Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth

The country of Haiti is in turmoil. Civil unrest brews thanks to the unresolved elections as well as lack of progress in the recovery process from Jan. 12 earthquake. At this moment there is an relief worker sitting in a Haitian prison for no good reason. People are living and dying on the streets: homeless, sick, with nothing really to look forward to.

It's not just Haiti. All over the world people are hurting. They are sick, hungry, and homeless. Some live in constant fear for their lives. Others feel that their situations are completely hopeless. And this the time of year we talk about Peace on Earth?

I guess Jesus wasn't born into a peaceful situation either, and after my experiences this year, I am more and more blown away that Jesus left paradise in Heaven with His Father to die for this. Crazy (unselfish) LOVE.

Take time to remember why we celebrate Christmas and what it means. And enjoy time with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Free LP!

Hello all,

A lot has happened in Haiti since I left almost 4 months ago. Cholera, hurricanes, elections, riot, and now Paul Waggoner (Little Paul) of MMRC has been falsely imprisoned. Please keep him in your prayers.

The story made Anderson Cooper 360 tonight
Watch here:

For more info just google his name.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LLU Chapel Talk

I spoke for University@Worship along with Andrew, Dr. Nelson, Shane, and the Lindsey's. Here's my part. (if I find video I'll post it later)

In January of this year, I had no idea what I was doing with my life. Not in the short term anyway. I was at La Sierra University winter quarter, completing my final pre-reqs for the Medical radiography program here. I did a lot of praying and soul searching. And after a few inquisitive e-mails and some opened doors, I decided to go to Haiti to help out at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. I arrived on April 9, not really knowing what I had gotten myself into.

I did lots of things while I was there. I helped pass out food, organize transportation, pick up big groups at the airport, organize our church service, and oriented short term volunteers. But my main job was taking care of central supply.

Being in charge of Central supply proved to be quite a challenge. After our morning meeting I’d spend my days, sorting supplies, seeing what we had and what we needed. It was particularly hard for me since the extent of my medical training at the time came from watching “Srubs” and “House”.

However, the real challenge came when I had to find medical supplies that we desperately need. Because many relief and medical supplies were stuck in the ports we had no real chain of supply. We were forced to rely on our ground connections as well as volunteers flying in with suit cases full of supplies. It was a constant struggle to keep the hospital stocked with simple things such as the proper bandages, right size of needles or IV catheters, sterile OR equipment, and IV fluids.

Like many other medical needs, blood was in short supply and in high demand in Haiti, as I discovered in the case of Johnny Cherry.

Unlike many of the ortho patients, Johnny’s injury was not earthquake related. In early June, he fell off a building, was paralyzed from the waist down, and needed spinal surgery. Dr. Nelson was leaving the hospital in a few days and we didn’t know if the surgeon following him would be comfortable doing the operation, so we needed to do get it done asap. In order to do the surgery we needed a unit of blood. But there was no blood for Johnny.

So I volunteered to go give blood. I went to General Hospital downtown with one of the translators. It was my first time taking a tap-tap (public transportation). It was not the most pleasant experience: really loud, very cramped, and super hot.

I was able to just walk in to the Haitian red cross and donate without too much hassle. The process was similar to donating here, there were fewer questions in the screening exam and there wasn’t a big comfortable chair, just a metal folding chair with a blood bag hanging off the side. But the donation itself went smoothly.

However, they were very slow and reluctant to cross and type the blood. We waited for a few hours, and then, we were told to come back later in the afternoon. After a frustrating wait, we returned to retrieve the blood the following morning.

When I returned to the hospital, cooler with blood in hand, Johnny was in pre-op. He was borderline hysterical. I understood the jist of what he was saying because he was speaking Spanish not creole. He was feeling abandoned, angry, and scared. I would be too.

He calmed down when I came in with the blood, saying this was my blood that I was giving to him. He replied with a simple, “gracias amigo”. In that moment, a calm wash over him that impacted me deeply.

Working in central supply, I didn’t get to directly see the results of the work I did at the hospital because most of it was behind the scenes. But this experience was so personal. Knowing that I gave Johnny the opportunity to have a better life and being able to witness the calming effect was a humbling and mind blowing experience.

So what is there to take away from this? I left my family, friends, and the comforts of home for a few months and gave a pint of my blood for a stranger. Why? Because Jesus left paradise in heaven with His Father to live on earth and gave ALL his blood for me! That’s true love. In response I don’t see how I can do anything but share that love with people around me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

GHI presents Haiti at LLU University@Worship

Hello all. It's been almost 3 months since I've been back. Crazy to think about. I'm doing well. Haiti...not so much, hurricanes and cholera will do that :/ Please continue to pray!

Just writing today to say that Wednesday @ 11am Dr. Nelson, Andrew Haglund, Nathan & Amy Lindsey, Shane Gemoto, and I will be sharing some of our experiences during LLU's Chapel. Obviously many of you won't be able to come to the church, but you can watch it live at or


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Speaking at LLU Vespers

I spoke about my time in Haiti @ LLU Back 2 School vespers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another New York Times Article

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two weeks later.

Hello, I've been home for two weeks now and it would take two hands to count the number of times I've tried to sit down and blog since I've been back. I have thousands of thoughts running through my head, some positive, many negative, but mostly confused and uncertain. I've been pretty occupied seeing people, taking care of school stuff (I'm officially a Loma Linda University student), playing basketball late into the morning, etc. I don't know that I'll ever be able to completely sort out/process the things that I experienced and the emotions I'm feeling now. If/when the moment of clarity comes I can't promise it'll get posted on a blog. Until then here are some answers to some frequently asked questions.

How was Haiti? I addressed this question in a previous post after I visited home in June. June 12 I believe, the post is titled "there and back again". My answer remains pretty much the same.

How's the situation?
At the hospital? I'm not too sure, two weeks is a long time and like always things are ever changing. I snuck a look at the "Master List" for the 1st time since I've been home and teams are still coming and going weekly. Jessica's still blogging and Amy and Nathan should start blogging some time soon (like Jesus is coming soon), so you can still get updates.
Haiti as a whole? Put it this way, clean up and reconstruction is still going on due to the results of hurricane Katrina. That was five years ago. In Haiti, there was much more destruction and devastation and many more people were killed and injured. Lack of resources, strong infrastructure, education, and so much more. Progress is slow, but it's happening.

What did you do there? By the end of my time there my responsibilities were narrowed down to being in charge of supply and church music. But during my time there, I helped coordinate transportation, pass out food, orient volunteers, and child care at times.

What were the highlights and lowlights of your time there? Lowlights? Probably the first week of May, ask me about details on your own time. Highlights? The people, the trip to Bassin Bleu, and giving blood to Johnny Cherry.

What did you learn? SOOOOOOOOOO much. But two biggest things, in some cases ignorance really is bliss. And I was reminded countless times to love in all situations.

When are you going back? It's not in my current plans. But only God knows. As much as I miss some of the people, the simple living, and actively "making a difference", I quite enjoy being in a place where I can freely communicate with 99% of the people, access the internet at high speed, flush the toilet paper, drive at 80mph. If I was to do something like this again it would probably be in South America or Sub-Saharan Africa, but again, only God knows.

In closing, I'd like to say thank you to EVERYONE who's read this blog, supported me financially, emotionally, and through prayers. Thanks to everyone who came down and worked at the hospital. Special thanks to Nathan and Amy Lindsey, Brooke Beck, Dr. Scott Nelson, Luke Davies, Jessica Scott, and Alex Sokolov.

