Sunday, January 5, 2014

Haiti Day 2: Church in Mt. Fleury, Beach Time & Clinic Preparations

7am breakfast on campus came MUCH too early! But despite a noisy night of dogs barking and a rooster that started crowing starting at 2am, I was asleep by 8:30pm and slept we
We enjoyed a simple fare of banana bread, cereal, watermelon and papaya, pineapple juice and coffee before loading up and heading up the mountain to Mt. Fleury for church.

Mt. Fleury is a small community about 20 minutes north of Jacmel where we will be setting up a mobile clinic Monday through Wednesday. The setting of the new church building/clinic/school is simply stunning, set on top of the mountain overlooking the river and southern coast of Jacmel.

Overlooking the ocean and Jacmel.
Tiny church structure sitting atop the hill
Almost finished church and clinic site
Site of a future school
Baby goats! Yes, I may have been chasing then down in my church attire :D

When we arrived at our intended building ( pictured above) no one was there! The building is in the midst of finishing up construction so I guess the community opted to stick with their normal church for the time being since everyone is more familiar with its location. Nonetheless, we milled around and learned how the building will be utilized in the future.

Church in Mt. Fleury was simply indescribable. My words will fall short of the beauty we witness of the locals worshipping and praising God. Though we could not understand anything that was being said, it was obvious that these people have an intimate relationship with God and their passion was inspiring to us all. As I listened, I thought back to stargazing and walking by the ocean from yesterday and revealed in the knowledge that we are in a different area of the world yet viewing the same stars, same waves... worshiping and serving the same God. The unity that comes with that thought has been important to us all in this mission: We are all children of God, pieces of His personal masterpiece and here to serve his purpose. Using our professional gifts to serve the people of Haiti is a form of worship, a method of spreading his truth and a way of spreading hope and health to the locals. Though they know nothing about us, the members of the church welcomed us warmly with open arms and we were greeted with hugs and kisses at the end of the service. It was without a doubt the highlight of our day and trip so far.  

After church, we made our way back to headquarters on a VERY rough road. While we waited for lunch, we prepared for the next day's work by brainstorming necessary tools and supplies, allocating staffing for the two locations of clinic and loading up the truck for the mobile clinic. Jordan and I will be at the mobile clinic for Monday: he will be leading the PT services along with half the students and I will be conducting nutrition screens via hemoglobin and blood pressure readings, height and weight measurements, finger glucose checks, etc and providing nutrition education through the help of a translator!! Cool!! To prepare, I am receiving a crash course on common foods in Haiti, food availability, cooking methods, etc. 3 of the PT students will be at the CCH clinic in town with Patricia, a PT based out of PAP. Yesterday we were also joined by 4 individuals from Minnesota (a pharmacist, pharmacy student, nurse and support wife!) and they will be assisting with the Mobile clinic too.

After lunch, we loaded up the truck and drove about 30 minutes to the beach to swim. It was cloudy but with promises of sunshine in the afternoon. The ride was windy!! Then about halfway there, the rain came pouring down. Nothing like a cool shower before jumping in the ocean... We were soaked but that's simply part of the adventure of it all. 

An hour of so at the beach was perfect... We had down time to relax after our long travels, but also time to chat with each other, learn more about our personal background and strengths, and just generally bond as a group. I feel like this will be essential in us working effectively together over the next several days.

Abby trying to break open a coconut... Too bad it was empty :(
Beautiful sun reflecting over the ocean and trees.

The evening was finished out with pizza dinner (yes, pizza!) and stargazing on the rooftop of Isaiah 61 house as we discussed our "highs" and "lows" of the trip thus far and solidified clinic plans. As a group, we all agree that the language barrier is a bummer as we want to interact more with the locals and are struggling to do so. And as a group we all agree that the simplistic yet passionate worshiping of the Haitians at church today was a huge blessing to witness. They did not need a fancy church to gather in or even instruments, their bible, hymnals and voices were enough.

Monday is likely to be a bit of a chaotic day as we work out the logistics and flow of the mobile clinic but we are excited to serve and provide help in whatever way possible. Flexibility, endurance and patience will be key in making the most of our long day ahead. Time to go!!!

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