Received March 26, 2010 @ 2:27 PM from Donna Montgomery

Everything going wonderful. It was hard for Jill to leave. Working at outdoor clinics everyday. Their smiles melt your heart!

Love and miss you all!
Donna

(Picture is of Sister Jill, left, and Donna Montgomery, right)

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Received March 25, 2010 @ 5:49 AM from Sister Jill Weber

Greetings to you all!

On Tuesday, I spent the day back at Community hospital. Getting to know the patients is easier as this is my third day there and they are more comfortable with me. The language is a problem at times, but I have a translator with me, François. He is around 24 yrs. old and is a 4th grade teacher. He isn’t sure when school will be able to get back.

It was hard saying goodbye to the patients – they are so grateful. I am at the other hospital tomorrow.

The new team arrived Tuesday evening. The house is very full – 11 of us and 19 of them. Space is tight and it is very hot.

On Wednesday, we drove to the hospitals in the van. There must have been 20 on the bus which was a full load with all the equipment. I went back to the “Tent” hospital (Sacre Coeur) and worked with the patients there. I mostly had children, which was fun.

We left early and drove through PAP. It is truly an unbelievable site. The damage is immense here. I just can’t imagine how the people will be able to clean all this up. In the midst of it, they have gone back to their life of selling goods, etc. It is so surreal.
I will have to spend time processing all this. It has been a very moving experience and a very spiritual one.

We head back to the airport in the morning and will have a long wait both in Haiti and in Miami. I arrive in Greensboro late Thursday night.

As you can tell, the writing has gotten short as I have gotten more tired. I hope to get my pictures in some kind of order and would be happy to share them with you. I am grateful for this experience and for your support and prayers.

I plan on getting back to Belmont on Saturday evening.

Blessings to all,
Jill

Received March 22, 2010 @ 9:18 PM from Sister Jill Weber

Greetings from Haiti,

We left for PAP at 6:30 again today. I was going back to the Community Hospital in Petionville. I have had an interpreter helping me – François. My Creole or French is still pretty bad but the people appreciate me trying. The day was spent seeing patients who had amputees, nerve damage, shoulder injuries, broken bone, external fixations to help set bones and hip fractures. Many people come just to eat. This group I am with also provides lunches for the patients and anyone else that is there. Unfortunately, some days the food runs out before everyone is fed. Usually over 150 people are fed.

The spirit of the people and their deep faith continue to amaze me. I was thinking this morning as we drove into town: When I was in Ireland, I took so many pictures thinking it can’t get any more beautiful than this, and then we would turn a corner and see something else more beautiful. It is just the opposite. I am taking a lot of pictures thinking I won’t see anything as bad as this – but then we turn a corner and there it is. It is just impossible to imagine what the people are going through and how they will ever recover.

Tomorrow another Team gets here. Another woman from Asheville will be on the team. I will go back to Petionville tomorrow, then to Sacre Coeur on Thursday to finish up. It will be hard to leave.

Blessings to you all,
Jill

Received March 22, 2010 @ 7:41 AM from Sister Jill Weber

Greetings to all,

We rise early here in Haiti, breakfast at 6:00am and leave for our assignments at 6:30. It takes approximately an hour to an hour and a half to get to the hospitals we are working at. Natalie and myself went back to Sacre Coeur, or Sacred Heart. The patients “rooms” are in tents set up outside. There are roughly 12-15 tents with people of various difficulties. We saw a lot of the patients we worked with yesterday plus a few more. Many are becoming our favorites. We work with children as well as adults, some with severe injuries, some not so severe to minor ones. There are two men that will probably not make it through the week. It is hot, especially in the tents – I can’t even imagine being in a hot tent on a good day – so today we didn’t push too hard because of that. Walking in the hot sun is no fun but being in a hotter tent isn’t either.

I worked with an outpatient this afternoon. She was 85 yrs old and had a fractured pelvis/hip that the doctors were not going to do anything about – sometimes it is best to leave it alone. They asked me to teach her how to use a walker – actually the doctor said crutches but he thought we might know best – so I found a walker and taught her how to not put weight on that leg and to walk. What a trooper! She never even complained or cried out in pain.

I got a group of women to sing for us. We told them they needed a group exercise program when we left and they should sing to keep it happy. So, even though it is Lent, I started singing Alleluia No. 1 and they knew it and joined in and sang the verses in Creole and I in English. Great voices. That is the spirit of these people – moving on one day at a time and being thankful for everything and still able to smile and laugh.

