A post by Judi, who was a member of the November 2013 medical team.
I went on this trip with a blank canvas. I shut out comments such as “the United States has sent millions to Haiti, where is the money”, “when I was growing up and refused to eat broccoli, my mother would say there are children starving in Africa who would eat it”, and ones to me – “you are the one who should have stock in sanitizing wipes and hand cleanser.”
How can I know if I don’t go? A time of self-examination and defining of the word poverty and who are the poor. What does it look it?
So here’s my heart story for my Haitian family.
I joined Nick, an efficiency manager, and Jean, retired pediatrician, in Miami and off we flew to Port au Prince. The airport crowd and hustling of people and luggage was the first step – an immersion into life in Haiti. Mickey and Ramey, Tap Tap driver, met us and the luggage and supplies were loaded between the side benches.
I have thought about what theme I would choose to tell my story — Isaiah 61:1 The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me (as in me Judi Smith?) to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners… to comfort all who mourn,… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes”
I could write about the Tap Tap rides, the roads, the electricity, or water. However all of those I once felt necessary are overshadowed by the love, graciousness, and kindness of the people and the children.
The children – basic needs are the same as in the USA. How they are supplied becomes the difference. Basic is basic existence – minimal. But the smiles – who could replace smiles with any material item?
The medical mission:
Friday off to Firmin’s church, the “clinic”, Tap Tap loaded with supplies and typical clinic stuff. I didn’t mention that I am not nurse material but I can pray so Mickey and Liz were gracious to me and I set up a corner of kid activities and a pray station.
We arrived at the church and the front was crowded with mothers, some fathers, and children. The line serpentined around the building. The clinic would open in about an hour. We got busy setting up 2 exam rooms on the altar divided by sheets. The banner was hung – Bread to the Nations. Various stations set up: Intake, Medika Mamba counseling, the pharmacy & the waiting room.
I met Emmanuel (God has a sense of humor) “my translator”. Clinic opens and it goes non-stop from 9-4 with a lunch served from Pierre’s wife around 2.
Some would say people’s faces become a blur but not for me. I can still see each face each little one each adult from young to old seeking medical assistance.
Oh, the ones who touched my heart. Lord heal this little one. The despair on parent’s faces how could that become a blur in my mind.
I see each one I prayed for; those God graciously brought to me. I traced my hand and Emmanuel helped me write “Map priye pou ou” (I am praying for you). Not a casual I’ll put you on my prayer list but I have you in my heart – you and I are sisters and brothers in Christ. We will pray for each other.
Waiting for hours to be seen, buying water in sealed plastic bags, eating crackers, no food, stomachs growling, and then finally they reach Nick who weighs the babies with a sling and a “produce” scale or a Weight Watchers scale (as I write that seems like an oxymoron as few are in need of Weight Watchers). Then the adults are seen by Dr. Lejette and the children by Dr. Jean.
The success of Medika Mamba is visible. If you support Medika Mamba you are the daily bread to those newborn to 5. (I cringed when a buffet restaurant’s image flashed in my mind – “American poverty”)
Besides praying, I had coloring pages of the Armor of God soldier, stick puppets, origami shirts, and plain paper for coloring.
Can anyone imagine having to teach a girl or boy how to color?? I wish I had hundreds of those restaurant packs of colors. ~~ The beautiful coloring of the children~~
Sunday afternoon we had a kids’ program. Oh did God bless us with children. We planned on maybe 50 and I think we had close to 300. Each one had paint put on a hand. As the crowd grew, I prayed “God you multiplied fish and bread please multiply the paint” and He did with leftovers!!! Each one placed his/her handprint on mural paper for Catalyst Church and the Catalyst Kids will send their handprints to them. The other activity was the Armor of God – what fun to do! Thank you Pierre for translating and singing. Also to Yasmine (my adopted adult daughter) who began the afternoon with songs familiar – Sunday school songs in Creole.
God’s word woven in and through all of the Bread to the Nations’ work.
Death has an almost accepted meaning in Haiti. It happens!!
One of the healings Mickey and Liz witness — I was asked to pray for a baby whose oxygen level was very low, heart rate 165, eyes rolling back. “O come Lord Jesus come to Danaika, breathe on her the breath of life.” The motorcycle was called and off she and her mom went to the hospital. “Go with God little one.”
Thank you Jezi she survived and we saw her again. (Right, post hospital stay!)
I could tell of the other days at this clinic and the one afternoon clinic up in the mountains in Bwadjout where we met August, a small boy. Pastor Pierre said he is one of the poorest of the poor. No food for days and yet a smile.
Bread to the Nations isn’t financed by large corporations or wealthy people — it’s grassroots. Maybe that is for the best because for the former it’s easy to write a check– the grassroots people give from their hearts.
Mickey, Liz, and Nasson provided delicious meals and fellowship. I must mention Talie, my sunshine girl.
There is an art activity where children totally color a paper with bright colors, black crayon is colored on top and the students take a sharp point and gently scrape away the black to uncover a design. That is what Bread to the Nations means to me. The people are under the “black” and each team member scrapes away a little of the darkness to reveal the light of God’s people.
I will never be the same!
I give thanks daily for Bread to the Nation and my opportunity to be a part of its work in Haiti.