Sunday, February 12, 2017

On Mon, Jan 2, 2017 at 6:15 PM,
Bonswa from Haiti!
Our team landed safely in Port Au Prince this afternoon and had a very smooth exit from the airport. Everything was very well organized and all of our bags made it with us! The ride out of the capital was invigorating and we had to opportunity to see the sun set over the mountains of Haiti. We arrived at Mountain Top Ministries and were greeted with a fantastic meal. Everyone is just now getting settled in for the evening and preparing for our first day of clinic tomorrow. As the internet can be a bit unpredictable here, we'll try to send out an email update at the end of every day, but don't worry if you don't hear from us right away. Also, as mentioned, these emails are sent to one designated person for each volunteer as it takes quite a bit of time for the emails to go through (Just getting online now took about 15 minutes....ah, 90's dial-up nostalgia). Please forward these emails to any other family members or loved ones who also want to keep up with our adventures in Haiti (you were chosen as the responsible family member, who would be up for the task, you got this). For now, I think we're all looking forward to a restful night's sleep after today's travels, and likely already looking forward to our first Hatian bucket showers...
Until tomorrow,
The Little By Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn)

On Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 5:36 PM,
Our team successfully finished our first day of clinic! We saw quite a bit of patients (the tallies are still being totaled) and encountered a variety of interesting cases. Lots of us braved the walk to and from clinic, and encountered many friendly locals, who we were able to "Bonjou" and "Bonswa" along the way (we also encountered some goats, chickens, and a cow). We have just finished dinner, and many of us are experiencing our first Haitian bucket showers, which means that many of us are likely looking forward to our first shower upon arriving home. Everyone is settling into their roles in the clinic so well, and adapted to how the clinic is run very quickly. We'll spend this evening prepping for clinic tomorrow, reviewing interesting cases that we saw at clinic, and unwinding from the busy day. Hopefully the roosters will wait to start crowing until the morning.
Until tomorrow,
The Little By Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn)

On Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017 at 6:02 PM,
Bonswa Friends and Family!
Today was a very busy second day of clinic! We tallied up yesterday's patients and found that we saw 237 patients, and while we're still counting, we know that we saw over 230 patients today! That's almost 500 Haitian patients that we have impacted in just the last two days, and we still have three more clinic days to go! Another huge moment today was that Willem got a generator, and with the help of Brian Walsh and Alex Ogdon, we now have electricity in the clinic, and the providers are able to see their patients under the lights! It makes such a huge impact, especially for those who are not near windows and have been utilizing flashlights for exams and procedures. There's also a light in the pharmacy, which means that by the end of the day, the team in the pharmacy doesn't have to squint in the light to count pills. It's amazing the things you take for granted back home that become such a huge hurdle to obtain out here. Everyone here is doing so well. Many of us felt that the walk up the mountain to clinic was a little less taxing today, and hopefully will continue to get better every day. Quite a few of us have also continued to brave a "goat path" on our route home. It's always interesting to see us struggle a bit walking up, while Haitian women walk up and down the goat path with large buckets on their heads like they were simply walking down the street. We're also an amusing spectacle for the local children, who like to watch us from their windows and proudly say "hello" or "bonswa" as we pass by. We all just finished a fantastic dinner and will be sitting down shortly to go over the events of the day and plan for tomorrow.
Good night!
The Little By Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn)

On Thursday, Jan 5, 2017 at 6:22 PM,
Phew! Another busy day in clinic today! We have now seen over 700 hundred patients in our time here in Haiti. We encountered many patients today with complex and unique issues and this team works amazingly together! There are so many levels of expertise among everyone here that we all seem to work like a well-oiled machine. For those who are on their first adventure in Haiti, they have learned their roles so quickly an are adapting so well to the way things work in the clinic. Our team members consist of providers, scribes, a very busy occupational therapist, a pharmacist (a two "on the fly" learning pharmacy techs), a nurse educator, a wound care team, a supply team and runners, scribes, and our two electricians (Brian and Al brought light to the church today). When the lights were reset today and we briefly went without overhead lights, I think all the providers were reminded how impactful having lights can be. We also met a few children from Gramothe today, who tried to learn all our names on the walk up to clinic, and were calling some of us by name on the way down (they mostly just remembered the name of the 6'5" man since he stands out in the crowd...). All of the locals are so friendly and great us with smiles every day. Those we wait hours (and in many cases, days) to see us in the clinic, are just happy to get even five minutes of our time and have their concerns heard. I'm sure I can speak for all of us when I say this week has been very rewarding, and we still have two more clinic days left. Everyone is still safe, happy, and well.
The Little by Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn)