Our interpreter is François. He is a teacher but there is no school so he volunteers at the hospitals and helps. He has been great. When the earthquake hit, he fell while running, was able to pick up a student, then the building collapsed in front of him. If he hadn’t fallen, he would have been crushed. He is not sure where his family is or if they are still alive.

We came home a different route tonight. Everywhere there is destruction with buildings collapsed and rubble all over the street. I don’t know how the people can deal with all of this. I think hardship is just a way of life for them and they continue on only as they know how.

One preacher asked me to lead the devotion tonight so I did. It was interesting. I used the first reading of today. I am learning more about them and they about Catholics and sisters. Interesting and good.

Will close here. Continue to pray for the people and for those helping from all over the world.

Blessings,
Jill

Received March 21, 2010 @ 7:22 AM from Sister Jill Weber

Both myself and the other therapist, Natalie, went to another hospital called Sacred Heart! It was a private hospital but now anyone is there. It looked like it was a lovely place before the earthquake. Parts of it are not occupied but all the patients are outside in tents. Men and women together. Modesty is something that is not an option but not high on their list either.

The beds are cots or mats raised up, some only 6 inches from the floor. Planks keep them up. Try getting up from the floor with rods coming out of your leg, if you have a leg, or pushing up from the bed/floor if you have only one arm. And, it is hot. There were about 11 tents with 6-8 people in them. Several children as well. The patient’s family are also there with them, so there might be 12 people in the tent.

There is also a clinic in the courtyard, near the tent so there are many people on the compound. It seemed like battlefield medicine, which it is probably similar, but there were probably more resources in the battlefield. One learns to be creative.

There is an urgency room where minor surgery is going on. We walk in and out with no questions asked. I am still learning some Creole!

On our way up or down the mountain, I was brought to tears in seeing a whole neighborhood in shambles, building after building, house after house collapsed. We drove through Port-au-Prince (PAP) and it was just unbelievable. The Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and so many buildings.

In the midst of it all, the people’s faces light up when you smile and are so grateful and appreciative. It is very humbling. The sights, sounds, smells, yet people are thankful to God and smile.

Pray for the people of Haiti and all those helping them.

Blessings,
Jill

Received March 19, 2010 @ 10:47 PM from Sister Jill Weber

Greetings from Haiti,

We arrived safe and sound in Port-au-Prince around 3:45 Thursday afternoon. Getting to the customs office and finding our luggage was quite an adventure which I won’t go into here. Driving to our “Home” brought us through the poorest neighborhood I have ever seen. At times, it was hard to tell what was earthquake and what is the poverty of the people there. Trash and rubble are all over the street. People are selling whatever they can – bananas, grapefruit, water, sugar cane, trinkets. The buildings all have some damage. Other buildings are collapsed. Cows, pigs and other animals are tied up to buildings or roaming the streets.
We passed a mass grave on the way to our home. It was powerful. A large cross had been put up on the hillside. You could tell the air was different.

Our home is comfortable. Scott and Janet are the team “parents” and have been here since January 16th I think. The place is Global Relief – Haiti. Samaritans Purse is another name. A helicopter is on the grounds. Recently, barbed wire was placed all around the campus and even armed guards at the gate. Not to fear, it is safe here but they are just taking precautions.

We bagged up lots of medicine Thursday night and marked them and labeled the dose for the nurses to give out. Today I went to the Petionville Community Hospital with the other girl on the team who is a physical therapist assistant. There was also a nurse practitioner who has been here for the past week and she will leave tomorrow.

Most of the people we saw had amputations, either one or two limbs with crush injuries that involve nerve injuries as well. There are quite a few children that we have treated. I walked into this one room that was the “lab room”, small like a closet, and a woman was having a baby. I’ll attach a photo of the chair she was in. By our standards, we would think it unthinkable.

The language barrier is a problem but we do have translators, some of them very young. All are so helpful and grateful. A smile is the universal language. They many times say “God bless you”. I am learning some Creole words – Rosalind, you would be proud of my French – on second thought you might cringe at my accent!

School has not started up here. Children are everywhere. Many people come to the hospital for clinic – Many people. Some wait all day. Others wait because they have no place to go. Tonight, one of the workers was saying that a school had 300 children in it. The building is still there and the people decided to leave it as a memorial. Many buildings in town still have a lot of people buried in them. There is no machinery available.

That’s it for now. Keep this poor country in prayer and all the volunteers who are here from all over the world. Forgot to mention – on the plane, there must have been over ten groups going to Haiti.

Blessings to you all,
Jill