Flashback - Medical Mission to Haiti November 2018
Originally shared on the Diocese of Charlottetown PE website.
Chalice, a Catholic international aid charity focused on child, family, and community development organized a medical mission to two sites in Northeast Haiti – Grand-Bassin and Terrier-Rouge. Chalice has long been active in this area with over 1600 children sponsored in these towns. (Chalice is active as well in the south of Haiti, and in fourteen other countries in the developing world.)
Chalice has a close working relationship with the medical clinic, the local church and schools. Two Island physicians were pleased to be part of a 12-person medical team which left Canada on the 16th of November and returned on the 29th of the month. In addition, this pan-Canadian team included one other physician, a physiotherapist, a teacher, a chiropractor, a priest, two nurses, a photographer, and two logisticians. We worked closely with Chalice Haiti staff, local physicians, nurses, priests, translators, drivers and two Religious sisters; one from Canada and one from Haiti.
|Haiti North Site Staff & Canadian Medical Team|
A typical day involved prayer and reflection and one or two hymns beginning at 7:00 A.M. Each team member was responsible for leading the devotion one morning of the mission. This reflection was followed by breakfast and then the team would divide into groups and begin transport to their work areas between 800-830 each morning. The variety of tasks included daily provision of physiotherapy/chiropractic services to people in need at the two towns. We provided clinical teaching for physicians daily and as well saw patients with a wide variety of non-hospital health problems. There was an active ministry in the schools at the elementary and high school level offering health and sex education, violence prevention, and public health measures such as proper hand washing. In addition, with the local public health team we completed home visits in the community with teams of religious sisters or priests, nurses or physicians and our physiotherapist or chiropractor.
|Dr. Don Clark & Lucette Link assist an elderly patient to the clinic|
Visits were made to sponsored children. We had an opportunity to meet with the Director of Health for this region. We also met with staff of the Don Bosco school of nursing. This meeting began what will be a future of closer collaboration and work together.
All team members were touched by the warmth and welcome of the Haitian people and we especially were humbled by their perseverance, patience and courage in what were very difficult circumstances.
We returned from our work daily between 4:30-5:30 P.M. and then had our supper. Each evening we prayed, sang hymns, and had a review by each team member of their day with time to discuss the challenges and rewards of the day. We then outlined the schedule of work for the next day and usually were finished by 8:30-9:00 P.M. Some evenings smaller working groups then met to plan and coordinate their efforts for the following days.
|Dr. Ed White and Nurse Petit-Frère prepare to see patients in Haiti|
Church services in Haiti typically last 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a homily of 45-60 minutes plus lots of singing and even liturgical dance. There were challenges of fuel shortage, political unrest, roadblocks, hungry small noiseless mosquitos and cold showers. We always felt safe and with the constant presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us we lived our days in a community of believers – each sharing a conviction and call to put their Faith into service in Haiti.
If you are interested in learning more – please contact Chalice (chalice.ca, 1-800-776-6855) or stop Dr. Ed White of St. Dunstan’s parish or Dr. Don Clark of Holy Family-St. James parish and just ask!