There comes a time when we need to realize that things need to come to an end. And today was that time. We finished up our last day of clinic, seeing 1400 children, building permanent 2 permanent “tippy taps” in each of the 11 projects we went to, did dental hygiene, brought water filtration systems in and taught first aid and left first aid kits in all the projects. But you know that already. But what you may not know, is who really did this all. We had a US team of 27 members and a Haitian/DR team of 11 for at total of 38 people serving the 1400 children and the communities. We had 2 local physicians and 1 local dentist who were with us, working along side, and who will stay and sustain the care we gave. 38 people who gave of their time to serve.
But why is that so important to point out? Well because, when the end is here, we look back and wonder if the road we traveled was indeed straight or was it twisty, and if we really arrived at our destination. I pose the question: what was our destination on this medical mission? What were our expectations? The answer was there for me this morning.
I was asked to look at an 11 year old girl who had surgery several years ago to remove a superficial mass on her neck. She was left with nerve damage to her arm and accumulation of lymph that made her arm swell to twice its size. She had a chest xray taken a while back when her mother took her to see a doctor after wondering for many years why her arm looked like this after surgery. The chest xray should 2 masses in her chest. No one bothered to tell the mother what the findings were at the time the xrays were taken, nor did the doctor who did the original surgery tell the mother what the mass was that he took out. The mother and the child were abandonnned by those who took an oath to heal and care. This time it won’t happen. With the local doctors working with me, we examind the child, came up with a plan on what tests are needed now, what the next step in the care would be, sat with the mother and explained to her in detail what we thought was going on, and committed to always be there for them. The desitnation and expectation was simple: to recognize those who come to us for help as persons worthy of dignity no matter their circumstances, and a commitment to relationship that is genuine. I believe we did that. We left behind sustianalbe drinking water, a place to wahs their hands, education and supplies to treat wounds and other minor injuries, toothbrushes and dental education and medical care that will be there for as long as they need it.
So as we finish this medical mission in Haiti, I give thanks for those who came to serve: Kelly, Michelle B., Jerry, Deanna, Katy, Beth, Michelle S., John Hbk., Robert, Trisha, Hannah, Deb, Sue, Micki, Mikaela, John Hns., Brittany, Megan, Doreen, Kathryn, Michael, Dave, Brian S., Brian Y., Kyle, Rocky, Onesimo, James, Jose, Robinson, Elias, Michelet, and Mathias.
Well-done faithful servants.
In all things give thanks,