The eye of the hurricane is well past us. Haiti managed to not get hit by the center of the storm. However, the country is experiencing a vast amount of rain and consequential flooding. Looking at the radar map, it doesn’t seem that the rain will be over anytime soon.
Here in Cazale, things are looking okay. It’s muddy everywhere, and low-lying areas are collecting quite a bit of water. The river is swollen and running very swiftly, but we are not experiencing flooding. Yet. The excavator work that was done around the bridge last month is now paying off. Had that work not been done, we might be having some issues right now. As it is, things are looking stable along the river, at least here in Cazale.
We still have access to Cabaret to get fuel, so that’s a good thing. Zach was unable to get fuel yesterday due to everything (including gas stations) being closed. He was able to get some fuel this afternoon, though not much. We are hearing that the roads are not passable going into Port-au-Prince. This could make for a very interesting next few days.
The rain has been steady since around 7:00pm yesterday, only taking brief intermittent breaks this morning and afternoon. Clouds have been thick and hanging low, covering the tops of the mountains around us. We can only imagine how eerie it must be up there right now living on the mountain tops. The winds were gusty and occasionally strong Tuesday night and thoughout the day Wednesday, but did not seem to cause any damage. We did not need to board up any windows with this storm, unlike Hurricane Isaac with his steady and strong winds.
Tuesday was an extremely busy day in the Clinic, but very few people came on Wednesday and today due to the weather. We are guessing that next Tuesday will probably be crazy-busy because of these two slow days. Hurricane Sandy has kept us on our toes, though. She brought in much cooler temperatures. This has posed an unusual situation for us in the ICU – cold babies.
The temperature has been in the high 70’s today. The air is damp and chilly. The American RHFH staff is quite happy wearing short-sleeves shirts and enjoying the break of not sweating. The Haitian staff is freezing. That’s all just an issue of comfort though. But for our sick babies and toddlers in the ICU, this brings a whole new problem. Their little bodies have no fat, no way to retain heat. They are cold, and not just in regards to their comfort. The nannies have been keeping the children under blankets, but a check of each child’s temperature at 8:30am showed us something we weren’t quite expecting. A few of the children had body temperatures below the normal level, even below the safe level.
Yesterday we pulled out several long-sleeve shirts and pants for the kids. Upon seeing the body temperatures of these little ones, we dug through the storage depot even deeper with great vigor, searching for sweatpants, sweaters, warm socks and hats, even more blankets. When we receive donations of clothing via the shipping containers, we usually skip on past the winter clothes. But occasionally, such as this week, those thermal pajamas and cuddly turtlenecks are not only needed, but very appreciated!
After getting them all bundled up in winter clothes, the sickest babies were bundled up papoose-style with a couple of blankets. We even managed to come up with one heating pad that we are rotating around for the ones struggling the most with staying warm.
We love our staff, and are thankful that they are dedicated to their work….because part of their work is keeping little boys and girls alive. Something as simple as snuggling a baby in a few blankets, and having to do it time and time again for diaper changes, feedings, blood sugar testing, temperature monitoring, etc., is so important. This week has required a lot of teamwork. Seven new intakes of critically ill children PLUS a hurricane?! God is surely with us!
PLEASE be praying not only for us here at RHFH, but for all the people of Haiti. Flooding is happening in different areas, and deaths are likely. We’ve heard of one reported death from yesterday, but today….we have no idea. We will try our best to keep you updated on any changes or urgent prayer requests that may come up as the tail of this storm makes its way across us. The internet service has been sketchy at times, but we are thankful for the service we are getting. This blog post required a lot of time and a little grace to get uploaded, but to God be all the glory!
One final note…and a fun one at that:
Today was the PERFECT day to get out a jazzy Christmas sweater from storage!
Saint Vique has been proudly sporting his new look all day – and staying toasty-warm while doing so! That’s a win!