Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Haiti day 4: Pazapa & Sisters of Charity

Since I spent another day at the mobile clinic, I decided to let Jordan write a post about the activities of Tuesday with the physical therapy team. My day was long and hot, but we were able to see and provide treatment for about 35 people again, learn more about the community of Mt. Fleury and play with the children!! More on that later :)

From Jordan:

This morning, we split up again into two groups, with one heading to Pazapa, a school for children with disabilities and the other group heading back to the CCH clinic.

Pazapa is a school that has been providing education and care for children with disabilities for over a decade. The current principle, Marika is the daughter of the founder and grew up in Jacmel. The school is currently in the middle of a major construction project as their previous location was destroyed in the earthquake. We got an extensive tour of the new buildings and it's is great to see the wonderful facilities willbe available to these children sometime in the future. After the tour, we went to the early intervention area and got to meet Pazapas' PT. He has been working with Pazapas for over 20 years and professed his love for all the children under his care. While talking to him, he showed us some of the custom made boots for children with various conditions including genu varum and valgum (bow leg and knock knees) He has a local shoe smith custom make the shoes for "his" kids. Then we all got down on the mats and met the children in the early intervention class. It was a wonderful experience to be able to hold them, talk with the caregivers and come up with some interventions to work on in the short time we were there. What a blessed time it was spent with a wonderful group of children, caregivers and our interpreters. 

Kendal and Izael performing prone activities

Jordan and Nic with Izael working on rolling

Soon after, we heard the bell ring for recess and saw some of the kids going to play futbol (soccer)... so off we went. It was a joy to play a game that everyone understood and not have to worry about the language barrier. On our rocky, bumpy turf with 4 rocks as goals, we played back and forth until we were all pretty exhausted and sweaty. Thankfully, the bell for the end of recess sounded and we got a breather. After we caught a quick break and stopped sweating, we went into the classrooms and brought out 4 children for some individual therapy in an empty classroom.  This was a great opportunity for the students to work with some older children and begin to developed interventions for the pediatric population. 

A pickup game of futbol

After lunch back at CCH and meeting up with the other half of the PT team, we headed off to Sisters of Charity, a Catholic Mission home for those who have physical and mental disabilities. Here the team worked with various individuals on assisitve device management, wound care, respiratory care and other general orthopedic care. A highlight of the day was working with an elderly wheelchair user on how to perform pressure relief throughout the day. She was too scared to try until one of the students asked her to sing her a song. One major thing we have learned on this trip is how singing and music is a very integral part of the Haitian culture: they have a song for just about everything! Anyway, she started singing the most beautiful song while the students demonstrated and taught her caregiver how to perform pressure relief:

Jen teaching pressure relief techniques

Caitlin evaluating a gentleman's shoulder

Abby and Ivanna performing range of motion exercises

Being at the Sisters of Charity was a really eye opening for the team and we all did a lot of reflecting about the experience. This is the type of experience that exposes all your pre-conceived ideas of how things should be and challenges how you look at the world. We are all going to come home different than when we left and it has been awesome to witness the team work together, solve problems and give of themselves to touch lives. 

Wednesday is a new day with new adventures.....Kristen is off to the mobile clinic again in Mt. Fleury and will be dropping in in a few school classes to chat with the older kids about nutrition. Myself and the PT students will be split between the CCH clinic and Pazapa in the morning. The afternoon is still being determined for the PT team so we pray God will use that time effectively to serve His purpose.

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