Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Final team time

My team was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning, so we had our final team debriefing on Saturday evening. We shared about our favorite moments from the trip, ways that we had changed or been affected by Haiti, and plans for "Haiti dinners" upon our return to Boston. We also went around the room with superlatives for everyone. We had "Most likely to get eaten alive by mosquitos", "Most likely to steal a Haitian child from its mother", "Best blood pressure-taker", "Best goat-eater", "Most likely to be caught dancing in her underwear", and many many more. About me, every single member of the team said that I was the most likely to marry a Haitian. I wonder where they got that idea? Someone also awarded me the "Best Fearless Leader". I think this photo most aptly illustrates that - the lump curled up in the green blanket on the floor of Miami International Airport would be me.
I was deeply impressed by how quickly my team picked up the medical vocabulary and by how willing they were to work hard all day. I would float around the clinic checking in with girls in turn, sometime sitting with them to make sure they were doing all right.

Me showing Chris, a little boy at the clinic, how to listen to a heart rate. His grandmother had just been diagnosed with AIDS, and the nurse was telling her and Chris' mother, but they didn't want him in the room, so we babysat him for 45 minutes until the drama was over. He helped us bag pills and ran around pretending to steal our cameras.

I can talk about those HFC kids all day, and I tend to, but people generally have a hard time grasping what I'm telling them. It was great to share stories about the kids and have my friends really understand because they have met the kids, seen where they live, and begun to love them too. Here, we are in the boys' house and I'm telling them Jacques' story.
On the pick-up truck ride from Port-au-Port to the clinic in Cazale. I was a little concerned about driving around PAP with 11 white girls in an open-bed truck, but fortunately, my team was blissfully unaware and God kept us safe.
These 4 men carried their injured friend 3 hours down the mountain to the clinic!!
This man is a well-known murderer and thief in Cazale. One day, some men caught him and decided to pay him a lesson that he wouldn't forget. They cut off his lips! He came to the clinic and Lori sewed him up, but there was nothing she could do about the lack of lips. Now, everyone knows who he is and stays well away from him. Except us. We had heard all about him, so when he showed up at the clinic for some cold medication, we were thrilled to meet him and have our photo taken with him.
On our last clinic day, we did a little team pep rally. "What shall we shout?" someone asked. "How about, 'Nou renmen Ayiti!'" I suggested. "OK!" they all agreed enthusiastically. On the count of three, we did it, and all the clinic staff cheered. And then my friend Carol Ann turned to me, "What does 'Nou renmen Ayiti' mean?" The cheers switched immediately to laughter. Perfect start to an awesome day.
After our team time ended on Saturday night, we all started to head back to our rooms, when one of my teammates, Elsa, suddenly said, "I know this is very uncharacteristic of me, but can we pray?" My co-leader Emily and I literally froze. It took a full 10 seconds before I could say, "YES! By all means!" We sat in a circle and every member of my team prayed out loud. They thanked God for the safety, for the bond our team had formed, for the amazing clinic staff, for the wonderful children. They asked God to take care of Haiti, especially the children, and to allow them to come back some day. And best of all, my friend Ellie prayed this heartfelt prayer: "God, I have been so impressed by the faith of these children, and I want that same faith to rub off on me." Emily and I walked out of that room hearing angels singing the Hallelujah chorus. The entire time with my team was great, but that one moment was by far the best and most fulfilling for me.


Angela said...

Wow, so exciting and wonderful!!!! All of it! I'm so glad you're home and blogging this amazing adventure and am addicted to checking to see if you've added more! ;)

I am so thrilled about the impact the trip had on your teams heart towards the Lord. I had been feeling God had been putting on my heart to pray for your team as great things were going to happen in your heart.

Now lets pray- What happens in Haiti does not stay in Haiti. May their faith continue to grow!

Much love,

The Haiti Lady said...

I am so thankful that the gals were touched by Haiti. To be in Haiti and to FEEL it is wonderful....I also want to share it with so many and have them infected by the bug.
Thank you for posting about the no lips guy. I have often wondered what happened to him. Has he changed at all in his thinking or is he still bitter and angry?
Love ya,