The Ackermans

The Ackermans

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ain’t it amazing?

My firstborn little girl grew up just like her old man. Well, not exactly but she certainly has a little edge of me. We knew about the plans but she emailed us the official announcement yesterday afternoon. It went somewhat like this, “Well, I'm now married, and like most birthdays, don't feel too much different, although we are wearing rings so that is one practical difference.” Thus, we now have another male in our family. Actually I was never even asked if I even wanted another one in the family. His name’s Kevin, he drives a new Corvette, was driving a new Cadillac two months ago, is a finance counselor at a bank, and Jacquie loves him and plans to spend her life with him. So I would say that was a pretty full Friday.

And so it Goes. At least once in our lifetime.


Jacquie and Kevin

Friday, September 28, 2007

It’s Nuts

The Church of God Global Missions, with whom we happen to be here, have a wonderful rule in their books that says that whatever we purchase with mission dollars are not ours but actually the property of the Church of God. It may seem like a downer, but not to me, at least now. Let me start at the beginning.

Our friends and work partners of almost 20 years, Phil and Lonnie Murphy, have recently retired from missions and have returned to the United States to live. Well, last year Phil purchased a great Outback inverter and 12 batteries to go along with it. For you who don’t know what an inverter is for, well let's just put it this way, it makes life awfully nice when you don’t have much electricity coming in from the country where you live. When I tell you that we are getting fewer then 4 hours of electricity a day you will mostly not believe me if you are living in the States, or if you’re living in Haiti you will say “what! How are you getting that much? We’re only getting 2 hours a day at best.” I’m not here to argue that, but I just want to tell you that because Phil’s inverter was legally not his and I was in need of a new or at least a newer inverter he gave his to me. But realize it isn’t mine to keep. Just to use. Understand?

I told you all that to tell you that even with this wonderful blessing in our home all is not well. Even when we do get our pittance of electricity from our beloved Electricity d' Haiti the transformers are so far from our house that the line drop makes our power too weak to charge the batteries, and when we attempt to do anything with electricity during those times the inverter clicks in (due to the low voltage). So not only can the batteries not get charged, but they get run down.

Now I do realize that I’m living in a house which has more electricity in it on a daily basis than probably 85% of the rest of this country. I’m sorry for complaining but please try to find it in your heart to forgive me. I just feel like some days I’m living in one of those endless loop movies that end then start up again back a few days ago. This is one of those start-up days.

And so it Goes!


At least it looks good.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We Treat our Visitors Well!

We have a couple of friends, Ron and Carol visiting us this week from Newton Falls, Ohio, my home town. They are here evaluating our work at Prospere for a work team to come in the near future. The week has been busy with the added problem of having to drive to the clinics through the fields instead of on the roads, due to the recent flooding and the added dental clinic that Medical Mission International did in Prospere. All considered though, the week went well.

Then last night just after midnight we were awakened by a loud swish, a loud bang, and a bright light just outside our bedroom window. I got up to check what was happening just in case our unarmed guard was about to be overrun by an army or something. I couldn’t have done anything to help him but figured I should know what had happened just in case his family would ask. Leaving the room I walked out on our porch and found the following.

Yep, fireworks as big and loud as any I had ever experienced right over our house. They went on for about 15 minutes and I stayed out on the porch until I began to get hit by the ashes that were falling from the sky. Nobody else in our neighborhood showed their faces, not even Ron and Carol. I thought they would have heard Jodie and me talking out there but when I never saw them I just didn’t bother them. It was reported in the morning that they were scared stiff and spent their time trying to stay away from the windows in order to avoid whatever was making the banging sound. They avoided it.

And so it goes!


Ron and Carol Baker

Friday, September 07, 2007

We Made It---Finally!

It wasn’t easy but we finally made it to Prospere and the clinic. Yes, it was more than 21 days after we had planned to start the clinics again but It actually happened. Of course we only saw 7 patients this time since they actually weren't expecting me to make it. But wait till Monday. I’ll probably go nuts and complain about there being too many patients.

The Pictures are of the NEW road we took to get out there.

And So it Goes!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A New Idea

I haven’t posted anything like this on this blog yet so I guess I’ll try something different. I was reading some other blogs tonight and came across the following. What first pulled me to this piece was the name of Paul Farmer. He is a dynamic medical doctor who is making a huge impact in many lives in many countries which include Russia, Peru, and Haiti. But to me he is much more. I figure we all have persons we would really desire the opportunity to sit and talk with them for an hour. Well, Paul Farmer is pretty close to the top of my list. I hope you enjoy what he has to say.

Pity and Compassion are not Enough

Paul Farmer gave a talk recently at the University of Utah as part of Tanner Lectures on Human Values.

Paul talked about the fact that more than 80 million Africans might die from AIDS by 2025 with a similar toll on that continent by tuberculosis and malaria. He states that “these numbers have lost their ability to shock or even move us.”

Paul goes on to ask, “What sort of human values might be necessary to save a young man’s life (someone dying from AIDS, for example). Compassion, pity, mercy solidarity and empathy come immediately to mind. But we also must have hope and imagination in order to make sure that proper medical care reaches the destitute sick.

“Are the human values of compassion, pity, mercy, solidarity, and empathy all there is to it? How might the notion of rights reframe a question often put as a matter of charity or compassion?

“Do the destitute sick of Haiti or Kenya ask for our pity and compassion? Often they do. But can’t we offer something better? The human values required to save one person’s life, or to prevent children in a single family from losing their parents, surely include pity and compassion and those sentiments are not to be scorned. Often it is possible to save a life, to save a family. But “scaling up” such efforts requires a modicum of stability and the cooperation of policy makers and funders, themselves unlikely to suffer the indignities of structural violence.

“To move from pity and compassion for a the values inherent in notions of human rights is along leap. For many, especially those far removed from conditions such as those faced in rural Haiti, the struggle for basic rights lacks immediacy. But sometimes we can entrap ourselves into becoming decent and humane people by advancing sound policies and laws. The road from unstable emotions to genuine entitlements is one we must travel if we are to transform human values into meaningful and effective programs that will serve precisely those who need our empathy and solidarity most. In other words, we are not opposed to pity, but we’re anxious to press for policies that would protect vulnerable populations from structural violence and advance the cause of social and economic rights.”

Paul finishes with the following:

“The language of political rights has become meaningless to many people living in the world’s unimaginable poverty. Conversely, the language of economic rights is sometimes viewed as excessive, menacing, and irresponsible in the eyes of people living in the midst of plenty. This growing rift, I would argue is the most pressing human rights problem of our times.”