Today we hear from our May 2018 volunteer Rhonda Baker:
“I was working at a pediatric clinic in Central Illinois when I first heard of FOTCOH. A nurse practitioner started working at our clinic, and as I got to know her, Shellie Coleman, a long time FOTCOH volunteer and Medical Mission Team Leader, told me about an organization she was involved with that was doing amazing things at their clinic in Haiti. I begged her to get me more information on how to get involved.
As a child, I’d been that young girl who was sure I’d grow up and change the world. Fast-forward several years of my having to turn down joining a team for this or that excuse. But then in December of 2017, I got another email from Shellie. “Are you in”? This was the time I decided that since I rarely put myself and my” wants” before those of my family, that “yes, I am in”!
Life changing experience
To say this trip has been a life changed would be an understatement. It’s hard being an empathetic person already to see what we see here. Illness and death is so much a part of the Haitian people’s daily life. They literally do not know anything different. At home in the United States, people are in such a hurry. Hurry to get to work, then hurry through work to get home. Here life is at a slow pace. There is nothing to hurry to. Very few people here work or have jobs. I just cannot get over how patient these people are. To think of life being this way at home is unreal.
I want you to take a second and close your eyes. Picture being an elderly person. Now, imagine that you have a grown daughter who has three small children. The youngest is a beautiful 5-month-old girl. Imagine that your daughter breast-feeds your granddaughter. Imagine now, that something happens to your daughter, and she passes away. As their grandmother, you take over caring for her children. You have no money for formula. The baby cannot yet eat solid foods. You live far from a city, in the mountains. Not only are you dealing with the emotions that come with losing your daughter, but now have a baby you cannot feed. The only thing you have is sugar water. Now, imagine that for five days shy of a month, that’s the only thing this beautiful baby girl has to “eat”. Now, imagine being elderly, and carrying this baby through the mountains, on only sometimes dirt roads and rocky terrain. Walking. Sleeping outside, in the rain, wind, and heat. And you do this because there is a clinic with nurses and doctors that is open for two weeks this month. Now, after all this physical pain and anguish, you might just be turned away, and not seen because the demand at the clinic is so huge, and sometimes more than we can handle in only a few short weeks.
Wishing to do more
What do you imagine would happen to your granddaughter if you were her? The need is so great here, and supplies and time we have are limited, and yes, there are people who are turned away. Can you imagine living this life? And, with all they go through, they don’t get angry. They don’t yell. They don’t make demands. They smile. They are polite. Because they are thankful and grateful. I feel so blessed to be here. Even though my personal contribution is so small in the grand scheme of things. I pray that the people of Haiti someday have a steady, reliable place to come when they so desperately need the help. Being here makes me wish I could do so much more. May God bless the people of Haiti.”
How can I make a donation to support FOTCOH’s work in Haiti?
You can support FOTCOH’s work in a few different ways. Make a donation through our website, call our office at 815-310-5872 to make a donation, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a check to our office: FOTCOH, P.O. BOX 789, Peoria, Illinois 61652.