Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012


This morning's routine was just that, routine.  But today's journey would be one that would be marked by chaos followed by order.  It all started after breakfast with a visit next door to the construction site of the new guest house.  There I was met by 58 workers pouring the ceiling/second floor of the new guest house.  A chaotic dance of cement, sand, water and aggregate all coming together to create concrete.  It was a dual production line of men feeding two batch mixers of all the components of a scientific recipe which was eventually dumped into a man made reservoir.  The next step involved the choreography of the best Radio City Music Hall Dancers at Christmas time.  Men with gymnastic skills filling buckets with concrete and dancing up two homemade wooden ladders with the bucket at their side only to hand it off to another worker who spread it on the well prepared deck of rebar and wooden forms.  The empty buckets were slid down a rope back down to the reservoir only to start the process again. 
Being a carpenters son, I was fully engaged in the process.  My attention would be interrupted by the call to jump in the Top Top for our morning assignment at the Wound Clinic.  Order had returned.

The trip started with the usual routine of getting down a series of bumpy hills in the Top Top and eventually to the "smooth" blacktop.  All was going as planned until we came to a screeching halt in the middle of a chaotic Saturday morning market.  The Top Top was surrounded by a flurry of shoppers, merchants, and delivery men all selling their wears...we were stuck. It became apparent that we had no where to go.  Our well trained Haitian escorts made the appropriate decision to exit the Top Top and walk to the clinic.   As we departed the vehicle we were instantly met by the Nuns from the Clinic.  God's timing is perfect.  We formed a single file line (like we had a choice in that crowd) and proceeded to the clinic only to be met by a two block line of mothers with their children in their arms waiting for the clinic to open...chaos had entered our lives again.  We made it safely into the clinic to receive our assignments.  Since it was Saturday our whole team of 8 were allowed to serve.  Jessica, Nicole, and Jason were assigned to the all important Wound Clinic as their expert and experienced health care skills would be for the most advanced cases.  The balance of us were assigned to the "Pharmacy" for pill distribution.  Boxes of medications were carried into an auditorium like room with wooden bleachers where the families would wait for their name to be called.  We were on a stage like structure overlooking the throng of moms, crying babies, and senior citizens all looking up at us for help.  But before we could dispense any meds, we need to get organized.  The table was divided into lines of pill bottles.  First vitamins, next pain meds, and finally ointments and that famous Pink Stuff we give our kids back home for a runny nose, yes they have it here too.  But the table was in chaos, out of order and hard to manage efficiently.  So my daughter Kristina decided to organize the sections in alphabetical order.  Great idea, it worked, and we were ready to go. 
At last, a return to order.  It didn't take long however as the patients filled the room and called to the stage for the required immediate service that our order became chaotic again.  Sister Clare Marie, and Sister Alexander began to lose patience with our slow service and began to fill the pill bags on their own, replacing the bottles in the "wrong" spot.  We just created a new alphabet.  It didn't take long however for our team to get our stride and keep pace with the patients but more importantly our Sisters in Christ.  The three hours flashed by and never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we would serve the hundreds of needy Haitians and their children.  We went through gallons of that Pink Stuff, bottles of pills, and tubes of ointments.  The amazing thing to see however was that no matter how much we dispensed, we never ran out, and never were we unable to fill a prescription.  It was like God said, bring me the needy and I will fill their needs.  At about 12:15 PM, the benches were empty, and the auditorium was quiet...back to order again. We said goodbye to our hosts with a sense of accomplishment for wounds wrapped and healed, and medication dispensed for those in need.  What an amazing commitment by our Sisters in Christ, and what an amazing joy to work by their side.  We exited the clinic and into the awaiting Top Top and back into the chaotic streets of did not take long for chaos to return.  An uneventful trip back to the Guest House and a bit of peace, quiet and order for a noon snack.  A quick check on the building project only reveled continued chaos so a quick exit and back to the Guest House for a little rest before our afternoon trip to Grace Village.

