A few weeks ago a group we traveled to Haiti for a medical mission trip. I decided to post a little about the trip and share with everyone what I learned!
We had such a great trip and it was the best team of girls I could have ever asked for! We arrived in Haiti on Friday, March 18th. Pastor Franck and Timothy picked us up at the airport (they were our drivers for the week and two of our translators). We spent a couple hours in traffic going through Port-au-Prince on Friday afternoon. It was neat to be able to see the city and markets lining the streets.
Our first day of clinic was on Saturday. Kent and I were assigned to pharmacy where we gave out the medications and creams that were suggested by the nurses seeing the Haitian patients. I liked being in pharmacy the first day because I was able to learn the flow of clinic and got to see all the medications and creams we had with us. Kent was great to work with and we had fun keeping each other in good spirits despite all the creams we had to squeeze into baggies.
Sunday we went to Pastor Franck’s church in the morning and then visited (and climbed) a waterfall! It was a wonderful day of rest. Church was very nice and the youth choir was amazing! The waterfall was incredibly refreshing too. That night we prepared more medications and squeezed more creams into baggies for the next three days of clinic.
Monday was my first day of clinic working as a “nurse.” I was incredibly nervous that morning and didn’t know what to fully expect. We got to the school building (where the clinic was held) and there were so many people waiting outside. After getting the pharmacy table and our separate nurse’s stations set up we began seeing patients.
Tuesday we met for clinic under the biggest tree I have ever seen! Again, when we arrived there were already people waiting. We set up clinic in the shade of the tree among all the gigantic roots. It was an amazing experience!
Wednesday we had clinic in a tin-roofed church. By the third day of clinic, I felt much more comfortable with my skills and was able to focus on getting to know the patients a little more. I really enjoyed the conversations I had with the patients that day.
So many of them had headaches, vision problems, upset stomachs, or back pain. A lot of the children had skin problems (fungus, ringworm, or scabies) and some showed symptoms of having worms in their GI system.
On the last night, we spent some time reflecting (as all nurses do) on our time serving the Haitians. In the four days of clinic, we saw 1,200 patients. I struggle with the fact that we cannot provide continued care to each one of the patients we saw. We were able to give them some medications, depending on their needs, but those medications and creams will run out.
In the little bit of time we got to spend with each patient, I’d like to think we provided education that will empower them.
Empower them to make decisions that will improve their well-being.
Educate them to eat healthy foods and sanitize (boil) their water.
And Empower them to advocate for their own health and the health of their families.
Team Haiti 2016 was one of the greatest groups I have ever worked with. I made friendships that will last a lifetime. I have been so lucky to have such great friends to suffer through nursing school with, and I honestly could not have gotten this far without them. We shared so many laughs throughout the week and we each learned so much!
Thank you to everyone who supported me financially to go on this trip and for all the thoughts and prayers while we were away!