That's it for me, who knows when I'll blog again. Until then, peace.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Not sure how I feel about being back. But I'm here and safe. Thanks everyone for your prayers and support over the last few months. More to come in a few days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Final Countdown

[cues epic music]

Twenty weeks ago I was sitting in the Miami airport fighting boredom, fatigue, and a little fear. Now I'm sitting in the administrator's office counting down the hours till my return to the land of excess and opportunity.

And now the final "day in the life" of David in Haiti
  • I woke up and made oatmeal, went to the morning meeting.
  • After the worship thought both Nathan and Dr. Nelson thanked me publicly for my service, not gonna lie, that kind of thing embarrasses me.
  • Hung out with Junior in central supply for an hour while Herold and Aimab did their distribution.
  • Met with Nathan to debrief and determine what was going to happen after my departure.
  • Went on my last supply run and brought back two pallets of stuff (2/3's of which we don't really need...ay).
  • The kids helped unload the truck.
  • After eating my final lunch at HAH, I went and sorted the supplies and ended up having to put somethings in the ramp. (Kinda sucks that after a month of having the ramp clear, I had to put things there on my last day...sad face)
  • Met with Herold, Aimab, and Jonathan to say good bye.
  • Showered and put on a button down for my "surprise" good-bye party. One of the more awkward moments of my life. A) I'm not used to being the honored guest. B) No one has ever called me a "rare product". C) If you were there, you would know.
  • Started to pack...
  • Hung out with Nathan in the office.
  • Had a great time at dinner in Petionville with Dr. Nelson, Brooke, and Jessica. Nicest place I've been in a looooooooong time. I guess it was a little preview of privileged life before I'm immersed in less than 24 hours. It was really nice to just hang out, away from the hospital, and just enjoy the company of awesome people.
  • Packed some more and wrote this blog.
I'll finish packing tonight, get a few hours of sleep then it's off to the airport, then the DR, then Miami, then home. California here I come!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Final Days

Sorry Dad, things have been busy. I'll start this post with something I've said many times before: things are every changing here at HAH. With the presence of Dr.'s Nelson and Dietrich, things are as busy as they've been in months.

Monday was, well, Monday, but Tuesday was even busier. Today there were 47 kids in for club foot clinic on top of all the other ortho patients.

The new translator system is working fairly well. There are still some of the old ones who hang around. The OR translators are particularly happy that there is so much work to do. In this week, I'm sure lot of work to do. 's go, this was a pretty busy one.

Glimpses of the past few days:
Receiving a container of stuff we didn't need and had to pay for. >:(
Not getting to empty the infamous red container.
Going on a supply hunt by the airport and returning empty-handed.

Amy made pancakes for dinner on Monday!!!
Taking a picture with SEVEN long term volunteers (
Eating at Zetty's with Jessica and Amy.
Scootering, counting in Spanish, and sword fighting with Junior.
Visiting an orphanage.

Since I'm leaving early Friday morning, tomorrow will be the day of good-byes. But I've been saying them all week. Today, I got to sit down with Phil Hudson from Cure International and talk for little bit (for those of you who don't know/remember, Phil was vital to helping me keep my sanity during my first two months.

Yesterday, I said good-bye to Jeanty, he went away for the weekend with his church. He's awesome. Here's his story (in the form of a college essay):!/note.php?note_id=142562092432689
I'm leaving him the guitar I brought along with lesson books, partially a gift for his wedding in October, but also I know that he'll use it to glorify God.

Speaking of Facebook notes, remeber Kenny? He's back home and is about to start medical school at UCSF. He wrote a summary of his Haiti experience which can be found here:!/notes/kenny-pettersen/brief-haiti-summary/424443282580

It's kind of surreal that this is all coming to an end. As a parting gift to Brooke and Jessica, I'm wearing scrubs tomorrow =]

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Countinuing the Countdown

Said some more (potential) good-byes today. I went over to Big Paul's place for the last time (again, potentially) to pick up some LR, gloves, vitamins, and other stuff. He and Little Paul gave me one of the M.M.R.C. (Materials Management Relief Corps) t-shirts as a parting gift.

I will eat lunch only for four more times in Haiti, and none will be as good as the one I had today. You see Sundays are the hospital's best meal day. Rice that is somehow darkened with something cheesy, something potato salad ish, a fried banana, and some meat imitation. Monday is white rice with beans and beets, Tuesday brown rice with shmeat, some root (i.e. sweet potato) or fried banana, a tomato and avocado slice, Wednesday is a repeat of Monday only with a delicious fried dough ball, and Thursday is pretty much a Tuesday repeat. Friday they mix it up with a soup that has potatoes, bananas, carrots, this really thick pasta like thing, and other stuff. The weekends with the worst meal, wannabe mac n' cheese with wannabe pizza/flat bread...ick! Good thing I'll be home next Sabbath. \(^_^)/

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beginning of the End

For the last time I will say, "Happy Sabbath!" from Haiti.
In six (five depending on how you look at it) days I'll be returning home. My dad says that you all will want to know what it's like to leave. So from here on out it's "the beginning of the end"...that was lame.
The goodbyes have already begun. Some of the translators were let go this week, I had parting conversations with Max and Enock that were meaningful. Both expressed appreciation and desires for me to return. Enock gave me a wood cup.
Being my last Sabbath, I decided to step up and take responsibility for the sermon (as well as music as usual). As I was thinking about what my "parting words" should be I realized that nothing I could say would be as profound, meaningful, etc., as using the parting words of Solomon, the wisest man ever. So with the help of Jessica, Amy, Nathan, Leonard, and Lorna, we read through Ecclesiastes. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. More so that "Crazy Love" and "The Irresistible Revolution" combined. While we just read straight through, not taking time to analyze what Solomon said, it is definitely worth dissecting and gleaning all wisdom you can. Sad note, Jessica has been fighting a cold all week so she couldn't sing with me today (T_T)

13 new volunteers come in today including Dr. Nelson and the Dietrich's. It's gonna be a super busy week that's gonna go by super quickly. Gotta soak it all in while I can.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The streak continues

5 days in a row!!!!

Well kinda...
I'm guest blogging on Jessica Scott's blog "Therapeutic Communication" tonight (, and by telling you about it, I'm posting here, so that counts right?

Go check it out!

Tomorrow, the single digit count down begins!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some not so wise words

This afternoon/evening Amy, Jessica, and I have spent a considerable amount of time in the break room on our computers, working and hanging out. This is rare because normally it's occupied by the many volunteers. However this week is slow and most of them have been working on a LONG case in the OR (tendon replacement, something or another). During this stretch we sang songs and I played "sword fight" and soccer with Jean Junior [I even let him win].

Quote of the night (at the end of singing "Standing on the Promises" in French with Jeanty):

"Mwe pa friend Jessica! Hallelujah! Amen!" ~Jean Junior
(I'm not Jessica's friend)

Oh're no Mama T.

Three posts in one day has to be some kind of record. Shout out to the LSU Mission trip leaving for El Salvador tomorrow. Keep them in your prayers!


More words of Wisdom

Over the last few days, I've been emailing back and forth with my friend Nilmini Pang. In our correspondence we were talking about how I was excited about going back home, because I can't wait to see what God has in store for me. In turn she asked, "You say you know God has plans for you... do you know what those plans are? How do you know?" She then went on to talk about doubts she was having about her career/education plans.
I say, ABSOLUTELY NOT, but for perhaps this is best explained using a story about Mama T.

