Hey everyone! My name is Lauren Patterson and I just graduated from the University of Minnesota on Sunday. I joined the team down in Haiti on Monday afternoon and we have had an amazing week! On our last day of service work we had many impactful things in store for us.
Kenzie S., Kimberly, and I all spent our morning in the burn clinic. As a future nurse and someone who is passionate about caring for people this opportunity was especially meaningful to me. To be able to experience first hand providing medical care for people who otherwise would not be able to receive care for their burns is so incredible. It is so hard to see people come in with their burns improperly cared for and to watch them go through such agonizing pain. But it is also so comforting to know that because they walked into that clinic there is a good chance that they will be able to get the help that they need to fully recover. The older woman who came in on Monday with her whole face and the top of her head burned has been coming back in every day this week to continue to get her burn treated, which is great to see! Today when she walked in she could open her eyes, whereas when she came in the first day they were so swollen and had so much scar tissue over them that she could not open them. The head nurse of the clinic was telling us that if this had happened back in the states she would have instantly been brought into surgery and put under to perform all of the removal of scar tissue, and then would have stayed in the hospital on very strong pain medication. It is so crazy to me that this woman is doing this on very minimal pain medication and riding a moto to and from her house every day for treatment. It is very hard to watch, but I know that she will heal so much better because of the pain that she has to go through now. Experiencing working the burn clinic was so inspiring and really confirmed in me my calling to become a nurse and do work in another country for people that truly need my help.
After our morning in the burn clinic we were able to visit Daphne, a woman who has received a micro loan to create a business for herself raising chickens to sell. This woman impressed us all! She is so smart and has found a way to provide for her family. She came up with the idea herself to create a business to earn money and she has been teaching others how to do the same! She is teaching them how to save their money and be responsible with it as well. Daphne is able to pay for her children’s schooling, she even has a child in college! She puts her children before herself which is a really cool thing to see in Haiti!
After visiting Daphne our team headed over to visit with the Cabaret kids who are not able to go to school. There are many children in this neighborhood whose parents don’t have the means to send their children to school. We wanted to see how many kids there were who are not going to school and spend time with them to show them that they are loved! We heard many stories from the kids as Wadson and Josue translated for us about each of their home situations. It was really amazing to be able to spend time with these kids. When we first arrived they all were clumped together and all very shy. We started by singing a song similar to Simon Says but in Creole and soon enough the kids were holding our hands and jumping all over us! Many of them knew we were coming and had dressed in their best clothes for us, and many of the others even ran home to change into their fancy clothes! It was so cute to see how much they wanted to impress us. There is one little boy in particular named Toto who cannot speak because of a problem with his tongue. He also has a problem with one of his legs where both his ankle and knee are twisted the wrong way and it has very little muscle. We talked with his mother for a bit and it seems as if there are some surgeries that he could get to help him, but their family does not have the money to do so. There is a special school that Toto went to for a while to teach him sign language, but once again his family does not have enough money to continue to send him. Because of this Toto has a very hard time communicating with anyone. He is such a happy and smiley boy, but it is so hard to see all of the struggles that he faces every single day. It’s situations like these that T12 is seeking out to see what God’s will is for the future of the organization. I hope to see Toto as a T12er in the near future!
We got to spend a few hours with the kids here, coloring and playing games, we even got to walk around the neighborhood complex and see the small water tower that supplies the neighborhood and see Josue and Bethanie’s homes.
Finally we had to say goodbye to the kids, and we went back to Global to pack up and head to Kaliko for our mini beach retreat to end a fantastic and God filled week!
Daphne explaining her micro-loan opportunity to us.
Praying for Daphne and her projects.
Getting the kids warmed up for some fun with a song!
Teaching the kiddos to play some American games.