Haiti: The Medical Missions, Oct. 2012 – 2013

1. October, 2012

Sarah Roeske, Emily Smith and Sheryl Stroud Bryant conducted the first medical mission offering check-ups and health care for the school and community and to meet Pere Fanfan. This trip had the first teenage missioner Notre Dame Vestry requested a medical clinic every time we visit.

This team learned a great deal on this first medical mission. The decision was made close to the travel time to use Haitian doctors and that proved to be a great decision

Thursday was a day to look at the set up and walk through the process for the team. Friday the school children will move through our system and Saturday the local children. There will be vision screening, ear check, height, weight, pulse, lungs/heart, symmetry, motion and reflexes checked by nurses.

Emily Smith, who is active in public health, took the lead on designing the process. They would be in contact with a local Haitian physician active with the local health department to check and make sure we were following their protocals. On this trip The doctors were contacted by Dr. Wilnique, a public health official who is also on the Episcopal Church’s Health Committee. The doctors needed no translation support, understood the conditions they were faced with and perhaps best of all, made the clinic feel very much a partnership with our Haitian community.

Additionally we learned that medicine is best purchased in the U.S (though in later trips in shifted to the priest buying the medicines ahead of the trip.

The team gave ‘checkups’ to half of the student body about 150 children on the Friday. They also gave de-worming medicine to these children. On Saturday they offered care to about 100 community members, closing the doors half way through the day to enable them to see everyone waiting. The church community was very grateful and there was much positive feeling following the clinic and time together.

The team came away feeling that our initial thought to separate our trips to focus on the school one time and then the medical needs a second time is unnecessary. They feel that each trip needs to address both things. The needs of the school we largely address through the funding that we send.

They met with 377 in the Haitian school, hiring 5 doctors to check them for asthma. This may be one of the few times they will be able to see a doctor. They saw 150 community members.

2. February, 2013

3. May , 2013

Emily Smith, Sheryl Stroud Bryant, Sarah Roeske, Chris Cammarata, Marian Windel and Bill Thomas went down over four days for a medical mission offering check-ups and health care for the school
and community.

A “school picture” taken of every child, printed out and distributed to the students. Pictures were then used to create a 2012-2013 yearbook, given to Pere Fanfan in October 2013.

Planned craft activity for 300 students, encouraged socializing and friendships while keeping children busy during clinic.

Two participants reflected on the medical mission trips:

“Stephanie’s Smile” – Sheryl Stroud-Bryant

“My first trip to Haiti last October [2012] was St George’s first medical mission trip. I made an attempt to provide a craft to the children of Notre Dame, but it was a bit too difficult, so I improvised with Popsicle stick dolls with yarn hair and Sharpie-drawn faces.

“The 3-year-old class solemnly watched me and a few accepted the stick dolls, waved them, playing and laughing. Stephanie shyly smiled and came back for three little dolls. She really beamed and enjoyed the simple toys. I enjoyed seeing her change from a solemn wide-eyed expression to relaxed, smiling and happy. Her smile stayed in my thoughts for the following months.

“We returned for our second medical mission in May [2012]. The classes were rotated differently and the craft supplies were in much demand. We ran out before all of the classes participated. I was amusing the youngest children with my digital camera.

“I approached one young class lined on the benches, snapping a couple photos while the interpreter explained what we were doing. I saw Stephanie and came over to say hi. We didn’t communicate so much in words, but with grins of hello and a brief touch. I was only near her for a short while before I was called to a different area.

“Looking at the photos later, I saw the picture I had taken. A row of solemn youngsters watching me approach their class. And Stephanie. The camera captured the exact moment she recognized me. She was sitting up, alert and beaming a beautiful bright smile at me.

“Those simple crafts created a memory this little girl treasured. This photo always tugs at my heart. ”

“Relationship of Trust” – Sarah Roeske

“As a fellow educator, I was very excited to meet the principal of Notre Dame on my first trip to Haiti two years ago. I realized very quickly that Haitians, understandably, are cautious of American aid and Americans who are eager to “fix” Haiti’s numerous problems. At the end of the first trip, I approached the principal of the Notre Dame School, Nadege who was about 7 months pregnant, and told her that I would see her next time. She didn’t respond as I realized that she didn’t quite trust that I would return.

“Upon our return to Haiti six months later, we met Nadege’s baby daughter and she allowed me to hold her on several occasions. At the end of the trip I, once again, said I would see her next time. Her response was a simple nod.

“Last October [2012] was my third trip to Haiti and we conducted our first medical clinic. We had fulfilled our promise to hold a clinic in a joint venture with Haitian doctors and nurses. At the end of the trip, I repeated my familiar statement to Nadege…“à la prochaine fois” (see you next time) and to my surprise she repeated the statement back to me.

“In May [2012], we returned to conduct another clinic and also brought two class sets of books in Creole, classroom posters and school supplies. Nadege helped out tirelessly both days of the medical clinic and by now her daughter was running around the school. In one of the most poignant moments of my life, Nadege approached me on the last day and before I had a chance to say anything she looked me square in the eyes and said “à la prochaine fois” (see you next time). In that single moment, it felt as if we had truly become a part of the journey of Notre Dame School and our hope for a lasting partnership was becoming a reality. ”

4. November, 2013

Team November, 2013
Team November, 2013

Carey Chirico, Sarah Roeske, Emily Smith, Sheryl Stroud Bryant and Madison Stroud went down over four days for a medical mission offering check-ups and health care for the school and community. Planned craft activity for 400 students which encourages socializing and friendships while keeping children busy during clinic. Crafts also used during community clinic.

They met with 377 in the Haitian school, hiring 5 doctors to check them for asthma. This may be one of the few times they will be able to see a doctor. They saw 150 community members. This trip had the first teenage missioner. They are looking to bring a Haitian girl to New York in 2015 as part of the Girls group. The Haiti group intends to lead a forum in the near future

Madison Stroud was a teenage missioner. Here Carey describes here work

“In November 2013 Madison Stroud participated as a member of a medical mission team working in Port au Prince, Haiti. For five days, Madison worked ten hour days helping to provide a free clinic to the school and community with whom we are partnered in a slum of the city. She entertained and calmed children who were waiting to see doctors, assisted in the Pharmacy and worked as an ambassador with a middle school group learning about life in the United States.”