"A scholar went to stay with Mother Theresa’s sisters at the house for the dying in Calcutta. At the beginning of his visit Mother Theresa came and spoke with him.

She asked, “and what shall I pray for you for?”

He said, “Mother, the thing I desire most in my life is clarity. To know what God desires of me and to know exactly what he wants me to do. Will you pray that I have clarity?”

To this Mother Theresa responds, “No. I will not pray for clarity.”

The man retorts, “But Mother, I look at you and you just seem to have so much clarity, you always know what you are supposed to do, you follow God as if you can see everything you are called to. I want that.”

Mother Theresa replies, “I do not have clarity, what I have is trust. I will pray that you can learn to trust God every day. He will show you what to do each step of the way.”"

Only God knows what's in store for me when I get back (in 11 days!!!!!!!!), I'm perfectly content to not know what exactly is gonna happen. I trust that He's got everything in control.

(for a complete devotional on Clarity go here:

Words of Wisdom from Mama T

(look at me posting 4 days in a row!!!!)

Today at our morning meeting, Nathan read us a Mother Teresa poem that resonated with me. Hopefully it will with you as well.


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
You will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway

If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Word Mama T.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


BREAKING NEWS: I'm uploading pictures to Facebook as I post. What could have possibly caused me to do such a thing? Well...boredom to be honest. And there are a few pics from yesterday's epic adventure to Bassin Bleu. 12 days till I'm home 21 pics uploaded.

You're welcome.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good, good, day

I believe I previously mentioned that we were preparing to receive 1,000 cases of Pedialyte from Big Paul [BP does supply, transport, and other logistics stuff all over Haiti, helping hospitals, orphanages, etc. Here's his blog: and website:]. Long story short, between Thursday and Friday we've received 1600 cases and needless to say, it's been a lot of work getting it securely stored [still a work in progress].

3 lessons learned: Pedialyte is DISGUSTING, pallets with pallet jacks would make life so much easier, and 1500 boxes of 6 one liter bottles are heavy and take up ALOT of space.
Sabbath rest was definitely welcome.

Today after church I went on my second real outing. Just about anything would beat my previous experience [refer to "Fun" in the Sun post]. I was optomistic. Nathan, Amy, and some of the other volunteers piled into the CURE car, our destination was Bassin Bleu in Jacmel. Best of all, alcohol was not in the plans. The ride was longer, but more fun [we drove through water] and the scenery made up for it. I'm a die-hard SoCal boy, so I appreciate the "Beauty of Brown"; seeing all the green was nice, but what I really enjoyed was getting to see something other than the destruction and poverty of Port-au-Prince. Instead we saw poverty with awesome scenery.
Bassin Bleu [ also search for videos, I'll put up pics, you know...eventually] is a series of deep fresh water pools with waterfalls. Unlike the ocean, the water was blue (not clear, but still) and cool. After a short hike to the pools, we swam, chilled on the rocks, and climbed up the cliffs by the waterfall and jumped into the water below [idk how high it was 25-30 ft, nothing too crazy]. Good, clean Sabbath afternoon fun!

We ate lamb and chicken with bananas and fries at a place by the beach [complete with the blasting music], then made the long trip back home. Sleep will come easy tonight! It was by far the most fun I've had in the 4 months I've been here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I dreamed a dream

I don't usually remember my dreams, but since I started taking the anti-malaria meds I've been having vivid ones. There was one just last night where I was living in an apartment complex with some people from my dorm in college but our neighbors were people from "How I ment Your Mother", "Scrubs", "Reading Rainbow", and "Sesame Street"and my brother's high school visted us for a field trip. The one I remember two nights ago was about going on a safari, but I was super fast so I was on foot following/chasing the animals all over the savannah. What does any of this have to do with Haiti? Well, on Thursday morning the screams of small children woke me up at around 5:30. My fan is pretty loud and generally blocks out most background noise (with the exception of the Celine Dion water truck), so when I heard children screaming I thought something was wrong. My worries were put to rest when I realized my fan wasn't running because the power was down, so the sounds I heard were just normal sick kid screams coming from peds and confused roosters.

Since microwaves and internet don't work without power, I decided to sleep until the 7:30 meeting. I rolled out of bed at 7:29, put on pants and headed down (not having to worry about hair has it's advantages). At the meeting the power still had not returned. Power outages happen daily, but they're usually over within a minute. This was not the case. We were told that the three generators had three separate problems. And since we paid the employees instead of the electricity bill, there was no power coming from the city. Plans for the day that required electricity (i.e. surgeries) were in jeopardy, but fortunately, one of the generators was fixed and power came back on around 8. Some people missed showers and hot breakfasts, so in perspective, so we didn't really have to alter patient care, so crisis evaded.

Happy Sabbath

p.s. 13...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I've made it a policy not to post that I'm sick till after I'm better, that way you all won't have to worry! I know, how considerate of me. But really it was just a cold, runny/stuffy nose stuff. Several doses of slightly expired Tylenol and 22 hours of sleep over 2 nights did the trick.

A lot is changing (more so than usual), things are busy, and yet I find that I have very little to write about (partially because of the "ignorance is bliss" thing). I sat down with Nathan today and we're starting to map out an "exit strategy" for me, to make the transition after my departure go as smoothly as possible.

People (long term volunteers) are tired. Jessica, Luke, Amy, Nathan, and I met Cory at the hotel for dinner tonight (Brooke couldn't make it due to "unforeseen circumstances"). It was good to get away and just chill, talk, and eat. In a way I was glad that the service was painfully slow. When you don't let that kind of thing you and enjoy the moments it makes things a whole lot easier.

Tomorrow, Kenny is coming from Hench to stay at the hospital for a few days before heading back to the US to move and start school. And hopefully we'll be going to pick up 1,000 cases of Pedialyte. Friday, Luke leaves to start his new job as a Project Manager at the "Love a Child" Foundation on the border. Cory also heads back stateside.

I was once again reminded that for everything I've learned/experienced/dealt with in my 19 3/4 years of life there more to know than I'll ever know, more to do than I'll ever do, etc. I guess that's why there are so many wonderfully flawed people in the world.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wyclef for President?

This week was a pretty eventful/rough/tiring for us at the hospital (for a plethora or reasons) and for Haiti in general. So this Sabbath rest is especially welcome.

If you haven't heard, on Thursday, music artist and activist Wyclef Jean announced that he has decided to run for president of Haiti. (If you haven't heard, educate yourself After the announcement throngs of people took to the streets wearing white t-shirts that read FAS A FAS, in support of the newly announced candidate. Nathan and Cory were across town and witnessed it first hand.

Everyone has an opinion anytime a celebrity goes into politics. I've talked to a few Haitians about it and there are mixed feelings. I'm not sure how I feel. Good thing I don't have a vote I guess.
You see, there's this kid named Jean Junior. His parents were both HIV positive. Although he's ten, looks like seven year old (most kids are underdeveloped). His mom died years ago. He came to the hospital a while ago with his dad, who was sick due to complications. He died about on July 21. Junior's family came to the hospital but after sitting down with a social worker and a few of the volunteers it was decided that they wouldn't be able to care for him given his condition. So he's spent the majority of his time here. He went to an orphanage run by Frantz's mom, but he got sick over the weekend and came back to live with us. For now a few of the volunteers have kinda adopted him. Brooke or Amy are his primary care takers, but both were busy last night so Jessica and I took care of him. Feeding him was no big deal, we made EZ-Mac. He'll eat anything as long as it's doused in ketchup. Getting him ready for bed proved to be more of a challenge. A few chases, multiple drinks of water, and calming him down after the loudest thunder of my life occured during his shower (I know I've said that before, but I'm not sure this one can be topped, the lightning strike was so close we lost power). But getting him into bed (and stay in bed) was the hardest of all. Long story short, it's offical: I'm NOT ready to be a parent. Well, at least the father of a 10-year old.

