Nana, nana, boo, boo, You hate me and I hate you! Now vote one of us in as President!

I promised I wasn’t going to do it! I swore to heavens and earth above I wouldn’t bite! There was in no way, no how going to be anything spewing forth publicly from this miniscule opinion generating brain. My voice doesn’t matter, my thoughts don’t count, I am but a spec upon this island for no one but time, and sun to erode.

And then we watched the Presidential debates, together, as a family.

Betty has been very quiet, nothing to report on the home front and no great stories to share. But this is too great and it involves family which is what my blog is solely about! Now being an aforementioned on occasion very opinionated individual, there has been thankfully an edge removed by years of experiences and of course age. So before I ramble further into this dissertation let me profess my utmost admiration to those who are so passionate about their political affiliations. So driven, and fueled by a belief system that they would die upon the cross of either blue or red before ever, and I mean ever wavering from the platform for which they stand upon.

I can no longer possess those feelings.

Call it age, temperance, wisdom, having lived 5 generations or personally been a part of 5 elected US Presidents. The thought of voting even today is something not taken for granted, although this year I have slacked and been running a “vote for none of the above” or “vote for me” satirical campaign. It has been purely for fun! Yet voting is one of the most important benefits of living in a free society. The very passion these individuals drive onward with in regards to their personal political affiliation has become the angriest, most overrated and vile show of blinder wearing, eyes covered, ears deafened allegiance I have ever witnessed. If there was ever a time in history when thousands of Americans felt more powerless, as if their vote didn’t count after witnessing through TV, social media and every news or supposed news outlet on the planet this anger, bullying, and condescending political climate thrust upon us every day citizens. It is right now!

Thus we get to the gist of family and why I am expounding away my political angst.

We as a family have watched this circus together as we would for any political process. Doing our very best in explaining to our children how important it is for us to vote in a candidate that best represents us, not the American people, but us! As in their mother and I, as in who my oldest best feels follows his beliefs and how he feels the country should be run. We have tried hard to instill values within our children in regards to hard work equals reward, to always step up and do the right thing, that cheaters never prosper, and as long as you keep honesty in your heart while standing by your convictions you will never fail.

So then how on earth do these two candidates measure up?

One son believes they are both crooked idiots who have no business running this country, the other likes the Donald with no plausible explanation, my daughter isn’t so sure of either but as she put it; between the two I would always vote for the girl and my youngest just looks up funny parodies of both candidates on You tube!

Much like each of the moderators during this debate season it has been a challenge trying to keep not only ourselves but our kids focused on facts and or issues. Never in my life do I remember a series of debates or a presidential run that boiled down to nothing more than supposed political experts arguing over idiotic soundbites, clips, and excerpts of such magnitude! Watching these post-debate bobble heads rattle on with such one sided rhetoric and overwhelming disdain is hard to process as an adult, let alone trying to find some gem of truth or knowledge to help one make an INFORMED (key word) decision or translate any usable information to four children sitting mouth aghast at the verbal carnage they have just witnessed.

One candidate has multiple investigations against them, truths, possible untruths, alleged voter fraud, and supposedly placing in house personnel to incite violence at rallies of their opponent! Of course there is also claims of mishandling money, policies and overseas affairs including military actions. Standing tall this person professes the importance of woman’s rights, protecting women, and highlighting what an example she will set for all women to come while hiding behind a history of allowing then covering up her husband’s multiple infidelities while intimidating those who may oppose her. A candidate with more political experience than many others, a history of also making positive changes not just here in America but around the globe through humanitarian efforts both her and her husband chair. Oh a certain opponent claims Haiti hates this couple but having served in Haiti over two summers I personally know the Haitian people love this family and appreciate all they have provided. She remains someone who by all rights is the single most powerful woman in America and that does not come from portraying oneself as a soft loving Ms. Cleaver type much to the chagrin of several male counterparts! To be a woman of power in today’s tough highly charged political arena I believe one must be much tougher than their male adversaries (which is a sad state of equality), making tough decisions and then standing by them! But it is hard to stand for something by being against something only to stand for it again when the political climate suits you! Another point lost on me during this whole process. It seems we as a society have forgotten it is ok to change one’s mind! It is how we grow as human beings, evolve. But to change it back and forth shows no growth, but weakness to appease a person or group for which you are surrounded. One must also be able to hold their head high and admit when a mistake has or was made, along with answering for any actions or charges if that is what’s owed of that mistake. What message do we send our youth when time and again a political subject continually circumvents the system to their own benefit! Using wealth and power to purchase themselves from a punishment any of us average citizens would be crucified over. You the candidate are by the people, of the people and for the people! So you should answer to the people! Not profess you forgot or just don’t recall!

This candidates responses during each of the debates were well rehearsed, well formulated, with impeccable timing and delivery. They made us feel all warm and fuzzy like a blanket on a cold winter’s night. Protecting. They were so well done, that no one in my house, not even my youngest believed her. Through the eyes of a child I suppose. But when a child listens, looks and proclaims you seem to be lying, you may very well be doing just that, for that declaration comes through the eyes of innocence.

What to do, what to do!

Oh yes, there is the OTHER candidate!

This man, oh lord where to begin? He comes across as a school yard bully, the type that never had anyone punch them right in the nose! Something we as a society have gotten away from with our belief that all violence is bad. I am sorry, but some of the best lessons I ever learned about reading people came in the school yard. Learning when and where to say something and just how far you could push an agenda. This of course came to conclusion at the end of a well-placed fist! Sometimes people just need their reset button tripped! No one has ever tripped his! He says what he wants, when he wants and doesn’t give two shits who is at the receiving end! Although many believe this is what we need in the White House, my personal belief and history says not so. Even the toughest of talking former presidents had tact, he does not. What this man does is not admirable, it’s not awe inspiring, it makes no headway with any one; it is careless, reckless and not Presidential at all. This old saying pops into my head when I think about the power this office holds and what it means to be President of these United States.

Be nice, be nice some more, be as nice as you can be until it is time to no longer be nice. Then make no mistake about your ability to act or incite a change. The smartest person in the room is the one who gets their opponent to thank them for the beating when it is over. Those who stand tall with honor and dignity stand fast.

There is no honor, there is no dignity, and this appears as nothing more than a sideshow playtime for this individual. Another season of a reality show for which he is the star; another episode of the Apprentice! Because in reality that is what he is right now!!! An apprentice to the highest office in our land! He only cares about ratings and tweets! We were all talking about him acting like a child during the debate with such strong retorts as: No you’re a puppet! No you are! You are a puppet! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Why not finish it off with; I know you are but what am I? I’m like oil and you’re like glue, words slip off me and stick to you! ARRRRGGGGGG!!!!

