Today’s blog is written by Jeff and Michelle Balon:
Another beautiful day in the DR; we started with a sharing session led by Pastor Dave talking about the relevance and impact of Remembrance Day on each of our families lives…..with a few tears shed followed by a moment of silence
Another bumpy hour long drive over barely passable roads into the Bataye - fortunately less muddy, to start our final day.
It was hot, it was humid and…..it was glorious. Finally it seemed everything was working as it should… patient intake was efficient and smooth., Our driver Kelvin doubled as entertainer with his amazing voice and strumming skills, we thought it was piped in music..translators in place and working well with each healthcare provider- the sickest of the people with accumulated health issues; acute and chronic painful; injuries, communicable diseases and parasites; malnutrition /starvation…..many people eating maybe once daily if they were fortunate……
One patient had used whatever money he had in Haiti to “escape” to the DR with a friend on a motorcycle. Unfortunately he was in an accident with his friend being killed and suffering a deep laceration to his arm. He came in with sutures that were embedded in his arm for 30 days that were now infected and needed to be removed. He was starving yet was planning on returning to Haiti because he felt he had a better chance of survival there. Michelle expertly dealt with his injuries and then we gave him some medical food packages to help him on his way back on foot to Haiti.
We introduced more teaching and sustainable medical approaches as well as physical and regenerative medical therapies for their chronic pain. Dr. Jeff treated a 74 year old man who had fallen off a roof 3 months ago sustaining head and back injuries preventing him from his work as a labourer in the cane fields. He did not have the funds to eat much less travel the road out of the batayas and seek medical care. After his care he was able to move without pain.
During our home visits we experienced a not uncommon downpour and were offered shelter in the home of a woman with severe osteoarthritis. The warmth and hospitality of the people was incredible offering us their only chair to sit on as a guest in their humble homes .Joint replacement surgery so common in Canada is not accessible for these people and she suffered constant pain while working in her home cooking, cleaning , providing childcare for the grandchildren her 8 children provided her. We convinced her to attend our clinic the next day and she was painfree for the first time in many years after her treatment from Dr. Jeff, smiling broadly, blessing him and thanking God for our team.
We believe that we did impact their health positively and the people were extremely grateful and receptive to anything we were able to offer them.
In spite of what most of us would see as overwhelming hardships these incredible people are sooooo resilient and truly happy…. we saw many people, over 600 mostly women children and infirmed elderly yet saw no one suffering from depression or anxiety.
More importantly we are starting to change the approach we are providing….rather than a hand out…….. a HAND UP
This experience causes us to reflect on our lives and remembrance of those who have made it all possible
We are so incredibly fortunate for all we have:
Safety Access to medical care and resources in our country ( social supports ) that we rely on in our time of need
They have their community- family and friends and HOPE
LEST WE FORGET