Big shout out to the Juniors Sabbath school and others at Azure Hills SDA church.
Julia, Julie, Kara, Kara, Bailey, Hannah, Rebecca, Gabby, Marcelo, Daniel, DJ, Jake, Justin, Trentin, Mark, C.G.E., Zachary, Chris, A.S. thanks for the words of encouragement.

And thank you to everyone who has kept me, the hospital, and Haiti in their prayers. I'm coming home in 20 days (I told myself not to mention the countdown...oops, sorry Jessica), but there is still so much work to be done here. Please continue to pray for the whole situation (sorry for being vauge, but believe me, ignorance is bliss).


Tuesday, August 03, 2010


As I was going through my day today I thought, I only have 24 days left. Then I started singing 24 by Switchfoot in my head. Take a listen

"Twenty four oceans
Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago

Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I'm not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

Twenty four reasons to admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses still twenty four strong

See I'm not copping out not copping out not copping out
When You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now

And You're raising these twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts
But I want to be one today
Centered and true

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now
And You're raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles, see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me
Twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts.
I'm not copping out. Not copping out. Not copping out."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Fun" in the Sun

It's three and a half months into my stay in Haiti, and I really haven't done anything "fun". Multiple groups have gone on tours and the beach on Sabbaths, but I've stayed at the hospital to sleep and chill. However this week multiple translators were bugging me about going to the beach, having some fun because I work so hard, seeing another part of Haiti, and since I only had four weekends left in Haiti, I agreed to come. after church (and an hour and a half of waiting for the bus to arrive) Jessica, the "Mama-Kimball" team, some of the translators, and other Haitians from the hospital set off for the beach.

One thing I've learned is when you don't have expectations, you can't be disappointed. When I think beach, I think, chilling in the sun, swimming, eating, playing football, and volleyball etc. I figured this beach trip wouldn't be all that, but I was still hoping to have a chill time. Those hopes were dashed when I realized that "chill" wasn't what the trip was about.

Without going into details (that would embarrass some, and disturb others) it was an extremely disappointing experience. Spending hours in a hot cramped bus to go watch drunk people dance and get beer sprayed all over me isn't my idea of fun, or good Sabbath afternoon activities for that matter. It wasn't all bad, being submerged in water for the first time since June was fun, and eventually I did get to slip away for a while, just lay out, talk, and chill in the sun.

Hopefully your Sabbath was much more restful.


Friday, July 30, 2010


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Four more weeks

Lack of posts this week is attributed to writing two lengthy messages to dear friends, lack of internet two nights, and taking time for soul searching (a lot has happened this week).

Four weeks from now I'll be packing up to go home. Depending on your point of view August 27 is a long way off, and I know so much will happen. But for me it's hard to believe that I've been back in Haiti for almost two months, Dr. Nelson left and Nathan and Amy arrived over a month ago. In that time there have been many changes, administrative decisions have been made, so many groups have come and gone, patients have been admitted, many have been discharged, some are still here, few have passed away. It's kind of been a blur.

I'm very anxious/excited to get home, to see people, play music in a praise band, play basketball and volleyball with friends yes, but also to start the next chapter in my life. I know God has great things in store. But I can't get caught up in looking ahead. There are still boxes to move, supplies to sort, songs to sing, and people to love.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Update

I have less than five weeks left in Haiti...its crazy to think that when August 27 rolls around 1.8% of my life will have been spent here. This last weekend was chill...ish.

Things got off to a poor start Friday night. Quick background: If you remember my first week in Haiti I dropped something heavy on my left big toe. Since then, the nail has fallen off and it's been healing nicely. Also, you might recall that I semi-retired my black OP flip-flops, meaning I don't wear them daily anymore, but I pull them out every once in a while. Friday evening was one such occasion. I was out on the roof talking on the phone, planning the worship service when I slipped. This wouldn't have been a problem if I had been wearing close toed shoes. It probably would have been less of a problem if the nail on my toe had completely grown back. But alas, this was not the case, so when I slipped and my foot dragged across the ground a layer of skin where my nail should have been was torn off. OUCH! Luckily we're at a hospital and got it cleaned and dressed. I'm back to wearing flip-flops for awhile and walking is a little awkward, but it's all good.

Some good did come from all this. Sabbath morning a group from ACTS showed up to help out with the church service and see the hospital. With them was Ileah Schmul. Like me, she's a college student helping out in Haiti during summer break. Also like me, on Friday her feet had an unfortunate accident with the ground while wearing flip-flops. Her RIGHT big toe was bandaged exactly like mine! It was quite a surprise so we had to scramble to get the worship service in order, then arrange to take 30 people around the hospital. Never a dull Sabbath at HAH.

This morning's meeting probably had the lowest attendance in HAH history. The 25-person UFGH group had left, Luke is still with friends, Brooke was across town, and the "Mama Kimball" group had not yet arrived. So Nathan, Amy, Kenny, Jessica, Dr. Wilkerson, and I gathered on the front steps. We proceeded to have the slowest Sunday ever. I sent Aimab and Herold home after lunch and slept for most of the afternoon.

Today's shout outs go to two very special young men. To all the single ladies, I'm pleased to inform you that Donald Dominic Dawkins is officially legal today. If you're interested, you better get on that quick, cuz he's headed off to MIT in a month. Also on this day 16 years ago, three-year-old me was sleeping in the Dawkins' living room and was shaken awake early in the morning to receive the news that I had a little brother. Ladies, he's still a child so BACK OFF!!!! Hahaha. For the first time in their lives, I won't be celebrating with them. So in that respect this is the saddest July 25 since '98 when both Jordan and I were sick. Love you guys and wish I was there (sad face).

So if you take anything away from this post, say happy birthday to my brother from another mother and my brother mother AND be thankful for your toes.


Friday, July 23, 2010


Dear readers, you are experiencing history. For the first time ever, the primary writer of a "David in Haiti" blog post will be someone other than yours truly. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Amy Lindsey. [applause]

Hey! I am Amy Lindsey and I one of the volunteer Coordinators at the hospital as well as filling in wherever else as needed.