On Friday, Jan 6, 2017 at 6:45 PM,
A Big Haitian Bonswa to you all!
This team is cranking! At the beginning of every clinic day the team gathers with all of the interpreters as a group and we sing a song and say a prayer, led by one of our amazing interpreters (also a dear friend aka Mouse for those of you who have been here before). Sue mentioned that we should get cranking today, and our dear friend finished the devotional by telling us, "Let's get cranky!" It was an amusing way to start the day. The interpreters have been so amazing this week. They help us to understand the culture here and connect us to our patients in a way we would never be able to do without them. They are kind, patient, and incredibly smart. They have been such a joy to work with this week. Today we saw over 300 patients in the clinic. That means that in 4 days, our team has helped over 1000 Haitians, touching (and in many cases, saving) so many lives means the world to this team. Brian, Al, and Tim have also been hard at work prepping the trade school that is in the process of being built. There is a school near the clinic that educates children through high school, but many don't have plans after school. This will allow for further education for so many Haitians, creating skills and jobs. Tim, our architect, has been able to use his expertise to help create the plans for the trade school. Ultimately, education is what will have the greatest impact on the future of Haiti. It's pretty amazing to be witness to the opportunities being created. Everyone has just finished dinner and is gathering for discussions about the day (and sharing of snacks and treats).
Last day of clinic tomorrow!
The Little by Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn)

On Saturday, Jan 2, 2017 at 6:15 PM,
Good Evening From a Very Productive Team,
We have officially completed our last day of clinic. During this week we have seen over 1,200 patients. Many of these patients had critical wounds and were seen earlier in the week. Their wounds were cleaned and they were given medication and brought back today to see how they are healing. Our wound team, Nancy and MaryAnne were incredibly busy today, caring for people with often limb and life-threatening wounds. Seeing over 1,200 patients also means that our pharmacy team, led by Lea and Julie, filled over 1,200 prescriptions this week! That wouldn't have been without the help of the stock room team, who were counting out pills as fast as they were being prescribed. There has been so much healing happening this week, and it's thanks to every single person on this team. This clinic is now quiet, the pharmacy is stocked, and it will wait for the next team of medical volunteers to open it's doors again. Tomorrow our group will join the local members of Gramothe at Sunday church and have a chance to see the school and trade school. In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy a relaxing evening of games and conversation. Tomorrow is our last day in Haiti!
Goodnight, The Little by Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn) 
On Sunday, Jan 8, 2017 at 5:57 PM,
Today is our last day in Haiti! We joined the locals of Gramothe today for Sunday church, and it was such a great and energetic experience. Afterward, we were led through the mountain town and received a little tour, of the neighborhood up close. This allowed many of us to get a glimmer of what our patients experience on a daily basis (Tiny stone homes with 1-2 rooms, outdoor bathrooms and kitchens, and if you're lucky-a cistern). We also met the village midwife today, who has delivered more children than he can count, and walked us through his steps to delivering a baby on the mountain (or a cow). The Charles family, Willem, Beth, and David (Stephan is in the states this week) has made sure that we were safe and well fed throughout the week, and have been such gracious hosts. We have had a lot to celebrate this week, including the amount of people's lives we were able to impact, AND two birthdays! This afternoon has been about relaxing and enjoying each other's company before we all depart for home tomorrow. Beth is currently gearing us up to play the annual game, Garbage, and eat some birthday cupcakes. This week seems to have gone by so quickly, and there are many things we will all miss about Haiti and our experiences here, but I'm sure everyone is also eagerly looking forward to a real shower, and more importantly, talking to you all. Thank you all so much for lending your loved ones to this wonderful cause. I'm sure you'll be receiving calls and texts from them once we hit U.S. soil. Everyone sends their love!

Orevwa, The Little by Little Team (written by Tracey Lynn)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 2016 (3 weeks after the hurricane)

Hi Friends,

What an amazing week so far. We have been able to enjoy great team work at the clinic, wonderful Haitian hospitality, beautiful weather, extra bumpy rides up and down the mountain, and even the Cub game (Thanks Laura). The "W" flag is flying.

