Lori and Licia, what are your dreams for RHFH in the next 10 years? What projects would you still be involved with? What are some new ways you dream of serving the community? What are your future dreams for the land??
From Licia: Wow, Caroline that a packed question. 🙂 So much of my life is living day to day and trying to get through the problems that are happening right at that moment. Looking ahead to ten years, I would hope to have a new Rescue Center built up on the new land. I will not let myself get excited about those dreams yet. When they get to that point of planning, I hope that I will still be here and be able to help plan out the new facility. I think there will still be a need in 10 years for most of the projects we have going right now. I would love (when we move) to be able to start a garden, have some chicken and fish. This would help us be able to provide some of the food for the children in the rescue center. I would love to be able to get out of the office more – to be able to sit and spend time with the kids and have time to plan more activities for them. I think we would love to add a Bible study for those in our area or some training for pastors in the future as well. I really want there to be a place for the community to use that has a good soccer field, basketball courts and a park for the kids to play in. Maybe there would be section of the land that could be used for that.
From Lori: Oh, Caroline. You know me so well that I can tell you that I have learned to stop dreaming. It’s not a luxury available to me. I’m just trying to take things one day at a time.
Could you tell us what a typical day in the ICU looks like?
From Licia: There are two 12-hours shifts at the ICU. The first shift begins at 6am. The first thing the ladies do is come in and begin getting the kids up. They wash their faces and brush their teeth. One of the ladies takes a few moments to pray over the children. Soon after, they begin feeding those that are on the medika mamba a portion of their mamba for the day. After that, one of the nannies goes to the main center and gets breakfast for the kids as that it where it is cooked. They separate the food out into bowls and begin to let it cool. All of the kids in the ICU have their own beds so the nannies get out those children that are able to sit up to eat. There are 2 tables for the kids to sit and eat. Breakfast is served. Some of the children like to feed themselves and some need help being fed. After breakfast, all the kids get a bath. They then get a clean diaper, powdered up, and are dressed in a new outfit. Most are then ready for a nap by this time. Those kids that are in isolation are bathed by themselves and then stay in their beds for most of the day. These children are very weak and ill and sleep off and on throughout the day. After bath time, morning meds are given. The rest of the morning is made up of: taking kids to get dressing changes, getting IV’s put in, inserting NG tubes, getting lab tests done, changing diapers, and holding kids as they can and giving more medika mamba. Next, is lunch time. Basically, it is the same schedule as above, including another bath and new outfits. The afternoon is usually a little slower and most of the kids take a nap. The ladies catch up on changing bedding, sweeping, cleaning, restocking, and putting laundry away. The kids get more medika mamba throughout the afternoon. There is usually a movie playing for the older kids. New IV’s are done as needed, more medications given, and (if there is time) they will get the toy box out for those kids that are able to sit and play. They have a snack around 3pm. Around 5:00, they begin to do a quick head-to-toe check of each child. There is a report done on each child at shift change. Morning shift get off at 6pm.
Night shift comes in and does a quick check of all the kids and then begins giving nightly meds. Shortly after meds are done, they have dinner. After dinner, all the beds get new sheets as the kids get their faces and hands washed and lay down for the night. IV’s are checked for correct drip rates and night meds are organized and made ready. They also do a final check in case a child needs to see the nurse before she leaves for the night. Throughout the night, there are meds to be given, vitals to be monitored and babies that need fed. Due to the ICU being the place where the sickest kids are at, there is a lot more one-on-one time spent with each child. Everyone has to eat or drink something every two hours, even throughout the night. Diapers are changed, temps are taken, and they are constantly checking to make sure everyone is alive. Around 4 am, they begin at one end of the center and go through and change everyone’s diaper and sheets on the beds. They also check all the kids temps and do a report on each child at shift change.
The F-75 milk is given around the clock. Each child that is drinking this milk is on a schedule of taking it every 2, 3 or 4 hours (depending on tolerance and progress). There is a lot more chart work involved in the ICU than at the RC. Many of the kids are weighed daily. Glucose levels are checked throughout the day on many of the kids. Temps, stools, intake of formula, oxygen levels, heart rates, signs of infection and level of dehydration are frequently monitored. Everyone has to be constantly checking on the children and assessing how they are doing since a malnourished child can go downhill very quick.
Please tell us about Mr. Zack’s new wife and her involvement in RHFH.
From Zach and Lorraine: Thank you for your question. Actually it is quite timely, because RHFH will be introducing Lorraine to our supporters in a few weeks. However, I would like to briefly answer your question. God has given my wife, Lorraine, a huge heart for the poor and five years ago she was called to be part of a mission’s trip to Haiti. Her group briefly stopped by RHFH, where she was left with a heavy heart for all those suffering due to malnutrition and a desire to help this ministry. However, it was not until three years later that she was called by God to start using her gifts and talents to help RHFH in the area of development. My late wife, Gretchen, died eight years ago and Lorraine’s husband died five years ago. While neither of us were looking for a spouse, eventually it became clear that it was God’s will for us to be married. The life of a missionary can be very lonely, and while I accepted my situation as a widower, I am elated that God has brought me a wife who loves the Lord and is obedient to His will. Lorraine is a wonderful helpmate who is committed to walking along side of me. She assists me in completing numerous daily tasks while also starting to take on her own responsibilities. She not only is a blessing to my life, but a blessing to this ministry.
The photos taken of the kids often show them crying. Are they afraid of the camera? Do they just not feel well? Do they not want to leave Mom’s lap? I feel such sympathy for these precious kids and to see them crying is difficult. On the other hand I love the photos of beautiful smiling faces….such joy.
From Lori: I think that the photos that you are describing with the children crying are when we are sharing pictures of children that have been newly admitted. These photos are taken as part of the admission process. I think that most of the children that we admit are feeling very sick and are not feeling well enough to smile. Most don’t play or laugh. They do not want to leave the caregiver to sit on the bed to take the photo and they are around alot of new faces. The photos are taken in the dressing room and there are lots of medical items in the room that are not familiar to most children. This is new and scary to some too. During the admission process, we do lab tests which require a few drops of blood from a small poke of their finger or foot. They also have to take a couple of medications. No kid likes needles or medicine so, yes, some cry. We try to get the photo before we do all of this. I would say, in general, that most of the crying children are wanting to go back into the arms of their caregiver because they feel sick.
We try to show the best of Cazale and the Haitian people. We do not want to upset you with negative pictures, but the truth is life isn’t always pretty here. The nannies and staff of RHFH try to make the transition from parent care to inpatient care as smooth as possible, but it does affect some the children and is hard for the parent as well. The kids have usually gotten used to their bed, the nannies, the other kids and the routine of the day after a week or so. They start to feel better with medications and food. We know that when we see a child playing and smiling that they are going to make it and they are on the road to recovery. That brings everyone joy – you, parents, nannies, staff – and we are happy to share these precious victories and special moments with you.