Saturday, June 26, 2010

No Place to Lay His Head, Part 2

Emma came with me out to clinic on today. After lunch we see one of my favorite patients- AnneRose. When we aree done with her therapy, we walk out behind the clinic to where her tent sits. It’s one of many blue-tarped tents with “Samaritan’s Purse” written in white letters all over the tarp. Her tent is in the front row and sticks out because they’ve created a “porch” out front by extending cloth three feet in order to be able to cook underneath it. We walk inside and feel the temperature rise, but today is a cool day. It’s much hotter than I prefer but not unbearable. We walk in past the cloth that hangs as a partition dividing the tent so two families can live there. AnneRose tells me that on her side, she lives with her three younger sisters who go to school. I realize that AnneRose is the source of income for her sisters. She tells me that there are eight people who live in the other half. The tent as a whole is about six feet high and ten feet wide. AnneRose’s side is shorter; about nine feet wide. The other family has the longer half, about 24 feet long. On AnneRose’s side there lay two beds. One bed is made of cement blocks with a few layers of cardboard on top and a sheet. The other, considerably smaller, is a wooden pallet with an air mattress that has no air in it and a sheet. We sit down on the beds. I look around and see a line hanging above me that holds underwear and a few shirts. At the end of the bed are boxes that house their clothes. Sitting out are a few hygiene products- soap, shampoo, deodorant. AnneRose smiles and says, “Li pa bel,” meaning, “it’s not pretty.”

I don’t want to agree with her, but I can’t lie either so I say, “But soon you will get a new home.” I know that two men who come to Lifeline regularly have recently decided to purchase a Lifeline home for AnneRose after seeing the conditions that she lives in. “Even when you get your new home, there will still be a better home waiting for you in heaven.” It’s silent for a few minutes as we just sit there, AnneRose ashamed of her living conditions but glad we were with her, and Emma and I processing the moment of reality we were taking in. There’s only so much we can say with my Creole which is improving, but limited nonetheless. So we begin to talk about something we all understand- pop music: Celine Dion, Maria Carey, Beyonce, and Shakira. We begin to sing “My Heart will Go On.” After that I mention Beyonce and say, “tout fi isi pa gen ménage,” which means, “all girls here don’t have boyfriends”- my best attempt at translating “All the Single Ladies”. We laugh and all put our fists in the middle of the circle and repeat, “tout fi isi pa gen ménage!” “My sister!” AnneRose says grabbing my hand. Then looking at Emma and grabbing her hand says, “My sister!” and pulls us both onto her bed.

We all lay down together with AnneRose in the middle. Still holding our hands, AnneRose brings our hands to her chests and looks at both Emma and I and says, “Mwen remenm ou anpil, anpil, anpil!” (I love you so, so, so much!) I ask her if she sleeps well, fearing I knew the answer. “No,” she said as though it wasn’t a big deal, rather just a fact of life. “Gade” (look) and she pulls up the air mattress and points to all the ants crawling around. She acts out that they bite at night when trying to sleep. I ask about when it rains; she motions that it drips in through the tarp and runs in under the tarp. It’s been rainy this week, and I can tell that that ground inside the tent is damp. We continue to lay there. Part of me hopes that I can fall asleep for a little bit so that I can wake up sore and barely begin to understand what she must feel every night. We have only been laying there for about five minutes, and I can already feel the discomfort of two boards from the pallet and the gap between them. We lay there; I don’t know how long; it seems like ten minutes, but maybe it was only two. I listen to every sound I hear around me in tent city: a metal spoon stirring in a pot, a basketball bouncing, music playing through a speaker far off in the distance, a child crying, feet shuffling on the ground, a goat bleating, a mother speaking words to her child I don’t understand.

Soon this precious six year old face walks in. It’s AnneRose’s little sister. She just arrived home from school. She greets us all with a hug and kiss and then halfway hides behind the cloth partition and strips her dress off so she can put on shorts and a tank top. A few minutes later, another sister of about sixteen years walks in holding a black bag. She too greets Emma and me with a big smile and a hug. She reaches into her bag and pulls out three packages of Rika chocolate sandwich cookies and hands one to each of us. Emma catches the eye of the littlest sister and holds out a cookie to her; she grins big and walks toward Emma and takes the cookie, and then sits down on Emma’s lap. AnneRose says to her, “Chante yon chant.” In her raspy, soft voice, she begins to sing to us. Emma tells me that this is the same girl that she met the first day she came out into tent city to pray with people. She latched onto Emma that day and is loving Emma just as much today. We finish our cookies and tell AnneRose we need to get going. AnneRose gets up with us and walks us out of the tent back toward the gate of the compound. As we step outside the tent, the cooler air and breeze hit us. “Thank you so much, Sister,” I say to AnneRose, “Mwen remenm ou anpil.”

