My 2018 is starting with a chance to check off a lot of my common New Years’ resolutions: more travel, help others, more adventure, get out of my comfort zone, invest in community, be a good example to my children, try to change the world for the better. On January 19, I’m going to the Central Plateau of Haiti on a medical mission trip to help provide basic medical care to one of the poorest and most neglected parts of the Western Hemisphere.
I’m joining a group of doctors and nurses affiliated with the Episcopal Upper Diocese of South Carolina. The diocese has been sending medical professionals to this part of Haiti since the early 1980s (more on that in my next blog). I clearly have zero medical skills, but they’ve agreed to take me along to: a) help count pills and run the pharmacy (we’ll see a lot of hypertension patients who will be prescribed medications), and b) to document the trip in order to drum up interest in the project and raise funds. So I’ll be participating and documenting…and trying my best not to get in the way of the people who actually have value.
We’ll be staying in Cange, Haiti, in a compound set up by the church group and Partners in Health decades ago. It will serve as a home base, providing potable water, reliable food, and a comfortable place to sleep – but we’ll be hiking out to surrounding, remote villages each day to set up pop-up clinics. To prepare for this trip, I’ve had to get a lot of vaccinations, buy clothes to handle heat and hiking yet prevent mosquitos, and work on getting in shape for long, hot, arduous hikes over rocky terrain. It’s been a refreshing change of pace from my normal mothering and write-at-home duties.
I’ve also been reading about Haiti and about the history of the church’s and PIH’s involvement there. I’m going to write a few entries here about what I’ve learned to help set the stage for the work we’re doing. I then plan to post photos and brief stories from the trip, as we’ll likely have internet access in the evenings from Cange. So please follow along on this journey.