I will say this; this is a business man, not a politician. Both a positive and a curse. He has built something from nothing. I don’t care where he got his loan from to start his business, and even our children were smart enough to understand some of the counter arguments against him fall flat. For as a businessman your loan could be $5000.00 or $5,000000.00 dollars it doesn’t matter, you need to succeed, you must succeed and you are going to take advantage of every loop hole and tax law afforded you to succeed! You are going to outsource to make a profit and there are going to be people you employ who are going to either love you or hate your dam guts! It is the nature of the beast! He has made something from nothing, he has succeeded, you can clamor all you want about bankruptcy, loans, unpaid debt but in the end he has succeeded several times over and I believe our country does need someone like that in a position of power. A person to renegotiate some very bad deals made in the past, someone with the ability to negotiate future upcoming deals or propositions that put our country on the edge both financially and humanitarianly. But for the love of all that is holy, have a plan! Share that plan, all of your plan not just bits and pieces in soundbites or on your web site; and again, much like your counterpart, quit pandering to the middle class! You have no idea what being middle class is like so don’t act like you recognize our strife! Because you both don’t! Please give us something with meat, not just really good quotes, teasing those who refuse to do their homework into believing you are the coming savior! You and you alone are going to ride in on a white unicorn farting skittles rainbows righting all that is wrong! You are not the messiah of financial resurgence within our low income and middle classes; because if you Mr. Candidate truly believe that you are; then Mr. Candidate you haven’t done your homework! The middle class have carried the burden of this country for a very long time and one proposed future president with a few ideas is not going to change that or even make life a little better for us over night as you make it appear!!! We have heard this speech, our parents have heard this speech and none of us are buying it! Explaining to my children while trying my best to read between this candidates lines has been nightmarish to say the least.

So what do we do? No one in my family and that includes those who cannot vote believe either candidate is worthy of this office. Friends and family who are undecided such as ourselves also toss about a resounding vote for the least of two evils.

The problem with that assumption is I can’t bring myself to vote for the lessor! I am trying to teach our children to stand by their convictions, don’t vote for something because you have too! Don’t give up your ethics, or moral beliefs to fill someone else’s needs! Be your own person! Your say matters and if your say is none of the above then so be it! If enough people speak up and scream none of the above then our government needs to listen! Right? A resounding NO means end of story!

Or is it!

You know that pesky little thing us Americans refer to as our Constitution? You know that long, wordy piece of parchment by which our entire country was built upon! Well the U.S. Constitution has something to say about that! As I explained to our children a very, very long time ago there was this group of really old guys who enjoyed wearing wigs (that always gets a chuckle) and besides dressing in funny outfits while donning said wigs they had one thing on their mind. Our country. Our countries ability to evolve over time, grow and become one land run by free thinking men, men with vision, men who understood oppression and the ramifications of leadership built upon power, money and over taxation. These visions involving the ultimate freedom of man empowered them through hard work and an ability to form a constituency that kept those beliefs while moving our country forward.

Hence the 12th amendment.

The 12th Amendment replaced a procedure provided in Article ll, section 1, Clause 3 by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in the elections of 1796 and 1800. The Twelfth Amendment refined this process whereby a President and Vice President are elected by the Electoral College. The Amendment was proposed by Congress on December 9, 1803 and ratified by the requisite three-fourth majority on June 15, 1804 and reads as such;

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

 

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

So yes; Hate both candidates all you like, in the end either The House of Representatives will vote one of them into office for you, or the Vice President with the most votes cast will assume office.

With that being said; explaining to our children the importance of our voting process has just become more of a priority than I envisioned. The Electoral College rules the day. In reality WE the people voted for everyone who currently sits in government positions, WE the people chose who WE believe best represents us from the local county commission to a state senate seat. So WE have no one but ourselves to blame if those individuals have now placed these two amazingly entertaining human beings before us. Our votes really do matter, no matter what anyone tells you, though it is unfortunate the majority have come to believe the smaller offices don’t mean as much in the grand scheme of things, and therefore our President and Vice President are all we should really care about when elections come around.

In the end, three years of multiple people pandering for your support, two individuals chosen to represent the two major parties, three debates between those two to hopefully enlighten us, and three chances for us to take off the party aligned blinders so we may look, listen and hear, I mean actually hear what these two are proposing. Three perfectly good chances to exemplify, show our children the majesty that is the electoral process. Hoping in the end they walk away feeling the importance and honor it is to have an opportunity for casting a vote in this wonderful country or ours. Something so many take for granted, including the political thumping die hard party liners. We are blessed to live in a land filled with human beings from around the world searching for freedom, hope and a chance for a better life much as our great grandfathers did many years ago.

Instead, on this evening, the last evening of debate all we walked away with was nana nana boo boo you hate me and I hate you! Yup, that pathetic. Along with four teenage jaws, wide open on the ground at witnessing another deplorable example of our modern day ratings centered, hatred mongering, no class future filled with dishonesty, lack of trust, and all out discord while proving if you bend the rules hard enough, or say enough nasty things about your opponent you too may one day become President of these United States.

God help us all..

 

 

 

 

 

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I am BACK!!!!!

That’s RIGHT I am back! The fog has lifted, the earth has shifted…..

For all who had given up, felt as though I’d all but abandoned writing, leaving the untapped strange, crevasses of my mind to obscurity. I am back! And why is this important to no one but myself really? Why am I giddy with excitement? Why do I keep asking myself redundant questions through my keyboard?

Because I finally purchased a laptop!!!!! That’s right boys and girls, the purse string opened, the vault broke, the tin can buried in the back yard has been unearthed! This proverbial cheapskate has finally gotten over  the debilitating theft of my precious HP last year and purchased a replacement.  (moment of silence inserted here) Now she isn’t quite as nice as the old HP, sexy would not be a word I’d use to describe this off-brand 5.6lb metal object, but the price was right, the keys are backlit and there is plenty of storage for my ramblings!! Whoop! Whoop! Oh, I think Erkel with a side of the Fonz would best describe this little gem.

So get ready because “freak show” is back in town and the head ring master is working on a schedule for your enjoyment! Ok really for my own enjoyment since there is like 5 of you who faithfully follow me. Alright it really is 4 since my mom doesn’t count. Wait, It might be more like 3, yeah 3 because if you count my wife, although she doesn’t read all of them so technically she could still be considered a follower? Yep, ok we will go with  all 3 of you! So the three of you get ready because new stories will be coming shortly.

Oh and to the guy following me from within the Ukraine, No I wont send you $500.00 so you can give a 1,000,000.00 Hrynvia! I am sure your sister makes good collateral but how do I know that’s not just the promo picture that comes when you buy a new picture frame? Seriously at least throw in a goat!

Thanks for hanging in there you guys and if you aren’t excited about this great news (the laptop thingy) its alright, I am already over it..

 

 

The Face of Leukemia- Just look at me, really its ok.

