Dear Family and Friends,
It was another productive day of work. The team broke up into smaller groups to take on different projects. The medical staff worked at the Aimer Haiti clinic, located at an abandoned kids amusement park located one mile up a dusty road from the Foursquare Base Camp, past the large United Nations personnel camp. Yola, the director of the clinic, is a Haitian American woman from Miami, who was visiting Haiti when the earthquake hit Port-au Prince last year. Rather than seizing the opportunity to leave, she felt called to stay and do what she could to help. So, she summoned medical personnel within her family who enlisted colleagues to come and help for the first month after the earthquake. Afterwards she enlisted the help of Aimer Haiti, a non-profit organization, to provide financial support to hire several Haitian doctors, nurses and pharmacists to establish a free clinic to meet the needs of the poor who have limited or no access to basic healthcare. With funding ceasing at the end of next month, the clinic has sought funding from a couple of foundations. To be a considered applicant, the clinic needed organization, some cubicle exam rooms. So our host asked us to help Yola, with several projects in order to help her get a needed recertification. Our seven nurses joined the staff of two Haitian doctors and four nurses to care for the 410+ patients that came for help in the two days. Evie and Jenny noted most of the young children and babies they treated suffer from severe dehydration and general intestinal infections, most likely caused from drinking unclean water. Susie led a small team that was given the task of organizing a back room “pharmacy” that had neither the staff nor adequate space to house the supplies and meds. It appeared that following the earthquake, the need was so great to care for people that the staff functioned in survival mode, with little time to sort through what they had. At the end of the two days, the pharmacy had been cleaned, organized, purged of old or expired meds and had a good system to identify what was present. Rob and Kody led a group that was charged with the task of removing boxes of stored supplies and medicines from dilapidated tents that were once new, but had withered under the intense heat and elements over the past year. There were nine tents that were torn down, boxes removed to sort good medicine from expired medicines and placed in new tents that were erected. It was hard work working in the sun, and even hotter in the tents, stacking boxes of supplies. Those of us from the northwest are not accustomed to 90+ degree heat and humidity, so we were encouraged to drink lots of water. Pat helped design a solution to the need for exam cubicles, to replace the clothesline and curtains that were in place under an open thatched-roof cabana. Mitch and he, along with several interns, cut, assembled and painted 5’x8’ panels to build 10 cubicles that would give more privacy to patients and care providers. It was a large project, but the team worked well together, with the skilled men teaching the younger ones some construction tips. They will be delivered and installed tomorrow. Our accommodations are modest and good, with one 12-bed bunkroom for guys, and one for girls. There is no hot water for showers, but we hardly notice it at the end of the day when a cool shower brings a welcome refreshing. The water, drawn from a well dug in the compound, is clean, and drinkable, and our meals consist of corn meal or oatmeal for breakfast, pasta for lunch, and the staple Haitian diet of rice and beans, with a broth for dinner. Trail mix and beef jerky come out throughout the day as shared snacks to supplement our need for comfort food. Each evening we gather to recap the day’s events and share experiences and insights learned. As we conclude, 3-4 team members share his/her life story and the point or process that faith and a relationship with Christ began in his/her life, as well as the benefits and changes that resulted since. It has been a rich time of getting to know each other and hear how God has redeemed each person’s life in unique ways. After dinner on Tuesday, we gathered to begin or recap meeting. In less than an hour, a thunderstorm hit our camp with such a torrential downpour that the noise hitting the roof was so loud we could not continue our meeting. So, many ran outside to soak in this tropical storm and splash in the quick-forming puddles. We ended up in our dining area waiting for the rain to cease. Since it continued, Don suggested we pray for people in the tent cities whose “homes” would be flooded. After our prayer time we called it a night. On Wednesday, we will hold a mobile clinic in the empty steel and tin church structure. The Foursquare Church congregation members are invited to come to the clinic, on Flag Day, on which most business close. During our time here, we have met church teams from Camas, Puyallup, Sequim, Washington D.C. and Oklahoma that have come to work on a variety of different projects. Thank you for your support and continued prayers for us and the people of Haiti. We are privileged to be here serving and working with the great Foursquare national leaders and missionary staff, who have a compelling long-term vision to see more people follow Christ and implement self-sustaining agriculture and micro-business projects to bring lasting change.
Rick Sawczuk, Haiti Team Leader