Thursday morning we made our final trip out to Mt. Fleury to host a half day of the mobile clinic. Once again we were able to work with a number of individuals with great need. One particular young lady stands out in my mind: she was in her mid twenties and very much underweight, dehydrated and had not eaten anything yet that day. I handed her some water and then a can of nutritional supplement. When she moved on to see our nurse, we learned that she was 3 months pregnant. She was borderline anemic and we were able to provide her with an iron supplement and anti-nausea medication for her morning sickness. I provided education on the best foods for weight gain and the importance of eating for two, but I will never forget the worried look of insecurity on her face. I knew in my heart that she was trying her best and food accessibility would continue to be a challenge throughout her pregnancy. Her resources for help are limited and I'm glad we could assist in just a small way.
Abby and Brisso playing with bubbles
As the morning went on the kids got out of school and came to visit us at the clinic. It was a blessing to see them one last time before our trip in Haiti drew to a close. I wanted more time, but the reality was that we would soon have to say farewell and return to our home. I walked around the immediate vicinity of the clinic for a while to just soak it all in and pray over the community... In the midst of need and poverty there is so much beauty to be found in Mt. Fleury, in Haiti, in the hearts of these people. They are so strong in their faith, ready and willing to learn, resourceful in ways we cannot imagine... They smile, and laugh... A lot! Mt. Fleury is a community of great potential and I am thankful for the work of CCH to continue to provide the resources and infrastructure they need to flourish.
It was incredibly sad to leave the beautiful faces of those children behind. I know as a team, we are thankful for the warm welcome we received by the community of Jacmel and Mt. Fleury and the openness they showed as we tried to help them. I know above all things, they wanted us to walk away with the impression of just how beautiful Haiti is and how proud they are of their country. Don't worry, we did!
Molly and I enjoying some kid time
Last minute goodbyes
Thursday afternoon we had the opportunity to visit Bassin Bleu, a hidden gem about 45 min from Jacmel. We loaded into our usual truck and little did we know the ride over there would be half the fun! We finally were able to drive across the "river," which is just about empty right now from the dry season, and then up, up, up we drove on a rough, steep road with about 14 of us in the back of this truck! Safe? Definitely not according to American standards, but it certainly was a hoot and perfect fun for the adventurer in me! The view of the ocean and the city of Jacmel from above was simply breathtaking. Again, these pictures absolutely don't do justice to the beauty we've witnessed here in Haiti.
Bassin Bleu is a waterfall/waterhole that features the bluest of blue water. I was told that the water is at least 80 feet deep in the center... Scary stuff!!! On the walk there, I managed to slip in my flip flops and put a nice slice in my big toe... I thought little of it until about a minute later when my entire foot was covered in blood (I'll spare you that pic!) and we had to stop for some emergency first aid on the side of the trail. Thankfully, Amparo is a nurse, pulled out her wound care kit and soon enough I was good to go.
We enjoyed the refreshing water and the uniqueness of Bassin Bleu. It was the perfect way to unwind after a long few days of work. The team was full of laughter and playfulness... It's great to see how close we've become as a group on just a few short days. Despite my toe being nicely wrapped, I too joined in on the fun after I overcame my fear and jumped in the water... screaming the whole way of course. Have I ever mentioned my fear of open water?? Coach would have been so proud of my form! ;)
The return trip to our headquarters was a bit more adventureous than our ride there. We once again enjoyed the beautiful views as the sun began to set in the background. I made sure to soak in those last moments of sunshine and warmth as soon enough we'd be returning to the harsh cold of winter back home.
As we were crossing the river again, the truck came to a sudden stop and we all went flying forward. We found ourself stuck in the middle of a water crossing! Joel and Eddie, being such gentlemen, kindly carried each of us to dry land and then jumped deep in the water to assist in getting the truck out. Funny how things work in Haiti, people just showed up out of nowhere to assist in our efforts. It was truly a team effort and symbolic of the unity and kindness of the people here!
The evening was spent packing making final preparations for our trip home then once again sitting under the stars reflecting on the day and trip as a group. Sharing our "highs" and "lows" each night was a great way to hear about each other's experiences, reflect on the challenges and blessings we witnessed and bond and pray together as a group. This has been a great lesson for me of the power of prayer as a group and of being united in Christ.
Friday morning was all last minute packing and hugs and farewells, both to the CCH staff and the other members in our group, before we all went our separate ways.
With CCH staffers Eddie and Joel. Joel was our security/bodyguard and, though he worked through the night, he volunteered many days with us in Mt. Fleury. Eddie is an agronomist who teaches communities around Jacmel how to make their gardens more productive. Two amazingly awesome individuals who always had a smile on their face.
There's no more for me to say! We left the same way we arrived, via an amazing small aircraft ride through the mountains. Good bye Jacmel, goodbye Haiti... Or shall I say see you later?!
There is so much to say regarding this trip that I just haven't found words for yet. I hope to write at least one more post to tie it all together, but I plan to give myself some time to process it all before I do. Thank you to those who have been reading along... It has been helpful to write and I am grateful for the opportunity to share! If you've missed my previous posts, please take the time to scroll back and read them all!