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. 


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