The Most Challenging and Most Rewarding Thing I Have Done in My Life

This has been such an amazing and surreal experience; I don’t know where to begin!

First off, our team of exceptionally smart volunteers are all so loving, compassionate, and helpful. We have a great mix of new and experienced volunteers. This is my first time at FOTCOH, and I am so grateful to be part of this fantastic organization.

Since our team has many volunteers that have been coming for 10+ years, they have been able to see the impact that FOTCOH has made for the people of Haiti; both the diabetes and hypertension numbers have improved greatly.

I heard from many Haitian people how much FOTCOH has done for them and how appreciative they are for the service. Some people even travel 8 hours each way to see our providers! Then they are so patient waiting in line, sometimes all night and all day to be seen. Never in my life have I seen children so well behaved and quiet. It is amazing how no matter how sick someone is, when you ask him/her how he/she is feeling, he/she replies “not so bad (in Creole of course!)” – a person could have a giant hole in his/her leg and still reply “not so bad.”

All of the people we have seen are so beautiful. It’s hard to convey any and all of the emotions and experiences I have had thus far. This has by far been the most challenging thing I have done in my life, and also the most rewarding. At first I was afraid that I could not do enough for the people and the children, but I have found that we all do the very best we can, and everything helps. Although I think I will always be trying to do more and do better.

I can’t sugar coat the living conditions of people here or their health. We have seen so many starving and malnourished children. One child was about 17 months and only 10 lbs! We have also seen many children around 1 year of age who only weigh about 10lbs. We are so blessed to have the Medika Mamba program, which supplies a peanut paste substance for the malnourished children. One of our translators told us about a village where everyday people (adults and children) are dying everyday of starvation. It breaks my heart to hear things like this, and then think of the drastic difference of perspective many of the people in the States have of what poverty really is. The amazing this here is that no matter the conditions or ailments, no one complains of what they have or rather what they do not have.

Thursday we have a half day of clinic, and then Julie Dubois, APN and I are teaching a class on diabetes while Carol Miller, APN and Sharon Tear, APN are teaching a class on breastfeeding.

I am so thankful and blessed to have this opportunity to help the people of Haiti. My perspective will forever be changed for the better.

Jessica Wallis, Family Nurse Practitioner Student