West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

First clinic day at St Vincent’s

A typical clinic day at St Vincent’s:  plenty of smiling kids in uniform, coming for a “checkup”.  Edie,Sienna, Sherye and James visited Holy Trinity School, run by Reverend Fernan (the only ordained female priest in Haiti); James was impressed by the music school, with music theory written on the walls in blackboard style.  Sienna loved the 4th graders.  Each class stood up and demonstrated what they were learning to the visitors.  Sienna says the 4th graders were learning names of body parts in english, and shouted, “ARM, LEG, BODY” at full volume. 

The best way I can tell you about today is to summarize what the team said as we had our group discussion this evening after we said Compline together (led by James Gruber).

Bailey said her low point of her day was seeing all the smiling,happy kindergartners and then having to stick their finger for their hemoglobin test.

James said his low point was not being able to say good bye to each 4th grader as they left Holy Trinity School. 
Vicky said her high point was feeling like she made a contribution today. Her job was to organize the “cards” (each kid gets a card with their name and age and the date, and as they are weighed and measured and tested the information is written on the card.)  This  job is very important and not just anyone can do it.  Ashley attested to the fact that her mom was very organized and kept everyone in line and remembering which kid went with which card.  I knew Vicky would  be the most organized person on our team, which is why I put her in charge of that!

Linda’s high point was getting to know Clauricianne, who is a graduate of St Vincent’s but still lives there.  She speaks english, french and kreyol fluently and is a terrific interpreter for us, especially since she knows all the kids.  She helped calm down one terrified young girl who would not even leave her chair to come into my exam room!  I guess the fingerstick test makes them afraid of what else might be coming next. 

James said his high point was getting to know Jean Robert and see the gentle way he helps us and helps the children.  He truly is an amazing person and has earned the admiration of all of us.

James also observed that Jo Jo was having hot wings for lunch, fed to him by a beautiful young woman who turns out to be his daughter.  The rest of us had our granola bars and peanuts for lunch, but Jo Jo had hot wings!

The heat got to everyone today so we did not have afternoon clinic.  We toured the new brace shop and then boarded the bus early for the guest house and the POOL. 
I got everyone to promise they can stick it out for the whole day tomorrow, now that they got a taste of what to expect.  The heat really does sap your strength here, and I dont want to push people beyond their tolerance.  I was happy that the “low points” mentioned had nothing to do with being hot or tired. 

Had an interesting and INTENSE discussion with the owner of the guest house about what our purpose is in Haiti and why we come here.  I think she was trying to provoke me, but to no avail.  I realize that our work in Haiti can be interpreted on many levels.  But I have to believe that my friendship with Marie Carmelle and with Mackenson and Frenel has value, even if I dont change their lives  in any material sense. I believe that we offer what we have, and God blesses it and magnifies it beyond what we can ask or imagine. 

I think the owner sees lots of “Christian groups” who come to “save souls” in Haiti. As my son Adam once said, “God is everywhere in Haiti.”  If you come to Haiti to bring Jesus, you will find him already here and well known.   The only soul I save by coming here is mine.
Susan Nelson
This entry was posted in Stories & Updates, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.