My job for the week was to sort supplies…boxes and boxes of supplies which were stashed in all corners and crevices of the hospital. A lot of the boxes contained disaster relief supplies ranging from medical supplies to personal hygiene items, tents, and flashlights. Then there were the many other random pieces of old medical equipment, outdated computers, and mangled beds. Unfortunately all these boxes and old equipment were intermingled in a heap reaching almost to the ceiling in many parts of the storage room making it impossible to get to anything. It was an absolute mess and very overwhelming; however, our clean-up crew soon found that if you just focus on one box at a time eventually a cleared area would start to appear. It was a long and tedious process because in these boxes we normally found a random assortment of band-aids, hydrogen peroxide, gauze and anything else you can imagine. So it was our job to sort out the contents of the boxes and put like items together so that we could at least have an idea of what supplies we had.
It was about the 3rd day of sorting supplies in a dingy storeroom, without lights and certainly no air conditioning, with sweat literally flowing off of my forehead that I started to get sick of all this extra stuff in the storeroom. I just wanted to throw everything away. There were so many random things, a lot of it that was just old machinery that was only good for scrap metal at this point, yet for some reason the hospital was very unwilling to let it go. I thought to myself more than once, if only the local staff could see that this stuff is junk and that by holding onto it they are creating clutter and making it difficult to organize the good supplies that we do need to keep. We even told them that we had good supplies waiting to be sent to the hospital from the US but in order to make room for the new supplies the old had to go. It is physically impossible to have both the new and the old at the same time. It seemed like the hospital staff would rather hold onto what they knew they had even if they couldn’t use it and just let it rust in storage and take up valuable space, rather than trust that something better would arrive if they would just be willing to let the junk go.
In my mind the solution was so obvious and at times I was flabbergasted at the slow progress. Then the overwhelming thought hit me-- my heart is just like this dingy storage shed. There certainly are some valuable supplies in it, but there is also A LOT of things that I am treasuring that really are junk and by holding onto them I am hurting myself. God is offering me some of his beautiful gifts and I can just hear Him saying, “If you just let Me clean up this stuff I have some amazing gifts that I want to fill your heart and life with, just trust me.” Unfortunately it seems that more often than not I would rather hold on to my trash because it is familiar to me, rather than trusting that God has something special for me.
I know that often when people think of the dark dingy parts of their hearts they think of the sins that nobody knows about. When I think about God cleaning up our heart I definitely agree that He wants to purify us completely, but I think he also wants to take the baggage of fear, anxiety, lack of peace, distrust, and sorrow out of our lives as well and replace that type of junk with the fruits of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience etc. It’s a way bigger heart overhaul than just the secret sins in our lives. God wants to give us an abundant life. It is not just about cleaning up our past, but it’s also about daily living joyfully in Jesus. Sometimes it can be hard to have that joy if we have the foul odor of trash permeating all parts of our hearts and cluttering up our life.
A good Bible text that comes to mind is Ezekial 36:26 which states, “And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.” With this verse in mind there are a couple lessons that can be applied to the analogy of the shed and my heart. First of all the shed can’t clean out itself, someone else has to do it for it. In the same way, I can try all I want to physically remove the junk out of my heart but I simply can’t because I can’t do heart surgery on myself. What I can do is give God the ok to work in my heart so that He can change me. But this whole process boils down to trust. Do I really truly trust that God is going to take care of me? Do I trust that he does have my best interest in mind, or do I cling to my clutter of what I can see, even if it is junk and harmful to me, instead of allowing Him to take out the bad and bring in the new?
From an outside perspective it is obvious that the junk needs to be removed, but I just pray that I am not so attached and comfortable with it that I’ll stubbornly hold onto it when God is anxiously waiting to clean up the mess and show me how to truly live. I want to trust him with every “box” in my life and be able to wholeheartedly say like David said in Psalm 31:14, “I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God.’ My future is in Your hands.”

Thank you Amy.

Three more things.
1. Shout out to Agnes Ward and to all the people I don't know who read this blog. I know there are more than the 16 of you who are official "followers". If you want to be awesome like Agnes drop me a line @
2. While watching "Scrubs" (as I sometimes do during free moments) I heard this song. Enjoy!
3. Happy Sabbath!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best day ever?

Eh, probably not, but considering I was sick in bed, desperately trying to sleep all yesterday (24-hour ish flu worries), so today was definitely an improvement. I also felt that today was one of my more productive days. I know it wasn't and central supply doesn't look like it (I was reorganizing gauze...exciting stuff) when , but it felt good. I attribute it to feeling NOT sick and listening to my iPod for the 1st time in MONTHS. If you're my friend on Facebook and saw my status the other day about "enjoying the small new guitar strings" the feeling is similar. Although iPods are not as simple as guitar strings, it brought me great enjoyment. I realized that I hadn't listened to my own music for a looooooooooooooooooong time (especially since I don't have MY computer :/ ). Skillet, TFK, David Crowder, etc. never made me smile so much.

Also Charles from Project Hope brought food! Rice, fish, and lasagna Haitian style. YUM!

Next time: SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER!!! (it'll be up as soon as he/she starts...uh...I mean, finishes writing!)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

People my age...ish

Right off the bat I gotta say that last week was by far the best as far as talking to people back home. I think I had meaningful conversations over Facebook, Skype, BlackBerry, Google Talk, and email with at least 10 people. Thanks to my homies at home!

Also over the past few weeks it's been awesome having volunteers who are closer to my age. I mentioned the OT group from LLU and that Luke returned, but Hollie, Heidi, and Didi have yet to be acknowledged. It was great hangin' with you guys, even after all those long days you had in
the OR.

Kenny is going to Med school at UCSF in the Fall, but he's spending a good chunk of his summer here like me. Unlike me he's been to Haiti seven times before the earthquake and this is his second trip post earthquake. He's spent most of his time on the central plateau in thew town of Hench, but he's here for a few weeks experiencing Port-au-Prince. Like me, he's doing a lot of logistics stuff.

Another group of "peers" arrived. A SIMS group composed of Pharm Student Mike, Med Student Kevin, Public Health Students Julie, Sonya, and Sara, and Dr. Bennet. Such an eclectic group, why would such an eclectic team come to HAH? SUPPLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Over the past nine days they (along with Amy and Kenny) have done some AMAZING work! The items stored in the HIV clinic (I finally saw the breast implants!), basement storage, and Room 3 in central supply (the one to the left with all the meds and IV fluids for those of you that know) were emptied and sorted. The external storage buildings and church-for-a-day tents were reorganized. And most impressive of all for the last 4 days the ramp is clear!!!!!!!!!!!! For those of you who haven't been to the hospital, the gravity of this statement. The ramp has been the bane of my existence. It is constantly filled with supplies, things are periodically taken away, only to have more boxes take their place. Needless to say clearing the ramp is no small feat. As they'll be leaving tomorrow, I'd like to extend my gratitude to the SIMS group. I'll miss them...

Finally, last Friday, the Beck-Davies-Harris-Lindsey family became the Beck-Davies-Harris-Lindsey-Scott family. Ladies and Gentlemen, Jessica Scott has arrived. She's a trauma nurse who will be here for six months! She also sings really well, as witnessed my everyone who attended the English worship service this past Sabbath. You can follow her blog here .

Tomorrow's gonna be a big day. Emilie Clotaire, the Haitian Hospital Administrator returned tonight from a four week vacation. Dr. Elie Honore, the Health Ministries Director of the Inter-American Division of the SDA church is accompanying her. Big meetings, big changes? Eh, this stuff waaaaaay over my head.

Shout out to my friend and YouTube sensation Victor Dean Tanglao. Watch and enjoy!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm a skeptic no more

So you know how when sports teams win championships and/or important games they get t-shirts and the t-shirts made for the losing team are allegedly sent to developing countries. I've always been a skeptic, but that changed today when I saw a kid walking around wearing a "NBA Western Conference Champions 2000". As I'm SURE you all remember Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals featured the L.A. Lakers and Portland Trailblazers. And on that day in May at the Staples Center, the world witnessed the Blazers suffer one of the biggest 4th quarter meltdowns in NBA history, capped off by a Kobe to Shaq alley-oop, all resulting in a Lakers trip to the NBA Finals where they beat the Indiana Pacers (in Reggie Miller's only NBA finals appearance) in six games, and launching the Shaq/Kobe Laker three-peat. So imagine my surprise when the kid's shirt was black and red with a Blazers logo! I am now a believer.

