West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Kellar McCloy’s Reflection

The thought of returning to Haiti to provide medical care for its people has remained a strong urge since first visiting in 2005. On that first visit, I was stunned by my first true sight of the third world: people bathing in rivers tainted with trash, the overwhelming smell of rubbish burning in the streets, and the abundance of disease that could be simply prevented by food to eat and decent hygiene. As desolate as these sights may sound, they only reinforced my desire to attempt to help these people achieve the state of health they deserve, even if it were only for the month’s worth of medicine or week’s worth of care that we were able to provide them.
At the end of our recent trip to St. Vincent’s school for the handicapped, the question arose of whether or not we were more trouble than help to the people we were attempting to serve. The best way for me to resolve this issue is to think of a quote that an old Louisiana farmer once told me when I was worried about too much sand and rocks getting into the compost I was making. He said to me, “You cannot let the perfect get in the way of the good,” and I believe we must be content with even the smallest steps towards bettering Haiti: the single dose of Ivermectin to rid a child of her most recent bout of worms, a single ace bandage to relieve the most recent fall of a young man playing wheelchair basketball, or a single Teddy bear for a deaf child to enjoy as their own. As little as this may seem to those of us accustomed to comforts most Haitians have never known, I witnessed the great appreciation and relief that our patients felt when we were able to help them, and I think that any steps, big or small, that we can take to help are warranted and welcomed by the people of Haiti.
Kellar McCloy, Medical Student
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