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Bald is beautiful

We’re all born bald, baby. – Telly Savalas

I collect hats. It’s what you do when you’re bald– James Taylor

It’s a great event to get outside and enjoy nature. I find it very exciting no matter how many times I see bald eagles –Karen Armstrong

What’s so brave about being bald? I’ve not fought for my country or found the cure for cancer I’ve just gone out without my hat on! -Gail Porter

You know it is interesting to me this stereotype associated with being bald. If you’re a man, it’s obviously genetic. Poor you, trudging through life with the same cranial cul-de-sac formed upon you as your father and his father before him. Unless of course you are a skinny, emaciated man then you must obviously be dying from some rare form of cancer. Or you just happen to be Billy Corgan jr. or Michael Stipe then ROCK ON DUDE!!! BALD ROCKS YEAH!

But what if you are a woman? Sinead O’Connors’ shiny domeness was by choice, a political statement against a traditional view of women. (well-played I might add)  But what if you don’t have her “balls”, what if you are brought screaming and kicking into baldness? Seriously think about this, in our society a woman unfortunately is judged the moment she walks into a room. Not for her sunny personality or Mensa card-carrying IQ. Nope, she is judged for her looks. Make-up, clothing, body weight, eyes, breasts and of course her hair. That is right, men will either ogle a woman within the first 30 seconds, ponder ogling her over the next 30 minutes or write her off. In the mean time women within the room will smile to your face and talk shit the rest of the evening. Sorry ladies its true, I have witnessed more than my fair share of character assassinations based on any one of the above criteria not being met to perfection on more than one occasion.

People get real comfortable with their features. Nobody gets comfortable with their hair. Hair trauma. It’s the universal thing-Jamie lee Curtis

So imagine, carrying this social pressure your entire life only to wake up one day without one of these aforementioned 6 major sight line musts for survival. What would you do? How would you behave? Would you curl up into a ball and cry or say fuck it and march boldly into the world claiming my hair will not define me!

Jacy lost all her hair on or around the first week of December. It has gone from sadness to a fun playful experience then one of empowerment! She has come to terms with this loss, worn a few wigs to help with a social awkwardness associated with a woman not 1474617_10153673039070221_12575420_nhaving hair, and in the end decided that 9 times out of 10 bald is beautiful.

Now while none of us can say with certainty what we would or would not do as it has not happened to us personally, I am proud of my wife for taking this strong-willed, brave stance. She does indeed have a perfectly shaped head and I think she is hot, hOT, HOT bald! Really, like she could never have hair on her head again and it would be ok with me! The woman is drop dead gorgeous! Throw in her stunning smile, caring heart and amazing personality, well ladies and gentlemen we have the trifecta of baldness!

But let me say this before I drone on too much about the woman I love and her shiny new dome. When we are out in public.

I see you.

I see when you stare at her as though it is wrong for her to be bald.

I see you when you look behind her and sigh as though you just cant relate. It’s ok, we understand if you cannot, but please don’t be fake.

While eating in a restaurant I see you staring, with your smart ass smirks, elbows flying into each others ribs while walking by outside. Moron it’s a window, if you can see us I can see you!

My ears may be 47 years old but your mumbles are not quiet enough. She hasn’t lost her breasts and even if she had you shouldnt be staring trying to figure it out so don’t look, she isn’t skin and bones so quit guessing her weight, and yes she lost ALL her hair, so stop wondering about places you cannot see and how much wax is being saved.

If you are going to stare don’t look ashamed when I make eye contact with you, walk up and ask questions, we are always open to discuss Leukemia and its effects upon our lives.

When you do have something to say, dont automatically behave as thought this is her last day on earth. The news media has ruined the public in regards to behavior when confronted with a bald woman. Smile say hello and ask away with glee! We are happy to be here and so you should be as well. Who knows the bald woman you talk with may have alopecia, thusly not really needing you to pray for them, unless you feel that will raise hair follicles from the dead?

If you have had a couple of drinks, your inhibition is lowered and you feel as though it is the perfect time to act like an ass with rude or inappropriate comments about this beautiful human being or any like her that may be in my presence, understand this, I WILL  make it the very worst night of your life. I promise..

When my wife takes her wig off in the middle of a store and it shocks you, just chuckle. It is funny, we laugh about it all the time and will laugh with you I promise! But if you can’t chuckle politely than at least close your mouth, that looks funnier than her bald head and we would hate for you to feel bad about yourself.

Remember, people going through chemotherapy are no different from you and me. Most of them have an incredible sense of humor, some have survived the very worst of treatment, others are still dealing with an inner loss while a few are looking at just making it a few extra days.  These people, these priceless examples of survival and strength, still need to laugh, love, talk, and feel. They still need to be accepted as the very same human beings they were before cancer. They know they are not the same inside and nothing will ever change that, but what they don’t need is to be reminded through ignorance, insensitivity and callousness.

Look into the face of cancer, tell me what you see.

I see LOVE…

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The Face of Leukemia (December 18, 2013)

 

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SSSHHHHHHHH

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of silence. Normally right now I’d be cozied up in my captain’s chair, shorts on, comfy t-shirt, freshly showered with a hot cup of tea off to my right. Then carefully place my iPhone ear buds into place and with the stroke of a finger, “classical to study by” gently lulling my senses, firing a few neurons, stimulating a thought process into action.

But not tonight.

Tonight there is not a sound echoing through the corridors of our home. Four children off to sleep, two dogs snuggled up to a few human blankets while one stands guard at the front door and the other ones at my feet. I’m still in my shorts, we are out of tea and the silence is just to grand to ruin with any music of any kind. Yep pretty nice..

All Neurons firing properly.

A moment of pure heaven like this seems the perfect time for a bit of reflection covering the last 29 days.

  • Iran agreed to limit their nuclear development program
  • Chinese Spacecraft Change 3 safely landed on the moon
  • Paul Walker, Ray Price, Peter O’Toole, Eleanor Parker and Jim Hall all passed away.
  • Nelson Mandela as well walked towards the light.
  • Hanukkah has begun and Winter solstice is upon us.
  • School shooting in Colorado
  • Hospital shooting in Nevada
  • Oh yeah and that whole my wife was diagnosed with Leukemia starting a scary fight for her life.

Oh hey that last thing! Yeah funny thing about that last one there, because of that little bullet point I knew none of those things above it happened. Can you believe that? It appears as though my full focus was on one thing and one thing only. Apparently there was neither time nor wanten for me to flip on a television and search out these wonderous revelations.  Seems as though reading, learning and living a life of leukemia can really skew a fellas sense of priority.