Our trip to Grace Village was to play with the children and present our Faith Lesson.  With a new highway stretched out before us like a ribbon of interstate, we made it to the Village in record time.  The kids were waiting for us and our orderly ride became chaos as we exited the Top Top.  Pick me up, play with me, swing with me, shoot some hoops with me, how about a pickup game of football (soccer)!  Oh to see the joy in their faces as their day-long anticipation was fulfilled.  Jason and David learned a few lessons on the football field, and Josh and Bob learned that no matter where you are, these kids can still sink a few free throws.  Lisa, Jessica, Nicole, and Kristina were all pulled into a multiple of activities, in multiple directions with multiple kids.  The break in the action to present the lesson could not have come at a better time...we needed a rest.  So the lesson was all ready to go (thanks Jane) and the team had their assignments.  Roles to play, signs to hold, crafts to deploy, so open the doors and let the kids in.  Nearly 50 children rushed in with a wave of excitment along with the accompanying noise.   Momentary chaos settled into order as the story began.  Our English version was delivered with the energy of a small town summer theatre and was expertly translated into Creole.  It was then time for the crafts.  The paper was dispensed, the parts counted and the glue ready to go.  After a bit of adult supervision, everyone walked away with their own personalized version of the cross, ready to be displayed on their wall.  We hated to say good bye but we would see them again in the morning for the Sunday Church Service.  It was back in the Top Top and a quick trip back to the Guest House.  A bit of rush hour traffic, but as the gate opened at the Guest House, it was great to be back home.  Order had again entered our lives.  Josh and I were curious about the progress of the new guest house.  As we entered the construction site, it was as quiet as a summer night in Northern Minnesota.  We each took a run up the twin ladders to examine the progress.  What a sight! A newly poured floor ready to cure in time into a beautiful new building.  And what a fitting end to a chaotic day.  As I looked over the new building I could not help but think of the joy so many will enjoy in this new structure.  Some will call it home, some will enjoy it only for a while.  But no matter what their length of stay, it is here to serve the purpose of serving our Lord Jesus Christ.  It was now dark and the only lights are those of Port au Prince which shown across the horizon.  No tent village below to observe, no torn out buildings across the way to see, only the night sky.  So as I looked up at the stars and thought that in only 48 hours or so we will be back home looking at the same night sky what a joy it will be to be praying for the people of Haiti in a completely different way.  Maybe we only touched one life on this trip but that's okay.  It is someone we did not know only 2 weeks ago.  I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will touch their life.  So thank you Lisa and Dave for your leadership, what a job, you were perfect for us.  And thank you Jessica, Nicole, Kristina, Josh and Jason for making this trip a memory of a lifetime.  And thank you Lord for making Healing Haiti available to us and the people of Haiti.  I can only pray that we all will return soon.  Oh and good night concrete, cure in peace and in an orderly way because chaos will return in due time, remember we are in Haiti.
God Bless!  Bob Klockars

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday November 23th

Today was our 5th day in Haiti, and it started off much earlier for most of the team than usual. We woke up early this morning and Jean loaded us in his pickup truck to take us to the tent church to gather and worship with the Haitians there. What an amazing experience our team had! We prayed and sang along with the people there who gather daily. To see there passion and devotion to Christ was such a great gift to us.

At our nightly devotionals, we have our word of the day. Tonight mine (Jason) was simply "Fun". The day for me was nothing but a blast and a ton of good old fun. We started off this morning waiting for the "top-top" to be ready and got a game of soccer going at the guest house. We even got Fabrice and Emmaual to join in the fun. Although I thought we were doing awesome, I noticed the women in the kitchen having a good laugh at our expense.

We were able to do two water truck runs into Cite Soliel today. Our team really got to interact with the people in a way that we did not the first day, as we knew what to expect today. Bob and Jason carried many large pails back in to the houses for some women, and got to see where they lived. They were always so thankful giving us hugs and many "Merci's" before we left. We brought jump ropes and soccer balls as well. To see the kids playing in the street was such a blessing. Kristina was mixing it up with he boys in a soccer match, even getting called for a foul by one of the boys. Bob and Nicole were jumping rope with the girls. Jessica and Lisa were loving up and holding and hugging as many  kids as they possibly could.  Josh and Jason working the water truck with kids on their backs.  And of course DJ Dave was beat boxing. In between stops our team continued to bond and become closer in the "top-top" as we sang and laughed and even danced a little. 

This afternoon we also got to do something special. Our team had the opportunity to go back to the Home for the Sick and Dying Children, and we jumped all over the chance. We were all extremely excited to go back and see the kids we had bonded so much with in our first visit. The kids were so happy to see us, as many remembered us. We all quickly came in and started changing diapers and getting the kids out of their cribs and outside. At one point Jason and Kristina had about 7 or 8 of the babies outside sitting in a circle with them. Josh of course had 2 or 3 kids hanging off him as he played in the courtyard. Bob had the most precious little guy snuggled up on his chest. Dave was trying as always to improve his Creole skills interacting with some women there. It had been two days since we were there last, and many of the kids there seemed to be improving and getting better. It was so good for our team to see that. We left there with a lot of hope that God is watching over and taking care of them. After our first visit, there was much sadness and mixed emotions as we left about being there. Today we where there and we were having "Fun" with the kids, knowing that God has his hand on this very special place.

