Friday, March 29, 2013

Bonswa! Tuesday, March 26, 2013; 7:55pm Team 18 Dear Friends and Family, It is early evening on Tuesday. We are reflecting on our week here in Haiti and are packing up our belongings to head home. Our week's experience has given us pause regarding heading home....our Haitian friends have been grateful for their care and we will all miss the hustle and bustle of our clinic life. Our patients have arrived to us in many different states. Many have suffered with coughs and colds this trip and some have returned for their monthly medications to treat their chronic conditions such as hypertension. We ask for prayers for a number of malnourished children that brought us to tears and for a small tiny 17 month old little girl suffering from what Vanda feels is meningitis, a very serious infection. Prayerfully she arrived at the Medisure hospital as our missionary arranged special transportation for her from our clinic. Again, please pray for her healing. I will pass this along to my team members to offer you their reflections... As we begin our trip home in the morning we will be delighted to finish our very successful week here in Haiti. Our inventories came close to the numbers that were in the computer, so the work our team did was hectic and correct. We even had time to sweep up the floors and leave the storeroom looking a lot better than when we started. Cathy, Joanne, Huong, and Sandy worked really hard to get all the necessary work done and I want everyone to know what a great job they did. As we say,"Little By Little" we get things done. See you on Wednesday at 5 at O'Hare!!!! -Lou M. This is my first trip with LBL and hope it will not be my last. This trip has forever changed my life and reminds me how inconsequential my little problems are in the big schemes of the world. The patients that arrive to the clinic after walking several hours just to be seen by our staff will forever remind me of the tenacity of the human spirit. One man with arthritic swollen knees had walked an hour and a half just to be seen by the clinic. His complaint...knee pain. He was very appreciative of the care he received and had a smile on his face during the entire visit. I am very thankful for the opportunity and hope it will not be my last. - Holley Harris On the last day at Mountain Top Ministries, I feel sad to leave sunny weather and warm people of Haiti. But I feel happy that many patients received medical care that they are in short supply of and in need of! I feel privileged to be a part of this special group of volunteers! I hope the connections we made and memories we created will always have a special place in our hearts! -Tanya Kholod-Sanders I am returning to the US tomorrow, sad to be leaving the people of Haiti and the beauty of this country, but happy to come home to share my experience here. This trip has forever impacted my outlook on my life and the problems I face on a daily basis. Yes, I may complain about traffic, or having to wash the dishes or do my laundry, but this trip has shown me to count my blessings daily. The people we saw at the clinic travel many miles and hours to seek our care, live without running water or electricity, and have many barriers when trying to seek healthcare. I am forever changed by the things I have witnessed from the Haitian people, but also by things that are not tangible. Their passion for life, hard-work and endurance in everything that they do is truly admirable. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life, and hope to join LBL again on another trip! -Jane Gascoigne Today was our last day of clinic. I am sad to be leaving tomorrow, but so happy we were able to treat so many patients. This week I have been working with "Team Miscellaneous" doing inventory up in the store room. This is my 3rd trip to Haiti and it is amazing to see how far the store room has come. It has gone from medicines strewn about all over the room, to being organized on shelves with bar codes and spread sheets. It is nice to see development in the clinic and to see that LBL is doing the best they can to bring help to the people of Haiti. I will miss all of my team members dearly and hope to see them again on the trip next year! -Joanne McCluskey This week has flown by! I'm glad to have been a part of this wonderful group; we've laughed, sweated and worked together to serve over 700 patients in the clinic. I'm impressed and humbled by the stoicism and courage of the Haitian people as so many deal with pain and suffering on a daily basis. I hope we've been able to relieve some of that suffering this week. The students I've worked with are terrific, and all will be very competent NPs. As always, the storeroom crew and pharmacy have gone above and beyond (Anita, Debbie, Lou, Kathy and Sandy), and the intake RNS did a great job too (Taylor, Jane and Gail). Love the BPs on both arms! I'm already looking forward to my next LBL team! -Kim So I will close and say goodnight...We are dragging our feet to return to snow and cold but seeing all of you brings a spring (is that coming?) in our steps! 