To read yesterday’s blog, click here.
Today we completed our last full day in Haiti! We split into two teams for the morning, the first team held a Days For Girls event in which young ladies and their mothers receive women’s health information and a kit that allows them to stay clean and healthy. The second team went to six houses and were able to provide clothing for those families to attend church! In the afternoon we were blessed to deliver a PET (personal energy transportation) cart to a woman who has had a significant decline in her leg strength and can no longer walk. Prior to receiving the PET cart she used plastic chair as a makeshift wheelchair. After we finished the PET cart delivery we headed to the suspension bridge near Sylvain, crossed it, and then sat and watched a group of kids playing, a family doing laundry, and animals drinking and bathing in the river.
Despite the poverty, garbage, and dust, Haiti is a beautiful country full of Godly people that may have no idea where their next meal will come from but they believe wholeheartedly that God will provide it. The scenery is perfect, like a painting that takes your breath away with each glance. With few possessions to call their own, most Haitians express a compassion, love, and passion that is beyond understanding. Wow are the Haitians passionate! Its so hard to fully explain but they work hard alongside not only their family but their entire community as well. Every time we encountered an issue or work needed to be done a few extra people would show up to help too. To fully experience it, I recommend a trip to Haiti.
For me personally, I had the opportunity to experience healthcare in Haiti over multiple days. Back at home in Fargo, North Dakota I am a pediatric nurse practitioner so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at the chance to see what healthcare looks like here. My first experience was already written about so I won’t go into much detail – but having the opportunity to help Junie (the baby with the cleft lip and palate) learn to drink and then also helping her grandma learn to care for her was an experience I won’t forget. Seeing the relief on Junie’s grandma’s face was such a joy! My next interaction with healthcare was when Christi and I stopped at a hospital to see a woman whose daughter had stopped at the Many Hands gate to see if there was anyway they could help. Her mom has diabetes and has an ulcer on her foot that has been there for years and won’t heal.
In many Haitian hospitals, the patient must pay for everything up front and provide it before anything will be done for them. This includes medication, gloves, and other basic essentials such as food, water, and clothing. The hospital provides the bed, nurses, and doctors. A patient unable to check-out of the hospital until the final bill is paid. This family has minimal resources causing challenges to provide the necessary components of her care. We took food so that her daughter could make meals and bring them. We also filled her medications.
After this experience I was very discouraged and it was a quiet ride home for me on the tap-tap (truck). A couple of days later I was able to go to the UCI (United Christians International) campus which has schools from preschool to college. They recently opened a clinic and I spent the morning with the nurse and one of two doctors on staff. The clinic day starts with their staff pastor witnessing and praying over the patients that have gathered. Next, the patients check in with the nurse, pay, and then wait to see the doctor. All of the patients we saw needed laboratory tests. To receive those results they wait more than half the day in the clinic before a diagnosis and treatment plan can be formed. If seen for the first time in the afternoon, they return the following morning for their results. While the waiting is long by the standards I am used to, the patients didn’t seem to mind and it was awesome to see every patient treated – mind, body, and soul.
Our translator, Willie, is 13 years old and says to tell everyone hello!
I had a multilayer, multi-toned burn/tan line that I regret to inform you I did not obtain photographic evidence of but it was pretty sweet!
Thank you Lord for a wonderfully challenging, life changing, amazing week in Haiti.