I wrote this blog entry last night. You can probably tell that I am super excited based on this ENORMOUS entry on night #1.
I fell in love with this place, or more specifically these kids, within the first 10 minutes of being here. You see, right away someone handed me a baby. That was it. It was a pretty cute baby, an 8lb, 6 month old bright eyed baby girl. I love this place because as soon as I had that baby in my arms I felt in my element. All day long it was all about taking care of these kids, bathing them, feeding them, changing them, treating their sicknesses, making them laugh, and giving them one-on-one time. These children are precious and everybody that is working/volunteering here just wants to give them as much love as possible. I love that!
The long term staff:
I was introduced to quite a few people today. I will tell you about two of them.
Rebekah. Rebekah is an RN and she lives at COTP in the same apartment as Maria (see below). She is no longer committed to serving as the RN at COTP and instead works for a different organization in Cap Haitien but she still lives here and helps out A TON. This is a huge blessing for me to know that I have her to call on if I ever need help. She is a young nurse like me. However you can tell that her experience working at COTP has given her an immense amount of knowledge and skill in community health nursing. While she was showing me some of the meds and the supplies in the pharmacy, three different adults came in from the community either with an injury or to see if they could have her fill a prescription their doctor had written. I know I am going to learn a ton not only about nursing care for infants and toddlers but about the treatment of communicable illness in adults as well.
Maria. Maria is from Ireland. She’s been living and working at Children of the Promise for 3ish years and is now serving as the Site Director. Although not a nurse, she’s been fulfilling the nurse’s duties in the absence of someone permanent. Tonight she took me around to the baby rooms to give evening meds. During these rounds we gave the kids one last hug, kiss, and “I love you” goodnight. The evening med time is also a great time to allow the nannies to give updates on a child’s progress and to express health concerns. I mentioned to Maria that I’ll need to at least learn enough Creole to be able to ask the nannies these questions. She told me that they were actually thinking that they’d have me start Creole lessons on Monday! What a surprise!! I can’t wait.
The short term volunteers:
I knew in advance that a group of 8 COTP volunteers would be joining me on my flight to Haiti. What I didn’t realize is that they’d be from PHOENIX!! I am really enjoying their company and am happy to have this fun team around at least until the end of the week. This group consists of a mixture of ladies and gents probably from age like 26 to 50. Tonight, after all the babies were in bed we came back to the volunteer house to mix up some snacks for our third meal. Breakfast @ 10 AM and lunch @ 2 PM are provided by Mod the cook. Dinner is a fend – for –yourself situation and meals can be made from a variety of foods we have stored in bins in the Volunteer House’s kitchen. Guess what I found in those boxes?? Oatmeal, raisins, and popcorn. Yep, I’m set for life!!!
A look around the room gave away the fact that no one had slept since Monday night due to a layover in Florida and a 4 AM check in time. People were tired. But instead of going to sleep at 7:45 PM we tossed a few worship songs around the table. We had itunes blasting Phil Wickham, Planetshakers, Hillsong, and some other good ones. These people have great taste. ;)
I can’t wait to get to know these women better. They seem so fun. While I was playing with some of the 12-18 month old babies two nannies were pointing at me, laughing, and saying “beccasista, beccasista?” One of the nannies slapped a mosquito that had landed on her leg while she said this so I assumed she was trying to teach me that the word “beccasista” was Creole for “mosquito.” Wrong!
In reality, the nannies thought I looked similar to Rebekah the RN and were wondering if we were sisters. We all laughed about this the rest of the night. Let me tell you one thing. With laughter, there is no language barrier.
The Mango Tree:
Right outside the volunteer house there is a huge mango tree that provides shade for a courtyard in the center of the compound. If I’m standing at the door of the volunteer house and I look straight across the courtyard I can see the Baby House and the Pharmacy. To the left of the volunteer house is the house that holds the Special Needs Nursery the offices of both the Director and the Adoption Liason and an apartment for a few of the long term volunteers. If I look to my right I see the generator shed; a key fixture in the livelihood of COTP.
There is also a shaded play pavilion, a playground for older kids, the laundry house, and a meeting place for women going through the pre-natal program. Oh, and four dogs.
But back to the Mango tree. One of my favorite moments of the whole day was giving a tiny and hilarious 2 year old an oatmeal bath. With rubber ducks and toy boats. Outside. In a bucket. Underneath the Mango tree. I have a feeling that there will be many more wonderful baby moments beneath this tree. It’s the perfect spot.
Hey, hope you're doing well!