The Market Rewards team have traveled from Spencer, IA, to serve in Haiti. The team is made of people who serve as volunteers and employees of the Many Hands Market in Spencer.

Hi everyone! This is Allie Helmink. This is my third trip to Haiti and on this trip I am actually meeting my nursing missions requirement for Northwestern College. That being said, this morning I went out on my own splitting off from the group and went to town to the hospital with MH staff member Jean Willio.

Sisters! The team making friends in the community

At the hospital, we met with a mom and her daughter. While at the hospital, I got a tour and saw the clinic that was going on there. In addition I got to meet a few of the doctors there. One of them was from America. This wasn’t my first time to the hospital in Pignon but today was different because I went in with the desire to really see what practicing medicine is like in Haiti. For example, the hospital doesn’t serve food to patients, it has to be brought to them by friends or family.

After the hospital I accompanied Jean Willio on a few home visits to see how some people were doing who had been sick. Then I came back to MH campus and met with Liz, the Thrive coordinator. There was a boy that has Tuberculosis and had some abscesses that needed dressing changes. After my last few months personally having one wound change after another on my own foot, It was so awesome being on the other side and being able to aide someone else.  I was excited for this opportunity to help clean and re-bandage the wounds.

Local boys with toy trucks Allie (left) and Michele (right) enjoying time a precious newborn

I also had the opportunity to help the Thrive nurse do check ups on the Thrive and preschool kids. This was not only fun as a nursing student but I love children ! We measured height, weight, and arm circumference as well as took their temperature, pulse and did a head to toe assessment. What was cool was the nurse would have me look at how they have grown since their last check-up. I was really glad I got the opportunity to work with the nurse today and get to help her. Not only was it a learning opportunity for me but also I got to help her to help the process go smoother. This morning made me very excited to see what opportunities will come the rest of the week.

Always lots of smiles at Thrive!

Then this afternoon was a moment I had been waiting for.  We got to return to a house we visited last year with twin boys about three years old. These boys stole my heart instantly a year ago. The sorrow in their eyes was so real and being able to hold them and give them love was so important to me. After meeting a year ago,  I knew I wanted to do what I could to help out and bring some cheer into their lives. So we brought bikes to them which instantly the boys jumped on! It was so cute to see them although they were unsure of how to pedal them, we knew they were excited!

The twins with their new bikes

Even more exciting was one of the twins who came right to me and let me pick him up and put his arms around my neck and laid his head on my shoulder. This was the same twin that I held and fell right asleep in my arms last year.  He let me love him again but in return blessed me so much!

Putting him down was not as easy as he didn’t want to let go and neither did I. The impact these boys left on me last year was so great l was so excited to see them again and to see how much they grew! I can’t even explain how excited I was to see them again and be reunited!

Finishing the day with a game of spoons