Hours later, I’m laying on my bed in my dorm room. I have two fans blowing on me, a pillow, and a sheet. I’m exhausted but comfortable. I drift off to sleep thinking about AnneRose sleeping on her pallet.

No Place to Lay His Head

Pastor Raburn has been my translator in clinic the majority of the time I have been here. I’ve really appreciated working with him because of the knowledge and wisdom he brings. I love working with the younger translators who are my age because we have become great friends and have fun together, but Pastor Raburn brings a lot of insight and wisdom to clinic everyday. At the end of each session with my patients, I ask my patients what I can pray for and then we pray. But sometimes, I know that Pastor translates more than what I say, and he goes off on his own compassionate tangents as he, too, shares Christ’s love. I really appreciate that. Sometimes though, he says something that really hits me and sticks with me.

Last week, I went to grab a ball from the floor to use for an exercise. As I picked it up, I innocently said to myself, “This ball is really dirty,” and I began to wipe the dust off on my dress.
“My sister Sarah,” Pastor Raburn began, “if this is dirty, what would you think of my house? What would you think of her house?” pointing to Passianna, my patient at the time. Stab in my chest. I fumbled over my words for a couple of seconds trying to explain what I “really” meant. But knowing nothing I could say would cover up what had been said, I apologized. “Pastor, you are right. I am sorry.”

This week in clinic, my patient Kesnel came in asking for medication because he had a headache and because he was not able to sleep. I was finishing up with a patient so Kesnel was waiting in my therapy room. A few minutes later I looked over at Kesnel who was sitting in a chair with his head against the wall asleep. I looked at Pastor and smiled and said, “Well, I guess he can sleep okay now.”

“You know why he can sleep? Because this room is the kind of place everyone should be able to sleep in. Quiet. Cool temperature. Safe. Clean.” The tents that many people, including himself, live in, don’t provide those things. “Oh my sister; we are human. We are not meant to live like this.”

Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Matthew 8:19-20

Friday, June 25, 2010

Learning is Cyclical

I’m no expert by any means in Haitian culture, but I continue to learn a lot more with each trip that I’m down here. I remember on my third or fourth trip to Haiti when I freaked out a little when I realized I wasn’t having the same kind of emotional response to the things I was seeing and experiencing that I had on my other trips. I was afraid I was becoming calloused or hard-hearted, that I was losing my compassion or caring spirit. I eventually realized that it wasn’t that at all, but that God was maturing my outlook on Haitian culture and missions. As I continue to see and learn more, I realize how much I don’t know. I’m amazed as I realize that there’s so much more to learn that I didn’t even know existed with my first few trips here. And as I continue to learn this, I’m finding that God seems to be teaching me the things He first taught me. It’s just that now, my perspective has broadened, and I’m seeing the same things in a new light.
In an earlier post, I talked about the balance I’m trying to find between being emotionally exhausted with the fact of reality of life in Haiti for most Haitians and seeing that reality without it draining me emotionally in a way that prevents me from doing the work the Lord has called me to do. For the most part, I’m not daily burdened with the troubles I see. But I am thankful when I do see or hear something that for some reason, grabs my heart; it reminds me of why God has sent me here and of the things God taught me with my first trips.
One afternoon during free time, our American youth that was here were running around playing with some Haitian kids. I was walking back to the dorm carrying my tennis shoes that I had lent to a friend so she could play basketball when I heard my name. It was a kid I had been seeing in therapy and his friend. They were watching a game of soccer between the Americans and Haitians. The friend called out to me in Creole and said, “You give me shoes.” I hate it when people ask me for things because I’m not allowed to give anyone anything during times that aren’t designated for giving through one of Lifeline’s ministries and because I’ve learned that a lot of people ask for things just because they see that I’m an American and their perception of all Americans is that we are rich. Many times, they ask for things that they don’t need. I love to give to those who don’t ask, but when people ask out of greed, even if they don’t have a lot to begin with, I get frustrated.
I called back to the boy, “I can’t give you anything.”
The boy that I knew yelled back at me, “Ou kapab paske you gen lot.” (You can give me because you have money.) I walked away frustrated and disappointed with this kid because he asked me for something he didn’t need but wanted, and then tried to make me feel guilty about it. I thought to myself, “He thinks I’m so rich and I can buy anything I want to. I must have a lot of money because I am an American, so I must be rich! He has no clue! Actually, I have more debt after just graduating than he could ever imagine. He probably has more money than I do because of how much money I owe.” Seven years ago, I would have wanted to cry with his words, but today, I was upset by them.
I don’t know why, but his words wouldn’t leave my mind. He doesn’t know how much debt I have; but I do have some money. Even though I owe a lot of money, I know that I will eat at every meal and have a safe place to sleep. If my shoes get worn out, I’ll go buy a new pair. And I know I’ll be able to find a job and pay off my debt and then be able to continue to work and then save money. He is right; I do have money. I wanted to cry when I heard his words again in my mind. I felt fifteen again and like I was in Haiti for the first time.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Passianna Part 2

