It feels good to have the keys of my keyboard under my fingers. I feel like we’ve been separated for too long and we needed some quality time. It’s been a crazy, hectic week, but a good one.
Just over an hour ago the kids and I stood in the driveway and waved at the van as it drove out with Lori’s team. They were a fabulous group and we had a lot of fun with them, but I won’t lie – the Rolling family is TIRED! :) It’s always fun when we have visitors, but it is a lot of week and our little family likes to get back to our routine. My kids especially like it when they see more of me than just popping in and out of the house to grab things. I have a feeling the next few days will be intentionally quiet around here.
Here’s what we’ve been up to:
- The team spent the first day (Tuesday) in Port doing a clinic for pastors and their families for a friend of ours that runs a pastors training school. The non-medical/dental people spent the day unloading and moving materials for the bosses who were hired to fix our friends wall that came down over two years ago in the earthquake. That will be a huge blessing considering he lives in Port and security is an issue.
- Wednesday we went MacDonald, a small community just outside of St. Marc where several of our missionary friends live and work. We did our first clinic day at Barb’s school and saw about 50 kids in the medical side and about 25 in the dental side, as well as doing a couple house calls.
- Wednesday was also Olivia’s closing program at school so Chris and I snuck away for a few hours to go to that, and we watched our little girl sing and accept her folder with her Kindergarten promotion certificate in it. I can’t believe we have a kindergartener come September.
- Thursday and Friday were clinic days at Clean Water for Haiti for our staff and their families. We’ve managed to develop a great system for this that is working really well. The nurses saw about 100 patients in the two days and the dentists saw about 50. I love it when we have people that come every time for the clinic, like some of the grandmothers of our workers. It gives us a chance to build up a bit of a relationship with them, to be able to recognize them etc. It’s always touching when people express their gratitude for the opportunity to come. It makes all the work involved in setting it up worth it.
- On Thursday a couple of the guys also went out on a delivery day with our staff, which they loved. The other non-medical people went to a school in Montrouis to help with the younger classes.
- Saturday we invited the missionaries from our Bible study/fellowship group to come for dental and a potluck. We really enjoyed the day of visiting with everyone. We all find that as our ministries grow we get busier, and it’s harder and harder to do things spontaneously, so any time we can get together is great. Denise and Lori were a HUGE blessing to the group and saved all of us a TON of money on dental care. You should have seen all the beaming missionaries – it was really funny! The ones I’ve seen since then have have just kept saying how much it meant to them and how grateful they were for the opportunity. During the afternoon the group also took time to ask all of us about living here and we really enjoyed the opportunity to share our different perspectives and experiences.
- Sunday the group went out for the day and took Olivia with them to give Chris and I a bit of down time. I was able to catch up on some household stuff, nap, and we hosted our regular missionary meeting with the above mentioned group. It was a good day to regroup and we enjoyed a nice evening of visiting with the team.
- Monday we were back in MacDonald for our last day of clinic. We saw the rest of the school kids in the dental side, and a bunch of people from the community in the medical side. The nurses said they were some of the sickest people they had worked with on the entire trip. Lots of typhoid and malaria flying around with the onset of the rainy season. Last night we enjoyed an evening out at Club Indigo at the snack bar. There was a lot of laughter and fun was had by all.
Some random thoughts about the last week:
I was so impressed with the compassion and care that our clinic people showed to everyone they worked with. The medical people (nurses and pharmacy master Brandon) were so thorough with everything and really spent time with each patient. Things like looking a person in the eye and talking to them with a lot of respect is so important here. It would be so easy to rush through a consultation just to see how many people they could pump through in a day. They wanted to learn and spent time talking with myself, Barb and Ruth, one of our translators, to find out what resources were available, cultural context and other things like that so they could make recommendations to their patients that were reasonable and culturally applicable. They recognized that making recommendations for things that weren’t available was pointless and didn’t solve the problem.
We spent time educating each other. I was able to talk to them about the common maladies here, and that they didn’t always present in the same ways or how a book might indicate. They took time to teach me things and to supply me with things like malaria and typhoid tests. We even managed to build a centrifuge to separate the blood for the typhoid test out of a handheld battery operated fan! It was sooooo cool.
Our dental team, Denise and Lori, were amazing. This was Denise’s first trip and I enjoyed talking to her about her thoughts on everything. What really touched me was when she shared that she realized she could do cleanings in the US and that was fine, but doing a cleaning on a person here had so much more importance and impact because it may be the first time they’ve ever seen a dentist or hygienist, and it may be the last. Because of that she wanted to do a really good job, even if it meant spending an hour on a patient. I’m really excited that she wants to come back with Lori in the future because the two of them make a great team, and they’re a ton of fun. When Lori was working on my teeth they were both leaning over me and I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face, but I had a mouth full of cotton so I couldn’t say anything. So not fair!
The others on the team that weren’t involved in the clinics were so willing to do anything else that we needed whether it was cleaning weeds out of the garden or washing dishes. They also spent a considerable amount of time working with the kids that came to the clinics and at a school in Montrouis that Lori has been connected with for years. They have so much energy and beautiful servants hearts that really blessed us this past week.
Well, my pile of follow up forms needing to be entered into the computer is calling my name and unfortunately will not do itself, so it’s time to sign off. Thanks for your prayers for our family and staff as we minister here in Haiti.