Hiking up the mountain this am, we watched a beautiful young mother with her 1yr old baby, heading to the clinic on the back of a motorcycle.   The cycle died and she started walking across the river bed with us.   When  we got to the river she handed her baby across to us, but then with baby in arms she grabbed me when my footing slipped on the road up the mountain.   We finally all made it to the top and at 3:30 this afternoon they brought the baby to me for a visit.  They had been waiting outside for 7 hours and mom was still lovely and grateful.    The baby was treated for a bad case of scabies and they headed back down the mountain.....just another reminder of how easy life can be at home where we drive to a clinic for an appointment at a certain time and hope there isn't more than a 15 minute wait.    Patience is truly a virtue here.

This Chicago LBL team is hot with World Series fever! As the ONLY one on this team representing the Cleveland Indians amongst the bunch I am reassured by (Cleveland fans) Facebook posts that I'm not outnumbered. If only this could be a 7 game series so we could watch the last game on TV! Our team is working like a well-oiled machine and I truly appreciate the comradely amongst everyone.

Only three of us in the storeroom this trip so a lot of pill counting and stocking of supplies for each of us. Shelley says she has counted "thousands of pills" and we've only been working since Tuesday!  All suitcases have been opened and materials put onto shelves--hopefully in right spots so we all can find them easily.  Joanne discovered the worlds largest cockroach this afternoon as she was folding some clothes.  We will start inventory tomorrow to make sure  LBL does not buy wrong supplies for next trip.  We all hope all of you at home know that we love and miss you as we continue doing what we feel is such important work for those receiving our care.

Well, today was "hump day", and I was happy when I woke up, anticipating another day, and even happier and more fulfilled when the day was over.  Every moment spent here gives you pause to reflect on so many things in our lives that we take for granted.  Working in the pharmacy, I am able to look up from time to time and watch the crowd of people outside the window , who are patiently waiting to be seen or pick up their medications.  Today there was a perfect example of patience demonstrated by one of our patients:   An elderly woman was seen sometime during the morning and brought her prescription to the window to be filled.  Four hours later, after watching people come and go, she finally said something to Willem about her medication.  Her script had blown out of the box and had just been found on the floor .  We all felt terrible, and apologized profusely to her.  She took it all in with a nod and a beautiful gracious smile!!! ( well, we also rewarded her with 1/2 of a homemade PB & J sandwich).

This is my first mission trip and it has been amazing. I am awed by the care and compassion that the medical staff provides to the beautiful people of this country. I'm looking forward to the last 2 days of clinic.

This too is my first medical mission; first time out of the country actually. Truthfully I did not know what to expect. Watching CNN and following the weather channel while hurricane Matthew came through, I was both nervous and excited to get here. I was completely speechless on our truck ride to the guest house. Never have I been so humbled and thankful. Clinic has been utterly amazing. The patience of the Haitian people is mind blowing. The climb up the mountain everyday is unlike anything I have EVER experienced but the Haitian people who make the trek day in and day out keep me going and striving for better. I am blessed to be here and very thankful for all my new friends!

This is my first trip to Haiti with this amazing team. I have volunteered with other organizations but never participated in an American based medical mission. I have to say the services provided here are truly amazing. The organization, time management, care and compassion observed show why this clinic has been operating as long as it has, as well as it has. The people of Haiti are one of a kind. They are beautiful inside and out. Despite whatever brings them into the clinic and no matter how long they have been waiting, they great you with a smile and leave with a sincere thank you. No one asks for more than they given, no handouts, no extras. Such a beautiful change from home where the sense of entitlement seems overpowering at times. The walk to and from clinic, delicious meals and new friends are all added bonuses to this experience. I am already looking forward to a return trip.

     Our first day of clinic was busy as usual.  We worked hard to make sure every station was properly stock in order to start seeing patients as quickly as possible .   Once everything was up and running the process of unpacking the bags began. we sis not end until we left clinic at 4 pm. At the end of the day I always enjoy the walk home  to unwind with the staff.  .  I knew the roads were in bad shape and that we had a challenge ahead of us.   The walk down the hill was long and slow but gratefully not slick.  As we approached the riverbed I could hear the movement of streams of water on the rocks.  There were Haitians bathing and enjoying the moment.   We were quickly confronted with the idea that some how we had to get over a wide stream of water not wanting to get wet.  We attempted various areas but realized that it was inevitable the our wishes were not going to be granted.   Quickly I was reminded of how kind the Haitian people can be and how  gracious Gods timing can be in a time of struggle.  A group of young Haitian men saw us struggling.   One young man dropped what he was carrying and offered to help . Without even hesitating he threw a larger rock in the stream for us to step on and offered his hand in a loving way to help us cross without being harmed or slipping.  We were thrilled!  We thanked him and went on our merry way, thanking the dear lord for brining us home safely to the top of the other side of the mountain.