Case in point; just prior to cuing up the old blogger keyboard this evening my finger (on its own of course as I would never) clicked upon the Yahoo banner and up popped all these top headlines Yahoo believes I should know about. Amazingly enough not one of them held an accurate title as most were standard stretched truth “catchlines” instead. It also seems as though most stories revolve around “celebrities” as if our lives would wilt into the unknown without our latest gossip over Kim K or what the Jackson’s are suing over in regards to their dead iconic son.  What wonderful philanthropy has lofted Brad Pitt to sainthood and why the hell is Angelina Jolie 98 pounds? So it seems as if by worrying about the effects of Leukemia upon my wife and our family, worrying about the hundreds of thousand United States citizens suffering from Leukemia and other forms of cancer every second of every minute of every day. My thought process is severely flawed. According to polls and data it appears the American people don’t care, but what they do care about is the Real Housewives of some dumbass city? Or perhaps how millionaires actually need assistance finding a date! Really? You are worth millions and you need to waste your money using Ms. Smartypants to find someone for you? COME ON! Not buying it! Then of course there is Kanye laying it all on the line, like a police officer or soldier, risking his very life to entertain us poor lowly citizens.  Yep over the last 29 days I got it wrong…

I always knew being so wrong would feel so right!

So here I sit very content with these current choices as my wife sleeps soundly. Gone are the night sweats for now. No more needing to have me fetch a pain reliever at all hours of the night. Gone is that horrible aching pain associated with a feeling of her bones exploding while creating new life within her blood stream.  Gone is the never ending headache. Gone is also her hair, all of it, everywhere, seriously, ok except her eyebrows which so far is pretty cool. But man can you imagine waking up one day to find all your hair is just gone? Can you?  But anyways you know what isn’t gone? Her beautiful smile.

Jacy’s smile as I have written in the past is one in a million. Leukemia has not taken her smile from her face. She wears it proudly each and everyday. Leukemia is keeping some of her energy, which is to be expected, but even that is a battle she is slowly starting to win!

We met with Dr. Truong today and we still have a long road to go with 3 more consolidation therapies planned. (One week a month, for three months in the hospital for chemotherapy) We are also being referred to Stanford for a possible bone marrow transplant. Once at Stanford more data will be in and all our options will be revealed.  But in the end, we are way ahead of schedule, her white cell counts are through the roof and the last marrow draw showed no immediate signs of Leukemia! We are beating this monster handily! Wait for it, wait for it, YES everyone that means we ARE Kicking Cancers Ass One Cell At A Time! Ok not really we but she…

So in the end I think I will keep the television off.  In the end it appears that maybe just maybe whats going on around me, in my personal life might be a bit more important than whether or not Mylie Cyrus’s life IS a wrecking ball.

And at the end of the day, I think I’ll just sit here, relaxed, enjoying these tiny moments knowing the woman I love is sleeping peacefully and because of her will and tenacity I get to enjoy her for yet another day..

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What’s new

Hello everyone! Just a note to let you all know Betty is still alive and kicking. Since returning home from Haiti I’ve had a hard time writing. Oh many stories have been crafted but placing that final polish has been a challenge.

Polishing those stories has also been further hampered by the fact my truck was broken into and my laptop was stolen with every original story ever written by yours truly. During my haste to perfect my knowledge of the new laptop I failed to back anything up so there you have it! A writer without a pen or muse.

What’s new?

I am currently assigned to the Rim fire in Yosemite valley thusly my time continues to be limited, but I promise more to come in the next few days as I try my best to write from my phone!

Happy days ahead

Betty…..

Perception

Well children, Betty is terrible at asking for help, but its time.
While chronicling our Haitian adventure, please remember mine is but one perception of events during our ten days abroad. There are 9 other views in regards to every moment of every day. Although I am doing my best using the 2 hours a night of notes I kept, I am positive there are situations and personal feelings I am missing. For that I apologize. There are those who will be forever changed by this adventure and to them as a returning missionary I say; Have faith.
So please dearies, enjoy, use your imagination and know that we ALL walked through this adventure with God by our side and love in our hearts.
More entries to come…..
Much love,
Betty…

A time for healing?

