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."