Sunday, February 28, 2010

where i've been, what i'm doing, and what's next

I left Haiti Feb. 11 to come to the states for a little while to recharge and figure out what's next. I spent the first week in California with some friends. Then, because my friends are so amazing, I got to spend a week in Grand Cayman, taking a vacation and just good ol' relaxing on the beach. Over a year ago, some of the Three Angel board members/volunteers planned a ladies trip to Grand Cayman, because one of the ladies offered up a free place to stay at the time share her family owns. I had decided not to go because of financial reasons and because I had just started working with Heartline in September. But after the quake my very awesome friends covered my flights and we all enjoyed a week in the sun- snorkeling, laying out, and swimming with sting rays.

My days on the beach are over for now-- I just got to Evansville, where I'll be visiting with family and friends for the next week.

On March 7 I'll be heading to Florida. I'll be staying with Gretchen, director of Three Angels, to do some work and planning. And that leads me to what's next. Nothing is official. Nothing is set in stone. I am going back to Haiti. Where I'll live- I don't know. Who I'll be working with- not positive. What exactly I'll be doing- still in the works. I've been interested in micro-financing for quite some time (link will provide definition), so I am working on some ideas with that right now. The earthquake changed things. Everything. So this time of change seems like it might be a good time to put some of these ideas into action. I will give more details when things are more certain. For now- not much is certain. But I'm at peace with that. I'm not really sure what I'm going to be doing several weeks from now, but I'm trusting in the sovereign Lord because He does know. (Just because I am at peace about the "unknown" at the moment doesn't mean I usually am. And it probably won't be long until I find myself getting anxious and worrying about tomorrow.) I rarely remember things that I read. But I will always remember (and need to remind myself of) the August 14th evening devotion from "Morning and Evening" by Charles Spurgeon. I was going to pick a quote from it to give to you, but I'll just leave you with the whole thing:

The child is cheered as he sings, “This my father knows;” and shall not we be comforted as we discern that our dear Friend and tender soul-husband knows all about us?

1. He is the Physician, and if he knows all, there is no need that the patient should know. Hush, thou silly, fluttering heart, prying, peeping, and suspecting! What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter, and meanwhile Jesus, the beloved Physician, knows thy soul in adversities. Why need the patient analyze all the medicine, or estimate all the symptoms? This is the Physician’s work, not mine; it is my business to trust, and his to prescribe. If he shall write his prescription in uncouth characters which I cannot read, I will not be uneasy on that account, but rely upon his unfailing skill to make all plain in the result, however mysterious in the working.

2. He is the Master, and his knowledge is to serve us instead of our own; we are to obey, not to judge: “The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth.” Shall the architect explain his plans to every hodman on the works? If he knows his own intent, is it not enough? The vessel on the wheel cannot guess to what pattern it shall be conformed, but if the potter understands his art, what matters the ignorance of the clay? My Lord must not be cross-questioned any more by one so ignorant as I am.

3. He is the Head. All understanding centres there. What judgment has the arm? What comprehension has the foot? All the power to know lies in the head. Why should the member have a brain of its own when the head fulfils for it every intellectual office? Here, then, must the believer rest his comfort in sickness, not that he himself can see the end, but that Jesus knows all. Sweet Lord, be thou forever eye, and soul, and head for us, and let us be content to know only what thou choosest to reveal.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

motorcycle adventures in haiti

Tap Taps are the main form of public transportation. It's cheap- usually anywhere from 5-15 gourdes (approx. 40 gourdes is one US dollar). But a tap tap usually only runs up and down one road, at the very least, it has a specific route, so you often would have to take more than one tap tap to get where you need to go. And it can take a long time to get to your destination. People pile into this pick-up truck and they are wanting on and off at different times, so you are constantly making stops. My favorite mode of public transportation has become the motorcycle. Or simply, "moto" as they call it. It's more of a taxi (you tell them where you want to go) while the tap tap compares more to a city bus (a set route with many stops). So yes, you pay a little more for a taxi, but you get exactly where you need to go and in much less time. PLUS with my limited (very limited) Creole, it's easier just to tell someone where I need to go verses trying to figure out which tap tap goes where.