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Haiti is Haiti! What do I mean by that statement? Well you can be on the mainland associated with the Dominican Republic or on an island the locals have aptly named “forgotten Island”. Haiti is still Haiti. This place is incredibly beautiful, amazingly loved by its people, adorned with symbols of God, faith and trust. It is also extremely loud! New York may be named the city that never sleeps but Haiti is the country that never sleeps. On the mainland everything is connected by streets, side streets, corner alleys and of the course the main highway. So no matter where you are day or night a reverberating ring of car horns, and loud vehicles never goes away. On Source a Philipe the small fishing village on the island of La Gonave there is only one vehicle so traffic noise is not an issue. But there is instead 100 or more goats, gridlocked by a packs of dogs, while burro’s and chickens wander aimlessly through traffic unaware of whether its day or night. Animal noise (especially for this country boy) really shouldn’t be an issue but at midnight a couple of goats baying outside your window for hours on end, can have a tendency to make someone a little cranky.
Oh by the way have I mentioned the weather yet? It’s the only place I know that heats up after the sun goes down! It doesn’t really, but it sure feels that way with the cinder block rooms of our guest house radiating the day’s heat while no breeze is moving through our building at all. I liken it to living inside a pizza oven. What the Hell!
Ok enough bitching…
Bleary eyed and tired I wander aimlessly around my room feeling as though I am ready to go home. This of course was a purely selfish thought and not surprisingly the exact same thought I held last year after the first night on the job site! Shuffling slowly up to breakfast feeling neither hungry nor willing to try and eat. My only goal was to put on a smile for everyone else, giving them some comfort in case they too had a bad night. My wife was awake, bright and smiling, a breath of fresh air to my dreary morning. We chatted about her IMG_2111presentation, cracked jokes with Alisa, Heather and Melissa about what may or may not have landed on someone’s face last night! A nice morning prayer some breakfast and idle conversation brought us all right up to dressing for church. Meeting back at the guest house we all did our very best to look appropriate for a Sunday tradition.
As doc, Gail and I talked about the clinic, Jacy was just inside the guest house reading her notes. Brent was keeping everyone else in stitches when we suddenly realized it was after nine and we were late for church! The strangest thing OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAoccurred to me while walking towards this little church on a hill. I don’t see anyone walking this way, not one soul looking to head towards church! We were late and we all should have seen someone, anyone walking into church! There had to be at least a couple hundred in this village and last year in Leveque the town’s people came from everywhere ten minutes early for church! So where was everyone?
Making my way up the steep staircase with our group, I am thinking; well, maybe I just didn’t see anyone because I was busy talking. Slipping through the white and blue doors there appeared to be hardly a soul inside. A very small handful of handsomely dressed children, a half a dozen adults and a group of students from next door. Where is the town? Where are her people? Why does this feel so strange? When Doc asked where everyone was she was quietly told they were all coming! She was told they would be here because they were coming to see us! Almost as if they had been ordered too? More, strange, curious feelings arise.
Around 9:30, ten or so more adults arrive but this church should have been teaming with parishioners. The pastor allows many of his flock to speak, and read scripture from the bible. These people are humble, honest and a blessing. The pastor spends time placing children up front calling them the future of the church and having them proclaim their importance to the community. This also was cute but seemed odd or staged. The children are embarrassed the way any child would be when placed in front of a crowd. But they do a nice job and are cute. The pastor takes a moment to thank us for coming to his small community and lets us know the word of our arrival has been spread throughout all congregations on the island. This was very good news as we hoped to see as many patients as possible during our week long stay. He then calls upon my wife to come up and speak, Caz joins her IMG_2104for translation as they teak their positions in front of the congregation. Caz smiled as he rose and a quick glimpse was had between myself, Caz and Jacy as he recalled the promise made in regards to translating exactly word for word how Jacy delivers this sermon. You see earlier during a bought of storytelling Caz was reminded about a scripture reading that took place the last time they were together two years ago. Their second translator trapped between a rock and a hard place started making stuff up because the speaker from Jacys team was insensitive with comments during his reading. Caz thought no one knew about the altered translation but him, what he didn’t know at the time was Jacy spoke French and understood some of what the translator was saying. This brought a hearty round of chuckles as they imitated the reworked translations with statements like: Oh lord in heaven, this group of missionaries have humbly come before you, bringing Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for everyone on the island! PRAISE JESUS AMEN!!!!
Caz promised no matter what, he wouldn’t change the words, but OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhen Jacy started speaking he broke stride for just a moment and smiled. I knew why he smiled and I quietly chuckled.
Jacy’s sermon was brilliant! It was moving, meaningful and came from the heart. I was so very proud of her and a tear formed while watching this woman I care so deeply for shine in front of this group of fellow Methodists. She stepped down from the pulpit with a smile like no other, sat next to me and held my hand. (She is my everything, and we always feel closer to one another in church. Even if that church happens to be thousands of miles from home). The pastor spoke a few more times and an offering plate was brought forward. This offering plate slowly made its way around and as a bead of sweat rolled down my back I turned towards the associate pastor (Francois) and began apologizing as I (the treasurer for the trip) had been so focused on not being late the offering had been in fact forgotten. Francois smiled, then quickly ducked out the side door and made his way onto the pulpit through an additional side door. Leaning into the pastor’s ear to whisper, I quickly note the pastor staring at me intently while they speak. I didn’t make much of this uncomfortable moment at the time, but it was uncomfortable none the less and later on in the week it would make perfect sense as we (Jacy and I) began to learn the inner workings of Source a Philipe.
Church lets out and we are warmly met by a handful of members from within the community. As with last year after church it is so amazing how easily love for one another is shared without being able to speak a word of the same language. The Haitian people are absolutely wonderful. Their sense of community is like that of the early 1900’s and is a pure joy to be around. I love them all.
Heading off to change from our church clothing and grab some lunch, we are close to opening the clinic. Jacy and I had spoken to several key members of the community and although Sunday is strongly OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAconsidered a day of rest for all Haitians, they readily agreed that opening up the clinic even for the afternoon was a good idea. We throw on our scrubs, unlock the doors and set into our prescribed positions, hoping this half day will help work out any kinks so our team may become more efficient as the week goes on. With people traveling from afar to visit us over the week, the quicker we can get them through the better. Kristina is excited to get started and her excitement translates to us all! The pastor during this morning’s sermon equated our being here to Jesus having been born in Bethlehem, ( a stretch but hey, when in Haiti) people would come from far and wide just to lay eyes upon the doctor and her staff. It was humbling to say the least. We start the ball rolling by cleaning our interpreters teeth just to get a rhythm going and before long we have a line developing around the building! Everyone wants to see us and we quickly learn that “Cleaning” in a Haitians mind meant “filling”. We are here to pull teeth, as our situation is so primitive no other options are plausible. Kristinas son Preston is to handle all children comingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA through the clinic, check their teeth, show them how to brush and floss then send the ones with dental needs our direction. Heather was alongside him and they were housed in a room alongside the pharmacy. As the line grew I took a moment to get a feel for these people outside, since we arrived there really hasnt been a chance to do so and I thought it would be nice to share a Bonswa and a smile. Wandering around the outside of the building I take notice of the children playing on a patch of dirt adjacent to the clinic. These were some of the very same children that met us as we stepped from the boat, their friends, brothers, sisters, they were all there, happy and playing and very, very, thin. I mean sickly thin, some look gaunt. My heart is breaking at the sight of these little people so thin and frail looking. Is it a lack of food? A lack of water? Or all of the above? Questions start forming as my mind begins pondering their situation. Patting many on the head and trying my best to speak with a few who ask my name, I slowly break away and head inside. It’s time to start, time to get this show on the road.
Finding the whole dental process quite interesting Kristina (doc) places me with Gail assisting! I realize I am really enjoying all aspects of her work! Gail and Kristina start showing me the instruments and I quickly start teaching myself other tools and products needed so I can be of more help. Patient after patient, extraction after extraction, one OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtooth here, six teeth there, and every one of these people are fairly thankful when its over to have rotten, broken and in some cases fully abscessed teeth removed. I also learn their teeth have longer roots than most and a jawline which is incredibly strong. During the afternoon I also partake in some basic BLS care of sick and injured patients. It was nice treating people who truly needed the assistance and were very thankful for the care when you were done. Jacy bounced from place to place, helping Orson with post-op, cleaning trays, ensuring the line was being taken care of, and always bringing a smile to the Haitian people.
After a little while the flow was moving fairly well when while taking a break, Jacy walks up and whispers Francois has an envelope and is charging people for our care! This of course could not be happening as we raised all the money to be here providing FREE dental care to this villages inhabitants! But it was happening! We can’t let Kristina know as it could ruin her ability to keep going so Jacy took to dealing with OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe issue and I resumed keeping Kristina in the dark. My wife and I work well as a team and she was doing an awesome job as the team’s leader. Jacy gathers a phone and contacts Pastor Jackie directly who informs her that no clinic is free! The goal for Source a Philipe is to have a permanent clinic fully staffed for the people. If they receive free health care and don’t become accustomed to paying for it, then they will never come in when the clinic is opened. To some extent this makes perfect sense as the charge is nominal. But WE still brought all the supplies, we are providing the care and someone is profiting off this little dichotomy. Through conversation Jacy brings to pastor Jackie’s attention this fee is different depending on who you are. Does this mean social status health care? In a little fishing village out in the middle of nowhere! Social status health care! Really! Pastor Jackie is miffed and short with Jacy for questioning this way of doing business, so she takes it a step farther by asking the children not be charged. He doesn’t seem to like this proposal either but agrees if they have no money to pay they will still be seen by the doctor. Jacy comes back and tells me about the phone call, I am furious, and really have no words for the information I am now privy too. No one can know for now, we agree to keep it quiet and she works hard on creating an amiable solution to this strange turn of events.
All of us are back at our stations working when Jacy comes to get myself and Kristina to look at a young woman whose tooth we pulled earlier in the day. She is pregnant and made very clear to us her worry for the baby during the tooth extraction. Her blood pressure was good and she fell within acceptable parameters for oral care. Her tooth OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcame out and she went on her way. Now back she is seeking help in regards to her baby. It seems earlier she was afraid to talk with us but now after the extraction she trusts Jacy enough to ask her some questions in regards to her baby. She is having pain, lower left quadrant, she hasn’t felt the baby move for roughly 15 days and she states her belly is shrinking. I grab a stethoscope, palpate her belly and listen to all four quadrants. I start with listening to where I know the baby should be, hoping for a heartbeat, some movement, something, anything. I hear nothing. After covering all four quadrants the only applicable noise I hear is some grumblings coming from this woman’s stomach. No gas sounds, no bowel sounds at all, no baby. Doc comes in and examines her as well, many theories are tossed around, but in the end she needs to go to a hospital. Not an easy task. I walk by Jacy heading back into the dental room, lean in and tell her I hear nothing, there is nothing there, and the baby is most likely dead. Jacy responds by reminding me with lower left quadrant pain and belly shrinkage she believes the baby is dead as well and she probably has an infection. 15 days is a long time, this is not good. We can’t send her home, we can’t just take her to the hospital as in this impoverished area everyone will hear of the “free ride” and flock to our door, possibly causing a riot. We talk about waiting until Thursday and smuggling her out with us, but that’s just too long, she could die.
During devotionals the Wesley Foundation team headed up by their leader Katie, make the call. This woman is going to the hospital and imagesCAJGGNREshe is going tomorrow morning! I assume these kids are least likely to be noticed as after almost thirty days of building and fixing everything they can lay their hands upon they come and go as they please throughout the area. Katie, Jacy and Graham quietly devise a plan. In the morning Katie and Graham smuggle this young woman out first thing without any problems, taking her by truck to a hospital over two hours away. God bless them and the courage they show by doing the right thing.
Back in the clinic poor Brent is having a hard time keeping the charcoal fire lit for sterilization. Oh did I forget to mention we are sterilizing tools over a fire in a pot filled with filtered water? Yep old school all the way! This man Brent is absolutely amazing with his cheery attitude and can do spirit! We are blessed to have him as part of our team. The locals all want their pictures taken with him as we have notified them he is famous. Our group is just having too much fun carrying on the folly that is the man of mystery! So we told the locals he was indeed the famous actor Daniel Craig! That’s right citizens of Source a Philipe those clean tools in your mouth were sterilized by none other than 007 himself! They bought into the hype and we had fun at Brent’s expense. But secretly I think Brent was having more fun at our expense!
At the end of the day we saw a little over 30 patients in 5 hours’ time. It was exhausting and incredibly fulfilling at the same time. I personally witnessed our team come together and form a bond. We have four more days of treating folks from far and wide, but I definitely feel as though it will be a time for healing like no other in this little corner of the world.
On a side note, as I type this I am sitting on a concrete ledge, under a banana tree, in a place with no electricity. Close your eyes and wonder for just a moment how big and beautiful the sky above me must be. You got that picture in your head? Now magnify it by 10.

