West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

April Mission Team Reflections

Each trip I ask the team members to write a little about their experience.  Over the years I have found it easiest to get people thinking by asking them these questions:
What was the best part of your trip?
What was the worst part of your trip?
Name one person who influenced you or made an impact on you, and tell me why?

Here is a (partial) collection of responses from our last team.

What was the best part of your trip?
Linda (CBU Nurse):  The Bell Choir was the best part of my trip.  I did not see this last time and it was beautiful, bringing tears to my eyes.  I also loved that we came as two groups but are leaving as one united group.

Barbara (CBU Nurse):  My heart was touched deeply with joy on two occasions.  First, I got a chance to share information about diabetes during 15 minute educational sessions.  I felt that the Adult Haitians whom I spoke with understood, and I was glad to be of service to them (Thank you Dr Trzynka).  Secondly, attending the Bell Choir concert performed by the blind kids at St Vincent’s elevated my mind to a level that is unexplainable.  I watched and listened as the kids played beautifully.  Tears of joy streamed down my face.  Watch the video at: Blind Hand Bell Choir

Ashley (pre med student): seeing all the kids at St Vincent’s and their sweet smiles, all the hugs from the kids, playing basketball with the kids, hands on clinical experience, learning to read an EKG, seeing an ultrasound done on the heart, sharing this experience with my mom

Vickie (microbiologist and Ashley’s mom): watching the deaf kids’ reactions to the St Mary’s kids photo book and giving them sign names (Vickie teaches Sunday School in Memphis)

Judith(clinical therapist):  meeting the deaf students and learning some sign language; watching the pigs snuffling along the stream from the balcony at the guest house after breakfast each morning

Yolanda (CBU nurse):  Connecting with Kinley.  He was about 5 years old.  He had not been at St Vincent’s very long.  He could not sign.  His eyes were huge.  I knew he was very scared.  Sherye had taught me some sign but how would I let him know that I was there for him.  I stopped and looked at him directly into his eyes and put my hands on his knees.  In about 20 seconds he smiled.  We connected and he knew I was there for him.   “BEST BIRTHDAY EVER” (Yolanda had a birthday while we were in Haiti)

Tiffany (CBU Nurse):  the best part of my trip to Haiti was the day I saw Cristina take her first steps
 See our you tube video atCristina walks 
 I was extremely happy to know that I was a small part in that milestone of her life.  The experience ranks along side witnessing my children take their first steps.

Heather (CBU Nurse): Teaching Elizabeth (St Vincent’s School Nurse) about reading the TB skin tests.  Her eagerness to learn from me was overwhelming.  I explained the purpose of the test, how to keep the solutions, and demonstrated how to read the test and document her findings.  Lastly I explained how to give the PPD skin test on those that we were not able to see on our trip.  She smiled from ear to ear when she brought two people to demonstrate back to me.  She asked many questions and told me now she would “do it good”. It warmed my heart to see her desire to care for the others at the school.

What was the worst part of your trip?
Yolanda (CBU Nurse):  on Monday night we had no water at the guest house.  But all in all that is very minor
Gay (CBU Nurse):  coming away with the feeling of what else can I do for these people

Vickie (microbiologist):  feeling so inept at communicating in Kreyol, French or Sign

Judith(clinical therapist):  seeing the CONTRAST betwen the barrenness of the land about 1/2 hour from Kalico Beach and the beauty and peace of the beach and ocean

Brittany (pharmacist):  the ASPIRIN DISASTER (we could not buy any aspirin while we were there despite multiple attempts)  Such a basic amenity in the US and a life-saving medication.

Name one person who influenced you or made an impact on you, and tell me why?

Denise (CBU Nurse): Drew (our deacon) What a caring, giving, selfless soul.

Heather (CBU Nurse): Rafael , the stinker, influenced me due to the fact that everyone in the group felt like he was the trouble maker.  And, yes, he might be the worst behaved by cutting in line or always asking for a “piwili” (Kreyol for lollipop).  But to me he was just craving attention, like many kids that are labeled “bad”, he just wanted someone to love on him.

Brittany(pharmacist):  I had a conversation with Jonas (St Vincent’s student) in Kreyol.  He asked me if I wanted to learn to speak and so he practiced speaking with me; he was a great teacher.  He told me that next time I come back I will speak Kreyol – that was inspiring!

Heather, Linda, Judith, Barbara all mentioned Sherye as a person who influenced them.  (Sherye is a sign language interpreter and helps us with the deaf children and adults)
Here is a sample:
Her eagerness to teach us to communicate with the children was absolutely the best.   Her joy at seeing the kids and seeing both hers and the kids’ faces light up when they saw each other was like watching a reunion show on Oprah. Then her watching out for us was something I could never repay.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Sherye taught me enough sign language to “speak” to the deaf children and understand some of their signing- to make the connection to receive and return love and joy.
I learned a lot through our daily morning rides (Sherye would teach us sign language on the bus)
It was great to learn sign language and communicate with the children.  I also loved the blindfold and gossip game.  Sherye is the funniest, most easygoing and always willing to jump in and help you out with anything.


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