Gary Bissonette: We are back at Mathew 25 after a bumpy long ride yesterday. Five of us are leaving today for home. The rest are off to Mother Teresa’s orphanage and will leave on Sunday. The mission was productive and we had a great team. All the travelers are OK health wise. I caught my usual symptoms from all the kids coming in with colds. A few mild diarrhea cases. Spirits are still high and we have had many fond memories of our trip.
The only real sad event was our first delivery in Seguin was a 27 week premature infant that despite efforts did not survive. We provided what comfort was possible and wrapped the infant in a new blanket. In a few hours the mother and father went on their way to bury their lost child. Joan was able to baptize the infant during his few hours of life. She is now in a better place with our Lord.
We sent one lady to Jacmal with congestive heart failure and a pregnant woman that was about to deliver and hypertensive. We received word she delivered a healthy baby and was to be released on Thursday.
We treated multiple superficial infections and injuries. One boy was stoned and sutured his face and treated a leg wound. The majority of cases are muscular skeletal and general medical issues. The people of Seguin were happy to see us and we handed out many blankets and hats knitted by the caring people of Grand Rapids and Holy Spirit. Thank you for all your prayers, Gary
Rita and Jim Cwengros: Another wonderful trip to Haiti. It was great seeing our interpreters (Patrick, Junior, and others), Sister Mary, Vivian, and Patrick – who have become part of our extended family.
Another great group of people that came together as a team to serve those less fortunate. All with different skills that make the team work. Every time offers a new adventure. This time, it was the adventurous trip from Seguin to PAP – tanker trucks, school buses, and NASCAR imitators.
A big event for Rita and me was meeting a farmer, Messenge (which means “Thank you God”), who brought his 11-month old son and 8 year old daughter in for care. They were malnourished and had terrible diaper rash and fungal infections. He was lost on what to do. We learned that Messenge’s wife died 3 days after giving birth to the baby, leaving Messenge and 4 children. He had to pull the children out of school because he had to use the money to bury his wife. Needless to say, Rita and I have adopted this family – they will become part of our extended family. We visited his corn-stalk home on the way down the mountain and can’t wait to visit him when we return. The team was very generous in leaving formula, clothing, quilts, sleeping bags, towels, and shoes. Thank you so much!
I (Rita) enjoyed seeing the beautiful children line up in the morning, singing and raising their flag with their national anthem. Such wonderful singing and big brown eyes and smiles! Many, many pregnant women! We were blessed to have beautiful handmade hats, ponchos, and baby blankets. The people were so grateful. My heart was so touched by a few children who were so severely malnourished, too weak to even eat. Yet, the son of Messenge, when we stopped to visit, his 11 month son looked healthier, in just 2 days! The beauty of the area especially Ryan’s peak, and the friendliness and hard work of the people gave me such an appreciation for living life simply. We became a family here. We could not be the hands and feet of Jesus without the prayers, support, and love of the people of Holy Spirit and the family and friends. Thank you so much! Jim and Rita
Kelly Ryan: This trip was so amazing! I would really like to return next year. I finally got to meet my adopted family. I worked in the pharmacy most of the week but got to assist in the exam rooms. I got pretty efficient in the pharmacy by Thursday.
On Wednesday a woman gave Martin, an interpreter, vegetables for giving her medicine. A goat arrived at the same time. Jim named him Yum-Yum and we had to hear him crying all night. Yum-Yum wasn’t the only loud animal at night though. The dogs and the rooster liked to sit outside our ground level window and bark and crow all night. Everyone upstairs would tell us that it wasn’t that bad but they weren’t at ground level.
The ride home was crazy. I didn’t feel sick at all going back down. I did fear for my life a few times. Junior was taking the curves carefully and on the horn but the other cars on the road didn’t. Once we were turning a corner and another car flying around the bend and came within a few inches of us.
Driving in PAP was…unique. The traffic goes every which way. We had to stop for gas and the gas station was on the opposite side of the road. We basically drove into the other lane and into the gas station’s parking lot.
I really hope that I can take this trip again. I learned so much and made a lot of new friends. Kelly
Betty Krauss: A shower was one of the greatest gifts to us, just like
Water is to the Holy Spirit. I will always cherish water and thank God for the gift of water.
Looking forward to seeing all of you and again thank you for all of your prayers.
David Kutsche: First timer. Incredible experience. I think everyone should make a trip like this sometime in their life. It gives you a new appreciation for everything you take for granted. Fairly simple medical issues can turn into life threatening situations quickly when you don’t have medical facilities available. It hit me that there were a few things we took care of that, if we were not in Seguin this past week, would likely have resulted in death since they did not usually have basic care. Can’t wait to get home to see my wife and kids and tell them about my time here. Thanks to everyone on the team for making this “newbie” feel so welcome.
Mary LaPonsie: Holy Spirit Parish you rock! The support you have been providing to Seguin is making a difference. We are seeing improved health, and more children being educated. There are less children suffering from malnourishment. The people of Seguin are grateful. Some brought gifts of sugar cane, vegetables and fruit to our team to show their appreciation. We continue to expand our reach and make more and more friends in Haiti. The positive impact that we are seeing would not be possible without all of the support that the people of Holy Spirit have provided through financial contributions, donations of time and talent and prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.