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A journey begins

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Thursday June 6th 4pm- Jacy and I arrive at church where Pastor Kathy hands us our traveling funds, afterwards we move very quickly to the dentist office where everyone is anxiously waiting to go! Excitement is high, some have nerves jittering away but all are ready to get this mission trip underway.

Our group developed laminated cards for placement on our luggage to more easily count and identify these 22 bags throughout the trip. These laminated cards are bright yellow and create a bit of visibility in a sea of American Touristers, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmaking ours easily recoverable while rotating around the turnstile at baggage claims. Tags and zippers zip tied in place, money obtained, smiling faces and photographs taken in front of Kristina’s Tea Room/Dentist office, and it’s time to load up and depart. More hugs, a hands shake here and there, along with one heavenly prayer delivered from our pastor. Everyone chips in as bags are tossed into our vans and just like that hallelujah we were off!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heading out of town Kristina was rolling through her mental list of supplies, it was then she quickly realized some very important instruments had been forgotten. We quickly grabbed the first exit, turned back towards town and notified the lead van of our intentions. With the lead van continuing on, one of Kristina’s employees met us at the first off-ramp into town for a hand off of Olympic proportion! We now had tools in hand, anxiety squashed and were headed in the right direction!

The ride into the city was relatively uneventful until we approached the bay bridge, then all of that changed! Kristina received a phone call that Ruben (Alisa’s husband) was broken down on the side of the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfreeway in the lead van. We were given the exit name and luckily we were within a mile of their location. The van was located on the shoulder of an off ramp and pulling in behind them a tow truck was already present. It appeared as though the vans radiator had split, leaving no water for cooling. Alisa arranged a tow back to Dixon as the state funded tow company would only accept AAA. As I surveyed the damage many alternatives were being thrown about and you could sense frustration building as the thought of possibly missing our flight was more than anyone wanted to deal with. While examining our surroundings it dawned on me that I knew exactly where we were, and without hesitation my phone was abuzz as I reached out to someone who may have been able to help!

My sister lives only an exit away!

The phone rang only twice and with a hearty hello, my sister was on the other end of the line. I asked where she was and amazingly she was only ten minutes from our location! When I explained our need for assistance she quickly hung up the phone, gathered up her husband and his vehicle then headed our direction! Two vehicles to the rescue! While waiting, staring into the back of both vans, I started doing the math and quickly realized that even with both of her vehicles coming we wouldn’t have enough room or at the very least it would be very, very close! Before panic could set in a taxi pulled up offering assistance! We loaded it with three people and their luggage, sending Brent with some traveling cash for payment. (Brent is our international man of mystery) Perfect! After a quick recount of all baggage remaining the numbers work, the luggage will fit and we will all hopefully make it on time! Thank you God for showing us the way!

My sister and her husband arrived, hugs of thanksgiving were had, we loaded up and in a jiffy our caravan was together again at San Francisco International Airport with just enough time to spare as we would later find out while checking our baggage! Hallelujah! My sister and her husband wished us well, we all thanked them and our gratitude hopefully showed! Once they were gone we headed inside and just OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlike that we were a mission group ready for departure! American Airlines as in years past was fantastic! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this Airline! They waived our extra baggage fees, they waived our overweight luggage and they treated us with respect. In today’s fast paced world that kind service filled with understanding and a good listening ear is hard to find. Once Jacy had finished taking care of baggage check in the American Airlines personnel wished a safe and fruitful journey.