I remember the first time I took a moto. I was working with Three Angels running some errands with Jimmy. We came out from a store to find our car with a flat tire. So he hailed us a moto to get back to the orphanage. This was my first experience weaving through the haitian streets on a motorcycle. I remember emailing some friends that I worked with, excitedly telling them of my adventure.

Since moving to Heartline, I've had to become a lot more independent on the haitian streets. At Three Angels, there was always someone around to help me out. We had several English-speaking haitians in management roles that were always around if I needed to go to the store or run an errand. Now, at Heartline and in a different area in the city, I don't really have a go-to guy. And I don't have a car. So I hail my own motos. Though taking a motorcycle taxi is now familiar and "normal" to me-- it's never any less of an adventure. Here are two of my most interesting moto experiences:

The first one was pre-earthquake. Some friends of mine that work with Three Angels were in Haiti visiting. So I wanted to meet up with them in Petionville. There are two ways to get a moto taxi. You start walking and watch the street for motos going by. When you see one that doesn't already have a passenger, you can get his attention by yelling "hey moto!" and sticking your hand out. Or in many places, there are certain areas that the taxi drivers gather when they aren't out on a run. There is a corner down the street from where I live that you can always find motos hanging around. So I walked down to the corner to find myself a moto. In my best Creole, I asked several guys if they could go to Petionville. In Petionville, police are out on the streets more and they often stop motorcycles to make sure they have the correct license, while in other areas of the city it doesn't really matter as much. The first couple guys I asked told me no, they couldn't drive in Petionville. Then I found someone that said they could. We settled on a price and off we went. All was well until we got to Petionville. A police officer pulled us over. And as it turned out-- this guy did not have the license he needed. So we both get off the motorcycle. I was still a good distance away from Three Angels, but at least I knew where I was, and it wasn't too ridiculously far to walk. I paid the guy and waited for my change. He gave me back less change than the price he had told me before we left. So I paid him way too much and didn't even get to where I needed to go! Oh well. And so I walked the rest of the way to Three Angels.

Second story:

Post-earthquake. After the earthquake, I was really forced to become independent, as I often wanted to go back and forth between Three Angels and Heartline. This was about 4 or so days after the quake. The whole day was pretty crazy but it would take too much time to go through all of that, so I'll stick with the motorcycle story. I was in Petionville trying to catch a moto to head back to Tabarre (heartline). As I was walking down the street, I keep an eye on the road. I saw a moto coming up and was about to call out to him, but then I noticed his motorcycle looked pretty small and junky, so I decided to let him pass. Too late though. He noticed me. So he pulled over and I decided "what the heck" and got on with him. There was hardly a spot for me to put my feet. The motorcycle was constantly making a clanking noise. We had to pull over twice so he could "fix" (use a wire to hold something together) his moto. The second time we pulled over, he also took advantage of that to make it a pee stop. He took a different route than normal. He was constantly trying to talk to me. Which I hate because my Creole is so limited. I know enough to say what I need to say. I can stop a moto, tell him where I need to go, and ask him how much it will cost. As long as that is all that is said, I feel pretty confident. However, when they try to keep a conversation going, and it becomes clear my Creole is not great, I feel less confident and more like the out-of-place white person. I never actually felt unsafe, but I was unsure if his motorcycle would make it all the way. But it did.

A motorcycle ride in Haiti is bound to be an adventure. Bring your sunglasses (or buy a pair at the open market, like I did)- the roads are dusty.

Monday, February 8, 2010

hanging at the hospital- with Jean Wendy

I haven't been needing to spend as much time at the Embassy the past few days and things at the clinic have slowed down a bit. well, they are starting to do more work out in the field instead of bringing everyone back to the clinic. so all the nurses and docs are still busy and needed... just not much for me to do there! so i've been spending some time over at the hospital (the boys orphanage turned "hospital", where all the inpatients stay). i love spending time over there and getting to know some of the patients a little bit. the first time i really spent a good chunk of time over there was Saturday. As I sat and watched some of the kids play "memory" a little boy on the next cot started crying. I went to pick up him and try to comfort him.

