Monday, February 1, 2010
Back from Haiti
When we arrived on Thursday, we went to the clinic where we would be working. It was just being finished and still needed some finishing touches - windows and AC in the Operating Room for example! We settled in at the guest house where we were staying and had a delicious dinner! Meg and Wilbert Merzilus run the house and also run a wonderful organization called Living Hope Mission (http://www.livinghopemission.org/). We couldn't have asked for better accommodations or friendlier hosts.
When we arrived at the clinic the next morning, the OR was finished and all that needed to be done was some organization and some cleaning up in order to make it usable. The group was divided up into two teams: one team saw patients needing medicines and treatments for ailments relating to internal medicine, Optometry, or OB/GYN and the other team performed surgeries. We saw a mixture of cases - some directly related to the earthquake and some not. Regardless, we were able to help people who ordinarily might not have received care.
For two days we worked in the clinic, I estimate we saw somewhere around 70-80 people. The mood there was slightly somber, but also determined. It seemed that the people of Cap Haitien recognized what had happened but wanted to push forward toward the future. The people that we saw had such a strong faith in God - it was inspiring! In speaking to Wilbert, Meg, and Tim who all live in Haiti, the struggle for the country now lies in finding the wisest use of gifts and money that are pouring in from all over the world. The people of Haiti need a helping hand right now, but continued handouts are developing a culture of dependence and the people don't know how to do for themselves.
Medical Ministry International will be building a permanent center in Port au Prince to provide continued help there, but as Willie Hunter (head of MMI) told the group, MMI is not an emergency relief organization like the Red Cross, and our goal is the long-term rather than immediate disaster response. MMI will be continuing short-term mission trips to Port au Prince in the coming months, and they will post them on the calendar at www.mmint.org.
Josh and I are so thankful to have been a part of this trip. We were given the reigns in a lot of situations and we learned a ton! We were able to talk to Willie in depth about his experiences and his vision for us and for MMI as a whole. Tim, the MMI Country Leader of Haiti gave us a lot of insight as well into the day-to-day of the position. After discussing with Willie, and experiencing the frustration of not speaking the language when trying to get things accomplished, we have decided that we will be lengthening our time at language school from 3.5 months to 1 year. Achieving fluency is vital to effectiveness in a role like ours and we don't need to cut short a time devoted exclusively to that end. It is an idea that we are still getting used to and we pray that our donors will understand the importance of taking this extra time.
I am hoping to get a lot of pictures from people on the trip and as I get them I will try to post them on the blog.
We leave for training in Colorado 1 week from TODAY! I can't believe it's almost here!
Thank you so much for your prayers!!!
Love and God Bless,