Showing posts from 2018

A Lesson in Small Things (With Great Love) Haiti Medical Mission Nov 25-27

It’s been said “life is like a roll of toilet paper. The nearer the end, the faster it goes.” The same can be said about mission. All of a sudden, we’re saying our good-byes and thank-yous. And the gratitude is sincere. Our translators, drivers, local clinic teams, local Chalice staff, cooking/hospitality team, and security staff have all been truly exceptional. Two of our (male) translators were unexpectedly thrown into detailed female reproductive anatomy talks, and took them on with grace and gravity. The local clinic staff put up with the Canadian invasion with patience and openness. And our hostess and her cooking team kept us energized with sumptuous Haitian delights, including roasted chicken, tostones (fried smashed plantain), and a fruit salad that we nearly came to blows over. We came under the name of a medical mission, but it was so much more. It could have been called a community mission, given the amount of time we spent in the homes of families, checking on pati

A Lesson in Birds, Bees, Seeds & Flowers: Haiti Medical Mission Nov 23-25

A few years ago, Randy was on a holiday tour, and his guide began by saying, “To enjoy this tour, you’re going to need three things: the first is flexibility, the second is a sense of humour, and the third is patience. If you have that, we’re going to have a great time.” He was thinking of this on Saturday when we showed up for our afternoon clinic with the elderly, set up by the local St Vincent de Paul society. We showed up at our clinic in Terrier Rouge to find about twenty seniors waiting for care… but no local staff and locked doors, which meant no pharmacy, no beds, no prescription pads and no electricity. And in about one minute, we had a new plan. We went into the open-air chapel and converted it into our own clinic. Irene led us in prayer and song, and Betty ran a wonderful stretching lesson. Then we broke off into pockets, and ran our clinic just as we would have in the proper facility. The elders began with the doctors, then moved to be treated by Irene and have their

Haiti Medical Mission, Nov 21-22 : A Lesson in Letting Go, and Letting God

So get this: a Canadian priest is sitting in the waiting room of a Haitian medical clinic. He’s chatting with a woman whose husband is behind the privacy curtain with the Irene, the chiropractor. Irene is working with the man and hears Fr Duncan, in true Canadian fashion, strike up a conversation about the weather. She hears him say “ Il fait chaud ” (It’s hot out).   Then she hears her reply “ déboutonnez votre chemise.”   Irene, knowing Fr Duncan wouldn’t have understood the woman, calls through the curtain, “She’s telling you to unbutton your shirt.” To which she hears Father’s startled reply, “She already has!” So while our team is not getting undressed by the patients, we’ve been busily treating them in the clinics and visiting them in their homes. But as much as the medical, physio and chiropractic care is invaluable to the patients, it’s the intangible “extras” that seem to have the greatest impact. One team visited a woman who had just passed her 95 th birthday – a

A Lesson in Canadian Luck : Haiti Medical Mission Nov 19-20

On Monday, we met a priest who directs a school of nursing in the nearby city of Forte Libert é . He spoke of health and medicine having no boundaries and no ethnicities – bodies are bodies, medicine is medicine. On Tuesday, we were up and running in the two medical clinics in Terrier-Rouge and Grand Bassin, seeing patients for the first time. We learned today that, while that is a noble and beautiful sentiment, the realities of healthcare are far from the “We Are the World” campfire sing-along. In some ways, the fact that we’re not in Canada comes with some liberation.   For example, in Terrier-Rouge this morning, we opened the day with Sr Merilise praying with the patients gathered in the waiting room. If we tried that at home, we’d be swiftly escorted from the building.   Later in the day, Dr Lisa was able to send a patient straight from her consulting room to Irene for chiropractic care. Just imagine being able to do that at my own practice at home, she says. How great wou

A Lesson in Persistence: Haiti Medical Mission - November 16-18

It didn’t look good. The CBC radio hosts announced Friday’s forecast as a classic maritime “wintry mix” – snow turning to freezing rain turning to rain. Peaking, of course, at the time many members of our team were set to fly to Toronto. We passed accidents on our way to the Halifax airport, and the departures board in Charlottetown was a block of red “cancelled” notifications. It was clearly early on that God’s grace was certainly with us throughout our travels from our hometowns to Cap-Haitian.   For every set-back, there was a greater fortune. Ed made it out on the only flight to leave Charlottetown on Friday. Lost passports and phones were quickly found. Delays in Toronto were magically regained by tailwinds to Miami. The Lord wants us here, that is clear. We met with Edley, the Site Director of Haiti North at the airport, along with our other local colleagues Sr Gina, Sr Merilise and Edley’s assistant Marc-Edly. We exuberantly burst into Happy Birthday for Edle