Today was a "Fun" day in Haiti.

Thursday November 22

Today we had the opportunity to tour Grace Village, the pictures and videos I have seen did not do any justice to just how amazing this place is!  God is doing amazing things there everyday, with a tilapia troft and a place to plant fresh vegetables being built right now along with a clinic.   The kids were in school while we were there but some were having recess and playing on the playground, basketball and soccer.  All with such big happy smiles on their face.  Truly an amazing experience and can't wait to go back on Sunday to spend time with the children
      After we left Grace Village we went to visit the elderly, our first stop was to an elderly man named Agust, who greeted us with such joy!  We packed a bag of canned meats, graham crackers and water to give to him.   Junior and Brunet helped us sing to him and the joy on Agust's  face was priceless, he thanked all us personally and we left with such heavy hearts. Is this what God was talking about when he said we are to help the most vulnerable?  This weighs heavy on my heart when all I could do was bring him some food and water for a meal or two. Our second stop was Edmond's shanty.  Edmond is an elderly man who has been blind since he was born.  We also brought him some canned meats, graham crackers, water and 2 bananas.  He ate both bananas while we sang to him.  After we were done he packed up all the food and hid it under his mattress so no one would steal it. Healing Haiti sponsors several elderly people who do not have much access to food or family that is able to assist them much.
      After finishing up dropping off the meals we stopped to have lunch on the side of the road by the ocean.  We all enjoyed our snack bars, beef jerky and water while enjoying the view of the mountains and ocean.
     After lunch we stopped by the mass grave sites, from what I understand there could be up to 150,000 people buried here.  The Hatians honored the people of January 12 2010 with several crosses and a memorial.  This place has such a sense of beauty but at the same time so much saddness. 
     Our last stop of the day was at Gertrudes Orphanage for special needs children.  What an honor to be able to spend time with Gods most precious children.  These children almost always had a smile on their face and wanting to play with us.  Dave learned a valuable lesson this day, that yes you can make children laugh to much and end up with a shirt full of stomach contents, the look on his face was absolutely priceless.  One of the children that touched me most was a little boy that I would guess to be about 3, unable to walk or talk but I could see such happiness in his big brown eyes and smile.  Truly a blessing to be able to spend an afternoon with these children of God.
    After a truly long day, we came home to a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner.  Phonese and Natasha had spent several hours preparing us a special meal, chicken, egg plant, potatoes, spinach, rice, cucumbers, plantains and several other delicious foods.  We all went around the table saying what we were most thankful for.   Even though we are all so far away from our families we are extremely happy to be here together to help our Haitian brothers and sisters.  This experience has truly changed our hearts forever.
    We ended the day with our devotions and word of the day.  The first 3 days most of our words had to do with sadness, guilt or grief.  This day it had changed to sewre (creole for smile), privilaged beauty, hope, success and honored.  Today was a turning point where we are beginning to see hope and beauty instead of sadness and destruction.   Truly a blessed experience that
     Just a side note, in case there is ever any confusion the girls did beat the boys fair and square in Catch Phrase.  That was another humbling experience that the boys will be able to take back home with them from Haiti 

November 21st, Wednesday

Today we spent the day at the Home for Sick and Dying children. I had said in every team meeting this was the day I feared most. I am a crier anyway and I didn't think I would make it through the day. The team seemed mellow...maybe still digesting all we had seen the day before. When we got to the home, there was a line of women standing outside waiting with their children to get in and see the nurses. I can't even begin to comprehend the love these mothers have for their trust and be able to love their kids so much, they are willing to leave them at a home to get the care they need.

The home had a recent cholera outbreak, so we had to dip our feet/shoes into bleach to make sure we didn't bring any more germs into the home. We were brought to a room with about 30-50 babies and toddlers to help with holding the babies, feed the kids and change any diapers. Even with all my fears, nothing could have prepared me for the wave of emotions I felt upon entering the room. The kids were so beautiful, but yet so sick. Some were hooked up with IV's, some just laying in cribs barely hanging on, and some recovering and ready to play. Most of us started picking up babies or bringing kids out to the playground.

