West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Pre trip hopes and fears

Up at the computer at 6 AM, the day before our team leaves for Haiti.  This will be trip #11 for me.  We have 17 team members (YIKES!).  I realized last night that all are veterans, except 2 medical students and 4 of the CBU nurses.  Something about Haiti keeps us all coming back for more.  Of course it is the children at St Vincent’s, with their unconditional love and ability to face and embrace life despite their handicaps and extreme poverty.
Some of you already read my recent email, but for others, here is our team:

Dr Sue Trzynka with 5 nursing students from Christian Brothers University in Memphis
Sherye Fairbanks, sign language interpreter for the deaf, (Holy Communion Episcopal Church)
John Mutin, retired paramedic and my “lieutenant”, (Holy Communion)
Amy Chanin, physicians assistant, (Chabad Jewish synagogue)
Dr Jenn Holbourn, physical therapist
Dr Bheki Khumalo, podiatrist (Grace St Luke’s Episcopal Church)
Drew Woodruff, deacon (St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral)
Susan Nelson, physician (St Mary’s)
Sienna Nelson, aspiring doctor, my daughter, Tulane student (St Mary’s)
Robby Skinner, entering UT medical school fall 2013 (CONGRATULATIONS ROBBY) , St Mary’s
Shawn Hamm, medical student 4th year (just matched at Jackson Family Medicine Program, CONGRATULATIONS SHAWN)
Michele Miller, medical student 2nd year

We will be in clinic 5 days seeing the children, which is a real treat because usually our trips happen in the middle of the week and we only get 2-3 days in clinic.  The downside is that we travel on Sunday, so I miss church services on Palm Sunday entirely.  I was truly looking forward to being with my Haitian friends on Palm Sunday.    Such is the difficulty of getting 17 people to work out travel arrangements that suit everyone.

We have packed our suitcases to being overstuffed, with medical supplies, coloring books, prepackaged meals (3600 of them!), sunscreen, bug spray, priest vestments, a few crocs, a special chair-seat for Margaret Vincent, and even some bras for the teenage girls at the school.  Each trip seems to have its own special item; this trip I would definitely say the bras are the most unique!  At least they are light weight and easy to transport.  Not like the Paschal Candle we took down last spring.  How DO you pack a 4 foot candle into a suitcase that TSA will let through security?  And deliver it intact through the airline luggage gauntlet?  (it did not arrive with our luggage by the way, it came the next day.  Just to give me more heartburn…)
Please pray for our team and medical supplies to arrive: 1) safely, 2) all together, and 3) through customs in Haiti with no mishaps. We have always made it before, despite seeming impossible odds with weather delays, etc.  I truly believe the prayers of the people back home get us through.

Thank you all for you continued support, I will do my best to update you while we are in Haiti, depending on the electricity/ computer situation at the guest house.

Susan Nelson

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