I Have an interpreter that is brand new to this job. It has been a great learning experience and challenging for both of us but today we really synched. We have been so busy and well many of you know what happens when your a Family Practitioner in Haiti.....the visit is never really over until you hear "Infection Vaginal". So today when I thought just maybe, Ronaldine said wait she has an infection vaginal, I said "Your Killing Me Smalls" she wanted to know what that meant so I explained it. We both started laughing and now it's her favorite, she even made me write it down for her. It's what I love about Haiti even the littlest things are new and fun.

 This is my first mission trip.  Leaving Virginia, I was very nervous and worried about what challenges the week would bring.  When I landed in Ft.Lauderdale airport,  I was greeted by the team with hugs and a home made lunch. I called my family and said there was nothing to worry about.  This group has been so wonderful.  We begin our day in a prayer circle, then eat a beautiful breakfast overlooking the magnificent mountains of Haiti . We hike to the clinic chatting ,laughing and physically pulling each other up the mountain.  When we arrive at clinic we are all ready to work as a team and use our skills and passion to provide healthcare.   I am so blessed to be part of this team. Jen

I am so grateful to be here serving these amazing people!  I also was slipping down the slope and not knowing who was behind me felt a hand upon my back-stopping the slide propelling me forward- when balance was regained I turned to see a beautiful young mom and her baby who had prevented my decent.  I praise And thank God for all of you praying and supporting us as we try our best to stop all of these beautiful people from slipping down a slippery slope!  A simple smile, hug, vitamins and worm treatment may be all they need to  let them know we all care.  We are headed to day 4 of clinic now and pray to see the 200 people who were turned away yesterday-and pray we can get to those that travel to the clinic today.  Thank you for your continued prayers for this amazing team I am blessed to be a part of!

This is my first trip to Haiti but one of many mission trips. It has been an experience that will always be so SPECIAL to me.

I feel beyond blessed to be serving with this amazing team. Our hours of care feel busy but fulfilling as we enjoy the many smiles and hugs of our patients. For all of your love and support we say a huge and heartfelt thank you. Please continue your prayers. We have one more day of clinic and will likely see another 200 folks as we saw all those who had waited to see us yesterday and could not be seen. The days are shorter in October and the light is lost by 4-4:30p.  I have converted my translator to "CUBISM" This email has taken 24 hrs to finish. I will close it now. Blessings and hugs to each of you. 


August 2016

August 2016 (Notes written as emails by Lynette Kerrane-Darragh)
Day 1: Hello to all - We have all safely arrived as a group to Haiti.  We had a smooth transition from the airport to MTM.  We had a warm welcome and a yummy meal followed by meetings that help us prepare for our new day tomorrow at the clinic. We have extremely limited internet connection. Please do not expect personal replies.  We will be sending a daily group email as internet connections allow. Looking forward to the new day.
Best - Little By Little August 2016 Team
Day 2: Good Evening! We completed our first day in our clinic and were able to take care of 124 patients.  The patients waited patiently outside in a line for their turns to be seen.  Everyone part of the team worked diligently to be sure that we were able to help as many people as possible.  Our stock room was refilled and it has been noted how nice it has been to have the extra help in the pharmacy this year.  The providers have been teaching as they help the patients and the students have been learning through these amazing experiences. The translators have been incredibly helpful so that we can communicate to the patients what needs to be done to address their individual needs. As the clinic closed today, we all made our way home rather it be walking on the road, driving in the atv or truck, or hiking down along the goat trail.  We all safely arrived back and missed the rain that was waiting to fall. Some of us enjoyed a few rain drops on the back porch that faces the mountain and enjoyed the beauty of the clouds that hung low in the background. We all said our nightly prayer together at dinner and enjoyed a wonderfully prepared dinner.  Dinner was followed by meetings both as a group and then in individual groups with the providers. Looking forward to a new day tomorrow in the hopes of seeing even more patients as we will have an earlier start now that the clinic has been stocked and we have the first day of clinic under our belts. As a reminder, communication is limited due to the wifi capabilities but we will do our best to continue to send daily emails.
Best - Little by Little August 2016 Team 