4:15AM will come soon so I will sign off and say my prayers. Blessings to each of you and thank you for your thoughts and prayers and emails this week. Vanda -Team 18 Mother Hen. Bonjou! Saturday, March 24, 2013; 8:45pm Dear Friends and Family, Wishing to share with all of you our experience this week! Our arrival was amazingly smooth and Vanda could not believe the change on the streets of PAP with activity, clean swept streets and water systems on top of many homes. We have been busy each was day 3 of care to our Haitian friends and all of our patients have been seen each day so we feel good to be able to meet their needs. Here is continued sharing from Team 18 as Vanda thought it might be fun to let team members who would like to share, offer their thoughts and words with you: The pharmacy is running the best it ever has!!! Thank you to everyone who has toiled to bring this to be. Once again one of my favorite sites is looking at the beautiful children on the way to clinic. It always tickles me that the kids start running up the hill ahead of the truck - starts my day with a smile. The team of 24 has melded and jelled, laughed and sweated and enjoyed every minute of working together to bring a little care to our Haitian friends. -Anita The student nurse practitioners are learning a great deal from our seasoned LBL team members. It is such a wonderful experience to meet the beautiful people of Grandmothe, to give compassionate care, and count our blessings together. -Mary We've had a chance to see many patients in the clinic who have returned to have high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic conditions monitored. It's great to see the continuity of care we can provide with teams here every few weeks. We've had the chance to do more health teaching too. -Kim Storeroom group is working really well. All meds were on the shelves within a couple of hours and ALL suitcases unpacked on first day. Inventory to start on Monday and we expect to reconcile with Joanna's records on Tuesday. Good to be working with such a great group of medical and "other" professionals. -Lou I am again stricken by the competence and compassion of our UIC advanced practice nursing students. This work provides them the opportunity to serve people in need while being mentored by experienced nurse practitioners. Their clincial acumen, diligent work ethic and good cheer have strengthened our team and touched the lives of hundreds of patients. -Charlie Such an honor and so rewarding to work beside old friends in new here in Haiti. -Sharon Without a doubt I have learned more than I've given - from the fellow volunteers and providers, the patients we've met, and from the inextinguishable creativity of the Haitian people, who make so much from few resources. -Shirley I have no words to explain how great this trip has been for me. Being able to work side by side with people who really want to share their talents with the world has been amazing. Every person has come with an open mind and an open heart just wanting to do anything they can to help. I have never expirenced such a powerful sense of empathy and compassion. -Joanne It's amazing how much has changed in 2 years. Right now, I'm helping Joanne with the new pharmacy inventory system! And to think when I first came here, I was just setting up the stock room upstairs! Seeing this progress and knowing that I'm a part it of it is an amazing experience. -Huong My first trip to Haiti so far has been a wonderful experience. I am amazed at all the talents of the group members and love to see the smiles on all the Haitian children's faces. I had a great opportunity to talk with a group of Haitians waiting to be seen about good eating habits, scabies and worm prevention, and hypertension. Many people had great questions and it was a great education opportunity. I am so happy to be a part of such a great experience. -Carly I have enjoyed being surrounded by cows, horses, goats, pigs, chickens, and of course the five dogs who live here at MTM. They are also God's special creations! -Gail I am truly amazed by the Little by Little foundation, Mountain Top Ministries, and the Hatian people! I could not have imagined how well-run the clinic would be and how smoothly everything would run. Being one of the APN students, I am grateful for all ouf our experienced NPs that continue to mentor us. They are kind, compassionate, and amazing at what they do. The nurses and other "non-health" professionals keep the clinic running- the clinic wouldn't function without them! Everyone has come together in the perfect way to serve. I am delighted to be on this mission! -Teresa I have been so blessed to join this team in my last semester of the UIC FNP program. I have seen how far team work and compassion can go! I have longed to work with the underserved population my whole life and have enjoyed caring for all sorts of health care needs this week. Although, I have realized quickly that one can not solve all problems, but a little can go a long way. Everyone on this trip has worked together to make this possible. I look forward to what is to come and hope to do this type of work for many years to come! -Reena So we will close as we prepare to retire for the night...the stars are out...the room is beginning to quiet and prayers are being said and journals being written. We bid each of you a blessed night and ask for your prayers as we complete our next few days here with our Haitian friends. God bless, Vanda and Team 18
Bonjou! January 16, 2013 Team 17 We have just finished six full days in Haiti. Our arrival was very smooth after landing at the newly redone airport (a nice surprise for returning and new team members alike!). The ride up to the mountains (on the back of trucks of course) took longer than usual but the signs of progress were amazing... hardly any rubble from collapsed buildings, newly paved roads and sidewalks, and men working in construction were just a few hopeful sights. We only saw one pancaked building compared to hundreds one year ago and only one tent city compared to more than fifty. There is still beyond imaginable work to be done but there are many signs of hope. One team member's cap blew off on the ride but there was surely a very happy Haitian within seconds! The improvements even within the clinic and village of Gramothe were also impressive. New buildings (including a small future village bakery), new houses, a smooth concrete basketball/soccer/school yard (instead of gravel) were welcome sights. We felt at home the whole week we were here, whether it was from our gracious host family's wonderful Haitian hospitality, familiar faces in our neighborhood waving along the long hike to the clinic or the beautiful acapella songs prepared and sung just