Jan 31, 2012

Latest from Haiti

Latest from Haiti

Hard to believe it has been over a year now that I have been able to call Haiti my home.  It is amazing to think of a place I knew nothing about that seemed so different to anything I have ever known can now feel so much like home. It has been an incredible year filled with many challenges, blessings and heart/mind opening experiences. I have met so many wonderful people and had a chance to actually sit and get to know them. It is amazing what can happen when we take the time to actually truly be in the presence of others and share our life stories.  Though each of us have experienced very different paths we have so much to offer each other.

Everyone seems to want to know what the plan is for the next year and God is slowly giving me those details. I plan to be in Haiti through April and then move back to the states for at least a few months. I have committed to help work in a clinic in Richmond just for the summer to help a dear friend. I am excited to learn a new therapy technique and to be able to spend some time with some old friends and of course my family. I certainly do not feel this is the end of my travels overseas but this will be a time to recharge my batteries and see where God is leading me next. It is always an adventure when we follow His lead. 

That being said we have a lot going on in the clinic. Two weeks ago my physical therapy student Sam arrived.  We were able to work it out so he can do his 8 week clinical affiliation here. Have already put him to work learning how to wash his clothes by hand (good ADL skill) and helping me build a platform to attach to a walker for a stroke patient with a severe hemi paresis that is starting to walk. Never fails to amaze me what you can do with a little duck tape, PVC pipe, hardware and wood.  Made a contact last week with an organization called AFYA and they have several Haitian rehab techs and carpenters that are open to being trained on all the adaptive equipment we have been making. Very excited at the thought of being able to share that info so they can learn to build and continue to help their community in a way that is greatly needed. Plus this could create a source of income for them.  Jobs are so needed here.

We also have started a new stroke class as we continue to educate about ways to decrease the chances of having a stroke. Our patients continue to amaze us with how some are recovering but we continue to see several new stroke patients a week. We are having success in therapy returning patients to some level of independence but we all sense the need to focus on prevention as well. It is not going to change over night but this is something we feel passionate about. There are many factors we can’t change but we can educate about monitoring blood pressures, taking medications, eating healthy, and doing exercise. Jeanie has even been working with Hyam (or new rehab manager) on developing a cooking tips sheet to promote tips on how to eat healthy given the foods that are commonly available here.  The patients seem to love the class and are helping each other out sharing tips and stories. It is in a lot of ways a support group as well. People helping people it’s what it is all about.

As always I thank each and every one of you for your prayers and support. God continues to do so many cool things through this ministry. I am excited to see what He has planned for this next year. A new year always gives us time to reflect. Take time to enjoy the amazing beauty and people God has placed around you. I am certainly thankful for all the people in my life and this amazing journey God has me on. Blessings and love to all of you!