I was surprised when I picked him up- he was completely dead weight. At first I thought maybe he was just asleep, really asleep, or was just coming out of anesthesia.
But I couldn't get over how completely limp he was. And I saw no obvious injury. So I asked someone what was wrong with him, why he was here. Most likely the result of an infection, this little boy had recently gone completely paralyzed.
His name is Jean Wendy Joseph. He is 3 years old. The doctors were hopefully that with the right treatment the paralysis could be reversed. And I think things are looking good. Jean Wendy has already made improvements since the first time I picked him up. At that point, he couldn't hold up his head.
I cannot imagine the fear of going through something like this. One day, you are an overall healthy person- walking, running, playing. Then the next minute your body is no longer responding to your brain. You can't walk. You can't sit up. You can't feed yourself.

But Jean Wendy is a brave little boy. And he has an amazing family that has been by his side.
Yesterday, Wendy was able to make some small movements with his hips and one hand. Everyone got excited-- including him, that was obvious by the huge grin on his face.
And things only got better. Some of the doctors/nurses got creative and made a special chair for Wendy so he could sit up.
He can get out of bed and watch movies with the other kids. Now he was really grinning from ear to ear!! Please pray for Wendy that he would continue to heal and make a full recovery. Pray for his family that they would give him the support he needs. I know many of you have been praying for Heartline and for the doctors and and volunteers here. Thank you. Even when you don't know specifically how or what to pray for-- your prayers are so important. And miracles are happening.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Support Me in Haiti

Many people ask what is the best way to help and support me in Haiti. While donations are great and appreciated, money is always the best way you can help. The main reason for this is the simplicity of getting money to me; while physical donations can be a little harder. Also, with your monetary support, I can use that to best meet my needs (and the ministries needs) at any given time. There are two ways you can give:

Through Heartline Ministries-- The first "donate" button on my blog will allow you to do this. To help support my mission work in Haiti, please make a note with your donation that you would like your donation to benefit the ministry of Megan Haug. All contributions toHeartline Ministries are income tax deductible and are made with the understanding that Heartline Ministries has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.

Personally-- The second "donate" button on my blog will go directly to my bank account used for my ministry work in Haiti. This money is ALL used for my support and mission work, it simply goes directly to me instead of through Heartline Ministries. This way is easier and best for me; however, I understand that many would prefer to give through an organization. If you are comfortable with this option, it is easier and quicker for me to get the donation. Also with personally giving- you can mail a check instead of using Paypal. It can be written out to Megan Haug with the note of 'support in Haiti' and can be sent to:

Jean Haug
7133 East Powell Ave.
Evansville, IN 47715

I cannot continue to stay in Haiti without support. I have no income. My only source of money is through the generous giving of others. Mission work is a partnership. It is not something a person can do alone. It takes those who can go and those who can give. I'm here. I feel this is where God has called me to be. And I love being here-- striving to show the love of God to the people of Haiti and to be the hands and feet of Christ.