for us at the village church on Sunday. In five days in the clinic we saw more than 1100 men, women and children in the clinic! To say our team worked together very smoothly would be a major understatement. If you needed something, someone was always at your side having already anticipated what you would need from shoes to diapers and baby blankets, a second opinion or someone else's expertise, etc.. There were some heartbreakingly malnourished children, severely infected wounds, a boy with an injured foot from a farming accident and many other health problems that if we even made a small difference in their lives, this week would have been worth every minute. We saw a 70 year old woman yesterday who walked to the clinic from two mountains over, two days ago and slept overnight on the ground to wait for us - and she could barely breathe her asthma was so severe - but her smile was unstoppable. Little Melissa, the toddler with severe facial burns we treated several years ago, is now a beautiful preschooler with an infectious laugh and can be seen leading her cousins around the school playground. The new system of tracking all medications used in the pharmacy and items in the storeroom upstairs to the clinic has been a labor of love and has made a huge difference in the efficiency of our care, being a hidden "highlight" to the work we did. As the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake just passed on January 12th, please continue to keep Haiti in your prayers. We count on each and every prayer and are very grateful for them! We have enjoyed a wonderful week of hard work, new friendships, great weather and the gracious smiles of all. Our large suitcases which we carried into Haiti are now empty but our hearts are full. Dawn Ribnek (veteran LBL team member) With gratitude for your interest and for keeping us close via your thoughts and prayers ~ Sue, Brian, and Leslie (team leaders) and Team 17
October 20, 2012, 5:30pm Greetings from Haiti as a steady cool rain is falling from above, First and foremost thank you all of your prayers and love that you have sent over these first few days. Many of you have asked if our flights were on time, how we felt on arrival and how the trip up the mountain felt as we weaved through PAP traffic. We were pleasantly surprised at how smoothly our travel was and how easily we found our team members traveling from both the east coast and west coast. Geting to know each other is so engaging and amazing in its ease and grace as we come together strangers and so quickly feel a bond of mutual purpose. The traffic in Port-au-Prince was light by this city's standards and we moved through rather quickly and observed progress! We saw newly painted buildings and people streaming through the streets with business to attend to and laughter, hand holding and conversation on all sides of us. Sellers were seated with vegetables, fruits and all of their wears lining the streets. The beautiful Haitian artwork was abound strapped up to walls and fences. Horns honking, people zigzagging through the cars and trucks always gives me some pause but with Willem at the wheel or Junior we feel secure. We have just completed 3 days of patient care. The patients have seemed at times to be healthier but in the next moments we see a baby with extreme malnutrtion. This so justifies our common purpose of education and teaching accompanied with our commitment to sustainable care. Our patients are returning when asked! Yea! And we can then renew medications and reinforce ideas for their good health. Each day we have seen seen about 150 persons and the first day we hardly saw any children....pure torture for those of us specializing in pediatrics!:) Yesterday came with kids coming out of the woodwork and also today. Many of our ladies are pregnant and need a thorough workup checking for glucose or blood pressure problems and other infections that might affect their baby's health as well as theirs. Unfortunately many of our children were experiencing scabies or other skin disease and the malnutrtion always breaks our hearts. It offers us a time to teach regarding healthy foods, explore what is available for our patients and their families and provide medicated peanut butter and cream for their affected skin. I do love to interact with our moms as we massage the cream into their baby's skin. It seems to give them some peace. My heart melts. Probably our most common condition with our adults remains hypertension and also diabetes. Stepping back and watching the chatter and consults with our team is amazing in God's fashioning of a team that not only works together but has the needed members for particular patients. This becomes apparent as we interact with each other and our patients. God is good. This trip we have also been blessed with specially educated translators who are professional and talented in medical translation and education techniques. Our ability to see more patients is reflected in these new qualified Haitian members of our "team". So team 16 is engrossed in a wicked UNO game as I write this. Our group is smaller this time at 14 members but exactly what we need. The pharmacy is becoming transformed into a solid inventoried working system. This is so essential to avoid waste in this beautiful country. I can hardly think right now with all of the hooting and hollaring from the game that is being played. It's a good feeling to relax after a full day of care. I will close for now. We have a special Haitian broth awaiting us. A wonderful special meal prepared by our missionary's staff. It's certain to be yummy. As we bless the food on this eve we pray for all of you at home as well. May God bless and keep you and as always praying that you keep our Haitian friends in your prayers. Grace from Haiti as the clouds are now hugging the mountainside as the rain has been released and are getting tucked away for the night.... Vanda and Team 16