Last month, 15 volunteers including medical doctors, nurses, health professionals, a pastor and others traveled to Mombin Hospital in Haiti to offer their service and skills. Medical doctors and nurses started seeing patients in the clinic right away, hoping to assist the Haitian doctors and staff with caring for the many needy and sick waiting to be seen. In a few hours, the OR was running and the surgeon and nurses were working to help those with elective and urgent needs. In the week that they were there, the medical team treated nearly 300 patients, 31 surgical cases were performed, over $1,000 worth of prescription drugs and vitamins were delivered and 70 pairs of glasses were distributed. Obviously the team worked long days, but the purpose of the trip involved more than labor. VPI representatives also wanted to hear from the Haitians about what programs were working well and what improvements were needed. One of VPI’s most recent partnerships involves working with Haitian staff and skilled laborers to build cisterns that will provide clean water sources in some of the more remote and difficult to reach areas. When several volunteers walked the mountainous terrain to see first-hand the water sites, they found impressive positive outcomes. To date, 45 cisterns have been built supplying over 7,000 people with clean drinking water sources. Where cholera, typhoid and other water borne diseases were an ongoing concern, new cases have dropped to minimal in these communities. Professionals from the group also worked with Haitian hospital staff to conduct classes on nutritional support for new mothers and their babies, maternity care and occupational therapy.
VPI has been supporting the Mombin Hospital and helping to improve the lives of people in the village for over 20 years. There is still much to be done and we believe that this can only be accomplished through close partnership with the Haitian doctors and staff. A mission trip requires labor. It requires listening and learning. It also requires mutual respect, commitment and love.
Terry L. Deal, 2017 Mission Trip Volunteer