On a more serious note, over the past couple of days I've had some conversations with some pretty awesome people. People who have done AMAZING things during their lifetimes. This triggered an internal argument with myself.
DRH A: I wish I could be like them and do those amazing things. I'm jealous, envious, and disappointed in myself.
DRH B: Hold on, I'm only 19, I still have time to do all that stuff. And they had more education than me, other experiences and opportunities I didn't have.
DRH A: Stop rationalizing and making excuses!
DRH B: But they're legit reasons.
DRH A: Sure they're legit, but the facts speak for themselves, I haven't...
DRH C: Hold it right there. I've done some pretty cool stuff, but cool doesn't matter, I shouldn't be comparing myself to other people anyway, God works through them as He sees fit, and He'll do the same through me. Capiche?
DRH A: Yeah yeah.
DRH B: I guess.
DRH C: FTW!!!!! [fist pump]

Hope you enjoyed the peak into my brain.

Shout out to everyone studying for the MCAT. You can do it guys!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

New York Time article

Wow. The first picture is literally just down the street from the hospital, everytime I drive out that direction we pass those houses along the center divider. Hits really cose to home. For me it gives me better perspective on things going on around me. For you its great information on what's goin down over here (and whatever else you can draw from this). I wonder if this was just published because tomorrow is six months after. Hmmmm

Currently everyone is watching the World Cup Final [*sings* lonely...I am so lonely...]


Thursday, July 08, 2010

So that lasted long...

I'm back! No my computer isn't fixed but we have a spare one and I'll be using it for a while.Lots of stuff has been going on, things are still ever changing. Brooke and Luke are back. The SIMS team is coming tomorrow. There are other new people. Lots of drama. There was a 25 person car accident tonight so I'm gonna be running in and out of Central Supply I'm sure. I'll leave you with something I wrote on my BlackBerry. It's called "Jesus was a Hobo". Inspired by Jesus...who was a hobo.

Jesus was a hobo didn't have a place to sleep
So if I want to be like Him where should my priorities be?
Do I need a big house with a three car garage and ignore those on the street
Who go to "bed" wondering how, what, and when they'll be able to eat

Jesus was a hobo, He walked everywhere He went
So if I want to be like Him how should my money be spent?
Should I drive a pimped ride with spinning rims that guzzles gasoline
While there are those who can't afford a car or even find enough to eat

My Savior is a homeless guy
He said to love unselfishly and I really do try
I'm not saying its easy, in fact its flippin hard
But I'll do my best and won't give up
I'll lean on Him He'll pick me up
I'll be fine cuz He is all I need

Jesus was a hobo He didn't shave or cut Hishair
So if I want to be like Him I should think about what I wear
Should I really be wearing True religion jeans or jewelry plated gold
When there are people without shoes and shiver in the cold

Jesus was like a hippie, He wasn't a big fan of war
In fact He told Hisdisciples to put away their swords
If we're one nation under god why are we out there dropping bombs
Instead of sharing peace and love and prevent another Vietnam

My Savior is a homeless guy
He said to love unselfishly and I really do try
I'm not saying its easy, in fact its flippin hard
But I'll do my best and won't give up
I'll lean on Him He'll pick me up
I'll be fine cuz He is all I need

Jesus was a hobo He didn't have stocks or a 401k
So I won't store up treasure here, cuz ill be in heaven one day
For now I’ll feed the hungry, heal the sick, all for the glory of Hisname
And I won't treat life like it is a win at all costs game

So why do we live like there's nothing beyond our suffering hear on earth
The things we do seems driven by gaining our own self worth
Jesus said nothing about getting your own. He called us to love.
So what are you waiting for LIVE LIKE A HOBO

Jesus was a hobo who died for you and me
This song may seem light hearted but its an urgent plea
To my siblings in Jesus Christ I hope you understand
He said the world will know us by our love for our fellow man

Our Savior is a homeless guy
Who lived and loved unselfishly and that's what we should strive (for)
I'm not saying its easy, in fact its flippin hard
But I'll do my best and won't give up
I'll lean on Him he'll keep me up
I'll be fine cuz He is all I need

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hasta la vista

Yesterday was a long/crazy day, even for a Monday. I'd tell you all about it but due to some issues with my computer that would take forever since I'm typing on a BlackBerry. I'm sending it home next week and hopefully it'll get fixed and sent back to me. Until then, minimal (if any) blogging or Facebook. Email me ( to get in touch.
Until next time!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Proud to be an American?

It's July 4, the day we celebrate declaring independence from England, barbeque, set off fireworks, hang out with family and friends, and watch grown men try to inhale as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes. It’s also a day where millions of people are living in poverty, without food and clean drinking water, around 6000 will die from HIV and…

Before I go on, show of hands, who thinks its too soon for another angry post? Ok you win, maybe I’ll write a book later.

Highlights of the week:
1.Spending time with Son-son
2. Everyone's pained reaction to Brazil's loss to the Netherlands
3. Playing guitar and singing with Shane from the LLU OT team.
4. Talking to friends ALL OVER the world.

Lowlights (other than the current state of Haiti and many other places in the world):
Deaths of a 5-month-old and Albert's mom.
On the lighter side of lowlights, after traveling to 4 countries (Haiti, South Africa, Malawi, and Turkey) in 2 years of service I'm officially retiring my black OP flip-flops. The right one has a hole in the sole. I'm not throwing them away yet, they might come out of retirement but I'm not gonna be wearing them daily.

Happy Independence Day! Be thankful, be safe, have fun.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On a lighter ♫...(pun intended)

Have you ever sung to a little child to comfort them? Before today, neither had I. After doing it while holding and comforting ten-year-old Son-son (short for Touson in his full name Jean Touson Dimasnche) while he got the staples and bandages removed, I highly recommend it. Although he’s ten, he’s the size of a seven year old and probably weighs 60 lbs (due to malnutrition, a lot of kids in Haiti are VERY small for their age). But what he lacks in size he makes up with heart. As I sang “Wavin’ Flag”, “Somewhere over the rainbow”, his favorite “This time for Africa”, and every Haitians favorite: “We are the World”, he refrained from flinching while we held him down as the bandage was cut off. He’s a crazy brave little kid who’s endured so much. Of course he lived through the earthquake which is enough trauma, but eight years ago, he had an accident with boiling oil. It left the right side of his face (eye, ear, scalp) and some of his torso badly burned. Now he’s running around the hospital like he owns the joint, wheeling around in unoccupied wheelchairs, following doctors around, begging for my bandanna (which I gave him) and glasses (which I kept), all while singing Shakira’s, “This time for Africa”. We've played soccer and he's played my guitar while singing (videos and pictures will be up....later).
[edited 7/2/10]

Continuing with the music theme, I’m currently listening to “Hands Held High” by Linkin Park, while I don’t agree with the exact way he presents the issues we share some of the same concerns. It kind of reminds me of Noah Gunderson’s “Jesus, Jesus”. Good songs, look ‘em up, and watch the F-bombs if you have sensitive ears.

And while we’re talking about listening to things, ever since reading “Crazy Love”, I’ve been listening to Francis Chan’s sermons online ( I stayed up till almost 2am last night listening to his series on “Living a Life that Matters” (the series starts back when I was still 17…on 10/26/2008). Take a listen, they’re long, but worth it.