After a quick bite to eat we gathered at the terminal gate, many were texting, Facebooking, or reading, but all were excited and ready to go.

Our flight was uneventful (thank goodness) and landing in Miami left us a little disoriented as the world there was abuzz with 5am travelers. Unfortunately we moped around still stuck in a 2am thought process. Coffee for some, a nap for others and then a few of us walked the concourse repeatedly, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAknowing another two hour flight was in store. Yeah the thought of sitting any longer was not a pleasant one for many of us. As we wander about the airport killing time, a strange thing begins to occur where ever we go. People seem to know Brent? Not by name mind you, but for some reason people wave at him or acknowledge his presence! It’s kind of odd (in a good way) and we all notice this little social experiment in the making. Now Bent is the father to one Nick Watney, a golfer on the PGA pro circuit. This of course is wonderful in itself but we have decided it is because he looks a little like an older more stoic James Bond! From this point forward it becomes a running gag! Do you know Brent Watney? Do you?

The flight into Port au Prince was uneventful as well (double thank goodness), touching down it felt good to be back. My heart filled with joy as we dipped over the coastline coming in for a landing. I felt as though I could pick out the small town of Leveque as we flew along. I know that’s not true but it sure felt nice thinking I could. Unloading off the plane the first thing I noticed was just how much the airport had changed. It looked new and clean, organized and almost regal, compared to last year. Inside it only got better, painted walls, light air conditioning and clean floors. Customs was a breeze and getting to our luggage was much easier!

Yes we were back! It felt right! Now if only we (Jacy, Heather and I) can help others to experience why we feel this way before the week is done.

Once at the baggage turnstile it became quickly apparent some things hadn’t changed. The usual players were present, red shirts, blue shirts all of them, leaning in trying to earn your business by grabbing your bags and “handling” them for you. After further inspection we realized there to be one more bag than claim tickets which meant we were going nowhere! That was until a fin, a fiver the old Abraham Lincoln made its presence, and then through a terse quip and a short wave of the hand from our newest “best” friend Cliff, the airport inspectors were gone. Cliff, hustled us quickly over to a final check out point where another airport employee asked me if we had “medical” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsupplies, to which I stated yes! Thinking this might lead us to a free pass, my hopes were squashed when she waved us into another room where all 22 of our bags were to be flopped onto a table, opened and inspected! (Sarcastic “YAY” entered here)Thankfully after staring blankly at about the sixth bag our inspector become frustrated and waved us through!

Cliff moved us like a pod of fish, yelling at any other red shirts vying for a piece of the action to stay away! About this time we found our old friend Jackson (the one arm man) just inside the exit door. Jackson is hired by the United Methodist Church to ensure the mission teams make it to their pick up point and driver with little hassle from the “red shirts”. Jackson swiftly moved our group outside where more red shirts clamored upon our belongings until JacksonOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA yelled at them, at one point a man not happy with Jackson walked up and hit him! A little shocking, but the way of the world in a place where every dollar earned puts food upon your table. Cliff mentioned he could not leave the building and even though I wasn’t supposed to tip anyone but Jackson this man did helped us to no end. Yes I realized he was doing his job, but he blessed us for the work our group UMVIM had done in his country and went above and beyond getting us through the chaos that can become Haiti International Airport. I broke the rules and as I would find out soon enough, we would break that rule many times.

Once loaded into our vehicles (Haitian version of the Toyota mini Van) we headed out into the wild, scary, old west style, garbage filled, smelly, latrine water covered streets of Haiti! Ahhh to be back, filled with hope and optimism for the poor downtrodden people of Ha——– WHAT???????

Hold the boat! Stop the car! Slap your grandma! The, the, streets are CLEAN! (Well ok CLEANER!)Nary a piece of trash, nor mobs of people, not one child is rushing the van screaming “CHICKLET, CHICKLET MISTER” or “WATER PLEASE” or my personal favorite “MISTER YOU GOT A DOLLAR”? What the holy heck! The wrecked cars are no longer lining the streets! Instead they are gathered in a local junk yard we just passed, no one is stripping them down where they lay! Oh my goodness it looks, dare I say it? So much better! In fact we have now crossed two estuaries and I haven’t seen one man living in a van down by the river!!!!down by the river

We come to our first of many traffic lights (yes operational traffic lights) and I also notice for the most part people are obeying the traffic laws! Its pure insanity I tell you! People also seem to be traveling from one place to another with purpose! Not like a cast member from The Living Dead! Its, its,-well it’s just plain beautiful. My heart swells with OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAjoy as our group travels through province after province with nothing but wonderful signs of recovery! No country should have to endure what these people have endured and no people should have to decide on a daily basis whether to feed the dog, beat the dog or eat the dog because the dog needs food just as much as they do. (That was just a reference, they are not eating dogs here)!

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The guest house looms on the horizon and pulling inside the gates (no guard present anymore) felt like being home! The group formed up, we unloaded our gear and set to introductions with the staff! Sarah met us first, she was warm and welcoming. Some met Tom for theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA first time while three of us just took a moment to reminisce with the leader of the guest house. A meeting was called out by the pool which was perfect for our hot and tired bodies. We swam while Sarah gave us the low down on our trip, progress made in Haiti and some of the more serious issues we may face. The island of La Gonave was our final destination! A four hour boat trip lay ahead and we would be departing at 6am with breakfast at 5am. We were to drink plenty of water and layer ourselves in sunscreen.

We settled in, chatted amongst ourselves and mentally prepared for the last leg of our journey.

Dinner time was upon us quickly and it was AMAZING!! I had waited patiently all year for this style of cooking! Oh you can recreate it in the states but it isn’t the same! The fried chicken was awesome, the black beans and rice was awesome, and the plantains were OFF THEOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA HOOK!!!! Oh yeah some very happy bellies wandered off to bed after an extremely long day of travel. (16 hours in all)

I personally was out cold by 8pm after struggling to stay awake through a meeting with the onsite doctor. I retained most of the information but my brain could handle no more!

Oh well a new day and a new adventure was waiting for us all! As one by one we all laid our heads to rest, little did we know just what an adventure it would become!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Children its storytime…..

story

This story like many others, is filled with a cast of hopefully interesting characters. A story containing intrigue, mystery, villains, heroines and of course the village people. No not the 70’s disco band! The people of a very proud little village helping bring this story together so that you the reader may understand this particular villages plight. Now before you get excited and start rubbing your hands together proclaiming; hurray Betty is going to tell another great story! Well my children, it will be a great story but let me warn you right from the go, this story is a tad bit sad. Now I am sorry for that, but it was not of my making. It is a story of truth told through me, by me, and also consists of witness accounts, recollections, and facts. Personally holding the hands of desperate people who want nothing more than the ability to awaken and see the sun shine another day! People who need to know there is a future for themselves and their children. Living with these people, working alongside this wonderful cast of characters and being given the ability to tell this story to you, my readers became an almost overwhelming responsibility. But God has provided the means to purchase a laptop and I ten fingers to type with and for that I am thankful.

