Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Elder Trip-The Beginnings. Feb 25/26

Bon Jou!

Our Monday travels were a success! Eight of us arrived together and we picked up our two stragglers later! This night was all about preparation and team introductions as half our team is returning from last year and we have five new goers who joined us.

Tuesday we hit the ground running. Stuffed with fresh mango and hearty French toast we lathered up sunscreen, took a quick team picture, and we hit the road to Titanyen. Titanyen is the small city in which we will be doing the majority, but not all of our ministry. Here we have an established elder program with 35 elders who receive care from Healing Haiti and later in the week we will visit Cité Soleil where our elder program is expanding.

This mission trip is unique in that it’s designed to focus solely on the elders in a medical capacity. They currently receive visits from other teams throughout the year, however on this trip we do medical assessments to determine needs and how we can serve them best. Our team is comprised of nurses, pre-med students, social workers, physical/occupational therapists, and wonderful volunteers who are willing to fill in the gaps.

Yesterday (Tuesday) we broke into 2 teams and made visits to elders in their homes. This is a unique opportunity to meet them where they are at. It gives us a glimpse into their daily life and helps show us needs they made have. Sometimes the elders don’t even recognize their own needs due to the fact that they are used to the limited resources. An example of this in the US would be housing modifications for elders with limited mobility. Grab bars, smaller steps, commodes, tall toilets, etc. Our team watched and assessed as our elders navigated around their home. If you can picture it, the areas outside and around the home are not paved and they spend most of their time there due to the heat in their homes. The ground is filled with rocks and unsmooth terrain. This would be hard for anybody, let alone our elders with strokes and less mobility. Through our assessments we can provide resources such as above mentioned that can improve quality of life.

The rest of our week will look differently each day, but for now we feel success and confidence in what took place on our first day of home visits. Our team has felt extremely safe and we are thankful for this provision. Our Haitian translators are familiar faces as they worked with us last year. They make the language barrier feel very small and our protection very abundant.

We thank you for your continued prayers and support.


The Elder Team.

Elder Trip- Fleri Fair- Feb 27


We are writing this with grateful hearts as we have completed our second day and it was a huge success. There are no words to express how blown away we are by the work that only our God could do.

Today we had a health fair at Fleri Bakery where we invited members of the elder program to come enjoy fresh baked pastries from the bakery where we spent the day doing a variety of things that we cannot do sometimes at all or as easily at home assessments. These things included creating cards, having their hands/feet washed, lotioned, nails clipped, etc. They also received medical assessments if they were not seen yesterday. Friends, this was AMAZING! Here are just some of our many praises that we want to share with you:

1. An abundance in numbers:
We had a larger turnout than expected! One of our team member's, Brian, went with one of our drivers on our tap-tap (our large vehicle) and picked up elders, all day long! This allowed for more people to attend than last year. Praise God!

2. Connection without communication.
Our team-member, Lori, was able to connect with our elders WITHOUT an interpreter for most of the day and managed to work alongside them to create beautiful cards. She never went without a crowded table or without a smile on her face. Praise God for human connection!

3. An abundance of assessments:
Our clinical staff completed no less than 30 medical assessments! Assessments are lengthy!! To get an idea of what an assessment looks like, picture going to a doctor but having to explain your whole life, your medications, your problems, etc. without any help from a fancy electronic medical record.  Our goal is to assess for overall name a few: vision, physical mobility, pain, living conditions, food intake, bowel and bladder issues, etc. The amount of questions we have is innumerable! And picture while trying to assess difficult problems such as medication management and you are going through an interpreter! Some of the words we use don't translate simply into Creole and this makes it even more difficult with our translators--who are phenomenal by the way. So to say that through the help of our interpreters we completed this many medical/physical assessments is an absolute miracle. Praise God!

4. Care through touch.
Our elders received nail care through hand and feet washing/applying lotion/nail clipping and painting nails for the women of course. Besides this being a helpful medical approach to keep hands/feet sanitary, it is something the elders (and ourselves) enjoy. The act of human touch with massage and cleaning is something that transcends countries. It is a humbling experience to attempt to scrub the years of dirt worn into skin and caked under nails. It is a moving experience to physically sit that close to someone who has likely not received this kind of connection before. And to do something that can be arduous and dirty while knowing that these nails will grow long and dirty again before we know it, is a pleasure to do. To serve just because Jesus asks is absolutely enough. He doesn't ask for clean nails for the rest of their lives, He's only asking for today. What a privilege.

The care for our elders continues as the majority of the team is still going over notes from the day and making plans for the future. The work never ends here in Haiti, and we are so grateful to serve in each and every moment.

Prayers for tomorrow as we do another day at Fleri, but this day with different intentions. We hope to have a day filled with worship through music and fellowship. Even though these elders live in the same tiny town of Titanyen, they can be isolated due to physical limitations and other obstacles as basic as ill-fitted shoes. To see their faces light up at spending time with one another is worth it's weight in gold. We look forward tomorrow with the hope and expectation that God will supercede our man-made plans.

We covet your prayers,

The Elder Team