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Floods, Phones and “Deputized” Engineers

After our rain-delayed road trip, described in my last blog, we found that the same rains that caused us delay at Riviere Glace also caused havoc in the Gatineau area. It rained there for three days straight in mid-November and caused flooding such as had not been seen by most of the community people in their lifetimes. The creek that runs through our property overflowed its banks for the first time in our six years of being up there. It washed away the dirt along the sides of the bridge:

Washed Out Sides of Bridge

And, it ate out the sides of the creek, changing its course:

Swollen Creek

Further down the mountain, the creek overflowed its banks, flooding fields of sugar cane:

Flooded Sugar Cane

And, it left mud on the road in an area where we cross the river on our way up and down the mountain:

Muddy River Banks

Many of our patients lost crops due to the flooding – corn, beans, sugar cane, and even yams that were uprooted from the soil. It was definitely the worst destruction they’ve had in the area in a long time, and it wasn’t even associated with a hurricane – just a combination of strong winds and heavy rains.

We expect that there will be significant hunger and food shortages in the area around the clinic in 3-4 months, at harvest time. Our patients will keep us informed as to conditions in their communities and we will keep you updated in this blog as things develop.


On a lighter note, in our last newsletter I told a story about a patient named Fritzner who has Down’s syndrome. We gave him a toy car to play with and he used it as a cell phone to “talk” with his nephew Kenken. Well, when I was in the US recently, I bought Fritzner a toy cell phone that talks and plays music. Here is Fritzner enjoying his new “real” cell phone:

Fritzner With Toy Cell Phone

Volunteer engineer Nick Matthews is presently in Milwaukee, helping to purchase supplies and equipment that we need to finish our final clinic construction, and pack them in a container that is being sent down here to Haiti. In his absence, the rest of us have had to step up and help with supervision of the construction. Here is “deputized engineer” Cherlie Severe, aka Director of Nursing, examining the clinic roof after it was poured:

Examining the Roof

Here she is giving encouragement to one of the iron workers:

Deputy Engineer Cherlie

Here are some other recent construction photos:

Framing of the clinic roof, waiting for it to “cure” – Nov. 12, 2012

Pouring the floor of the pharmacy – Nov. 26, 2012

Completed pharmacy floor – Nov. 27, 2012

Framing the front of the waiting area – Nov. 26, 2012

Head foreman Boss Tony (left) and Alix, Nick’s assistant (right)

It’s starting to look like a building! Please continue with your prayers for us as we come down the home stretch in this construction process.

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