Day 3: Good Evening! Another new day in Haiti!!!  We gathered early this morning for a yummy breakfast of porridge, fresh bananas, and watermelon.  As usual, we had a business breakfast and we were all off and running to start Day 2 of clinic.  Positions were rotated throughout the group so that everyone could understand how the clinic is run more efficiently and to provide the students different learning opportunities from both the patients and the providers.  Today, we were able to see between 150 and 200 patients.  Our ability to tally numbers were compromised by a thunderstorm that rolled in quickly near closing time and we all had to hurry out of the clinic to be able to arrive home safely. Some team members made their way down and up the goat trail during the storm and felt the beauty of the rain fall. We gathered for dinner shortly after our return and followed up with our meetings as usual.  The room was filled with compliments and enthusiasm about the team member’s contributions to the clinic today.  The students reiterated how many learning experiences they were being gifted with by experiencing patient care first hand with their providers teaching along the way. 
Another successful day in Haiti - Little by Little August 2016 Team

Day 4: Good Evening - We began our day by waking up to the sounds of roosters. Freshly brewed coffee awaited us...a shared love by many.  We had our business breakfast meeting as usual and then off we went to Day 3 of clinic.  A long line of patients waited patiently to be seen lined up along the road.  Some of these patients travel quite a long ways and yet remain patient and appreciative of their ability to have a turn to be seen in the clinic.  It truly is remarkable how resilient these patients are.  Once again, members of the team switched around duties in the clinic which provides everyone an opportunity to both understand how different parts of the clinic work as well as have the opportunity to interact with different team members in different capacities. It turned out to be a beautiful and cool afternoon to return home both on foot or by vehicle.  Some members hiked back via the goat trail which is a little steeper but a shorter distance, while others took the hike back along the road that the vehicle travels along. As some of us returned to home, there was a pause to listen the sounds of singing children in the church.   Dinner was served shortly after and our nightly meeting was held. Patient stories were shared by both the providers as well as the students. We are proud to report that we were able to see and treat over 200 patients today. Everyone worked as quickly as they could, all the while trying to provide the best possible patient care.  Knowing how this team is needed by all of the people that travel so far for help, feeds the positive energy that runs through the clinic. The compassion expressed by all team members and the level of commitment to patient care was exemplary and it was acknowledged repeatedly by different team members during the team meeting. Truly a special team to be part of and another successful day in Haiti. Best - Little by Little August Haiti 2016 team

Day 5: Good Evening - We just finished up our general meeting where we recapped the events of the day.  We are happy to report that we saw 228 patients today.  The quote of the evening has been...."We were crankin'!"
We began our day with porridge along with fresh bananas and apricots.  It felt a bit warmer than the previous days on our walk to the clinic this a.m.  As usual, we were greeted by a long line of patients who patiently were waiting for our help.  As a team, along with our translators, we said a group prayer as usual and opened the clinic for the day. Once again, team members moved around in different spots.  Everyone moved as quickly as possible throughout the day.  We broke for lunch which consisted of rice and beans and returned back to the clinic quicker than usual as rain had begun to fall. The afternoons always fly by extra fast and we found ourselves once again working past 4pm to help as many patients as we possibly could.  On the way home, it began to lightly rain, but stopped shorty after it began.  The chitter-chatter amongst the members filled the walk home as members exchanged stories of their day. The smiles on the faces and the appreciation expressed in their body language were a testament to the dedication of these members to their patients. Upon our return, we were served an "American meal" that consisted of sloppy joes with other sides.  We had the chance to purchase coffee tonight as this region is known for their great tasting coffee beans. The members of this team continue to appreciate these experiences and are continuing to bond with one another.  It truly is an amazing experience to be part of this group. Little by Little August 2016 Team

