From Susan Nelson:
All arrived safely minus one bag full of granola bars. We are staying at Heartline Ministries Guest House, which is under new management since the last time we stayed. Not quite as charming, but still comfortable beds with plenty of fans and cold showers. For some reason the new hosts prepare things like Mexican food (ground beef with tortilla chips) and lasagna rather than Haitian food, but oh well. Amy complained one day to Madame Marc, who is Pere Sadoni’s mother and the chief cook at the school, that we had had no fruit for 4 days. That day at the school we stopped for lunch, expecting to eat from our usual stash of granola bars and salted peanuts. Instead we were taken to Pere Sadoni’s office where there was a feast of pineapple, papaya, mango, tomatoes and watermelon. Delicious, although some of us had a few intestinal rumblings after all that fruit at one time. Nothing serious.
The internet connection at the guest house is spotty at best, so I have not been able to send any messages home, and for that I apologize. To all of you praying for us, I thank you. We have seen about 200 kids so far and most of them are quite healthy, they dont seem to have as much anemia and appear to be gaining weight. It was somewhat disturbing one day in particular when I saw 3 or 4 kids in a row with stomachache; they told me they had not eaten anything all day. We questioned the staff later about this, because I thought lunch was served every day to the kids. Apparently these boys had not gone to lunch because they did not like the food. Classic teenagers; my daughter does the same thing. Except that in Haiti you dont have a lot of reserves; if you miss lunch at the school on Friday you may go home and not get another meal for a day or two. There are 275 students at St. Vincent’s now; about 80 live at the dorm and the rest live at home. It is interesting to note that if we find a kid with worms or with anemia, it is always a kid that lives at home rather than the school. That tells me the kids who live at the dorm are getting clean water and regular meals.
It is also good to know that the 6 months’ supply of vitamins we sent last fall on the shipping container (along with the Stop Hunger Now food) are being used. Pere Sadoni has hired a full time nurse to work in the pharmacy, her name is Nomil and she has been helping Wes every day. He speaks no Kreyol and she speaks no English, but somehow they work it out. One of her duties, Pere Sadoni told me, is to give one vitamin to every student every day at lunch. One of our team members told me they actually saw this happen. So all of you who donated vitamins for this trip, please know that you are helping a child at St. VIncent’s. Drew brought about 100 lbs of vitamins in his suitcase on this trip. Tomorrow I hope to find out how many vitamins are actually left from our original shipment last fall.