Today has been my favorite day yet. We set up a minor medical clinic in the courtyard of a lady we met. We didn’t hand out anything stronger than cough syrup & Advil, but there is a tremendous shortage for these kinds of medications here. We also treated eye infections, scabies, ringworm, and intestinal worms. Fun times!
I actually didn’t treat any of the patients or hand out any medicine. My job was to hand out other items. The Dollar General on Harrisburg Road gave us a huge bag of flip-flops and some other items. There is a lady in our town who felt like she needed to do something for the people of Haiti, but due to her age, she couldn’t travel. Instead, she made 7,000 pairs of children’s shorts (YO!) and we took probably 200 of them down on this trip. It was my job to give these shoes, shorts, and some basic toiletry items out to the people. I’ve never seen people who were so grateful for a bar of hotel soap. Of course there were a handful of people who wanted anything and everything & more of that but not that color and can I have more please — but you’ll find that in any country on earth. Overall, it was really great to meet so many needs with such basic things. At one point I was splitting up boxes of off-brand crayolas & giving each kid 5 or 6 wrapped in a hair band. American kids would think “Hey! I’m not at a restaurant needing to color a placemat with disposable crayons to keep me occupied! I don’t need this crap!” But these kids were really upset when I ran out.
We saw about 200 people today for everything from headaches to fevers, but the patient I was happiest to see was a man we met yesterday in the jungles. We were walking through the villages and a man was sitting in the back of the truck. He had large, open sores all over his legs that were festering and nasty. I didn’t have anything to give him. We tried to talk to him, but some people explained that he was mentally retarded & had difficulty speaking. We told him about the clinic, but I don’t know how much he understood. We came back for lunch & I got some neosporin & large waterproof band-aids. Then, I prayed that we’d find him again. That afternoon I recognized the path and the huts near where he was, but the truck he was sitting in was gone. We went to talk to a family and while we were there, he walked up. Without knowing it, we had walked up to his house. I pulled out the items and told a woman (maybe his sister?) that we had prayed to find him and bring him something to help him. I wanted to help them put the band-aids on then because flies were all over these terrible wounds. But, they said they’d help give him a bath first. I wasn’t planning to help with that, so I told her how to apply the neosporin & we went on our way.
In the Bible, we are told that God loves the least of these — the ones that society overlooks. In other words, regardless of your station in life, the amount on your paycheck, or the number of degrees on the wall of your office, God loves you and sees you as equal with all of His creation. I think it was beautiful that He answered this prayer to find a mentally-challenged young man & help him. Does this help build up His church? Maybe not directly. Does this honor the heart of God? You bet!
The thing is: You don’t have to go to Haiti or Belize or Afghanistan to find the least of these. You don’t even have to look in poverty. I want God to help me notice the outcast, the lonely, the forsaken, and the poor around me in Arkansas. And, I know this is a request that He will grant.
At the end of the clinic, I met a woman. Some people told me she also had mental problems, but that wasn’t the case. She was deaf. It’s not like there are schools for the deaf or even an official sign language in Haiti. So, I can’t imagine the difficult life this woman has had. But, this woman used motions and signals and she and I had a lovely conversation. She has 6 children, 3 boys & 3 girls. None of them are hers by birth, but all given to her by God through adoption. She lives in a lovely home with one of her daughters. She even brought me over to meet this daughter. I showed her pictures of my girls and shared about my family. We didn’t have the same language — and she couldn’t have heard me anyway, but it worked. And what an amazing story she has! She was a social outcast, but instead of feeling sorry for herself or playing a victim, she took in 6 orphans. In Haiti, the living conditions for an orphan are horrible. Their future is bleak. This woman took in these children and provided for them and loved them and now they have a future. I was honored to spend time with this lovely woman that some local people said was crazy and deaf and not to be bothered with.
What a blessing I would have missed out on if I hadn’t spent time with her! In the picture above she is with one of her daughters. You can see the pride on her face and the love on her daughter’s. I seriously wish you could all have met her.
Tomorrow we’ll visit a school and then we’ll get to go see the beach. Then, very early Friday morning we’ll head to the airport & start our journey home. I’m glad I’ve been here, but I am missing my family like crazy cakes! So, it will be good to see them and hug them and spend an entire day loving my sweet sugarbabies.
I do feel sorry for the people we will share the plane with. It’s been HOT. We’ve sweated. We really stink. Our clothes stink, our hair stinks — we STINK. The other people on the plane may decide to get off once we get on. I brought a can of Febreeze, so we currently plan to spray ourselves down before we try to board. We consider this to be a public service.
P.S. Bonswa (Bonn-swah) means Good Afternoon/Good Evening. Now you know Kreyol Ayitian tu piti!