Day 6: Good Evening - Hard to believe this was our last day of clinic. We began the day as usual with our business breakfast and our commute to the clinic by foot or vehicle.  The sun shined brightly.  Focus remained on providing the best possible patient care while meeting as many patients needs as possible. Everyone continued to work collectively.  At lunch time, the group gathered and shouted out our "We are crankin!" motivational theme.  Many laughs were shared and we all returned to the clinic to finish out our afternoon assisting the needs of the patients.  You could see the joy in the team members as they saw progress from their efforts in the returning patients.  Tremendous empathy was also shared as the challenges that many of the patients face are brought to life. At the end of the day, we shared a prayer and a delicious dinner. Members sat around after dinner and exchanged stories of the day.  The beauty of these stories is that they both reinforce the learning and teaching experiences which provide for growth. Tomorrow we will all gather for a mass spoken in mostly Creole.  The rest of the day’s activities have yet to be decided. We are happy to report that we were able as a group to treat every patient that made his or her way to the clinic. In total we were able to treat 948 patients. This is truly a blessing. Little By Little August 2016 team

Saturday, March 12, 2016

January 2016 ~ Ten Years of Service

Dear friends,

Maybe you’ve started your day, week or month by remembering a special anniversary such as a birthday, wedding day, graduation, loss of a precious friend or family member. All are unique markers of time, accomplishment and love. The beginning of 2016 represented the 10th anniversary of our first medical mission trip and our 30th Little by Little team to serve in Gramothe, Haiti together with Mountain Top Ministries (MTM). In 2006, the departure of our first team to Haiti, consisting of 12 volunteers, was postponed several times from the beginning of January until mid-February because of political instability surrounding the presidential elections. During 2015, Little by Little brought together more than 140 medical professionals and various essential volunteers enabling 5 dynamic medical teams to serve with each other in Gramothe, Haiti.

January 12, 2016 was also the 6th anniversary of the devastating earthquake our team experienced together in Haiti. Renewal and rebuilding have brought new life and expectancy back into Haiti. Vibrant paint splashes the finished buildings. Memorial parks have been carefully designed and created as tents and their shadows were replaced with tropical color and hope. Even though no one is yet used to the new traffic signals on the new roads, evidenced by drivers who continue to honk their way through the newly erected stop lights, I definitely sense Haiti’s rebirth.

Life in Haiti also seems to be falling back into routine. Of course people will always remember the tragic time of the earthquake, however, traumatic memories seem to be fading, just as the fresh pink, yellow and turquoise paint is becoming dusty and blotched with political graffiti. Garbage is starting to accumulate where rubble used to haunt the walkways. It is again an election cycle and the president who has been in office since before the earthquake has served his extended term.  

Returning to Haiti at the beginning of this year made me examine the way I am responding to the normalcy of my life here at home. I don’t want dust, garbage and political uncertainty to dim or damper my shine, empathy and respect for those around me.  Instead I want to remember, observe and strive to stay bright in my daily walk. We continue to serve in Haiti where our volunteers and resources will be of the most benefit. We maintain our core values of partnership, reciprocity, sustainability, transparency and universal healthcare for all. Thank you for joining us in 10 years of service together!  J sue

Saturday, February 7, 2015

January 2015 ~ 5th anniversary of the devastating earthquake

We just returned from our January team’s medical mission to Haiti, where we provided much needed care to more than 1200 at the clinic at Mountain Top Ministries. January 12, 2015, was the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti—so I would like to take this opportunity to share a few poignant facts. The earthquake was the first to strike this island nation in over 200 years. Haiti is approximately the size of Maryland with a population of about 10 million people. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti had been considered a failed state for many years prior to the earthquake due to its lack of infrastructure, a stable government, or a viable economy. In addition to the destruction of personal homes, the international airport, seaport, roads, hospitals, schools and universities, municipalities, a prison, and the presidential palace all collapsed during the earthquake. It took more than 2 years for only half of the rubble from the earthquake to be removed. According to Haitian government officials the earthquake disaster killed more than 250,000 people and displaced 1.5 million, who lived in tent cities without clean water, sanitation, food sources, or jobs and were ravaged by crime. According to the International Organization for Migration an estimated 103,565 people still currently live in 172 temporary settlement camps scattered throughout Port-au-Prince today. After an absence of more than 200 years, the cholera outbreak that began at the end of summer in 2010 has killed almost 9,000 and sickened over 700,000 people (UN statistics). The disease surfaced in Haiti months after the powerful earthquake, spreading rapidly during the rainy season due to the lack of adequate sanitation and clean water sources. Now most cholera treatment centers have dissipated, an immunization campaign has started and I did not hear of any recent cases.