[don't forget: Lebron, D-wade, and co. become free agents in less than 4 hours!!!!]



I feel the need to reiterate that I’m not generally emotional person. I’m not heartless, I just compartmentalize fairly well. Today was not one of those days. Did I break down? No, but I came pretty close. As I walking upstairs this morning I ran into one of the OR translators who was on the phone. I wanted to say hey and follow up on something he had asked me yesterday, so I waited for him to finish the conversation. Instead of greeting me with, “Chief! Sak pase?” he told me it was his brother on the phone, and his mom died. I don’t know if you’ve had the misfortune of being with a person when they hear the news of a lost loved one. NOT an experience I’d like to have again anytime soon. I can imagine other people in my situation struggle to find words. I couldn’t find any, so we just sat in the ramp for nearly ten minutes, me holding his hand as he cried, praying silently and aloud, listening, trying to wrap my head around the situation. Losing a parent isn’t a Haiti problem. It’s something everyone can relate to on some level. Keep the Pètion family in your prayers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blogger's Block?

[Generally when I post something I have an idea in mind, write it out in word then paste it here. I feel that I should post something, but I don't really have anything I want to say so for the first time, I'm making this up as I go. Who's excited?!]

Today...was slow. I think I've mentioned this before but ever since Dr. Nelson left things have drastically slowed down. On top of that, there's no ortho clinic on Sunday so even fewer people were in the hospital.
Yesterday I slept for about 5 hours during the day so I couldn't sleep till 3am (as Aubrey and Israel can attest). After today's morning meeting, I opened supply, I had a spiritually uplifting conversation with Patti, moved new supplies into central, I went around the hospital with Nathan checking the floor plans to make sure all the doors were in the right place, listened to some Adventures in Odyssey played some guitar...and that's pretty much it.

This evening I sat down and talked to the six other volunteers (not counting Amy, Brooke, and Nathan) that are staying here (all-time low) about Ching Hai, ate peanut butter M&M's, went up on the roof and took a few pictures (Jillian Nicola inspired me), came down when the clouds burst open and the loudest thunder and brightest lightning of my life appeared, stood in awe of the storm from a balcony, went to my room, checked Facebook, opened iTunes, and sat down to write this blog.

Thus concludes the most candid, and probably the most boring blog post ever.

I'll leave you with this. Remember that you are so incredibly blessed and even when things get overwhelming, take comfort in the fact that God's got you, He has a plan, Jesus is coming back SOON, and we won't ever have to deal with stuff like this ever, ever, ever again. Finally keep Jesus and the center of your life and all your relationships.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tales from Room 2

Since Dr. Nelson’s departure the patient load at the hospital has greatly decreased. Because there are fewer patients there is not as much going on (things should be picking up starting tomorrow when another group from Cure arrives). Things in supply have been pretty slow as well, so I let Aimab and Herold go early and hung out in room 2 (the middle of the three rooms that make up central supply) until closing. I had two rather interesting encounters.

Obviously the World Cup is huge here. It’s pretty much all anyone talks about. There are three TV’s (that I know of) in the hospital and everytime a game is on, patients, staff, and volunteers gather around to watch. Those who can’t watch listen on the radio. I have to admit that its grown on me while most people are rooting for Brazil or Argentina, I’m sticking to my roots and reppin’ the USA! Landon Donavan’s stoppage time goal was the subject of more than a few conversations I had.

When the guys had left one of the x-ray techs came into supply and started to talk to me about the goal, the upcoming game with Ghana, and the other happenings in the World Cup. It ended up with the other guy saying that the US should beat Ghana because our goal/goalie/god is the best? I honestly have no idea which he said. If he was referring to Donavan’s last minute game winner, fine. If he was saying Tim Howard was awesome, fine. I just reeeeeeeally hope it wasn't the latter or if it was something just got lost in translation. Who is the god of America anyway (there’s a debate waiting to happen)?

Closer to closing time, Kervens, Gregory, and Juanito came over to supply to hang out. We talked about school, girls (oooooooooooooooooh), and as time passed they all took turns “playing” my guitar and singing. It started off as making fun of Mr. Francoise, me, and Brooke, but quickly turned to “Thank you Jesus that I did not die in the earthquake.” Stomach punch feeling. I couldn’t help but smile. I’m surrounded by amazingly flawed people. So blessed.

Shout-out to everyone @ the GC! Keep it Christ-centered!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

An End and a Beginning

An era has come to an end. For the first time since 1995 I did not watch the clinching game of the NBA finals. (This is actually a huge deal for me, but during my time here I’ve come to value sports less, which is a good thing. Will I continue to watch/follow sports? Ask me about it later). I made due with listening on I’m not sure I would have wanted to watch the game…so ugly. A win is a win I guess. But seriously, today marked the end of an era: Dr. Scott Nelson has left the hospital. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Nelson is an orthopedic surgeon who has been working in the Dominican Republic for the last five years. He came over to Haiti on January 14 and has been here (with a few breaks) ever since. His skills in the OR as well as his leadership will be greatly missed. Hospital administration put together a little ceremony for him. He and Lucia drove off to the DR at 6 this morning. He’ll spend some time there and will move back to SoCal. Bittersweet times, more bitter than sweet. But with every end comes a new beginning, every cloud has a silver lining, [insert other cliché here]. Dr. Nelson has left a humongous void, but some relief has arrived. Ladies and gentlemen, Nathan Lindsey, MPH, has arrived at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. You may be wondering why that is significant. He and his wife Amy (who will be arriving on Tuesday) will be here for the next YEAR (at least)! Nathan will be working as the assistant hospital administrator. We’re going through yet another transition period, things will continue to change.

Also as expected, the World Cup has been HUGE here. It seems that everywhere I turn, people are listening to the radio, watching TV and wearing colors of the teams they support. Walking through the streets last week (coming back from donating blood) people were crowded around restaurants and shops watching the action. One of the cell phone stands was blasting the radio broadcast over the loud speakers. Most people here are Brazil or Argentina supporters. During Brazil’s victory over cheers erupted all up and down the street when each of the three goals were scored. Go figure.

Tomorrow’s Monday, gonna be a kuhrayzee.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Best in Haiti?

The other day, Dr. Nelson told me some important “ortho-politician” came to the hospital while I was gone and was impressed with the organization of Central Supply. He said it was the “…best he’s seen in Haiti.” I’m not sure how I feel about that statement because it probably means four things: He hasn’t been around much; he’s a politician and was telling us what he thought we wanted to hear; our supply room is really the best he’s seen, and if that’s the case…other hospital supply rooms must be really bad. If any of the above are true…well...yeah...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How to Save a Life...

[although I'm a fan of The Fray, this post has nothing to do with their song which shares the name of this post but if it adds to the experience go ahead and listen while you read]

I’ve said that there’s no such thing as a normal day here, still a true statement. However I’ve done a few new things in the last few days. Tuesday started like most days, wake up at 5:40(ish), wash up, eat, etc. Morning meeting at 6:30 the open central supply, wait until the guys come, distribute stuff, sort stuff, and move stuff.