I found my way to a baby named Toby who had just been dropped off the day before. Like many of the babies and children here, he was very small for being 2. It took a long time for him to settle down and stop crying. I can't imagine what was going through his mind.

Even among all the sickness and tears, there was hope. The hope that the mothers had when they left their children, the hope of the children, and the hope we had knowing there was a place that could give sick babies and children better care to heal their pain.

The parents are allowed to visit their children, so it was beautiful to see so many mothers and fathers coming to see how their kids were healing.

In the afternoon, we were able to come back (after nap time) and hang out with the kids more. I quickly gravitated back to Toby, who by this point, I had formed a bond with and he with me. In the morning, he had only snuggled up on my shoulder, but in the afternoon, he let me walk him around the playground and go on the swing with him.

One of the brightest memories of the day was seeing all of the members of the team running around the playground with so many beautiful children at their heels.

A favorite kid we nicknamed the Hulk. He came out with such a strong and running around laughing, yelling and jumping on everyone. In the afternoon, he had mellowed so much so that some of the team members didn't recognize him. But he quickly got back to his old self and entertained us for hours.

The hardest part of the day was leaving the second time. Toby could feel it when I started walking him back inside towards his crib. He started crying and holding on to me so tight I had to have one of the nurses come over and pull him off of me. I lost it at that point. I was his point of safety that day and it took all I had to walk out the door.

Processing the day was really tough. God felt so real and present in that place. The nuns who worked there were so tireless, loving all those kids and taking care of the needs of so many. But yet, to try and understand why children, who are so innocent, have to go through so much pain, is hard to comprehend.

My word of the day ended up being shell-shocked. I just have no other way to describe all the emotions I felt being at the home.

But the overwhelming feeling of the group was love. Love for the kids, love for God and love for Haiti.

-Kristina Klockars

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nov 20 Tuesday-Water Truck

"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food." (Isaiah 55:1&2 ESV)

Today was our teams first day of real interaction with the people of Haiti and what a way to start this unbelievable week that is ahead of us. Today was a great start to our team building in our trust and faith in each other but more importantly I believe this is the start of all of us building our strength and trust in our lord. The day started out with the wonderful breakfast prepared by Jean the staff and our team members Jason  & Bob it was much needed to fill us for the day. The water truck day started out meeting the truck entering Cite Soleil which was said as one of the poorest areas in the world, upon entering the next step was to prepare our hearts for all the loving arms of the children and the extreme poverty that was waiting  for us right as we got out of the truck. It was the first trip for all of us except our  awesome leaders so even with all the the stories of others or by what we have seen on TV we had some expectations but it wasn't enough to actual see and feel the impact of the people especially the children that we first encountered. The water bucket part was intense and it was incredible to see the desperation of the people for such a common necessity. It was amazing to tour through the alleys and appear in front of the beautiful ocean but with beaches covered in garbage and stepping in sewer drainage it wasn't your normal beach setting. Playing with the kids was by far a highlight for us all their spirit was powerful. As we went back to the water truck we had amazing rest of the day providing water and love to the people. It was incredible day capped off by our team devotional were we continued to grow closer with an awesome open honest time discussing on what God was trying to teach us through this experience. The overwhelming feeling of how we are really going to impact this place but it was soon replaced with a sense of knowing that God is in control and we don't know the power of His love and what we did give joy and peace for the time we were there. This experience has been so powerful to every one in such a short time, the leadership dynamic of Dave and Lisa has been so awesome to see. We thank the Lord for putting this team together and opening our hearts and mind to an awesome opportunity to serve Christ in any way we can.
Bondye Beni'ou
Josh Vogel

Arrival- November 19, 2012

After all the months of planning and preparation we finally arrived.  Since this is the first time to Haiti for most of our team, we made sure to follow our team leaders closely at the airport.  They were able to guide us through the chaos of baggage retrieval and finding the "top-top", our transportation for the week!  As we drove to the guesthouse in the dark we were in shock by the sights, sounds and smells of the city. 

We were greeted by the staff at the guesthouse with a delicious dinner of taco salad.  After dinner we gathered to discuss our week and thoughts, which included our word of the day.  Many of our words included guilt, excitement, overwhelmed, surprise, blessed, little and uncomfortable.  We all were confronted with a great sense of purpose and a need to serve this week.  After  a long day of travel we retired for the night to recharge for the events of the our next day.  It is impossible to ignore the energy that emits from the city and we look forward to being the hands and feet of Jesus.