I continue to see sweet, little, 60-year old Passianna for therapy (I wrote about her in the post titled “Sent by the I AM”). Last I wrote about her, I told her that she should come to church the following Sunday and find me so I could introduce her to Pastor Luc and hopefully put her in contact with the right people so she can grow in her relationship with Jesus. It was Monday when she prayed to ask Jesus into her life. She was supposed to return to therapy on Friday, but she did not show. I looked for her in church that Sunday but did not see her either. When she showed up for therapy on Monday wearing the exact same thing she had worn the week before, I inquired about where she had been. She said that after she went home from therapy last time (a week earlier), she found that her house had been broke into, and she was robbed of everything she had. The only thing she had left were the clothes on her back when she was at therapy. That Friday when she was supposed to come to therapy, she was sick with a headache and the following Sunday, she couldn’t come because she didn’t have any clothes to wear for church.

Her story broke my heart. We talked and prayed together, and I pointed out that at the moment she was praying, asking Jesus into her life, a thief broke into her house and stole everything she had. She could have chosen to be mad at God when she got home, but I don’t think she was because when I saw her that day, she still wore her beautiful smile and laughed with her infectious giggle that I will never forget.

I think often times when we choose Jesus and we desire to be more like Him, it often may feel like we are robbed of everything we have. It may be because as we become more like Christ, we become less like the world and sometimes that means giving up things that had been familiar for so long. Other times, our relationship with Jesus may affect our relationships with others we love or may cause us to undergo some degree of persecution. It may be easy to feel like we’ve lost everything we have because we’ve lost the ways of the world. But fortunately, when we choose Christ, in the midst of those feelings, we also feel complete wholeness. A void that after years of trying to fill it with everything else and no matter what we tried to fill it with it just didn’t work, is finally filled.

Pastor Raburn, my translator, and I took her out to see Sé (Sister) Matilde who runs the clothing pantry. We told Matilde Passianna’s story and soon got Passianna some new clothes. On top of that, Matilde did a little of her own preaching and teaching, which I expected. Passianna returned for therapy that Friday, and I again invited her to church. When I saw her yesterday for therapy, she told me she was at church, but I didn’t see her. I’m continuing to see her for therapy, but honestly, my main objective for having her continue to come back, is to encourage her spiritually, not physically. Yes, I think therapy is helping some, but because of her age and motivation, I don’t think anything we do will bring about lifelong changes. The pain she has just tends to move around her body with each visit. So, we do some exercises; I rub her down with my “placebo cream” (Icy-Hot), and we pray.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Even more undignified than this

This week there is a high school youth group here from Chapel Rock Christian Church in Indiana. Last night, we had a youth concert with them and the youth of Lifeline’s church, and we brought the house down! (In light of recent events in Haiti, I just want to clarify that nothing literally came down, and everything is still firmly standing after last night.) It was an incredible three hours. They would sing a few songs and then the American students would perform something. Some men of Lifeline’s church have a wonderful brass ensemble and they also played beautiful jazz music. Many musical talents that God has given were displayed last night. I also had the opportunity to sing with my Haitian friend, Gracienne. She taught me a beautiful song in Creole earlier this week. Towards the end, there was much dancing and singing unto the Lord. It was so much fun for everyone to be able to worship our God together in song and dance, despite a language barrier. It makes me so excited for heaven some day! I’ve experienced incredible worship here in Haiti many times, but that was just, wow, a whole new level! I’m reminded of David in 2 Samuel 6:5 that says, “David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums, and cymbals.” And later in verse 21-22 when David says, “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” I need to be so passionate about praising the Lord that I’m willing to look foolish before men and forego my dignity (appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation) in order to praise the Lord!

