haiti is that you can never know just what to expect.  Initially I thought I was coming to Haiti to serve the Haitians.  What I have found out though, is that they really are more of a blessing to me.  I find that the same is true with medical teams that come to serve with NVM.  The medical teams come prepared to assess and treat patients.  They prepare by having a lot of team meetings and packing suitcase after suitcase with the needed medications and supplies.  What I love is that the team has no idea what is truly ahead of them though.  Yes, the team will give excellent medical care.  And yes, they will treat infections and love on each of the patients.  What is really fun to watch though is how the community that the team is serving actually turns around and blesses the team.  It isn't uncommon for the community to give me a basket of whatever fruit is in season to say "thank you" for coming and serving.  It isn't uncommon for the team members to leave feeling very blessed by conversations had with patients.  Recently I took a team to Fond Cheval, a small village that is tucked away up in the mountain.  Fond Cheval is one of my favorite places to take medical teams.  The community has a lot of older people and everyone tends to be more laid back.  Recently as the team was unloading the truck the Pastor told me and another NVM staff member that he had something to show us.  He led us down this little path through the field where we ended up at a small cement structure.  He lifted a sleeping bag and I instantly realized that he was showing us a new outhouse that the community built for us and any of the visiting teams to use.  I was so very humbled in that moment.  He was so very proud to tell us that the teams no longer needed to squat behind a tree but rather there was a space set aside just for them.  He even showed us that there was a side for the boys and another for the girls.  He practically giggled when I asked if I could take pictures of the new outhouse.  As the day progressed, I loved watching the faces of each person in the community beam with pride each and every time they saw a team member walk towards the outhouse.  It has been a blessing to watch as the teams and community have learned to serve each other and as relationships have started to form.
A medical team running a mobile medical camp under
the huge avocado tree in Fond Cheval!  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

haitian metal art

I love when I can buy things locally that support Haitians who are working hard to support their families.  There is a community nearby that creates art from steel drums.  The nurse side of me can't even comprehend how these men are able to create something so beautiful out of these barrels.  The barrels are by no means pretty!  I love knowing that because these men are working, they are able to better provide for their families.  I enjoy going to the metal market and watching as the men create everything from bracelets to beautiful pieces to be displayed on the wall.  I thought you would like seeing the steps that are involved in creating the metal art.  (Thanks to Tina our gift shop manager who researched all of this information!)
1~ To prepare the steel drums, the top and bottom must be cut off.  
The drums are then cut from top to bottom. 
2~The drums are then stuffed with dried plantain leaves and set on fire.  Setting the 
steel drums on fire helps to remove any pain and residue, thus, cleaning the drum.
3~ After the steel drums have cooled off they are then flattened by the 
men literally pushing on the them.
4~ After a lot of hard work the steel drums are completely flattened.
5~ The metal artist then begins to make his design on the metal drum surface.  
The artists make everything from beautiful wall decorations, bowls, 
chairs, and the list is endless.
6~ Using a hammer and chisel, the design is cut and the final details 
and textures are applied.
7~ After the deign is finished, the metal artists goes over the entire piece with a 
steel brush to clean and smooth the metal art.
8~ A sealant is then applied to the metal art to protect is from rusting.
9~ Some metal artists will also pain their metal art.
10~The final product!
Below are photos of some of the metal art I've purchased.