Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Tet Washing Game

Being the Hands & Feet for a Child’s Head

While in Haiti one of the assignments we were given was to help the young boys with the healing of some type of fungal infection that was persistently plaguing the kids. There were various reasons given of why these boys were suffering from this infection and they explained the many ways they tried to get rid of it.

Kelsey (one of the missionaries I got the privilege of living with) and I started the Tet (head) Washing Game on February 13th. The task was daunting! The first step they said, all the children had to get their heads shaved. Shaved, with razor blades not with clippers like in America. There were many cuts and blood and yelling. It was horrible! Kelsey and I felt overwhelmed and didn’t understand this process. It was messy, stressful, and very frustrating. One of the employees at the orphanage was angry feeling threatened by the Americans taking over and wanting his job. The children didn’t want their heads shaved because of the puss filled mounds were going to get cut open and they’d resist and get gashes from the razor blades. It was a scene I wish to never relive. I wished we hadn’t been assigned this task.
Kelsey and I continued the Tet Washing Game day after day for 16 days! (She is still playing)  With time it actually did become a game. Some kids would run to be the first one to get their heads washed and treated some would still cry and had to be dragged to the washing station. We sang kids songs and sometimes we changed the lyrics like “ I have decided to follow Jesus” to “ I am so excited to follow Jesus” during tantrum times.  Sometimes we quietly prayed over their heads, we massaged their heads, tickled their heads and sometimes we’d just shower them too (the case of Schnyder who loves “dlo” water).
Now, the daunting task I wish I was never assigned is the moment of the day I miss most.

Here is a picture of Mark’s head on February 15. This was already better after two treatments.

Here is a picture of Mark’s head on March 1- (17 days of treatment)


I am thankful Kelsey and I stuck it out. Even though we were yelled at (opposed), were hurting to see the pain from their heads and had to touch some of the gruesome gashes we were able to the hands and feet of Jesus for these kids.




It's Dangerous

I’ve had a couple conversations this month with some of the people here in Haiti about the religion practiced in Haiti called, Voudou. There are many different thoughts out there about this topic such as; it’s part of their culture, it’s just a style of music like Reggae and Kompa, or it’s part of the Catholic religion in Haiti and many more.
I won’t get into many details about the religion or practice but I will say this: There is ONLY one God and anything that is not of God is against God and what is against God is of Satan.

The drums in the night, the flags in certain places and the temples are constant reminders that there is much darkness in Haiti and that there is much work for the Kingdom of God. I know my God reigns and there is nothing impossible for Him. Spiritually, Haiti is dangerous but I am not afraid because I walk with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

My Daily Struggle in Haiti

Today one of my fears have come to a reality, my RA is flaring up. It’s Wednesday and I am lying in bed throbbing in so much pain, my feet and hands and feet are swollen and I just want to cry and I want Obe to come help me. It’s the Wednesday before my birthday and I am supposed to be preparing for a big bash on Friday for the kids and I am laying in bed.

The reason Haiti can be so challenging for me in contrast to many others is not the heat, the garbage or even lack of electricity or water for me it’s walking in Haiti. Walking on dirt roads with holes, walking on rocks and lack of a flat surface to walk in. Walking is my daily struggle here. I fear it. I feel it in every joint from my lower back to my toes. Before two years ago, I never thought about everything it takes to walk, run or even stand now (unfortunately) I am very aware of every move that even my toes make to walk, stand, and (I hardly ever dare to) run.

I also think it’s kind of humorous that God called me to come serve Haiti the same year I got diagnosed with Rheumatoid. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder (over reactive immune system) that primarily attacks the synovial fluid in your joints. For me it is generalized where it attacks all my joints from my neck, to my spine to the rest of my joints. It’s been a painful transition from being physically active to sometimes being completely inactive (like today). It’s been painful physically, emotionally and mentally along with relationally.

I thought to myself many times, “How can I be useful to anyone when I sometimes need help getting dressed?”, “How can I be a good friend if many times I have to cancel activities because I can’t walk well?”, “How can I serve God if I can’t even get to the meeting to learn about what I can do?”. Yet, He called me, chose me to go serve the people of Haiti! Where I have to travel 10 hours to get to my destination, lug around luggage, leave the comforts of my tempra-peudic bed, and to go walk in this terrain. A place where the humidity, almost instantly, swells my feet and hands into ugly deformed tamales.


So in conclusion, I have learned that no I can’t plant the trees that will help the kids obtain fresh food, I can’t haul around dirt in wheel barrels or even carry a bucket of cement to help build the church building and no I can’t even carry babies for more than 15 minutes but I have learned I can love a child that is orphaned or abandoned with all my heart. I can administer vitamins to the kids every morning, teach them the importance of good hygiene and help administer first aid to their daily wounds. I can sit and read a book to them, color with them and solve puzzles with them. I can sit quietly and pray for them.


He has called me to be His hands and feet and to be the voice of the voiceless. Even though my hands and feet most days are hurt, I remember His hands and feet also hurt for me. I also remember Rheumatoid Arthritis could never take my voice away and I will use it to be His voice. So even though I struggle daily in Haiti my God is my strength to finish the work He has assigned me.