Joy and Happiness

I love all my patients, but some grab my heart a little bit more than others. One of those people is Anne Rose. She is a beautiful 28 year old woman who works in Lifeline’s clinic as a nurse and grew up in the children's home (orphange). During the earthquake, something fell on her leg and she suffered a laceration. It was stitched back together but was not cleaned well enough, and thus became severely infected. She was one of the people who was later taken on the Navy ship that was here for a long time working closely with Lifeline for surgery for her leg. She was immobilized for a while after that and was not able to bend her knee at all, and has since been walking with a cane. She began seeing me last week when the doctors were here to begin therapy to get her knee flexion back again. When we began on Monday, she could only bend her knee to 52 degrees (90 degrees would be a right angle between your thigh bone and lower leg). One of the problems limiting her flexion is that she has a lot of scar tissue. In order to try and break up that tissue, you have to do a massage over it; unfortunately, this is extremely painful for her. The next few days, Dr. Bill came in with me and did a lidocaine injection into her scar tissue to try and separate the tissues via hydraulic pressure. This too was very painful for her (until the lidocaine kicked in) to the point of tears, and Anne Rose is a very strong woman. After the first day we worked together, I knew I had caused her a lot of pain, evident from the tears in her eyes. But she sat up and gave me the biggest hug I’ve had since being here and said, “Thank you my sister. I love you so much.” It hurt me to see her in so much pain, knowing that I was the cause of her physical pain, but we both knew it’s what had to be done. We worked her very hard and pushed her through her pain and by the end of the week, she got to 72 degrees of knee flexion which is pretty incredible.

Dr. Bill and I went with Anne Rose out behind Lifeline to one of the many Tent Cities to visit Anne Rose’s tent. It was about 4:00 in the afternoon. These tents are made out of blue tarp and arched with PVC type supports. The floor is the dirt ground. They were tall enough for me to stand in and probably about 30 feet long, but split in two so two families could each have half. When we walked past the door, you could feel the radiating heat from inside. We went in and were suffocated by the heat. The lens on my camera fogged up, and I couldn’t even take a good picture. I don’t know how to describe the heat that we felt. Maybe 130 degrees?? Their beds sat on the ground and were made from cement blocks, a few pieces of cardboard for padding on top, and then a sheet. Seeing the way some people live here has become matter-of-fact to me. I don’t cry every time I look out into the field and see the hundreds of tents. I say that with shame, but at the same time, I know it would be hard for me to do anything if I was overwhelmed with emotion by the reality of life in Haiti every time I looked up. But when I walked into Anne Rose’s tent that day, reality hit. It’s not just some people living in some tent in some other country as a result of some terrible disaster. No. These are real people, no different than you or I, God’s beautiful creation, and this is how they are forced to live because of the circumstances they are in. I’ve heard many of their horror stories from January 12, and it breaks my heart.

The other night at devotions with the workteam, one of the women was moved to tears by the reality she saw that day in Tent City. We often talk about how happy the Haitian people seem despite their circumstances, but this woman said she didn’t see happiness that day; she saw pain and sadness. Keith, workteam coordinator, responded to her reflections with something that enlightened the group. He reminded us that there’s a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is based on our circumstances. Few Haitians would say they’re happy with their circumstances. But joy comes from the Lord and is independent of our circumstances. No matter what life is like around them, the people here who know the Lord, have more joy in their life than words can describe. “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sent by the I AM