Things changed with a phone call from Brook at 0921. Patients needed blood for transfusions and supplies needed to be delivered to General Hospital. After gathering the specimens and supplies Mark (one of the translators) and I headed off to General Hospital boxes in hand. This was my first time taking real public transportation AND... it wasn’t that exciting, it was just loud, cramped, and hot. After arriving at GH we made the deliveries and went to the Red Cross. We gave them the three test tubes and the prescriptions and they told us it would take a while. They weren’t lying…well they kinda were, I don’t think they were really planning on giving us any blood. (I understand there’s a shortage, but it was really frustrating anyways, what was also frustrating was the hospital “losing” one of the units that we had previously received, but that’s a different story.) While we waited I decided to donate, since we were there and they didn’t care about me being in a foreign country where malaria is a risk. The process is pretty much the same. I got to watch TV and got mango juice The differences: no questions about travel or family disease history, they used a tourniquet instead of blood pressure cuff, the bag wasn’t in a “rocker” it just hung on a pole, and they didn’t really bandage me up, just gave me a little circle band-aid (like the ones they give you after shots).

When I had finished donating, Mark and I stayed for a while, continuing to ask when the blood would be given to us, and not getting an answer. We ended up leaving empty handed after a few hours. Brooke returned to get the blood later that evening….and they still didn’t give it to us. Annoyingly long story short, Mark and I spent a good chunk of two days at the Red Cross and received…one unit of blood. It’s okay, Johnny Cherry, is got his surgery and is doing fine (another story for another time) and all the other patients are gonna be “okay”. Real life example of how giving blood saves lives.

You may be thinking to yourself, “I wish I could save a life.” Great news! This doesn’t just happen in Haiti, every blood donation has the same results. So if you’re over 17 years old (or 15 with parent’s consent), are in good health, and weigh more than 110 lbs, head over to the Red Cross, LifeStream, or your closest donation center and give the gift of life!
Top three reasons to give blood
  1. You give someone the opportunity to live longer.
  2. You give that person’s family and friends more time to spend with them
  3. FREE REFRESHMENTS (cookies, juice, etc.) after the donation!
Also it’s a cheap date. What could be more romantic than getting stuck with needle and saving lives together AND eating free food?! (yeah, one of the many reasons I’m single). In all seriousness, when you go, take someone with you. The more blood the better.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

There and Back Again

Happy Sabbath from Haiti Adventist Hospital. It’s good to be back. Words can’t describe my experience over the past ten days…here’s an attempt.

Walking into the airport in Miami was one of the more overwhelming experiences I’ve had. I “smelled” America as soon as I was off the plane. The things that immediately hit me were the excess space, so many reflective surfaces (windows, mirrors, etc), and climate control. As I continued through the airport I was making list in my head of things I didn’t realize I missed while in Haiti: familiar smells, seeing people of all different ethnicities, being able to walk fast without getting stared at, speaking English, being able to move freely, and of course flushing toilet paper.
But thing I missed the most was my family and friends. I experienced pure joy when unsuspecting loved ones would realize that I was there when they thought I was thousands of miles away. Seeing the looks on their faces was a priceless experience. Welcome back/I missed you hugs are the best! Half-hearted apologies to everyone for not telling you that I was coming back [whole-hearted apology to Angela Mae Payaban, I admit, that was kinda messed up, you love me though].
When I wasn’t surprising people I got to: eat… a lot (Guppy’s, Kogi, Del Taco, In-n-Out, pancakes at midnight, and everything that was cooked/made at home), worship, catch up on TV shows, watch the NBA finals (IN ENGLISH), watch an improv show, watch Ironman 2, have meaningful conversations with people I haven’t seen in a long time (special thanks to everyone who listened), talk loooooooong into the morning, play basketball (after 8 weeks of inactivity I can still dunk. FTW!), play Frisbee, play football on the beach, and go to RAA and RHS graduation.

[Shout out to all the 2010 graduates! Proud of you guys! LSU grads sorry I can’t be there tomorrow.]

I’m grateful that I’ve been able to see so many loved ones, eat a lot, and sleep…some, but every rose has thorns. “How was Haiti?” has become a dreaded phrase. I know it’s an innocent conversation started, but when it’s asked three things pop into my mind:
  1. READ MY BLOG!!!!!! [thank you]
  2. That’s a bad question: Asking in past tense is incorrect because Haiti still exists, and the answer to that question is probably not what you’re looking for. Your question is probably, “How was your experience in Haiti?” But even that is still incredibly vague. An answer I’ve crafted has been, “I'd say things are peachy, but that'd be a bold face lie. It’s been a struggle, but I'm learning, growing, God's working, and I have found joy and contentment.” That statement is 100% true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. I could add, “And it’d be SOOOOOOOOO much better if people started living out their faith.” But I don’t, it makes people feel guilty and that’s not why they asked, we’ll get to that later.
  3. Why are you asking? Do you really want to know? Do you really care about Haiti or me…or neither? Are you just asking out of obligation? Are you prepared to have a life-altering conversation? Are you ready to feel super guilty? Do I really want to have this conversation right now? It’s hard to articulate everything. This next paragraph is attempt.
Haiti IS really bad. There are hungry people, thirsty people, sick people, homeless people, and worst of all hopeless, directionless people. I’ve been disgusted/disturbed/sickened by is the lack of care people have for the suffering of their fellow humans. Just because you can’t see the suffering doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I’ve felt a lot of anger over that last week; anger directed at family, friends, people in America in general. Not so much now, those emotions are still in me somewhere but the gravity of the situation/task at hand is my focus now. I’m sure they’ll resurface 11 weeks from now when I return home. With a few thousand miles as a buffer zone, all I’ll say now is: America really is the land of opportunity; capitalism sucks, but communism won’t work either (another discussion for another time); you are soooooooo incredibly blessed/fortunate/lucky/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, and it’s not fair; “Christians” (and people in general, MYSELF INCLUDED) are so incredibly selfish/self-center/greedy it’s sordid (SAT word!) they DON’T love their neighbors as themselves, they’re picky with their food when there are people who won’t eat today, they complain about homework when there are people who don’t have the opportunity to be educated, they gripe their jobs when people have no way of providing for their families. they live in lavishly decorated homes and worship in ridiculously expensive churches when there are people who don’t have a tarp or tent to shield them from the rain, they spend obscene amounts of time AND money worrying about their “image” while people don’t…. well you get the point, you can rationalize this however you want, rationalizing is something we’ve become really good at it, but those truths remain. I realize that people in America also face legitimate problems, but they’re a different class of problems. I’m pretty sure you sleep in a bed with a roof over your head and you have the ability to eat three solid meals a day. The ex-psychology major in me knows that stuff like food, water, and basic health necessities are the foundation on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. ('s_hierarchy_of_needs) And if you’re going to discount Maslow check out the fundamental human needs according to Max-neef and others (this isn’t a research paper, in this instance I herby deem Wikipedia a credible source). I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: nothing in itself is bad, it’s all about context. For example everyone would agree driving a car isn’t a bad thing. Driving a car while intoxicated is because it puts people in unnecessary danger, right? So let’s try this. Wearing pants isn’t a bad thing. Spending $200 on True Religion (sweet irony) jeans when you could buy $15 jeans from Costco and cover someone’s living expenses for months with the $185 left over….just saying. And finally to those of you who have reminded me that I can’t change the world, I know, but I can change my part little part of it and if you’re reading this blog, you’re part of my world. So knowing what you know, what are you gonna do? (exhales)

Honestly I didn’t mean for that to sound angry. I know many people from many places read this blog and everyone interprets it differently. Please read past the (perceived) anger and take the deeper meaning. If you wanna talk about it comment, email (, or get in touch with me somehow.

(As the members of Team Sinai would say)

Shabbat Shalom