As we traveled from the newly rebuilt airport to the guest house and clinic we see new roads with drainage curbs, street and stop lights, new buildings including homes, churches, businesses and hotels, gas stations, truck yards, street vendors, beautiful Haitian art, refurbished parks and many people going from here to there. What we don’t see is rubble or garbage. What we still see are the remaining “temporary” camps, people in need of health care and jobs, the valiant struggle of the Haitian people, somber reflection but a resilient countenance on most, and a lump in my throat with hope in my heart.

Sue Walsh

May Team 2014

“We cannot truly be who we are until we recognize others for who they are.”

     Greetings from Little by Little Team 23. We’ve arrived safely back in the states after a bountiful mission. Our group of 19 began a journey of service in the mountain village of Gramothe Haiti just 8 days ago. We are a unique and multidisciplinary team. Many of us strangers to one another when first we met, each of us ‘called’ for his or her own reason. Unbeknownst to us as we bid our farewells; strangers no more, we would share an extraordinary bond forever.
     That bond began with daily prayer. We stood in a circle, hands joined, one hand giving, and the other receiving. Through our hands and the grace of God came strength and camaraderie that grew stronger as each day passed until the team of 19 worked as one. We traveled each day to the clinic. The land of Haiti lush and green surrounded by its mother mountain. We arrived to hundreds of people in need of care. They had come from near and far dressed in clothing of many colors. The people, places and faces a photo could never capture. A smile of gratitude after just receiving a new pair of reading glasses, a mother’s relief her young daughter would get well just mere examples. In the evenings we joined together to reflect on the days behind us and looked forward to the days ahead of us. Emotions were raw but we found strength in one another and through the enduring support of our team leader Sue Walsh. We contemplated abundance, resilience and reciprocity.
     By day 5 we began to tire. There was more work to do, more patients to see. We were blessed with sunny days during rainy season so the Haitian people they came and they came. The very old, the very young, big and small could we see them all?
     Sunday, May 25th the Haitians celebrated Mother’s Day. Bònn Fèt dè Mè. For me the strength to persevere would come this day. We joined the village people as they worshiped. Although the service was entirely in Creole the faith was palpable. You needn’t speak Creole to understand the devotion. What the Haitians may lack in material goods there is abundance in their faith.

They sing, they sing
The Haitian man, so tall, so tall. He stands at the pulpit. He closes his eyes.
Head in his hands he prays to God.
They shout, they shout
It is loud but the sound is joy, the sound is hope.
They lift their hands to God
Such faith!

Little by Little Team 23 grew accomplishing BIG work this week providing care to over 700 deserving souls.                        

Mary Ulery

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Final Update from Team 22

Bonjour on this beautiful morning in Haiti As we always say, it is not about numbers, but we were able to care for almost 900 people. On our last day, the Good Lord brought us a smaller number, allowing us to calmly finish patient procedures, gather our thoughts regarding needs in the clinic for our next team trip, and even get our group photos...CHEESE!!!!

I want to turn this over to Team 22 to share with you thoughts, feelings or experiences from our week together...

Sharon Feehan, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
This is my 6th trip with Little by Little. We all come here hoping to give a little bit of comfort and hope to the wonderful people of Gramothe. I am forever amazed that I come away feeling like I received SO much more than I gave. All of our hearts our very full as we conclude an amazing week!

Jessica Ittner, FNP student at UIC
It's been an incredible week.  I'll miss waking up to roosters crowing and walking through town on the way to clinic, seeing smiling faces.  I'll miss our patients in clinic, hopefully we brought them comfort and healing this week.  I've learned so much, thank you to Little by Little for organizing this life changing trip.  Go Team 22, such a compassionate talented group of people! 

Maggie Schumm, FNP Student at CUW
This was my first trip with LBL. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn from such compassionate providers. The patients seemed very thankful. It was a nice end to the clinic that no patients were turned away. I hope to return some day as a provider.

Jeanna Carlson, FNP Student at UIC
I feel so lucky to have come on this trip for the first time with LBL! It has been an incredible experience. The Haitian people have captured my heart with their smiles. I am grateful to have been working alongside a great team to bring much needed care to them. I will miss my time here and can't wait to return! 