So many of you have already shown your support through encouragement and monetary giving. I appreciate it more than I could possibly express. I could not be here without you. Thank you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Change is always a hard thing. Unexpected, unwanted change is even harder. This sounds like a stupid statement to make because it's so obvious-- but the earthquake changed everything. Everything. My house is still standing. No one that I was close to died. I know that I have it good. I know the earthquake changed life for most haitians drastically more than it changed mine. At times (most times), thinking about it all can be overwhelming. Part of it is a pain for the Haitian people. I love this country. I love these people. To say that their lives have been altered is an understatement. What was no longer is. And part of it is feeling lost in the unknown. The unknown for myself and for my friends here that I love dearly. When Paige, Vivien and I first started talking about things-- none of us had any idea what the next step was. The 5 younger Livesay children were in the states. Tara and Troy knew they needed to be with their children. But when they would go and for how long was unknown. Vivien and I both weren't sure if we should go to the states and if it would be a visit or a permanent move. None of us wanted to leave Haiti. Since then, a few plans have been made, but so much is still unknown. Tara, Troy and Paige headed to Texas to have the whole family together. They know they are not done in Haiti. Vivien returned to the states with them on that flight yesterday to visit home. She will be returning to Haiti in a few weeks. I am headed to the states Thursday the 11th to spend time with family and friends and have some fun and relaxation. I, too, have decided that I am not done here. And that gives me comfort. I look forward to being able to leave and get away for a little bit but also knowing that I will be coming back. It's still not easy though. I'm still staying at the Livesays house. And they aren't here. I am sleeping in Paige's bed and she's not here. I walked up to the pharmacy at the clinic today and Vivien and Joanna weren't there. Jonna wasn't there. I tried to tell myself that it was okay, that I am okay by myself (not that i am even alone now. i have been alone in haiti and that does suck. however, as it is, i still have some pretty awesome people here like Beth, Dr. Jen, Jeronne, and some pretty cool nurses). But that's not true. I miss these people terribly. Because I love them. But I take comfort in knowing this is not the end. It's not over. Yes, yesterday is over. The weeks past are over. And nothing will ever be like it was. But this is where we're at. This is where I'm at. And I trust that God works out all things for the good of those who love Him.

Monday, February 1, 2010

tent cities

Countless people have lost their homes, but as everyone says- Haitians are resilient. They are strong. They are excellent at "degaje" (to make do with what you have). The days immediately following the quake, people were just closing off parts of the road so they could sleep there, in the middle of the street. They gathered together in parks and open fields. They gathered in front yards and driveways. And then the make-shift tents starting popping up. Like when you are a kid and build a fort in your living room-- sheets, blankets and tarps starting making homes for these people. After a while, organizations started handing out tents. You would see 10 matching tents with a logo all in the same field. When we drive by a park or big field, we often call these areas "tent cities" now. It's really hard to describe what I feel when I see these. I feel pain- knowing all of these people have lost their homes. They've lost everything. I feel respect- seeing the Haitians moving on, make life out of what they have. I feel pride- seeing the Haitian people pull together. I don't care what you've seen on the news, there is a small small percentage of people fighting and looting, and huge percent of sharing and working together. They come together and form their new "homes", their new neighborhoods, their new life. And while it won't be this way forever, it's not really temporary either. Thousands of people have lost their homes. And by "lost", I mean, there is nothing left of it. It's a pile of rubble. It's going to be a long time before homes can start to be rebuilt. These tents, whether "real" tents or blankets and sheets strung up, are home to many people. This is now their life.

Sunday, I met up with one of my friends, Francois, in Petionville. We ate lunch at Epidor and he told me that one of Three Angels nannies, Lourdes Mulla, was now living nearby. So we decided to stop by for a visit. This was the first time I actually walked through one of the tent cities. I was once again amazed at the strength of the Haitian people. Their ability to carry on. They have lost everything. Their life has completely changed. And yet, take what they have and they continue on. We found Lourdes Mulla's tent and called for her. Some people living next to her told us she wasn't there. We walked across the street to ask some other people if they had seen her.
There, we saw her little boy, Louvens (sp?) sitting on a blanket with some other children (louvens is in the blue striped shirt). Francois asked him where his mother was, he said he didn't know. We were able to call Lourdes Mulla and get through to her- she said she was gone for the day. She sounded happy to know that I had come to visit her. I told her I would come back another day. Not that Lourdes Mulla has ever had much- it broke my heart to see where she was now living. In a tent. Surrounded by other people living in tents. And yet, this is "normal" life for thousands of people now. But rarely do you see them wallowing in sadness and complaining of their misfortune. They smile. They sing praises. They do the best
that they can, making a new life in their tent cities.