On Jan. 1, I co-led a team of 24 people from the Findlay and Akron areas, as well as California, Texas, and Ontario, Canada, to Haiti for a week full of service.
Mission Possible, which has the mission to “equip the next generation of Christ-centered leaders,” has six schools and one vocational school in Haiti and one school in the Dominican Republic. The schools are run by the native people, and there are about 3,500 students between the two countries. The focus of Mission Possible is to teach the students to become sustainable and to know Jesus and bring Him into their communities and to give the nation Christ-centered leaders in their communities.
Our January trip was focused on community health education. We went to each of our schools, some of which included an hourlong hike up the mountains because vehicles can’t get to them, to set up medical clinics in these communities.
The volunteers also set up educational sessions in which we taught the Haitians about cholera prevention and treatment, how to sanitize water, how to dig a latrine, and how to properly wash their hands.
It was so rewarding to see the Haitians so intent on the cholera teaching. They are so afraid of cholera because they don’t know much about it. All they know is more than 2,000 people have died from it. The question was raised at one of our schools, “Can you come back and teach more people about cholera?” We encouraged them to take ownership of this, and they were really excited to go out and teach their neighbors and save lives.
We saw a total of 649 patients in four days. We treated people with problems that included malnutrition, skin conditions like ringworm and intestinal worms, and a variety of stomach problems.
During the trip, we educated about 1,000 people and passed out 1,000 adult and children health kits that included soap, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and educational information in Creole on cholera and teeth brushing. A big thank-you to all of the community members who donated the supplies.
Though we were able to touch a lot of people’s lives, the work in Haiti is not near over. During our trip, we saw many children with signs of malnourishment, including orange hair. There were many families who hadn’t eaten because there simply is no food.
Our hearts broke for these people and the many who suffered during the last year trying to recover from the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.
Mission Possible is working hard to teach the Haitian people about sustainability and not dependability. We want them to invest in their lives and make something of their situations.
Interested in joining me at Mission Possible? Visit www.ourmissionispossible.org or contact the organization at 419.422.3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powell is a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration Program.