Jacqueline Rincon, FNP Student at UIC
This was my first trip to Haiti. The week has been an emotional roller coaster, but I am grateful for every minute of it. Not only have I learned so much clinically, I have also learned so much about myself as well as the Haitian culture. I cannot wait to go home and share my experiences with my family and friends. We have touched so many lives. The Haitian people have however, touched us in a way that will change our lives forever. Thank you to our wonderful team!

Heather Overmyer, ER RN
What an amazing experience!! I am so thankful I got to travel with team 22 to Haiti and work with such a great team! I will never forget this experience as it and the Haitian people have changed my heart forever!  I look forward to returning to Haiti in the future. Thank you Haiti and team 22! 

Renee Landa, FNP Student at UIC
This is a trip I will never forget. Just seeing how appreciative, lively, and kind the Haitian people are gives a new perspective on life. My favorite was seeing the elderly patients give a huge smile, usually exposing a toothless, gummy smile, but still beautiful nonetheless. I am also so grateful for making new friends who are so compassionate, kind, and FUN!

Debbie Barnes, Pediatric RN
Another amazing trip with a fabulous group of people!!  My sixth trip has been nothing short of incredible - love, laughter, healing, sharing, compassion, and beauty.  We were blessed as a group by the unique talents each team member brought to the table.  As I prepare to go home, I find it interesting that I come to help "heal", but going home feeling "healed" myself.  Love you all and will never foget you. 

Joanne McCluskey
Team 22 has been a great experience! This is my fourth trip to Haiti and the gracious people that participate on these trips never ceases to amaze me! There has been so much laughter, love and compassion this week, it has been incredible. As for the people of Haiti and the country itself I continue to see great improvements! I have seen much healthier people this year, and signs of rebuilding everywhere! It is so exciting to see what a difference we can make in one short week!

Kim Hogan, APN
This is my sixth trip to Gramothe with Little By Little. I fell in love with Haiti on my first trip, and it only grows each time I’m here. I never cease to be impressed by the dignity and grace of the Haitian people, and I’m happy to have an opportunity to serve them. I’m also pleased to see improvements in the health of the local people, and the signs of rebuilding in Port au Prince. Team 22 is a great group, flexible, hard working, smart and fun!  I’ve loved meeting up with my old friends and making new ones.

Bernie, RN
This has been the best experience of my life. I loved the people and the place. I have learned so much and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. I am really impressed about how well coordinated the clinic was and how every person on the team helped out. I hope to come back! J 

Robin Afeld, FNP student
This was my first trip to Haiti and wow what a week! As an FNP student, I went into clinic every day with energy, inquisitiveness, and motivation to do as much as I could in just one short week. My experiences with the patients will stick with me the rest of my life. I learned many things, not only about caring for people of all ages, but I learned things about myself and my capabilities as a future provider. Although, I may have returned home each night exhausted, it was a rewarding and fulfilling exhausted. I truly felt like Team 22 touched the lives of many Haitian people and in the process, the Haitian people have left an everlasting impression on ours.

Pat Kalensky
This is my fourth trip to Haiti with the Little by Little team. Each team has been a unique group of individuals but our strengths have blended beautifully to enrich each other as we serve the people of the Gramothe clinic under Mountain Top Ministries. I am grateful for the support and aid we have been able to provide to the people who walk from near and far to trust this team with their health; 900 in all this week.  The improvements and changes I have seen here in Haiti over the past 3 years have been remarkable. I am very encouraged by these people’s resiliency. God bless.

Charlie Yingling, FNP
It is a joy to return to Gramothe and see the changes that have occurred in the community since my last trip here.  New crop fields are planted.  New, permanent structures are erected and there is far less malnutrition than on previous trips.  I am so appreciative that the people of this community continue to invite us back to work with them to improve their health.  The team of professionals with whom I have shared this week are selfless, humble and truly a pleasure to work with. Good humor and flexibility have made joyful a week of hard work.

And thus we end this week of care to our Haitian friends. As always we leave with mixed feelings of excitement to reunite with our families but with a heavy heart to leave this hardworking village of Gramothe. We finished our day today with a very loud crazy game of "garbage", sang Happy Birthday to Team 22 members Taylor and Joanne and enjoyed a pizza party. We are now packing to come home to you.

Thank you for being with us in spirit this week and for your thoughts and prayers.

God bless, Vanda Marsh and Team 22