The first day I was in clinic and left very discouraged, Karen Lydick (workteam leader for Lifeline) encouraged me by saying that even if I only end up helping one of the people that I saw that day, it would be worth it. Let me tell you, PRAISE THE LORD!!!! I saw a woman for the third time on Monday named Passianna. She is a beautiful 55-60 year old lady (it’s common in Haiti to not know your birthday or exactly how old you are). She has been having right should pain and decreased range of motion. She is so cute because we play “my games” in therapy where I have her reach for cones that I’m holding in various positions so that she has to move her shoulder in all directions (thanks GL Rehab girls at home for teaching me so much!), and she always looks at me and giggles before she reaches for the next cone. She thinks it’s so much fun. In church services the Haitian people frequently raise their hands and wave them in the air and say things like, “Meci Jezi” which means thank you Jesus. So in therapy, I told Passianna that she needs to be able to raise her arms and wave her hands and say “Meci Jezi” all the time because it’s good therapy and God will like to hear it too. So she raised both arms as high as she could and repeated “Meci Jezi” multiple times. After that we were done with therapy so I asked her what I could pray with her for before she left. She said, “Pray for my shoulder pain and that I can be baptized.” Whoa!!! Let’s talk about that! I thought she was already a Christian because of past conversations. We talked for 20 minutes and I was able to tell her all about Jesus and God’s love for us, and how we can accept Jesus into our lives. When she said she wanted to ask Jesus into her life, I had her pray repeating after me. It was really neat because I would pray a phrase, my translator would say it, and then she would repeat him. Then I told her she had to come find me at church on Sunday because I would be looking for her, and then I would introduce her to Pastor Luc, and she agreed.

It was such an amazing opportunity, and something that I was not expecting, but it was a great reminder to me of why I am here- not just in Haiti but in this world. It’s to share the love of Christ with everyone in hopes that those who don’t know Jesus may find the richness of living life in Him so that eternity can be spent with Him in heaven. I know that God is using me here to bless each patient I have seen, and sharing Christ’s love with them is important, but this is the ultimate reason for everything I do- so that people who don’t know Christ may desire to know Him personally because they’ve experienced His love. When I first started thinking about wanting to do physical therapy, it was secondary to my first love of mission work and Haiti. I wanted to combine the two. but I didn’t know how God would ever do that. I think He showed me this week.

(Below are 2 pictures of Passianna and me doing our therapy on Monday!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Am I not sending you?

Well, if you remember my first post, to say that I was overwhelmed coming into this trip knowing one of my main objectives was to create and carry out rehab/therapy programs for Haitians injured in January’s earthquake was a little bit of an understatement. I knew the whole time that God would be faithful in whatever He was asking me to do and that all He needed of me was to be willing to be His hands and feet. But the reality is that I’m still human, and though I was confident in what God could do, I lacked confidence in what I could do. The story of Gideon (Judges 6) has become a favorite story of mine this year. Gideon and I have become best friends because we relate so much to each other. God sent Gideon out into battle with this promise, “[I] am with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon doubted, not God, but himself, and to this God replies, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (6:14) (The answer to this rhetorical question is that the I AM was indeed sending Gideon.) I felt my situation was quite similar. I needed to go in the strength and knowledge that I had (that God has blessed me with) and trust that the I AM was sending me, no matter how unqualified I may have been.

After my first day in clinic and 12 evaluations, I left so discouraged. I knew that God still had a plan in it, but I didn’t know how I was going to help any of those 12 patients and I had more evaluations to do a couple days after that. But, God gave me the encouragement I needed. The next therapy day, I saw about 6 patients but felt more comfortable in knowing how to treat them and where to begin. When God calls us and promises to be with us, I think He does that in different ways. Sometimes it’s in the form of the resources He puts around us that can help us get through where He’s put us. For me, those resources were people back home (my “healthcare network” as I call them) who have been great in responding to my questions in how to treat patients.

God sent along another resource this past week: 3 doctors, a dentist, a scrub nurse, and a military paramedic, all from Indiana. I learned so much from these people being in clinic with them all week. Dr. Bill Rutherford, MD and Dr. Doug Harty, DDS, were particularly helpful and encouraging. I was still working on my own doing therapy while they were doing surgeries and pulling teeth, but I frequently stopped in their rooms to ask them their opinion. They were more than willing to offer their assistance, but more than once, Dr. Bill made a comment like, “Well, I can look at your patient, but you have way more experience and knowledge than I do. You’re the expert.” I laughed hysterically in my head. “Does this experienced doctor have any idea what he just said to me- the 22 year old who just graduated 4 weeks ago?” At one point during the week I thanked Doug for his help and encouragement saying how much I had learned from him. He responded, “Hey, ya know, that’s what it’s all about, and it goes both ways. I learned from you too today.” The clinic staff would meet on the roof every night for what Katrina (other intern who had been here for 5 weeks and left this morning) and I referred to as “doctor talk”. We were with them one night around a picnic table when I realized the professionals I was sitting with- true experts in their fields. They warmly welcomed us and treated us as equals. It was really neat, and I was sad to see them leave this morning. Now, to say that I’ve gained a little confidence this week would be the understatement!

