Well I made it back from our medical/dental mission trip to Haiti with no Ebola, Malaria, Cholera, Dengue Fever, or Chikungunya! My back was quite sore, however, from a week of leaning over a rocking chair and pulling about 130 teeth. It was an amazing trip – one that I hope to do again one year with my children. It is good to have a wake-up call every now and then to realize that the problems most of us have in the U.S. are “rich people problems.” The people in the extremely rural community of Bohoc, Haiti had NOTHING and yet were of strong faith and lived their lives very connected to each other. I envy their unity. When your “home” is a small concrete or wood hut with NO electricity or running water, you tend to stay outside more. Being outside for most of the day means that they know the goings on of their neighbors as well as of each other’s kids, chickens, and goats. And speaking of goats, I ate a couple while in Haiti. Tastes like beef!
The Haitians were so appreciative of the medical care we gave them and patiently waited for hours to receive it. We saw about 500 patients in Haiti, about 60 in the dental clinic. There were more who wanted to be seen, but we unfortunately did not have enough time to see everyone. It broke my heart to pull the teeth of 2 sisters who were 8 and 12 years old. I knew that if they were my patients here in the states I would have been able to place large fillings and save their teeth. But in Haiti, with no access to a compressor-driven drill and suction, the best I could do for them was remove the teeth. They were so grateful for being relieved of their pain, for their toothbrushes and toothpaste, and for the Advil and Penicillin that we gave them. Every patient I saw received antibiotics since many of them do not have easy access to clean water.
Here, we take for granted our running taps. I found out that while we were away, our neighborhood had the water shut off for 5 hours. My children, who stayed at home with Grandma and Graddy, told me about how tough it was for them to be without water that morning. Boy are we spoiled! Refrigeration, local stores, access to medicine, air conditioning, vehicles, and homes with indoor kitchens and bathrooms would be such luxuries to the people we saw in Bohoc.
I am so thankful for the gifts and blessings God has given me. The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is expected. I am glad that God chose for me to be on the “giving” side of missions rather than being on the “receiving” end. Thank you all for your prayers and financial and emotional support. You are also a blessing to me!