Where to start? Hmmmm, I guess from the beginning?

Mission work is not for everyone. When I went forward on my first mission at the ripe old age of 45 it was an enormous step in my growth as a human being. It took me a month after returning to realize the impact that trip made upon my life, but an impact it did make, for you see I never wanted to go, I felt mission work was for the liberal, we must take care of all, granola eating, bunny huggers of the world. Not the gun-toting, you want it you earn it, it’s all about the money, capitalist that I was and to a small extent still am. My wife (god bless her resilience) hounded me to go after returning from her own mission trip to Haiti. Citing personal growth, perspective and a regeneration of feelings towards humanity as a whole, she told a wonderful tale and I was interested for I felt an empty void in my life.

Our dear friend John G. leaned on me a bit as well for you see he was going to be the co-leader on this latest expedition and felt my presence would be an asset to this particular team. Finally after much prayer, and some introspection, it became very clear that I needed to go. I was empty inside and was looking for something, anything that might explain this empty feeling. It turned out to be an amazing trip, with a group of wonderful human beings who will forever be bonded to my soul. After arriving back home it quickly became apparent my life had been changed forever, my position in regards to our self-indulgent society reversed and empathy for those in need doubled. I felt as though I had been reborn. The emptiness gone.

The downside to all of this personal growth; my temper became much shorter in regards to the needs of us selfish Americans. I look at our lifestyle with a bit of disdain and my opinion about the current generation of sniveling whiny adults is negative at best.

After returning from that first mission trip there was a great feeling of accomplishment, a joyous moment where the human race in my world could work as one for a common goal and I felt as though I had seen, looked straight into the eye of what true survival during adversity was and had ultimately become for human beings in an impoverished country. From my perspective it felt as though recovery was on its way and having been just a small part of that was amazing. When I flew off the island of Haiti there was hope for her people, hope in a new regime, hope in personal recovery for individuals, hope for a growing economy and hope for a country to recover and put behind it a tragedy that changed the face of a nation.

I was right and wrong all in the same breath.

Like I said; Mission work is not for everyone and I almost didn’t make this 2013 trip. I signed on then off more than a half a dozen times. My flip-flopping was worse than a cornered senator trying to save a failing career! I had come full circle and was back to a selfish American way of thinking! My only care was in regards for our children, house, animals and belongings, it wasn’t about doing my part as a human being, or using many skills God had blessed me with for the betterment of others. No it was all about my little world. My little bubble and how this would affect me! Right here, right now! Finally my wife who signed on as team leader this time, explained to me the importance of having me alongside her while making this journey. Very humbly and quietly I conceded, tickets were purchased, our children were informed of our dual departure and my destiny was before me waiting to be written.

Today June 15, 2013 I am writing this on an American Airlines flight heading back to Miami. My heart and mind are filled with emotions that over the next couple of weeks I will try my hardest to explain through word. This was a much more difficult journey both physically and emotionally than last year so please be patient as my writing may ramble. My hope being when it is done I have taken you someplace you have never been. Allowing your mind to visualize things you would never see but always wanted too or could never see out of fear or reluctance. Sometimes we see more when our eyes are closed then when they are open staring right at a moment in time. Hopefully with a little luck when it is all over and you close the last chapter of this story, you feel what we felt and that moves you.

Please enjoy, and please ask any questions that may come to mind. The best question at any given moment is one that is asked.

Our mission

Simply put, arrive in a small fishing village on the North West corner of the island La Gonave to provide dental care to its inhabitants.

Gonave Island (French: lle de la Gonave) is an island of Haiti located to the west-northwest of Port au Prince in the Gulf of Gonave. It is the largest of the Hispaniola satellite islands, situated off the mainland. The island is an arrondissement in the Quest Department and includes the communes of Anse-a-Galets and Pointe-a-Raguette. Gonave Island boasts a population of 75-80,000 inhabitants. The island is known as the “forgotten Island” as attention to its inhabitants dwindled directly after the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

The North West corner of the island holds a small community known as Source a Philippe.

This small community holds a few hundred residents who survive through trade. Main trades include charcoal, fishing (fish, crabs, lobster), and home crafts for tourism at the larger markets on the other side of the island. There is one fully operating vehicle within the community, there is no running water or electricity. A large cistern for rain water containment was developed by the United Methodist Church and is in operation. A well is located 2 kilometers from the village and as of this writing is not functional. There is an operating school-house within the United Methodist Church compound area and a few new outhouses were just completed by a team from the Wesley Foundation after a 30 day mission on the island. There is a 3000 watt Honda commercial generator which can power through the use of extension cords only a limited number of buildings during the evening hours. The United Methodist Church compound also holds three guest houses and a medical building, all of which appear to have been built-in the 1950’s. The medical building is empty and has a room dedicated for a pharmacy. Limited pharmaceutical supplies are stored there for emergencies and no regular health care is present.

The task placed before us was simple. Arrive on a Saturday, meet the locals, set up shop and provide free dental care for the residents of this poverty-stricken area starting Sunday afternoon after church. Continue to provide dental care Monday through Thursday as word would spread across the island brining inhabitants from as far as five hours away.

Our team: Dixon Smiles for Haiti was composed of ten highly motivated individuals

Kristina-Dentist

Gail-Assistant

Mellissa-Assistant

James-EMT/Firefighter

Jacy-School Teacher

Heather-School Teacher

Bent-Retired

Orson-Waste water Management

Alisa- Child care provider

Preston-College student

All of us joined together through God providing a service to those in need. All of us holding skill sets that would become important on this mission along with a can do attitude that would bring a triumphant end to a very long hard week. Our group spent months fundraising and putting together supplies needed for our journey. Kristina spent endless hours working the phones with her crew obtaining every instrument needed to cover any possible contingency. When we left for Haiti on June 6th 2013 our team carried with us over $25,000.00 dollars in supplies. When it was all said and done we pulled 540 teeth, for a total of $127,000.00 dollars in dental care. Our clinic was also overrun with medical issues and the team stepped up providing many hours of treatment, from simple cuts and ear infections to severe lacerations, staph infections and full term pregnancy health.

We left tired, mentally exhausted and a little disoriented.

Here is our story…..

(over the next couple of weeks I will do my best to add a new chapter everyday)

A Haitian update

Well everyone our little medical mission team has landed safely in Miami! We are awaiting our last plane for the 5 hour flight home!
I have spent many hours writing and starting Monday Betty will begin posting the entire experience! Look for it! I promise it will be an interesting read!!

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