More than sparrows

I think miracles happen all the time in our daily life; however, most of the time, we write them off as coincidences and forget to look for God’s presence in it. As I wrote in a previous post, last Sunday was Mother’s Day in Haiti. We were trying to put together gifts to give to Lifeline’s churches so they could give them to the mothers in their congregations. The church in Grand Goave is the largest; we had to come up with 300 similar items for gifts. Our goal was to put together bags of soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, hair clips, etc. It was suggested that we try and find washcloths but were later told to forget about the washcloths because finding some would be like finding a needle in a haystack, let alone 300. Heather, Erin, and I were out in the warehouse (for those of you who have been to Lifeline, this is a brand new addition and a huge blessing!) rummaging through boxes to find items. In the search, I came across a palate labeled, “washcloths and linens”. The three of us tried to decide if it was even worth it to unbury this palate and dig into each of its boxes. We eventually decided to go for it, but prayed first, asking God for 300 to be there or that He would cut and hem towels in the boxes into washcloths (it reminded us of Jesus feeding the 5000 ;-). We opened the first box- 25, 2nd- 7, 3rd- 33. We kept going and nine boxes later, we counted 310 washcloths! The three of us gathered again to give thanks and praise to God.

Did the washcloths save any lives? No. Did the mothers need washcloths? No; they wouldn’t have thought any different had they not been part of their gift. But we were reminded that God does care about every detail of our life no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, and He wants us to care enough to present all of those things to Him. Luke 12:6-7 says this: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lifeline Physical Therapy (that's what I call it anyway)

I've seen a lot of patients in therapy the past couple of weeks; I think I'm about up to 25 by now. I care about all of my patients and pray for each of them and that God would miraculously heal them, but there are a handful who have grabbed at my heart a little more than the others.

Two brothers were trapped in a building for a day that collapsed during the earthquake on January 12. The older, 19 year old brother has foot palsy (has no movement over either lower leg extremities) and when he came in last week, walked with 2 crutches and assitance from his younger brother. Because he had no control over his feet or lower legs, he would trip over his feet when he would walk. I took an Ace bandage and wrapped his foot into dorsiflexion to keep his feet up to help give him more control over his feet and taught his brother how to do it also. He came in wearing a ragged pair of flip flops that were doing him no good, so then I went on a mission to find him a pair of tennis shoes from the clothing pantry Lifeline has. I prayed that God would show me a pair of tennis shoes that would fit. Unfortunately, I could find no tennis shoes but I did find a more durable, hiking-type kind of sandal with straps that go all around the foot. It fit perfectly, and he was very excited about his new shoes. I Ace wrapped him, put his new sandals on, and asked him to walk. He walked so much better and was so excited! I then taught him how to manage steps better because though both legs are very weak, his left is slightly stronger. Steps are still challenging for him, but today when he and his brother came in, I offered to help him into the building (which has a large step up to get into) but he said, "no" and then came in by himself with out my help or his brother's. He had a big grin on his face, as did his brother.

The younger brother is 15 and was also in the collapsed building. He had a proximal humerous fracture and probably a scapular fracture as well. Though healed, he is having a lot of pain and is still pretty point tender and lacking significant shoulder range of motion. I had the brothers both begin their range of motion/strengthening programs today. I had the older brother on his stomach doing simple knee curls with no added resistance and asked him to do 3 sets of ten. He got through it but it was really challenging for him and he was very fatigued afterward. After I finished helping the older brother, I had the younger doing assisted PROM. He got through his first set of 10 and when we began the second, he only got to 3 reps and had to break because of pain and fatigue. I let him rest a little and asked if he was ready to go again. I think I told him we could just do as many as he could. His brother said something and my translator Jonny started laughing. I asked what the older brother said, and Jonny repeated to me, "If I had to do it ten times, you're going to too!" I laughed out loud. Both of them were really fatigued by the time they left; I think I pushed them pretty hard. But I already love working with both of them. Maybe you shouldn't have favorites, but even though I care about all of my patients and pray for miraculous healing, these a couple of a handful that really have a special place in my heart already. I'm so thankful I'll be here all summer to help them; I know we'll see great progress with both of them!