Monday, November 19, 2012

Brief update of my life in Haiti..

  Ready, set, go..

Here is a quick update on my life here in Haiti.

Things that I love about being here:

1. Waking up at 5:30 AM to the beautiful angelic voices singing worship in the feeding center
2. "Sun shows" at night and in the morning... Haiti has the best sunrises and sunsets!! And being on the mountain you can see them all... 

3. Being a dietitian. (More on this below)

4. Serving alongside a wonderful group of missionaries and Haitian employees of Healing Haiti

5. Learning ..learning things about culture..about poverty...about humanity..about mission work..about living in service..about myself...about new foods and ways to prepare new foods...about being a leader and allowing others to be leaders....the list goes on. Let's just say,I am always learning. 

6. Finding creative ways to use foods that are locally available to us at the market

7. The markets in general.

8. Seeing these kids become healthy...
9. Adorable kids and fun staff

10.  Problem solving.. 
11. Hot Haiti sun!!!!

The challenges of living here..

1. Constantly surrounded by poverty....this can bring up some undesirable emotions. I am in one of the poorest countries in the world.

2. Finding time to write a blog... 
3. Feeling defeated by things that don't go how you planned or anticipated
4. Unexpected surprises or problems that interrupt your "to do list"
5. Not always feeling capable/suitable/equipped of the work, the challenges, the problems..
6. Don't have the luxury to always get in a car, go to a grocery store, go out to eat, go to a mall, call up a friend, use the Internet, get your nails done, go to a sports game, run down the street...
7. Cultural barriers.. Poverty barriers..language barriers
8. Only 50% of the population can read or write.....and trying to educate new material, literature, recipes in a kitchen.
9. Not always having an answer or control for some of the things that happen here. 
10. Not being able to help everyone that comes to your door with a need, a problem, a request... And trying to communicate that with them. 

The skills I have used, the things I have done, and projects I am working on...

1. I would say I have used every skill of a dietitian.. 
Clinical dietitian: I work with kids to help them gain weight. Currently, I have 14 kids on 2 supplements per day. 
Education: work with staff and children to educate them about food, food groups, meals, lifestyle patterns, and the importance of a good diet
Food service: oversee budgeting, menu planning, purchasing, production, and management in a haitian feeding center
Public health: look at dietary needs of the population and study food trends/ patterns 
Research: spend time researching food, researching recipes, researching problems with under and over nutrition, researching the culture...
Management: work on job descriptions, chain of command, hiring/interviews
Marketing: having the kids sample new recipes, using a Facebook page and blog to not only to share with people about the service work I am doing...but encourage them to be creative with food and take action to prevent acute and chronic disease in their own personal lives.. (Didn't know I was marketing to you? Well, now you do!!!)

2. Created a new menu that incorporates more produce from the local market and that increases the use of vegetarian protein foods, whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and cutting back on the use of butter/sugar/salt.. 

3. Working on new recipes that make use of local foods, but offer the kids a variety of foods and ways foods can be prepared to maximize their micronutrient intake. 

4. Working on budgeting for the feeding center..and for grace village

5. Investigating food trends and patterns.. (This is an interesting one)

6. Serving alongside a staff to help build them up and create a system that can function without my physical presence.. 

7. Helping the staff understand some basic rules of the kitchen.. Like covering food in the fridge, making use of foods before they go bad, how to prepare certain foods, how to get meals done on time.. 

8. Working on more menu planning and portion sizing...always making sure we have enough food, finding a replacement for the unsweetened condensed milk we are using (aka cream) and realizing our options are very slim picking between whole and full cream milk...finding new foods available to us in Haiti that we can purchase and use, job descriptions, staffing, getting my 14 kids to a good weight to finish supplements... the list goes on. 

9. I am also working on my photography and editing skills...after a long day, I love being able to edit pictures and share them with the world!! (Check out my Facebook page: and  the nonprofits Facebook that I am also adding pictures too:

Things I miss...

1. My sweet baby niece... my mom and dad, my brothers and sister-in-laws, and all my friends. Oh I miss them all so much..

2. Warm showers

3. A dishwasher..

4. Being able to get in my car and go wherever I need to go.. (Don't get me wrong, I love a challenge of trying to figure out how to live without certain things that are usually convenient)

5. Honeycrisp apples and frozen yogurt...

I am probably missing a whole list of things I have done, experienced, miss, love..But this is a brief update on my life. So their ya have it. Brief. I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity to serve... To develop and grow, individually, but also watch the children become healthy..the Haitian staff become educated and successful in their roles and responsibilities... And SEEING the wonderful and beautiful things and people growing and developing EVERYDAY here.      

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